Review: Mountain Hardwear Trango 2

There’s something about a new tent that makes a guy giddy. Maybe it’s that first whiff of brand-new nylon, or the big-mountain fantasies that fill his head upon such a significant gear acquisition. Or maybe it’s simply the complete and utter absence of buyer’s remorse. After all, a tent is hardly a luxury—when you’re camped on top of a mountain in the middle of a snowstorm, your tent may be the only thing between you and white death. Whatever the reason, tents hold a special place in the hearts of outdoor adventurers everywhere, and the Trango 2 from Mountain Hardware is no exception. During a nasty storm in February, a buddy and I took one up Hyalite for a weekend of rigorous field testing.

First off, the tent is a breeze to set up. Unlike a fastidious friend of mine who carries laminated 3x5 cards with hand-typed pitching instructions, we were able to pitch the Trango 2 completely off the cuff: five minutes from ground sheet to the last fly peg. The tent is solid, too, with a total of eleven primary stake-out points. It’s clear that this thing was designed with sturdiness in mind. There are also a dozen or so loops positioned around the tent for rigging guy lines when it turns supernasty. Adjustable straps for both the tent and fly allowed us to get a tight tent on any terrain. Plus, a door and vestibule on each end meant easy access and plenty of storage space for our packs, boots, and anything else we didn’t want exposed.

After set up we clambered inside and spread out our bags. Immediately we noticed the roominess—way better than the cramped confines we were used to in two-man tents. Two fog-free UVX windows allowed us to check out the weather before going out into it. And there’s storage space galore: four mesh compartments on each wall, plus two taut, built-in lofts fore and aft. That meant plenty of headroom in the middle, and no droopy, clip-in gear loft banging our heads whenever we sat up.

Overall, we were most impressed with the little things: locking clips at all pole intersections; heavy-duty snap hooks & O-rings rather than the usual quick-release buckles; multiple pole grommets for variable tension settings; top-quality tent pegs; and guy lines you can actually crank down hard without snapping. Having all these included means two things: you’ve got a hassle-free tent, and you don’t have to spend any more cash on accessories.

So, if backcountry skiing, long-distance snowshoeing, and wintertime peak bagging are on the agenda, pick yourself up one of these tents. Not only is it a bombproof shelter, built well enough to withstand Himalayan-caliber storms, but it’s priced well below its high-end, big-mountain counterparts. It’s probably not the best choice for warm-weather or low-altitude camping, though. The ventilation is superb, but still, the Trango 2 is designed to keep you warm and comfortable in serious conditions, so if you take this thing car camping in Moab, you’re gonna roast.