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Mountainsmith Mountain Shelter LT Tarp


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Mountainsmith makes a number of multi-person tents, but the Mountain Shelter LT Tarp is by far its lightest two-person shelter. Spartan by almost all standards, this tent is comprised of only a single door, it utilizes a single-wall design, and there's no floor. At just two pounds, the Mountain Shelter is three pounds lighter than its big brother the Morrison, and this tarp pitches without poles. Just slide a pair of trekking poles in under the tarp, pitch the corners, tension the guylines, and you're good to go (or use the two top points to connect to tree branches). This is an excellent minimalist option for backpackers looking to save weight and pack space without giving up vital protection from the weather.

  • Two-person design utilizes a single door and sets up using two standard trekking poles (trekking poles not included)
  • Sil-nylon material is ultralight and waterproof so you won't get wet at night
  • Interior height measures four feet and six inches at the peak, giving you enough room to move around inside without feeling cramped
  • Back window doubles as ventilation to encourage cross-flow of air beneath the tarp
  • Reflective guylines make it easy to locate your tent at night
  • Tensionlock cord adjustments allow you to quickly tighten or slacken your guy lines and eliminate the need to tie an adjustment knot
  • Two top guyout points allow you to anchor this tent using lines to a tree branch overhead instead of relying on hiking poles underneath and inside
  • Reinforced v-stakes allow you to securely pitch your tent in a variety of terrain
  • Stuff sack includes setup instruction printed on the inside
  • Item #MOU0231

40D sil-nylon ripstop, PU coating (2000mm)
142 x 54 x 84 in
Floor Space
54 sq ft
Packed Size
16.5 x 5 in
Claimed Weight
[trail] 1 lb 15.5 oz, [packed] 2 lb 1 oz
Recommended Use
Manufacturer Warranty

Tech Specs

What do you think about this product?



Mountainsmith Mountain Shelter LT Tarp

Mountain Shelter LT Tarp is by far its lightest two-person shelter. Spartan by almost all standards, this tent is comprised of only a single door, it utilizes a single-wall design, and there's no floor.

>Rating: 5

Hunt Camp!

I've used it several times

Purchased this for Backcountry hunting and it has not disappointed, spent a few nights in it so far, easy to set up, minor condensation issues in some climates, but that is what you will get with single wall tents. Light weight! I purchased a single footprint from RAB to put under the pad, adding a mini-floor, preventing punctures in my pad. If you are looking for a light weight shelter, this is where you should look, especially if you do not want to break the bank! People have also been modifying these to have a chimney/stove setup for those cold environments!

>Rating: 4

Light and Simple

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

I've set this up a total of two times now. And I feel like you can't really review a shelter until you've survived a monsoon in it. But, initial impressions are that it's a simple and thoughtfully designed shelter. It packs down to about the size of a 1 liter soda bottle in the included stuff sack. Included is a generous amount of good quality aluminum stakes. I got enough to stake out every single loop around the base of the tent AND all the guy-lines. Many tents and shelters only come with a bare minimum of stakes to set it up and they're junk on top of that, so big props to Mountainsmith here! Instructions printed on the bag are a nice touch, although it's so simple to set up you'll only need to read them once. Like most shelters of this type, you'll probably need to make minor adjustments to the stakes and pole height once it's set up to get it taught. I was actually surprised at how big this felt once it was set up. The space inside is quite ample for two people and gear. I'm about 5'11" and there's plenty of room for me to stretch out and put a pack up by my head. You set the pole up by your head to 53" tall so there's ample room to sit up or move around and change, too. I didn't experience any condensation but I was camping in the desert. Any single wall shelter like this will get some condensation on cold nights if you have it zipped up, especially with two people - so expect this going in. It's not a design flaw, it's just the name of the game. I'll try to post some updates once I've spent a night huddled in this in a good downpour!

>Rating: 4

Amazing design, calls for some DIY

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

I have attempted sewing my own tent with a similar design, only to discover that you simply can't get the same quality materials for the money as this thing. I caved and bought it for those high alpine adventures where I'm carrying climbing gear and my overnight kit high into the sierras when every ounce counts. I have pitched it once so far, in a car camping campground in Utah that was crawling with beetles and ants. The Sierras, IMHO, are cleaner. I used a makeshift footprint from another tent and used my gear to block the gap between the edge of the tent and the ground all around the perimeter of the tent, only I didn't have that much gear so there were lots of gaps. Interestingly, every creepy crawly promptly exited my home and never came back in all night. They must sense the danger of being trapped in a tent with a giant carapace-crushing human. I was cozy and very comfortable, and even checked a few times with the headlamp for visitors. None. I'm going to DIY a footprint from Tyvek and glue a small border of mesh all around the outside edge just to be fancy. Lastly, the stakes are crappy, two of them broke with normal pounding into dirt. Lame. Buy better ones.

this has been my fear, things, them there mosquitos, getting under, getting in . . . why they can't just sew/run a bit of

I thought the stakes were light weight but very strong. I wonder if there has been a change in what they provide.

