Mountain Hardwear Haven 2: Lightweight and roomy | AspenTimes.com

Mountain Hardwear Haven 2: Lightweight and roomy

Bob Ward

The Mountain Hardwear Haven 2 backpacking tent.

It had been more than a decade since I’d bought a new backpacking tent, and I don’t know why the hell I waited so long.

On the other hand, I’m glad I waited long enough to discover the myriad strengths of Mountain Hardwear, because as far as I can tell the new Haven 2 is as technically sharp as their other gear.

I walked into Bristlecone Mountain Sports in Basalt looking for a new two-man, three-season tent, and the helpful people there immediately suggested several options. Having blown out the zippers on two other tents in recent years, I made it clear that I was willing to spend a little more in order to get a lightweight, durable product.After a lightning-fast setup on the carpeted floor of the store, I could see that the Haven 2 was not only easy to pitch, but smartly designed. Unlike almost every tent I’ve owned, the Haven 2 has near-vertical walls, which not only make all of the 3-foot-6-inch-high interior space usable, but also make the vestibules on either side especially roomy (a total of 21 square feet). In other words, despite having a small footprint, this tent feels roomier inside and, once the rain fly is on, has exterior space for much more than just your boots.

Another plus, at least for me, is that the clever design puts no stress on the zippers. The poles and seams hold this tent taut, so the zippers open and close the doors without any awkward stretching.Perhaps best of all, this tent is light – the specs say 5 pounds, 6 ounces, but if you leave the owner’s manual and seam-sealer at home, it’s closer to 5 pounds even. You’ll scamper up those steep Elk Mountain valleys with this. Or think of it this way – having saved those tent-pounds, you’re free to bring that much more food or booze.This is a $300 tent, but having used it two weekends in a row and weathered one driving rainstorm, I’d say it’s worth every penny. There’s also a three-person Haven 3 for larger parties.