Mountain Hardware Direkt 2 Tent Review
October 17, 2013
An overall great tent with some small annoyances that are easily overlooked.
When I look for a tent there are three main questions that I ask:
- Will it keep me dry no matter what?
- How heavy is it?
- Is it freestanding?
This tent has great answers to all 3 of these questions making it my first choice for mountaineering and a host of other outdoor activities. The Direkt 2 is fully waterproof through its use of a coated fabric. While not very breathable its able to stay lightweight and keep the elements out. It also comes fully seam sealed. My previous top pick for a mountaineering tent was the Black Diamond Firstlight but it is made out of water resistant fabric (not waterproof) and the seams are not sealed to reduce weight.
I have a big issue with tents that don’t come with pre-sealed seams. It might be fine if you are on a high alpine route in the summertime when its guaranteed to stay cold and dry but when you are heading out into less than perfect conditions weather protection matters. Not pre-sealing seams seems like a shortcut to provide the illusion of weight savings. The Direkt 2 comes fully sealed and still come in lighter than the Firstlight (by a full 5 oz.). To deal with the condensation issues a fully waterproof tent has Mountain Hardware included a small zip open vent near the top of the tent. You can also open the tent door a tad to allow for more ventilation. With a small crack in the door and the window open you will have no problem with moisture buildup.
As far as I know this is the lightest 2 person 4 season freestanding mountaineering tent that is currently being sold – coming in at 2lbs 8oz. It doesn’t get much lighter than that. I am all about saving weight, and I think tents are one of the major problem areas within the average backpacker’s pack, but there are some things I won’t sacrifice no matter how much weight it saves me. The ability to be freestanding is one of those things. There too many times I’ve been stuck putting up my tent on hard rock, super sandy soil or slushy snow and it would have been a huge annoyance to figure out how to keep all my stakes in the perfect position to pitch a non-freestanding tent. I also love the ability to pick a freestanding tent up, turn it over and shake out the dirt – way easier than trying to sweep it out.One thing I wasn’t sure of on this tent was its internal pole setup. It definitely took a few tries to figure out the best way to set this tent up. There are a few things I do differently than the instructions which I think make a huge difference. The first is to stake down the 4 corners (if possible) before you do anything else. This keeps the tent from moving around while you are trying to get the poles in place. The second thing I would suggest is to cross the poles behind you, rather than in front of you, when you are aligning the poles prior to bending them into place. Finally, don’t worry about putting the end of the pole into the clip when you are first setting it up. Just jam the end of the pole into the corner of the tent. The corners are reinforced and it shouldn’t cause any damage to the tent if it is set up for a few minutes without the poles being properly seated. I also really liked how they made the strips of tent body that go directly above the tent poles partially transparent. Its a great way to let light in and makes the tent not seem as closed in. Its a small detail but it makes a big difference.
While this tent is overall pretty awesome there are some annoyances. My primary annoyance is that it only has one small stash pocket on the inside. This doesn’t seem like a big deal but I find I use those stash pockets all the time. The placement of the pocket is off too. The designer of this tent put the pocket near the very peak of the tent forcing you to sit up to reach it. This is super annoying if its dark out and freezing – the last thing I want to do is sit up and unzip my sleeping bag to check my watch. I’d much rather look sideways to a pocket close to my head. One pocket is also annoying when sharing this tent with a second person. Others have pointed out that this is to reduce weight but I’ll take a 5g increase in weight for a second pocket.
I also don’t like that it doesn’t come with enough stakes and guy lines to fully secure the tent. The setup video recommends two guy lines per corner and this tent only comes with 4 (1/2 the recommended). It also only comes with 9 tent stakes. Even if you only use 1 guy line per corner you still need 11 stakes to attach each stake out point (2 more than what it comes with. I will give Mountain Hardware credit for at least including quality stakes even if they didn’t include enough. They are 9 inches long, have an X shape, and weigh only 11g each.Another annoyance is how the poles are secured to the tent body using overlapping Velcro strips. This works fine structurally to secure everything but it takes a while and seems tedious. I feel like small plastic clips could have been used or some other method that didn’t take nearly as much time. I’ve never had to assemble this tent in SUPER strong winds but I would imagine that it would be tough to get the Velcro attached correctly if the tent body was blowing all over the place.
Finally, I feel like calling this a 2 person tent is a bit of a stretch. It will fit two sleeping pads side by side but there is zero extra room for gear. For 4 season excursions you need to pack a lot of gear and I hate having to leave my backpack out in the elements overnight. In this tent, if I am sharing it, I will need to sleep on my back and put my backpack and extra gear under my legs. I will primarily use this tent as a solo tent during the winter so this isn’t as big of an issue. When I do bring it along to share it will primarily be for summer trips where I plan to sleep under the stars and would only need to share a tent if the weather turns really nasty.
I would recommend the Mountain Hardware Direkt 2 tent to anyone looking for a lightweight 4 season tent. It is not as roomy as most 4 season tents and won’t be the most comfortable to share with a buddy if you are forced to hide from the weather for an extended stretch but nothing beats the weight advantage this thing bring to the table. With this tent my winter mountaineering backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and tent come in well under 10 lbs. and in my mind that is worth sacrificing a little bit of comfort.
Mountain Hardware Direkt 2 Official Page