This is a no floor tarp tent with NO bug netting for the door and no perimeter netting. How would u expect things not to come inside? This tarp does exactly what’s its intended for by creating an ultra strong weather defense system with large interior space. I’ve used it many times with same results as you but also in high wings and rain storms. Its light well made and It’s a perfect system. I love mine.

>Rating: 3

2 nights snow and one rain

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

The tent was tested for size and space for two people one being 5'10" the other 5'1" prior to outdoor setup. I have hammock camped in storms and used double wall tents in the past. Expectations for the weekend of testing included showers and possible thunderstorms. Ease of set up even in the dark was relatively easy for one person. Used the provided v-stakes and a nearby handy boot for placement in the ground. The first night was rain and awoke to 2-3 inches of snow. The ground stakes in some areas pulled up. Snow accumulated between the two peaks of the trekking poles. Condensation inside the tent from the angles of the walls dripped onto the top of our bags. The rear vent and front door top were open. The ground had snow accumulation blocking the bottom ventilation. The next night we camped closer to the poles trying to avoid condensation build up and awoke during the night to wipe the insides down from the drips. Ground water obviously hard to avoid but we did use a tarp to help shield us. We used rubber tips on the poles to hold the tarp in place. Exit of the shelter is a little awkward for the person away from single door on right to get out depending on how you lay and equipment in vestibule. This was our first true floorless design shelter used, so please look to others with some more experience on this shelter just sharing my impression. I have seen one manufacturer adding a vent brace to the front door which may help or keeping snow from bottom vent. Pros: Easy set up and tear down Instructions on stuff sack Loops inside for poles Gear loops at door Reinforced seams Cost per weight Cons: Roof design with snow accumulation Useable space to avoid condensation Exit for user on left with gear in vestibule

>Rating: 5

I liked using it for three reasons

I've used it several times

The positive reviews here cover much of what I would say. Number one: It is light. 2 pounds for a 2 person tent is marvelous. Two: It is roomy inside for two people and gear. Three: It is well made. The reinforcement of the critical areas appears bomb proof and there are extra guys if you expect a storm. I use a half mil painters tarp for a ground cloth and it only adds an ounce or two. I leave the front door wide open all night in good weather, but it buttons down tight if you need it. Two wall tents are definitely better because of condensation, but at the cost of quite a few pounds. I dealt with condensation one night, but other than that it hasn't been an issue.


Mountain Shelter Stuff Sack

Dimensions: 142" x 54" x 84" (360 x 137 x 213 cm) Floor Area: 54 ft / 5 m Vestibule Area: Spacious front door area behaves as vestibule Peak Height:4' 6" Trail Weight: 1 lb 15.5 oz / 0.89 kg Packaged Weight: 2 lbs 1 oz / 0.9 kg


Mountain Shelter Front View

Inspired by a 30 year old Mountainsmith design, this lightweight backcountry shelter sets up fast with two trekking poles (or properly positioned trees) and offers solid weather protection for two from the elements with it’s 40d sil-nylon body.


Mountainsmith Shelter LT Tarp

Our Mountain Shelter LT is a lightweight, 40d sil-nylon, three-season tarp shelter that weighs in at an impressive 2lbs and is easily set-up with two trekking poles (sold separately) ensuring your next back-country experience is done with minimal weight, gear and hassle. Reflective guy-lines enable taught, adjustable set-up and can even be used to secure tarp shelter to well positioned trees or properly anchored attachment points in lieu of the standard trekking pole set-up. Sil-nylon exterior coating and PU2000mm underside coating ensure weather-proof security for your next backwoods excursion.

>Rating: 3

Did not come with any stakes

Not sure if the description is wrong or I got a newer/older model or whatever but mine had no stakes included. After purchasing the stakes separately it wasn't such a good deal after all. Will probably return.

If your Mountain Shelter didn't come with stakes, something must have gone wrong. Mine came with a full set of (very nice) stakes. Sorry to hear about your troubles!

>Rating: 5

Primo Tarp Tent by ALTarp52

I've used it several times

I agree with the excellent reviews by happ438450 and parp446731 and will try not to repeat features they covered. This is an excellent step up from a basic tarp with solid weather protection front and back. More roomy for two campers than the usual "2 person" tent. Compared with features and prices of other tarp tents this is "Best of Breed". Given the amount of interior room and weather protection, this is a very light high quality shelter and great value at even the full price. It is floorless so a footprint of some kind is desireable but a little tricky because of the presence of your hiking/support poles in the center line of the tent's interior. I use two 7'X 3' long tyvek strips (with a little tailor cutting) - one on each side of the support poles and works great and very light. Bugs. This design gives you no protection from bugs, which is not a problem at some times of the year. During bug season I rig a Sea To Summit Nano Pyramid Shelter w/Insect Shield inside from a paracord that goes from the top of my center hiking pole/tent pole to a tie out stake at the skirt of the tent. Like parp446731 said -- this is not for everyone (especially those with no interest in camping creativity, like solving the floor or bug issue) but I really like it in the right situation.

