Q:

Should I be concerned about ventilation in a bomber single-wall tent?

I’m interested in your opinion of the single-walled Mountain Hardwear EV3 expedition tent. I haven’t seen a valid review anywhere, but I have heard that there are some concerns with ventilation. The tent is obviously bomber, but what else can you tell me? Joe Los Angeles, California

May 31, 2007
Outside
Outside Magazine
Mountain Hardwear EV3 Tent

EV3 Tent

A:

That’s an interesting question. Mountain Hardwear’s EV3 ($750; mountainhardwear.com) is a serious, three-person expedition tent that uses single-wall design. For its weather shield, the EV3 employs a version of Conduit, a proprietary Mountain Hardwear laminate that the company has long used in clothing and even sleeping bags. Conduit is waterproof, yet has decent breathability. By going with a single wall, the EV3 manages to be exceedingly sturdy yet still weigh right around seven pounds, depending on how many accessory cords and stakes you pack. That’s pretty good! Typically a tent of that size and for that purpose would tip the scales more in the range of ten or 11 pounds.

I haven’t used the EV3, so I can’t address the ventilation question directly. But I’m willing to believe that under certain conditions you might see more condensation in the EV3 than in a double-wall tent. That’s just the nature of the beast. If you have three people breathing away inside on a still, cold night, there’s no fabric on earth that’s going to fully prevent condensation. That can be mitigated by trying to pitch a tent such as the EV3 so its vents catch some breeze, and by opening vents high and low so that warm air can escape out high and cool air can be drawn in from below.

It’s also likely that the EV3 won’t be as warm as a double-wall tent—again on cold, still evenings. That’s because double-wall tents have an air layer between the canopy and fly that can act like the space inside a double-pane window. That also works to your advantage if you’re lounging around the tent on a warm, sunny day—a double-wall will be a little bit cooler.

You have to weigh that against the really impressive weight savings of the EV3, as well as its extremely rugged construction. Myself, I wouldn’t hesitate to take it on big, serious mountains.

Get a sneak peak of Outside’s picks for Gear of the Year. The complete 2007 Buyer’s Guide, featuring 400-plus gear reviews of this summer’s must haves, is coming soon to OutsideOnline.

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