The reports have just come in of five skiers dying in an avalanche in Austria. This is just the latest news on this front from what looks like another bad season. The incident took place in the Wattental valley, Tirol, and reports indicate that those involved had ignored warnings. The Guardian paper reported that: The experienced […]
The Marmot Alpinist 2 is an excellent single-walled expedition tent from a trusted name. This tent has many of the advantages of the more famous Mountain Hardwear EV2 as well as some of its disadvantages. But in short, if you can spring the kind of cash you need for this tent, it will serve you well.
In brief this is a single walled tent made from a waterproof and breathable fabric. The advantage of these sorts of tents is that they are a lot lighter than the more traditional double-walled sort. But they are also a lot more expensive and slightly more prone to condensation and cold in really icy conditions.
This one is made from Marmot’s own Membrain fabric. It is a three-layered waterproof and breathable fabric that works on the same principle as Gore-Tex. You can argue all day about which of these fabrics is better than the other and compare stats such as hydrostatic pressure and the like, but in truth most of the reputable ones from the respected companies are more or less in the same ballpark. And they will all pretty much do a good job of keeping rain out while allowing some of the moisture in the air to escape. Just remember, however, that in cold conditions these fabrics don’t do what they are supposed to because once it is freezing moisture will hit the fabric and freeze right there. So no matter how good it is, in cold conditions a single-walled tent will always frost up on the inside.
It has an attached vestibule which you either love or hate. I personally prefer the vestibules you get with more old-style mountaineering tents because they let you separate your gear and dirty boots from the inside of the tent more easily, but there is a real weight saving to be had from integrating the whole lot. It just means you are cooking where you sleep and that seems to a small price to pay for the 2kg or so of weight you save on this tent.
The tent itself is easy to pitch (and goes up really quickly so if you are caught out in bad weather you can really get up it up fast), is strong and will hold up to strong winds. This really does a good job as a proper four-season or expedition tent yet at 2.5kg (5lbs 8 oz) weighs about the same as a lightweight summer tarp or shelter. It is also pretty spacious inside. Often you have to weigh up performance versus price but this tent is really cheap. If you consider that the Marmot Alpinist tent comes in at about $100 cheaper than the Mountain Hardwear EV 2 and even comes in a bit cheaper than the much heavier (but also bombproof and great) Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 than you see that this is hard to beat.