Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5 Review

COMPLETE REVIEW

The Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5 in the name alludes to Mountain Hardwear’s attempt to make this tent spacious enough for two people. Indeed, compared to typical two-person tents, there seems to be nearly enough space for a third person. At 58 inches wide, it is comparable to some lightweight three-person tents! It was perfect for two men on a road trip, with enough of space to stow our stuff and relax with elbow room to spare. It is ideal for bringing Fido. We were both tall enough to sit up at the same moment.

Benefits Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5

Negatives Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5

Packability

Aimed for individuals who prioritise living space above weight, the Optic weighs in at almost six pounds—three pounds per person. As a result, it is not surprising that it does not pack down especially compact.

Organize

Even on the first attempt, setting up was a snap thanks to a basic pole setup and color-coded tags. Even finding out how to drape the fly, which has a two-tone asymmetric pattern that matches up with the doors, is easy.

Weatherproof

The disadvantage of this tent, as stated in The Verdict, is that an open vestibule exposes a large portion of the inside to the outdoors. Climbing in and out of the tent during a downpour enabled drips from the tent and rain from the clouds to fall on the mesh body when the entrance was closed and directly inside the tent when it was open. This is in contrast to when the vestibule is closed. With everything battened down, this tent could withstand a night of rain. The fly flies directly to the ground, and the modest A-frame shape sheds water well. The bathtub-style floor kept us dry from the ground up. A plethora of guy out points prevented the fly from contacting the tent and guaranteed that there was minimal wind flap when it became windy.

The doors are distinctive. As far as we know, this is the first tent to have the doors stuck side by side on the tent’s thin and long sides. It keeps personal entrances with large doors for ease access in and out. It also opens up the possibility of camping outside. Rolling back both vestibules reveals a huge vista, exposing almost half of the tent. Only a smidgeon of a fly lingers above the corner. It is a really amazing function, and it is especially useful in dry conditions. Other features of the MH Comfort Camping Tent include numerous pockets, door storage choices, two-way zips, and an optional gear loft.

Value

The Optic, packed with amenities but yet lightweight and spacious, could be your sole tent—a quiver of one—for everything from hiking to car camping. If it were simply a camping tent, the $250 price tag would be reasonable, but with the quiver in mind, it offers unbeatable value.

The Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5 hiking tent is a large freestanding dome type backpacking tent with two adjacent openings (one front and one side) that provide a 180–degree panoramic view. It is rated as a 2.5 because it can easily accommodate two people plus a kid, dog, additional gear, or even a third person in a hurry. It is a little hefty for a two-person camping tent, but the reward of the vast room is well worth it to me.

Pros

Massive size

There are two vestibules/doors.

Aerial perspective

Bottom of the fly/tent is strong and long-lasting.

Cons

Weight – substantial for a hiking tent.

It takes up a lot of room in the pack.

There are no exterior vents.

There are no pockets in the corners.

Concerning the tent:

Mountain Hardwear’s all-new Optic 2.5 has received many accolades, including Backpacker Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Award and Gear Junkie’s Best in Show Award at the 2013 Summer Outdoor Retailer.

I was really excited to put it to the test since I am a huge admirer of large hiking tents. After my testing, I can understand why it has received so many accolades: it is the roomiest 2-person camping tent I have ever seen, and it offers some spectacular vistas. My favourite feature of the Optic 2.5 is the large doors, which make entrance and departure a breeze.

It weights around six pounds, so it is not something I would suggest transporting for just one person. However, if you share the weight with a partner, the weight is well worth the sacrifice in exchange for the enormous amount of room you get.

I do not know how I would ever go back to a tiny camping tent after being so pampered by this massive tent.

Specs:

5 lb 13 oz / 2.64 kg is the minimum trail weight. 6 lb 3 oz / 2.80 kg Packed Weight

37 square feet / 3.4 square metres (92″L x 58″W)

48 in / 122 cm interior height

12 square feet is the size of the vestibule. 6 sq ft 0.5 m2 / 1.1 m2 (side) (front)

Features:

The canopy is made of 20D Poly Knit Mesh, while the floor is made of 70D Nylon Taffeta 3000mm PU Bathtub. To avoid splashback, the bathtub floor is unusually tall. It is so strong that I do not think a footprint is necessary.

The almost vertical walls allow you to easily sit up throughout the whole tent, as compared to typical hiking tents, which are higher at the head end and shorter at the foot end.

Inside the Optic 2.5, there are three pockets. One may be found near the top of the side door.

Before going to bed, I put my iPad in it and watch an episode of pre-loaded TV (typically Parks and Recreation or The Office).

The remaining two pockets may be found on the other side of the tent, approximately a third of the way up the wall. They are large enough to hold a pair of camp shoes, clean clothing, and other items.

I am a big admirer of this massive vestibule! My 100lb+ lab refused to sleep in my REI Half Dome vestibules (8 sq ft each), but he slept all night in the Optic’s 12 square foot vestibule with plenty of space to spare. I am pleased if he is happy! I would never been able to sleep with both dogs in my tent before, so it was very wonderful to be able to bring both of them with me and know that they would be safe from the elements.

Setup

The Optic’s setup is extremely easy. Because it is self-supporting, you just cross the long poles and put them, together with the short top pole, into the grommets, then clip on the clips, and the canopy is ready to use. The fly is intended to be set up fast and simply.

My husband and I slept in the Optic, with one lab at our feet, one lab in the side vestibule, and our equipment in the front vestibule. We still had plenty of space and were all quite comfortable, believe it or not. We would never had this opportunity before, therefore we were really grateful!

I did not encounter rain with a group, but if you were with a group and it rained, you could certainly have four people sitting up comfortably in the tent for card games or other such things.

Stability

The Optic pitches smoothly and tautly. It did not move in the 25 mph gusts we experienced on the Linville Gorge’s rim.

Weather Resistance

During any of my tests, I was never rained on. If I am able, I will update this at a later date. However, I did note that the Optic has some very excellent weatherproofing features. The Optic’s fly pitches extremely near to the ground, and the bathtub floor is very lofty, so rain will not splash inside the tent.

Ventilation

One thing that disappointed me about the Optic was the lack of exterior vents on the tent. The tent has three line tensioners at the bottom of the doors to allow for a higher pitch for additional venting, however I believe the venting choices are inadequate when the doors must be closed due to bad weather. Because of the inadequate venting, the interior of the fly was coated with moisture one morning.

VERDICT

This is a fantastic tent with a really unique and functional layout, enough of space for two people and loads of stuff, and excellent weatherproofing. However, and this is a significant issue for us, the vestibule design does not cover the interior of the tent while climbing in and out. If that were not the case, this would be a clear winner. As-is, it is a good tent best suited to dry conditions. As Mermot limelight it is covered and has spacious capacity in which 3 people can easily sit.