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MEC Tarn 2 Tent – Review

Posted on March 13, 2014

Tarn-2-2I’ve had this tent for about six years now and it still works as well as the day I bought it. It’s an ideal choice for hikers thanks to its reasonable weight and how small it packs up. It’s not too hard to pack this gem right inside most hiking or expedition backpacks. It’s a simple three pole design and can be set up in just a few minutes by one person.

As a solid three season tent, it can handle pretty much anything you can throw at it…well within reason of course. It has stood up remarkably well in gale force winds but obviously it isn’t going to handle a hurricane. I was pretty surprised actually at just how good this tent performed in winds strong enough to throw you off your feet. Every tent around me was destroyed by ripping, snapping poles and outright being blown away. Not this little guy.

It’s also seen more than its fair share of torrential rains and even to this day, the inside remains bone dry in even the heaviest downpours. I do strongly recommend getting the footprint ground sheet for the tent though or at least put a tarp underneath it. This holds true for nearly every tent though. The last thing you want is to puncture the bottom of the tent on a stone or twig and have a puddle form inside and soak your sleeping bag.

Tarn-2-1The tent itself is mostly an open air mesh, which is lovely on those really hot summer nights and makes for a great bug tent. The rain cover is very thick and heavy duty so putting it on in hot nights, makes it stifling hot inside. The rain cover comes right down to the ground and does a great job keeping out the elements but I suspect that if in a sand storm, sand would surely get under it and being sand, it would certainly get through the mesh and collect all over you and your gear. The other nice thing about the rain cover is that it creates a nice vestibule by the door allowing for a dry place to store your gear, instead of taking up space inside the tent. This is important because although it’s technically a two person tent, it’s very cramped inside and is better used as a single person tent.

I’m 5’11” and barely fit inside length wise. My toes touch the bottom while my head touches the door, so sleeping on an angle is more comfortable for me. Not to say that you can’t squeeze in two adults but it’s going to be really cramped inside. The tent is also very low in height so sitting fully upright simply isn’t going to happen. This makes changing clothes inside somewhat challenging and it gets very old, very quickly on multi-night trips. The other problem with being used as a two person tent is on cool or rainy nights. A lot of condensation develops on the underside of the rain cover and eventually drips down onto you. I’ve never experienced this while camping alone though.

The Tarn 2 has been around for about a decade now and is a favourate among campers. Once again, you get what you pay for and this tent usually retails for about $225. It’s not cheap but it’s worth it if you want a solid tent that can handle pretty much anything and will go the distance. You won’t have to worry about having to replace this in a year so long as you take care of it and keep it clean. If you have to pack it up wet, be sure to set it up again as soon as you can to air it out (even if that means in your living room) to ensure it doesn’t get moldy. It really is ideal for one person, with plenty of space for your gear but you can certainly fit two in there, with your gear in the vestibule but it will be cramped.

All in all, this is a great tent. It has never let me down and if something ever happens to the one I have, I will be sure to buy another.

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