Monday, 6 October 2008

Mountain Hardwear Helion2 - review

I practiced pitching this a few times before venturing out - something that I do with all tents no matter how easy manufacturers might claim that they are to put up.

With all geodesics there's amount of time spent threading long poles through sleeves, loops or rings and if the weather is bad you're going to get wetter whilst you do this. And as this tent pitches inner first that's going to get wet too. With the practice and a second pair of hands I had the tent up in no time and although the rain was falling none of it got through the mesh to the tent floor. The three pole configuration makes this a very stable tent, handy because the forecast was for strong winds which failed to materialise. Or if they did I didn't notice.

The all mesh inner might not be to everyone's liking but it didn't seem draughty to me.

I was concerned that space would be tight for two but in use this wasn't an issue. Rucksacks can be stored down the end of the tent and as the end of the tent doesn't taper off sharply I can easily reach into that space. Depending on the size/type of rucksack used there is space under the fly on the side to park one either side, put them in a rucksack cover to keep them from getting damp. There are two mesh pockets either side for all those bits and bobs, and one hanging tab in the middle of the tent. Two or more would have been more useful for hanging a line up should you need to dry/air gloves, socks, etc.

The porch space is good too. There's enough room for two pair of boots and rucksacks but I'd keep the area clear of the bags to make sure there's plenty of space to cook. A two way zip allows top venting if you need to cook under cover. One thing I would change is the door arrangement, I'd like to see one like those used on Quasars or my TNF Nebula. That way you can open either side, depending on the wind, and cook under cover but have maximum ventilation and weather protection.

Likes: weight, stability, headroom.

Dislikes: pitching inner first can be a problem in wet weather.

4 comments:

The Dude Abides said...

Hi Baz,

Sounds like a nice little tent. Most of the right ingredients all there which is the main thing - The Dude Abides.

The Seedhouse SL2 has the all mesh inner design and the same door setup and your observations/findings mirror mine. There's always a compromise on these things and I seem to recall this was a bargain? Hope you continue to enjoy it over the winter.
Marcus

baz carter said...

Hi Marcus,

Indeed there are many similarities between the two models that we've both noted - and one that I havent and that's the almost transparent groundsheet!

The Dude Abides said...

Ah, the good old transparent groundsheet. You haven't lived until you made a protector for a stupidly thin groundsheet. Of course, I would say that!

baz carter said...

I stuck the multimat/thermarests under the groundsheet - I've always done this. The mats don't migrate and help protect the groundsheet.