Continuing our look at some of the highest quality family camping tents on the market, this week we turn to Mountain Hardwear, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. The company is known for their innovative technology and products, including tents.
While Mountain Hardwear focuses primarily on lightweight backpacking and climbing tents, their Habitat and Casa line are both suitable for family camping. Best of all, these larger tents include all of the great technology of Mountain Hardwear’s lightweight tents, including anodized aluminum poles with clips for attaching the tent body.
The Habitat comes in 3-person ($325) and 5-person ($425 – shown) versions. A $60 footprint is available separately. The opaque sidewalls and ample amount of mesh provide plenty of light and ventilation and the design features two doors, for even more airflow.
With the rain fly in place, front and rear vestibules provide room for gear, which frees-up floor space inside the tent. Floor space is always a major consideration for family camping with kids and the Habitat makes the most of it, with near-vertical sidewalls and a 6 ft. 4 in. center height for the Habitat 5.
The Casa line comes in 4-person ($350 – shown) and 6-person ($435) versions. A $50 footprint is available separately. Like the Habitat, the Casa features opaque sidewalls large mesh windows for interior light and ventilation. The single door is tall and wide, for easy access.
The rain fly also features opaque sidewalls for better interior light. The rain fly also provides a large front vestibule area that is 5 ft. 5 in. long. Near vertical sidewalls make the most of the 6 ft. 4 in. by 7 ft. 10 in. floor area (Casa 4). The center height of the Casa 4 is 5 ft. 3 in.
Three or four hundred dollars is a lot of money to pay for a family tent, but the Habitat and Casa are a far cry from anything you’ll find at the local superstore. Mountain Hardwear uses the best materials and these designs are infinitely more usable and durable than lesser tents, making these great investments for your family camping future.
I have a M.H. Atrium 4 person tent which I purchased in late 2006. It has been erected for a total of approx. 14 nights. First usage involved a night of constant heavy rain and 33 m.p.h. wind gusts. The tent handled itself beutifully. The last time I used the tent, I experienced leakage from the areas of the two sky light windows. The fly is presently at the M.H. Headquartes for testing and and review.
I also have a Skyledge two man tent whick I’ve used 3 times, two of which experienced constant heavy rains and the tent has performed exttremely well.
I bought a Mountain Hardwear tent (Skyview 2) about ten years ago, and would highly recommend them to anyone. While I have no experience with Mountain Hardwear’s larger tents, my gut tells me they would hold up at least as well as my two-person version. The rain fly is great, and adding space under it for gear outside the tent really helps to maximize the space inside. Having had several bad experiences with “superstore” tents, spending the extra money for higher quality is worth it the first time you get caught in a rain.
Thanks for the recommendation, Ollie. Their larger tents are definitely of the same kind of quality and durability. It’s sometimes hard to convince people that spending $300 is a lot cheaper than spending $100 three times (and suffering through all the breakages, condensation, etc.).