Tested: Macpac Minaret
If there is ever a product that offers the perfect excuse to buy more than one of, it is a lightweight tent. If you live in Australasia you can be subjected to a wide variety of weather conditions. From Tasmania’s southwest and NZ’s Fiordland, through to the hinterland of east coast Australia and the outback, you will cop everything from sweltering heat and humidity, through to torrential rain and snowfall. There is probably no one tent that “does it all” in terms of being able to handle weather conditions from sea-level to the alpine regions, but Macpac’s Minaret – the NZ brand’s long-standing two-person three/four-season tent – comes very close and is ideal for both hikers and cycle touring.
I have owned a Minaret for eight years now, and during that time I have used it in a variety of locations – the deserts of the Northern Territory, the NSW Blue Mountains and south coast (and mountain hinterland), the NSW outback, the Vic High Country and NZ’s South Island – and it has kept me dry, snug and well protected.
The construction is formidable: a UV30 flysheet (30-denier double-ripstop, silicon elastomer-coated nylon) provides ample protection from the sun/wind/rain (3000mm HH waterproof rating); the Torrentwear XP floor (a tub design) is rated at 10,000mm HH and is extremely tough (with high tear and abrasion resistance); two 9.6mm DAC Featherlite NSL aluminium poles; and a double door and dual vents. Simple, but extremely effective and, impressively, considering all these “heavy-duty” features, the Minaret weighs in at only 2.1kg (minimum weight). I have never treated the Minaret with kid gloves – it has been dragged around, thrown in the back of dusty utes – and it has never shown any signs of damage or not been able to be used as a result.
The Minaret is touted as a two-person tent and yes, you could definitely fit yourself and your (close) partner inside, but it is slightly narrower than others on the market and the length is “cut back” at an angle at the front/vestibule end, so the taller occupant needs to sit on the longer side. Having said that, the interior measurements are not overly cramped at 2.5m long (long side; 2.0m short) by 1.150m wide. The height is 1m, allowing most people to sit up inside the tent easily (I am 181cm and don’t touch the roof; those above 185cm may do). The vestibule area – 0.5m x 1.15m – is triangular in shape and you could squeeze two 60L packs in there, but it would be very crowded. Solo, you have oodles of room. (For those couples looking for a bit more interior space, the Macpac Olympus is an option.)
The Minarat’s tunnel design means it needs to be secured via front and rear pegs and there are plenty of spare guy ropes and pegs included, so you can tie it down tight in high-wind conditions (on hard rock surfaces I have had to be a bit clever, hooking guy ropes to rocks). I have had to use all guy ropes on only two occasions and the tent stayed tight as a drum. The double front door is great, allowing for excellent interior temp regulation and air flow, and the dual vent system does also assist; only in really high humidity have I had any issues with condensation.
Overall, I have little to quibble about regarding the Minaret. When travelling two-up, more space is always welcome, but that would obviously mean an increase in weight if you didn’t want to sacrifice that robust construction. However, if I was looking at more regular two-up adventures, the Minaret’s ‘big brother’ Olympus would be my first choice as it shares all the materials and bombproof construction of the Minaret.
As a one/two-person tent that can be used in any conditions, the Minaret does a brilliant job. It sure ain’t cheap (worth noting: if you join the Macpac Wilderess Club, you get a discount on all Macpac gear, and the brand does have some brilliant sales during the year), but when you consider the high-level bombproof construction – and the resulting many years of reliable service – the Macpac Minaret is a sound remote shelter investment.
RRP$899.95 Available at Macpac.