Deep-Dive Review: Kuiu Mountain Star 2 Tent
This shelter is a versatile three-season performer
The double-walled, two-door Mountain Star ($459) makes camping in the rain a heck of a lot more enjoyable. Its 15-denier nylon fly and mesh canopy come pre-attached, so you can do a dry setup, and it’s held up by two nine-millimeter-thick aluminum poles that run lengthwise across the tent, yielding stability in the wind. “It drizzled during our first night out, and my tent partner and I were happy not to start the trip with a wet tent floor, thanks to the all-in-one pitch,” our gear editor said after a rainy start to the Panama Editors’ Choice trip.
KUIU’s background as a hunting equipment manufacturer shines through: this tent is durable enough to handle the mix of weather in fall and spring but portable enough (less than four pounds) to pick up and move each day. “It’s exactly what you want in a backpacking tent,” said one tester after a trip on the Jack’s River Trail in Georgia. “It’s lightweight enough for multi-day trips, and tough enough for high-alpine and shoulder season weather.” The fly-only mode, which includes pre-attached guy out lines, is useful as a temporary shelter or a camp kitchen during sunny lunch breaks or inclement weather above tree line.
To further please weight-conscious hikers, the Mountain Star comes with a choice of Easton carbon fiber or aluminum poles at no additional charge. The aluminum poles are easier to bend and pitch, but the carbon fiber poles are 2.2 ounces lighter and stand up better to high winds. “The ability to customize your poles based on your hometown terrain and preference is a huge selling point, and also a very rare opportunity,” one tester said.
Inside, livability is adequate, albeit cozy. Its 29.5-square-foot interior is average for its class, but the two nine-square-foot vestibules help offset that. “I would not say it was roomy for two people, as we were shoulder to shoulder,” said another tester. “But I’m 6’2” and I slept comfortably.” Organization gets a boost from corner pockets and a cord system along the ceiling for hanging items. Meanwhile, bathtub floors ensure the interior is dry and dust-free, and a 15-denier mesh body and two vents on the fly yield exceptional airflow. Though the 38-inch peak height helps mitigate wind, it’s noticeably low for its testing class.