First Look: Mountainsmith 'Mountain Dome'

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New for this coming autumn, the Mountainsmith Mountain Dome 2 tent is neither super light nor architecturally radical. But with a solid design, good price, and modular setup options we see big market potential for the three-pole dome.

Its hub-based pole system is intuitive and easy to set up. The tent body is made largely of mesh for lots of ventilation, which is also encouraged by large vestibules and vents in the rainfly. The inside is spacious, with storage for personal items right where you want it and plenty of room for two adults.

I spent a night camping in this to-be-released model and expect it to be a popular choice of those looking at one tent that can fill a lot of roles.

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The Gear: Mountainsmith Mountain Dome 2 (also available in 3-person model)

Price: $239 ($269 for 3-person model)

Available: January 2015

First Impressions: Easy to set up with color-coded poles and attachment points and a very effective “hub” system that holds poles together and upright even without the tent body attached.

Once staked and guyed, the tent is taut and stable. A light rain fell on the tent overnight during my test, and as expected it didn’t leak a drop. The polyester fly (less stretchy than nylon) remained tight even when wet.

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Rainfly has two small vents

The ability to use the rainfly, poles and footprint without the tent body as a “fast fly” hiking shelter is a great bonus for those who want an ultralight option.

Where To Test It: Backpacking to car camping, this is a jack-of-all-trades design.

Who’s It For: Those looking for a modestly priced, high quality, free standing tent for car camping and occasional backpacking.

Boring But Important: This two person tent has good headroom (54.5”) thanks to the three-pole design. An easy snap-locking hub creates stability for shelter from windy storms.

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Poles form a solid structure even without tent body attached thanks to hub system

Important Specs: Dimensions: 102” x 54.5” x 51” (L x H x D), 20” x 7.5” (packed); Floor Area: 36 square feet; Peak Height: 4’ 3”; Vestibule: 17 square feet; Weight: 6 lbs (No Footprint) 7 lbs (With Footprint) 4.7 lbs (Fly And Footprint, No Body).

Materials: YKK Zippers; Fly: 68d x 210t Poly Ripstop; Tent: 68d x 210t Poly Ripstop; Floor: 68d x 190t Poly; 6061 Aluminum Poles

Killer! The footprint of this tent can be used with the rainfly for a lightweight (4.7 lb) backpacking shelter. Leave the tent body in the car and save some pounds!

Flaw: The tent is designed for two people to sleep head-to-foot. While it would probably work fine head-to-head, couples who prefer to sleep face to face may take this into consideration. Also, the tent is heavier than some comparable models.

Who Should Buy It: Campers looking for a value. This tent, while a bit heavy for backpacking, will do the job. For the price it is a solid shelter that should last for years. With the option of using the footprint, poles and rain fly without the tent body as a light hiking shelter, this $239 product packs a lot of bang for the buck.

Contact Brand/More Beta: Mountainsmith Mountain Dome 2

—Sean McCoy is managing editor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC

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