>Rating: 4

Thoughtful "light" tarp-tent

I've put it through the wringer

The weight of the Mountain Smith Mountain Shelter LT is by no means ultra-light as it measures just a bit above 2 pounds when packed. That said, they designed a thoughtful compromise for those of us who are happy with the slightly more durable and affordable category of "light" shelter. Some specifics: 1) Enclosed design: I prefer a closed structure compared to an open tarp. I thru-hiked the Uintah Highline trail last September at the tail-end of the epic storms our region saw. The Mountain Shelter kept me dry and warm during 3 days of heavy rain, hail and fog at 10-12,000 feet. I hunkered down in it for 18 hours (lightening on the passes at 11 am) one day through 8 separate hail storms and the only moisture I experienced was a few drops of condensation the hail knocked onto my sleeping bag. This is a considerable plus in my book as I almost exclusively use down sleeping bags nowadays. 2) Design: plenty of room for 2 people (and a dog) and roomy for my solos. The space is plentiful in this tent: plenty of length for laying down with enough space for gear storage. As well, the vestibule opens up completely for warm and dry nights. The design is also tall enough to easily situp in the front portion of the structure which makes cooking morning meals a snap on those colder September days I prefer to backpack during. 3) Set-up: This one takes a few times to get right. Its easy to accidentally set it up improperly (offset versus square OR too taught to get poles properly adjusted). I used it with ease my first trips but had to tweak my setup a bit on my last journey as the ground was not flat. 4) Additional: plenty of tie out points to keep it taught; breathes well with rear vent and lowering the upper (of the double) door zippers just a smudge; reinforced well at all points of pressure. effective choice for most of us trying to cut weight for backpacking without breaking the bank. A prize winner in storm-proofness and space.

>Rating: 4

Great value in a 2-person ultralight she

I got this for use as an ultralight shelter for elk hunting in Colorado, but I will also use it for trips here in Pennsylvania. I did an initial setup but did not sleep in it. My first setup was without a thorough reading of the instruction (which are printed on the bag if you need them) it took about 10 minutes and a lot of it was messing with cheap twist-lock trekking pole. there is a scale on the side of the shelter for correct pole length setting. the pitch was taught and sturdy at the pole length set to the scale. the included stakes are aluminum angle about 6-7" long. This tarp provides full weather protection for all but the most extreme conditions. there is a roof vent at the rear pole support, with the airflow from the small gap around the bottom ventilation should be adequate in most conditions This is a big shelter with room for gear inside and 2 people. The vestibule is big enough to cook in inclement weather. this packs down into a stuff sack of about 4 1/2" X15" and weighs around 2Lb it is designed for use with trekking poles, but a rope ridge line could be used with some experimenting. It could also be used with some local sticks cut to length for poles if you carry a small saw, the ends where the poles contact the tent would need additional protection if you choose that setup. This tent is not for the masses, but if you are looking for a light, large, full weather protection shelter this is a serious contender. at the full list price this is a great value in comparison to similar shelters


If you set the poles up completely vertical, what would be the distance between the two? I'm curious to see if an MSR Thru-Hiker Mesh House would fit inside. Thanks!


What are the floor dimensions for this tent.... Not including the door/vestibule portion???

Hi Dave, This shelter doesn't have a floor or vestibule per measures 142"x84"x54" for 54sq/ft, but this all really depends on how you set the poles or how you choose to pitch it. This really is do it yourself shelter. FYI it works great in snow as well.


does anybody know how well this shelter holds up in the snow? I know it is 3 season, but I live on the east coast. I am currently planning a winter thru hike of the AT. I am looking for a shelter and bivy combo that is lightweight and durable. The price for this thing is awsome and I have read good reviews. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

For the most part it will hold up in the snow. If it snows a lot you will have to get out and brush it off, any tarp/ tent can collapse under enough snow. In windy conditions you should try to keep the poles low and guy the tent wide to keep it lower to the ground.

First impression the shelter will have snow accumulation between the peaks as Bill mentioned. The snow also blocked the bottom ventilation creating an increase condensation even with the back vent and front door vent at top. Im sure this would be more of a 3-season shelter. We also used tyvek for ground sheet and placed rubber tips on poles to help hold it place.


Do you guy's have an ETA on when this will...

Do you guy's have an ETA on when this will be back in stock, thanks....

This is currently in stock in both of our warehouses as of June 26, 2013