When it comes to tent testing, we hope for bad weather. But in Banff National Park, we were reminded of that old adage: Be careful what you wish for. Shortly after we made camp at 9,000 feet, a blizzard set in and pummeled us with sustained wind over 40 mph and all-too-frequent gusts up to 70 mph for 24 hours. Poles bowed. Vestibules filled with snow. One tent half-collapsed. But two testers snoozed the night away, oblivious. They simply battened down the Trango 2 and slept through the worst winter weather we’ve encountered on an Editors’ Choice trip.
Mountain Hardwear introduced the Trango 2 in 1995 and it became an instant favorite for anyone going into big-mountain, bad-weather terrain. Its low profile, rock-solid pole structure, and roomy floor area make it more like a bunker than a tent. “We were able to pitch it taut, with close-to-vertical walls, and the ground-hugging fly kept snowdrifts from creeping into our space for the most part,” says a tester. “It barely shuddered in the heart of the storm.” A new sleeved pole for the vestibule makes the 2020 model even stronger than previous iterations (Mountain Hardwear says the new version withstood wind-tunnel testing up to 80 mph).
Some strong tents sacrifice livability, but not the Trango 2. It has plenty of space for two campers and all their winter gear, thanks to a 40-square-foot floor and a 12-square-foot vestibule. “At one point, my tentmate even brought her chair in,” says a tester. A new D-shaped door stows to the side, out of the way. Peak height is not lavish at 38 inches, but that gives it an aerodynamic shape that sheds wind. And while you do pay a weight penalty, it’s well worth it for the stability. Note: All new Mountain Hardwear tents are made without toxic fire-retardant chemicals. That may prevent sales in some states that require the treatment.
$700; 8 lbs. 15 oz.