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  • Mountain Hardwear - Optic 3.5 Tent: 3-Person 3-Season -

Mountain Hardwear Optic 3.5 Tent: 3-Person 3-Season

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17 Reviews


You go camping for the views, anyway.

If you're badger, sure, burrow into a dark hole and spend your night forgetting what air feels like. If you're a person, forget burrows and sleep in the Mountain Hardwear Optic 3.5 3-Person 3-Season Tent, which has full mesh walls and a rollback fly that gives you a 180-degree view. It's made for three people, but, as the name suggests, it can easily hold 3.5 (a half-person being a dog or child), and it has tons of headroom to go with the airy design. Double doors are set up on adjacent walls, corresponding with the rollback fly, to make getting in and out simple, and there are also two vestibules to keep your gear dry in the rain.

For a tent with so much space, the Optic is remarkably easy to set up, with two corner-to-corner poles and one short ceiling pole, along with color-coded corner tabs and clips that make pitching your tent as easy can be. The DAC Pressfit poles themselves are made of lightweight aluminum. The polyester floor and nylon body are both decked out with heavy-duty waterproof polyurethane coatings, and are tightly woven to resist tearing, while the interior pockets hold books, headlamps, and glasses to help the whole gang stay organized. Even with all this swag, the superlight Optic weighs less than 6.5 pounds, making it a great option for all but the lightest and fastest 3-season backpacking trips.

  • Full mesh walls
  • Nylon floor and polyester fly with PU coatings
  • Three lightweight aluminum DAC Pressfit poles with color-coded clips
  • Two adjacent doors with vestibules
  • Rollback fly provides 180-degree views
  • Comfortably holds three adults and a child or dog
  • Internal pockets
  • Item #MHW004O

Tech Specs

[fly] 75D polyester taffeta, PU coating (1500mm), [body] 20D polyester mesh, [floor] 70D nylon taffeta, PU coating (3000mm)
Wall Type
DAC Pressfit aluminum
Number of Poles
Pole Attachment
color-coded clips
Number of Doors
Number of Vestibules
mesh walls
Gear Loft
yes, sold separately
Interior Height
49 in
Floor Dimensions
92 x 69 in
Floor Space
45 sq ft
Packed Weight
6 lb 5 oz
Recommended Use
camping, backpacking, family camping
Manufacturer Warranty

Tech Specs

  • Reviews
  • Q & A

What do you think about this product?

Have questions about this product?

Temporary Shelter

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Can a temporary shelter that is light, colorful, and made from nylon and aluminium elicit feelings from home? The answer is yes, very much so. This cozy rig is easy to set up, useful in its layout, and nice to come "home" to after a long day on the trails in the Utah mountains, Wyoming mountains, or any other mountains of your choosing. I asked the tent and she said she is down for any mountains you want to spoil her with. So get out there and adventure folks ;)

Solid tent, little room

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

This tent is so easy to set up as well as take down. The pole system is self explanatory and pops the tent right up. The double doors are great to open up for pretty morning views with your coffee.

One thing I found frustrating about this tent was that is says 3.5 but it was tiny inside. With 2 regular sized sleeping pads and 2 medium sized dogs, there was no feet room or room for our bags. I am 5'8 and had a hard time stretching out my legs.

I would recommend this tent for one person with their stuff or two people and no dogs or bags inside. It is great quality and held up with a little rain just fine!

Solid tent, little room

Crazy Durable

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've had this tent for over 3 years now and I absolutely love it! I have taken it backpacking, car camping, and most recently I actually lived out of it for 3 months in Southeastern Idaho. It was set up in a canyon and it withstood torrential downpour, triple digit weather, and even survived a crazy storm where 4 tornadoes hit down 20 miles away from me. The poles never even broke and in fact the only damage that occurred was a small rip in the mesh from putting a cot in there that was too high (which was totally my own fault).

I love the panoramic view this tent offers with opening up both doors- it's such a great view when you first wake up! The size of this tent fits 3 adults comfortably, 2 with extra wiggle room, and for 1 person- it was like living in a suite. I'm 5'2 and I couldn't stand up all the way, but had plenty of room if I was sitting or kneeling. There are plenty of pockets around to hold my glasses or keys so I never felt like I was going to lose them. If you want to use a cot inside, it's a tight squeeze with a standard size cot, so I used a shorter/ultralite cot and it fit great with plenty of room for my clothing and gear. All in all, this has been my absolute favorite tent so far. It's not too bulky and fairly lightweight for a 3+ person tent.

