47688FR - MontBell Crescent 2 Tent - Ben Mansfield
- Aug 5, 2008HTML in the test folder, here:
FR portion of the report in text below:
August 5, 2008
This tent must be magic! Or maybe it's lucky like a rabbits foot
covered in four-leaf clovers stored inside a horseshoe (with the
opening towards the sky, of course, so the luck doesn't fall out).
Well, maybe not quite that extreme, but there must be something
special about it. Never, ever, in my however many years of camping &
backpacking (going back to my Cub Scout days) have I had a summer full
of outings during which NOT ONE TIME did I have to pack up my gear wet
and deal with it at home. Maybe it's global warming. I don't know, but
what I do know is that to date, I've spent 12 nights in the MontBell
Crescent 2 Tent, and I have yet to be rained on at night in this tent.
Don't misunderstand - I was sprinkled on in the New River Gorge in
West Virginia, rained on in the Allegheny National Forest in
Pennsylvania, and even slipped and took a short swim in a small creek
in the Allegany Forest up in New York (the Allegheny in Pennsylvania
and the Allegany in New York are the same forest - the states just
spell them differently). But in every daylight case, the "Magical
MontBell" was safely & deeply entombed in my pack, in part because of
its small size, and did not take on any water. My wife has almost
forgotten that every time I come home from a backpacking trip, my gear
spends a few days set up in the garage, like a little suburban
campsite, in order to dry everything out. (This is probably a good
thing, since this tent would be hard to stake out & therefore pitch on
a concrete slab.)
Temperatures on all my trips were mild - if it got down below 60 F (15
C) at night I'd be surprised. Daytime temps were, at times, upwards of
80 F (27 C), but I can't say that I spent a lot of time in the tent at
these temperatures. Elevation-wise, all of my trips were somewhere
around 500 ft (150 m) not quite up to 3000 ft (915 m).
What I have been able to test quite well is the ventilation options
offered by this tent. Thanks to the warm, dry nights I've had, I've
set up the tent with the fly rolled all the way up on many occasions.
This gives a wonderful sense of sleeping under the stars, complete
with view, while also providing good protection from bugs. I've also
slept with the hatches battened down a few times when the weather
threatened (but didn't deliver).
Condensation-wise, the Crescent 2 has performed well - though on most
nights it's been just me in the tent and with all the extra volume
inside the tent (& with the fly open) there's plenty of air to soak up
my breath. I haven't noticed any condensation in the mornings, even on
mornings where the ground was a little dewy.
I did share the tent on a few nights - note that my hiking partners
are all long time friends of mine, and that we've all been doing this
a long time. Also note that we're all average (or better) sized guys.
We've shared other, smaller tents in the past and have felt much more
awkward in the morning. The Crescent 2 definitely allows enough space
for two average size men without a lot of extraneous elbow bumping and
breath smelling, which is a welcome feature when comparing against
some of the other two person backpacking tents on the market.
One thing that the tent doesn't really provide, when being used as a
shelter for two, is space for gear storage. The tiny vestibule has to
stretch to fit two pairs of hiking boots, let alone provide space for
making coffee or storing a backpack. It would be nice to have a little
more room in the vestibule department, though I'm not sure I'd be
willing to sacrifice the small packed size or additional weight to get
it. I guess these are the tradeoffs that have to be made. That,
coupled with the fact that a garbage bag is light and makes a pretty
good overnight pack cover in a pinch, means that all in all I really
can't complain about the vestibule size a whole lot.
The smallish door that I pointed out during my initial review of the
tent is, well, still small. With one person in the tent, it's not a
big deal. With two people in the tent, it can be a little challenging.
Especially when the person sleeping on the side opposite the door has
to get out in the middle of the night for biological reasons. So, it
comes down to a decision - do I want the side with the mesh
ventilation and great view of the night sky, or do I want the side
where I'm less likely to be stepped on if my tent-mate has to pee at 3 AM?
The other issue with the door has to do with putting on my boots. I
like to leave my boots in the vestibule, sit inside the tent, feet out
through the door, and put on my boots so that they stay outside. Then
I do this little dance where I try to get my head and shoulders out of
the door (while my feet are still out there but my butt is still
inside), the end goal being that I'm standing up outside & in front of
the tent. There are probably easier ways to do this, such as rolling
over and going out feet first, then butt, then head last, but my
little tent exiting dance at least provides some entertainment for the
squirrels and gives my hamstrings a good stretch in the morning.
So far, this tent has met and exceeded my expectations. I'm very
impressed with the ease with which it is pitched, the different
options for ventilation, and the interior space that is delivered
considering the weight and size of the total package. I didn't think
I'd ever say it, but I'm actually hoping for some bad weather this
fall so that I can report on how well the MontBell Crescent 2 stands
up to the elements.
Check back for my Long Term Report in about two months. In the
meantime, I'll continue putting this tent to the test on every trip I
I would like to thank MontBell and BackpackGearTest for the
opportunity to test this tent.
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