Mountain Designs Redline 2-Person tent: Tested
A lightweight, robust and roomy tent is one of the first things hikers need to add to any gear list once they look to extend their foot-borne forays from day walks to overnight and longer sojourns. Hiking tents need to be the sum of all things in terms of offering dependable weather protection, ‘just enough’ interior space for one/two hikers (plus gear), along with being both durable and as light as possible. This keeps pack load-weight down, without sacrificing aforementioned durability. So, yes, hiking tent design is very much a balancing act, and one that the Mountain Designs Redline 2-Person tent looks to address.
Mountain Designs is an Australian outdoor brand synonymous with adventure (see our review of the Mountain Designs Escape Multi 30 daypack) and this resonates in the 2.4kg Redline 2P’s ‘built for purpose’ design; it’s all about providing a reliable shelter that is up to the rugged treatment Australia’s conditions can dish out. Rated as a three-season tent, the Redline 2P features a hubbed single pole system (with a shorter cross-pole up top), with the 8.5mm aluminium pole suitably robust. In some instances, hubbed poles are viewed as a ‘weakness’ in a hiking tent’s design, owing to the fact those hubs – once the tent is erected – cop a fair bit of stress and tension as the junction point of the pole framework. Plus, if a hub does break, it’s notably more difficult to repair in the field. Mountain Designs has addressed this concern with seriously beefy hubs in conjunction with the thick-diameter poles. This provides a stable framework for the tent inner/outer to be attached to. The benefits of a hub-pole system are it is generally quicker to set up (always welcome when it is raining) and it allows for additional width at the foot and (even more) at the head of the tent.
The materials used by Mountain Designs reflect the brand’s knowledge of Australian conditions. Its designers have gone the sensible route, with the tent floor being constructed of 75-denier (D) polyester (with a polyurethane coating), with a 5000mm HH rating (HH stands for Hydrostatic Head, which reflects the material’s resistance to water ingress; the higher the figure in millimetres, the more robust). The outer (fly) is also 75D polyester (with PU), with a 4000mm HH rating. All seams (outer and inner) are sealed.
The inner tent is 40D nylon with bug-proof mesh covering two-thirds, with solid nylon along the lower third. Translated, this means the Redline 2P is more than up to three-season conditions. Adding more water ingress protection is the tub floor. This means there are no floor seams in contact with the ground; the floor ‘curves’ up above ground level before seams attach it to the rest of the inner. This eliminates the chance of ground water seeping in.
In the field
Setting up the Mountain Designs Redline 2-Person tent is a five-minute process; that hub-pole system, plus the fact it is freestanding, means you can be in and out of the rain in a seriously short period of time. The sturdy plastic hooks attached to the inner fly are easy to hook over the tent pole, while all clips for the outer to connect to the base are large and solid. There are also Velcro tabs with which to further secure the fly to the inner. You can secure the tent with five base pegs, while there are an additional seven guy-rope tie-down points for when the weather really turns wild. Impressively, 12 pegs are included with the tent, so you don’t have to buy ‘extras’ to utilize the additional tie-down points.
The tent is spacious; the width at the foot and head, courtesy of the hub-pole configuration, are much appreciated – as is the additional cross-pole at the roof of the tent. This short pole allows the tent inner to provide near vertical walls on all sides, thus optimizing interior space. Speaking of which, the Redline 2P is relatively voluminous for its market segment; with a better-than-average 2300mm interior length, it is well suited to taller occupants. Add in the 1300mm width (enough space for two standard/XL sized sleeping mats side-by-side) and 1050mm interior height, and you get a total floor space of 2.72 square metres – quite roomy for a lightweight two-person tent. The single vestibule is not overly huge (0.65m2), but it will still fit two backpacks and boots under it.
This single vestibule is a giveaway to the fact the Redine 2P only has one zipped opening. This may be a deal-breaker for those who simply cannot do without the second door (understandable if you have to clamber over your tent-mate during the night). However, that potential negative is offset by the large size of the opening (it features tough YKK zips), allowing easier-than-expected maneuvering if/when the far-side occupant needs to get out. During testing we found that not to be too much of an issue – particularly if you’re a couple or camping solo – but it might be worth mentioning to any potential hiking companions pre-adventure.
Ventilation is more than adequate, thanks to both the primarily mesh inner and also the two vents (each with a stay to ensure they stay open). Also inside are a couple of gear lofts, three storage pouches and even a hanger for your tent light.
The Mountain Designs Redline 2-Person tent: The final word
The two-person hiking tent market is competitive and huge in terms of what is on offer, making it hard for any one tent to stand out to buyers. The Mountain Designs Redline 2-Person tent does, however, stand out in a few ways. Firstly, for the $300 price (only $200 for Mountain Designs Club members) you get a lot of tent for your money, in terms of overall build quality, and the thoughtfulness of its design. The Redline 2-Person is not the lightest tent in its class, but it is definitely one of the most robust thanks to the heavy-duty materials used in its construction. This is a direct reflection of its Australian heritage and the company’s designers knowing exactly the type of conditions this tent will have to withstand.
Yes, there is only one opening and vestibule, but this (in our opinion) relatively small negative is counter-balanced by the tent’s huge interior space – especially its length – for what is, at 2.4kg (with all pegs; 2.1kg with only the essential five) a still-lightweight three-season shelter. Add in its fast setup time and compact packed size and the Mountain Designs Redline 2-Person tent is well worth consideration for those after a no-nonsense, tough, outdoor shelter.
RRP: $300 See Mountain Designs for more info.