Crazy Durable

Great for a road trip tent!

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I was really impressed with the Optic 3.5. I brought it along on a recent PCH road trip and couldn't have been more pleased. The weight and size do limit it a little from being more functional for other activities but it worked perfectly for my trip. Setup is a piece of cake and the internal pockets were great for storing phones and flashlights.
We did have light rain one morning which the Optic handled without issue.
Overall I would say this is a solid choice at a more friendly price point.

Awesome for us taller folk

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I bought this tent nearly a year ago, and have since used it in backyards, car camping and on short backpacking trips since. First off, while many reviewers say this is "Not a backpacking tent" I assure you it is totally capable of going into the backcountry for a few nights. While its definitely not as light as many more pure "backpacking" tents, you can certainly get away with it, especially because its packed size is reasonably small once strapped down. I love this tent and bought it for one major reason: I'm 6'7" and it was impossible to find an ultralight backpacking tent that I fit in, the 92" floor length is awesome. Vestibules are a good size, love the 180deg. views and so far it has stood up to some pretty substantial rainstorms. Super easy and quick to set up, sturdy, durable, overall a great tent for those on a budget or for taller trekkers. Looking forward to taking it hiking and canoeing into the Rockies this summer!

Rad tent for car camping!

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I used this tent for a ladies climbing trip out in CO, and it was great! We were hoping the 3.5 meant that four of us could fit (we're all fairly small), but there wasn't enough width for that many pads. It was very comfortable with just three of us in there, and I would agree had more space than your standard three person tent.

It was easy to set up, and an interesting door setup with the two doors right next to each other instead of on opposite sides. It made for easy access most of the time, but if the person on the far side needs to get out, they'll have to reach over the others to reach the zipper on the fly.

It snowed a light dusting on our first morning there, and the tent did well with keeping us warm and dry! The only issue I really ran into with this tent was that the zipper on the fly got caught on the flap easily, and I was worried about ripping it when pulling it out. Other than that, bomb tent!

**bomb friend not included**

Rad tent for car camping!

Great Option for a trip with the lady!

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I'm not always in the mood to pack the absolute lightest/most packable gear possible, as sometimes car camping is as fulfilling as hitting the trail with all your minimalist gear. However, that doesn't mean that I completely want to do away with lightweight, yet bomber poles, zippers, and construction. This is where the Optic 3.5 comes in. This was great for a few days in the wasatch with my girl. We had tons of room (especially headroom) and could have even fit our dog bed in with our gear and pads if we felt like bringing our companion along for the next excursion. We love the mesh ceiling that makes for incredible views. Set up was a jiff. It didn't take more than 5 minutes. This is a great tent at this price point!

Great car camping tent.

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I loved how easy this tent was to set up, the rain fly was a little more difficult but still pretty simple. I ended up taking the rain fly off in the middle of the night because the skies were clear and it was great to be able to see all of the stars. I think this would be too crowded for 3 people but comfortable for 2. The second door is a little odd since the zipper only opens at the bottom and sides and there is no way to store the door once it is unzipped. I used this door only for keeping my shoes and other gear in the vestibule. It includes some gear lofts built into the mesh walls which were nice for storing headlamps, light jacket, car keys and miscellaneous items. Overall, I would recommend this tent for a family with one child or a dog.

Great car camping tent.

Optic 3.5 Tent I bought.

    This tent is fantastic. It is not for backpacking. Only if your taking just the tent and not too much more. It would be heavy with all your gear for one night even. Though I think it is the best tent out there for 3 season only. It can fit comfortably 2 people and a dog or small child. You want to have room to roll around and not be on your side all night. For the 3.5 two adults would leave you room for walking around not on your mats and gear. Leaves you room for your gear indoors and not left in the vestibule. It is a well made tent. Strong material and well thought out. Plenty of room between the fly and the mesh to get plenty of fresh air with the fly on during rain. I bought a picnic padded mat to protect the indoor floor. I also bought the footprint to protect the mud from the bottom floor. Thus having to wash only the footprint.

    I bought this today!

