Two people camping together may have a difficult time finding a tent that is not too heavy, but also spacious enough for two and built out of solid materials. When backpacking or canoe camping, weight is a big factor. You want to pack as light as possible while retaining the quality of your tent. Floor space is also a big consideration. Two people sharing close quarters can get cramped, so you want a tent that is spacious enough for both occupants and their gear. If you're looking for a spacious tent, you may want to consider this Mountain Hardwear Optic VUE 2.5 Tent.
What to Look For
Size and Weight
Campers and backpackers who are going to have more than one occupant in a tent need to look for a tent that is spacious and accessible. Even when living outdoors, privacy and space make life more comfortable. Keep in mind that the capacity of a tent is based on the amount of standard sleeping bags that can be fit in it. Therefore, a two-person tent is going to have no leg room for two people. You’ll want to get a tent with enough room for each person to spread out a little and store their gear. Another factor is the weight of the tent. If you will be carrying the tent, you want it to be as lightweight as possible, without sacrificing space or quality.
A tent’s season is a measure of durability. There are three main tent seasons: 3-season, extended 3-season and 4-season. 3-season tents are lightweight and designed for moderate weather. They function well to protect the occupants from precipitation and insects, as well as providing privacy. Extended 3-season tents are a bit more hardy and can withstand the more severe weather of early spring and late fall. 4-season tents are the most durable, and are engineered to be able to hold up against heavy snowfall and strong winds. Consider the climate that you will be camping in, and choose your tent accordingly.
The strength of a tent’s materials is measure by it’s denier. Higher-denier materials tend to be more durable than lower-denier materials. However, don’t compare the denier of different fabrics, as the strength of each type of fabric is different and it’s not an equal comparison. The average denier of tent material is around 40-denier. To protect lower-denier tents, you can use a footprint to shield the tent floor from rips and leaks.
Ventilation is always an important consideration, no matter the climate, though it’s most important in warmer, more humid weather. Mesh panels provide ventilation, and also a scenic view from inside the tent. You will want to look at the tent canopy and see how much of it is mesh. In colder climates, ventilation is still important, but you won’t want an all mesh canopy, because it will not keep you as warm. Keeping efficient circulation is important to make the interior more breathable and reduce condensation inside the tent.
Overview and Features
The Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5 is freestanding, 3-season tent with a sleeping capacity of two. With a floor area of 37 square feet, it will comfortably hold two people and their gear. It has 12 square feet of vestibule space for additional gear storage and dry entry. Two large doors are on adjoining sides that can unzip and roll back for easy access and a view. The interior has pockets to help store and organize gear. It’s designed to be easy to pitch, with reflective color coded tabs on the canopy and fly, and a simple three-pole design. It is constructed mostly out of strong, durable materials.
The canopy fabric is 20-denier polyester knit mesh. The fly is made out of 75-denier polyester taffeta,1500 mm PU, and the floor is made of 70-denier nylon taffeta, 3000 mm PU. The canopy fabric could be stronger, however the other materials are relatively tough. However, this tent is relatively heavy, with a minimum weight of 5 lb, 13 oz. It would not be the best choice for the backcountry due to its weight. A gear loft and a footprint can be purchased separately.
- The fly and floor fabrics are made of durable polyester taffeta and nylon taffeta.
- Two large doors make this tent accessible.
- Internal pockets and a separate gear loft can help occupants keep their gear organized.
- At 37 square feet, this tent is roomy enough for two people and their gear to fit comfortably.
- The taped seams and welded construction make this tent exceptionally waterproof.
- The canopy fabric is 20-denier polyester mesh, which is not as durable as may be desired.
- This tent is heavy, with a minimum weight of 5 lb 13 oz.
- The footprint and gear loft must be purchased at additional cost.
Mountain Hardwear Optic VUE 2.5 Tent
Hiking / Camping
DAC Pressfit aluminum
Number of poles
7 x 23 in
5 lbs 13 oz
Clips or Sleeves
Clips and Sleeves
6 lbs 3 oz
Internal Storage Pockets
37 sq ft
75D polyester taffeta
20D polyester knit mesh
70D nylon, 3000 mm
12 sq ft
Overall, the Mountain Hardwear Optic VUE 2.5 tent is an excellent tent for campers in the warmer months. It has excellent ventilation and is waterproof, though it is not for camping in rugged conditions. The tent is spacious for a single occupant but would be cramped for two campers and their gear. It is accessible and convenient, as getting in and out is easy, as is setup. This tent is not well suited for backpacking or canoe camping, as it is on the heavier side. It would be an excellent choice for a weekend camper with a lower budget, as it is on the cheaper side for a tent of this size and quality. However, it would not be a good tent for a backpacker or for a longer trip, as it is not very durable. It is ideal for a single camper, while any more occupants might make it uncomfortable. This tent is a great choice for the casual, single camper who is looking for a convenient and accessible tent within a lower price range.