Brand: Mountain Hardwear
Model: Optic 6 Tent
Overall Rating: 3.5
With an 86-square-foot floor and 75-inch peak height, this freestanding double-wall is huge in every way. Six-footers can stand up inside without ducking, and six sleepers enjoy plenty of elbow room. Doors on adjoining (rather than opposite) sides create fantastic views when the fly’s rolled back. “Sitting inside on a drizzly night, we watched the sunset over Lake Dinosaur,” says a Colorado tester.
Two vestibules (17 and 9 square feet) are just big enough for packs and boots (one group stored all gear in one, keeping the other door free for exits). Parallel zippers on the smaller vestibule let it convert to a porch-style awning supported by trekking poles.
Two crossing poles make for straightforward setup, but short folks can’t do it alone: Clipping the top of the canopy to the poles requires someone 5’6” or taller.
Weighty and bulky when packed (think carry-on suitcase), this shelter is best for basecamping, paddling, and short-mileage trips. However, by divvying the fly, poles, and tent body, we found it a realistic substitute for three two-person shelters.
Fully guyed, the Optic 6 proved stable in 20-mph winds, but it flapped loudly. Sheltered sites suit this tall, broad-sided tent best.