      I live in Canada so I bought it from a Canadian website. I didn't want to have to pay USA currency because I don't live there. I have done a lot of research on tents. This seems so reasonably priced for what kind of tent it is. Being able to get a great Optic view of the surroundings will be awesome! The only down fall is that this tent does not come with the footprint mat with it. To put under the tent to keep it protected and condensation from coming up through the floor. It is a wise thing to buy. Though you could use a tarp of your choice and cut to fit. I will come back in the summer when I go camping with it and update my review.

      Game day player.

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times

      I got this tent to be used as a light, compact car camping tent for two people (not a backpacking tent). It has really proven itself. We recently took it on a road trip plagued by inclement weather. We stayed warm and DRY in 40mph winds and drenching rain multiple nights in a row. Did not flap or lean and we never even guyed it out! It stayed quiet and structurally sound the whole time. I bought this tent for the panoramic concept of the doors (which, indeed, are very cool, if a little gimmicky), but I'm keeping it because it's a bomber and spacious 3 season tent for two people who like to sleep outside.

      Love this tent!

      • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

      I had been eyeing this tent for a few months before trying the 2.5 size. I like to have a lot of space inside my tent for my co-camper and myself, so I sized up to the 3.5. It's a great size for two people who want some extra room. Setting it up is very quick and easy. It is a bit heavy for two people to bring everything backpacking, but is great for a short hike to the campsite or a shorter camping trip. I definitely recommend it!

      Wish I could have used it

      • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

      It might not be fair of me to review a tent I never got to use. The first tent I got was missing the rear roof pole attachment point. Backcountry was great about sending out another tent. I just received the replacement to find that the rear roof pole attachment point was sewn into the inside of the tent instead of the outside, rendering it useless. I'm not sure if I want to go for a third strike at this point.

      Enjoying the Optic 3.5

      Short backpack in the Gros Ventre. The Optic did a great job sheltering us from a solid storm, and we got to enjoy a beautiful clear evening afterwards. While the tent is on the heavy side, using a compression sack (size large Sea to Summit eVent) for the fly, ground sheet, and tent body makes the volume manageable.

      Enjoying the Optic 3.5

      Happy camper

      • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

      Updating this review after getting a little more acquainted with this tent, have still just used it 3 times so far so have not put it through the wringer by any means, but the more I use it the more I like it. Picked this tent up primarily as a spacious option while car camping and using a large air mattress (See my review on Alps Mountaineering Velocity Queen if you're interested) with my girlfriend and dog. Here's my breakdown to date...

      1. Optic doors. I really love the 180 degree view from inside the tent with the side by side doors open. It's a unique and fun feature, you can lay down for nap in the shade of the tent while still feeling like you're outside and appreciate the fantastic view.
      2. Quick setup. We've got it pretty dialed by now, takes less than 5 minutes to pitch. I do recommend purchasing the separate ground sheet. Poles assemble simply, everything clips in easily, and you can pull the corners tight to keep a rigid structure. You do lose some structural integrity if you choose to open the doors to full panorama without the vestibules staked down, but there's no reason to use this feature in windy conditions.
      3. Well organized. The vestibules are plenty spacious for any gear you might want to store, I've been keeping my MH duffel bag in one vestibule and it only takes up half the space. There's more than enough pockets inside to store smaller items, no need for a gear loft at all.

      1. It's not really an ideal backpacking tent IMOP unless you really split it between 3 people and try to cut it to around 2 lbs each. As is the case with pretty much every tent on the market, they're a little generous with the 3.5 rating. You can do 3 people, but it will be tight. 3 people and a dog... you best all be very comfortable with one another.

      The Optic series is not Mountain Hardwear's most technical light weight tent option, but it also comes in at about half the price of tents in that category like the Skyledge 3. It's ideal for car camping or short backpacking trips where you're not too concerned about ounce counting. So far I love this tent and highly recommend it for its unique Optic doorways, simple setup, organization, and price point. I haven't had issues with the fly tearing as other reviewers have mentioned, nor have I used it in stormy conditions yet, so I will update my review in time if my opinion changes on any of these points.

      The View is Like a Little Up-Kilt Action

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times

      With two big dogs the wife and I couldn't find the right size tent; until now. The four of us can can sleep comfortably and when the wind kicks up to 30 mph you can rest-assured that everything will still be in place in the morning.

      *photo bonus Mountain Hardwear Elkommando

      The View is Like a Little Up-Kilt Action

      Can the rainfly be set up only with the...

      Can the rainfly be set up only with the poles?