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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2014

Editors' Choice 2014: Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5

Enjoy the best of indoor/outdoor living.

by: Backpacker Editors

Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5 (Andrew Bydlon)
Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5 (Andrew Bydlon)

It’s like sleeping on a covered veranda: lots of space with a huge view. The Optic’s innovation? Designers put its huge mesh doors on adjacent sides (rather than opposing), allowing for a panoramic, 180-degree vista when the vestibules are open. “It feels like you’re still sitting outside,” said one tester after a foggy trip on California’s Lost Coast. He kicked back in the spacious interior and could see up and down the beach from within. The view will be less grandiose when bugs or rain necessitate buttoning up a bit more, but it still feels airy compared to conventional designs. Plus, the door configuration makes it easier to pitch the tent with both entrances protected from a storm. And weatherproofing? “We got absolutely pounded by one of the most violent thunderstorms I’ve ever experienced,” says one Colorado tester, “but despite hail and wind, we stayed dry and the tent held its shape.”

It’s heavy, but in return you get castle-like space (37 square feet, enough for three in a pinch) and durable materials like 70- and 75-denier nylon in the floor and fly. The only complaint? The inside camper has to reach over his or her partner to open the door, but that’s a small price for the view. And the price is right. $240; 5 lbs. 13 oz.;

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Star Star Star
Jul 01, 2014

5 pounds 13 ounces makes it a fat pig. Okay for car camping but not for serious backpacking.


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