Mountain Hardwear Helion 2 Tent - Outdoor Gear

April 7, 2008

I have had my eye on a tent recently -- the Mountain Hardwear Helion 2 Tent. It's a gorgeous and functional tent, but what's even better is how it is such a lightweight tent. I grew up slogging around the Pacific Northwest in tents that were often less than ideal. I remember a rainy weekend trip to Lake Talapus in Washington State that resulted in a foot-deep river flowing through the middle of my tent...and my sleeping bag soaking it up like a sponge. It was in that moment that I realized two things: 1) Be careful where you place a tent, and 2) No matter where you place your tent, make sure it is a waterproof tent.I guess that's why I ponied up for a proper REI tent when my wife and I got married. Nothing says I love you like outdoor gear, am I right folks? Well, I have since eBay'ed that tent and have been hankering to get a new one. The Mountain Hardwear Helion 2 Tent appears to be just the ticket. It appears to be the perfect 2-person tent for lightweight campers (read: those who don't like lugging heavy outdoor gear). Its marketing tagline says: "The Mountain Hardwear Helion 2 Tent: Shattering the four-pound 2-person barrier." For those who've lugged what felt like a log cabin around on your pack, you know that this is a huge achievement. Here are some details (pics to come): The Helion 2 weighs 3 lbs. 5 oz, but they have a configuration of the tent called the "PitchLight" option that brings down the weight to a paltry 2 lbs. 11 oz. That is if you are using on the poles, fly, and footprint. That won't block the mosquitoes too well, but if you're just looking for a shade from the sun or a shield from the occasional rain shower during the summer it could be just the tent option for you. It is a freestanding tent, and YES it is guaranteed watertight construction with fully taped and welded body, corners, and guy-clip anchors. The3 poles are of a design that shaves weight off of normal tent poles without sacrificing strength, and there is plenty of mesh on the standard tent option. That means killer ventilation on the sunny days, but no mosquitoes. Because malaria isn't a picnic. It has a single door, which has me a little bummed. But extra zippers would mean extra weight and extra cost -- so I'm okay with that. There's a dry entry vestibule, with a welded vestibule zipper flap for increased water shedding. There are reflective guy-out loops to make it easier to set up in the dark (sweet) and an optional triangular gear loft that's sold separately. The canopy is made of Lightweight 40D ripstop nylon, and the floor is Superlight 40D ripstop nylon. MSRP comes in at almost $400 (ouch) but hey -- I spend that much on a night or two at the Marriott, so it's a real dealio given the better views you get from the tent! You can buy the Mountain Hardwear Helion 2 Tent at Also, check out for more camping items on the cheap.

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