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Winter camping just got more accessible.
Backcountry travel in winter is already hard enough with all the extra gear and layers, and a bulky mountaineering tent just makes it that much more difficult. Understanding this, MSR designed the Access 2 Tent: 2-Person 4-Season to be lighter than traditional mountaineering tents, yet still warmer and more protective than backpacking tents.
The unique central support frame optimizes interior space to fit all your gear while resisting snow loading so middle-of-the-night storms don't catch you off guard. And since there's less stuff you have to deal with using frozen fingers, the unified frame is also easier to set up in cold conditions. Tough and lightweight Easton Syclone poles resist breaking, and two doors mean you don't have to crawl over your partner for a midnight bathroom break.
- Light and strong for winter backcountry trips
- Water-resistant fly and floor won't succumb to snow
- Easton Syclone poles resist breakage
- Optimized interior space design
- Resists snow-loading to avoid collapse
- Two doors for easy access and exit
- Item #CAS009U
- Q & A
Excellent lightweight tent
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
This fall I had the pleasure of reviewing the MSR Access 2 tent. The first camping experience was in the desert near Moab, Utah with a client who had never camped before. Next I took the tent into the rugged Gore Range in Colorado on a five-day alpine climbing mission. Lastly I spent three nights in the tent on Longs Peak in Colorado in extremely rugged winter conditions.
As a full-time mountain guide for Colorado Mountain School I have spent years guiding and camping in many different environments and feel pretty savvy with pitching a tent. When I read the description of the MSR Access 2 tent stating that it is easy to set up I figured the best test was to have someone who has never camped before attempt the process of pitching the tent. My client from Italy had not only ever camped but had never even seen a tent before our camping 101 class. I gave him the tent without any instructions how to proceed, but he managed to put the tent up without any difficulties and kept saying “this is easy”. It helps that the stuff sack has very clear pictures depicting the process. Mission accomplished! For my client’s first night sleeping in a tent I let him explore the luxury of sleeping solo in there. He was so very pleased with how lightweight and packable the tent was and the comfort and roomie feeling inside that he is looking to get one for himself even if it is considered a two-person tent. It was fairly warm during our camping experience and in the desert heat it did ventilate sufficiently but not great. The mesh vents are pretty small but camping without the fly would be the preferred option when in warmer temperatures.
The next testing environment was at 11,000 feet in the Gore Range in Colorado, where I was teaching a beginning mountaineering course. I was sharing the tent with my co-instructor. The inside of the tent is very comfortable for two but there is not much extra room inside for gear storage. This is not of great concern as there are two vestibules that are large enough for backpack storage and for cooking. The latter was pretty important as it was cold and blustery and it did rain and snow pretty hard. The seams on the tent are factory tape sealed which is really nice as after market seam sealing never seems to work. One slight inconvenience is that the fly does not cover the tent body when the fly door is open thus allowing any precipitation to come straight inside the tent. There are two mesh pockets inside the tent big enough for storing small items (phone, headlamp, lip balm etc.) but they are not quite big enough for larger items such as socks and gloves. The tent is definitely designed for two people sleeping head to foot, a feature I do like as it gives each person their own space inside the tent. However, the sidewalls of the tent are not that steep so they may hit the sleeping bag of tall people down by the feet, something that can be quite annoying especially if using a down bag.
My final testing environment was spent on Longs Peak in Colorado at about 12,000 feet. I was guiding a client for four days working on expedition preparation for her upcoming Antarctica trip. We had the most rugged weather I have ever experienced in the mountains with single digit temperatures, heavy snow and winds up to 80 mph. Setting up the tent in the dark with high winds would have been a bit of a challenge for a solo person but with two people it wasn’t too bad. The fly completely covers the tent and it is easy to attach it to the tent body and to stake it down using the included super lightweight but sturdy stakes. The tent also comes with several additional guy lines that can be used for extra security. The winds were so intense on our journey we had to add four additional guy lines to secure the tent to shrubbery and boulders. The tent held up very well in the high winds and heavy snow. We did get a lot of condensation inside as the small mesh vents on the tent and the lack of vents on the fly did not seem sufficient.
Great tent, Very cozy.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
This is a great tent and withstood very high winds in the backcountry. it is a rather cozy two-person tent. If you have a lot of gear and want to keep it sheltered you may want the 3 person tent. This tent does have a bright colored rainfly which makes it great for finding easily. Overall a great 4 season tent and would highly recommend.
MSR Does It Again!
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
MSR is one of my favorite companies because their products are so well made. This tent comes with the best lightweight tent poles in the mini-hedgehogs. They go into the ground easily, weigh nothing, and are solid. The tent has two vestibules and two doors that are off centered which makes it easy to get in and out. The tent is small but I don't feel like it is smaller than most other 2 person tents in the same category. It is going to be a little heavier than other 2 person backpacking tents but it is lighter than most other 4-season tents. My favorite thing about this tent is the stuff sack, one of the simpliest designs but so creative that you don't have to fight to get the tent back into the original sleeve. I can't stand trying to get tents into small packaging, this one has a large opening that makes it super easy to stuff the tent inside and then it also has compression straps which make packing this thing a cinch ;)
Light, Strong, Functional
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I have slept in the Access 2 Tent nine times and have to say that despite some drawbacks I really like it. The strength to weight ratio of this tent is impressive, setup is fast and the symmetrical design means that you can't put on the fly backwards. The vestibules are large and doors plenty big to get in and out of.
This tent is not a bombproof 4-season shelter. Lightweight materials and design come with tradeoffs. It is not built to stand up to 60mph wind in exposed areas. However, it is a warm tent, there are lots of guy points, and carbon poles that can be bent far further than their aluminum counterparts without breaking or permanently bending. Like any 4-season tent ventilation is a challenge and I could see condensation being an issue in wetter climates. Living in Utah though, I have had 0 condensation issues, even during a deluge where we had plenty of wet gear in the tent and where a single wall tent in our party heavily condensated. Unlike the previous reviewer, I have had no issues with the fly touching the tent body. The tent has 10 guy points. I have these 10 points tethered into four main guy outs with each line clove hitched to a micro carabineer on one of the 4 main guy lines. This allows me to tension each point on the tent individually and only have to carry 4 stakes to fully guy the tent. This seems to work great keeping the tent rock solid in 30mph winds. I would agree with the other review that the walls need to be steeper, but we have gotten used to them and find there is plenty of vertical and usable space above the heads of our sleeping pads. With condensation not being and issue in the rain and condensation being frozen in the winter I’m not overly concerned by the wall angles—After all it is going to be a warm tent with two people in it. Internal pockets are limited to two horizontal ones at the head and foot. I would like them to be a bit deeper, but are adequate. Finally, there are four loops on the ceiling of the tent. I lashed some cord in an x pattern to these points with a micro biner in the center. This gives us a clothesline for wet items, adds a bit of strength to the tents, and provides place to string up a Big Agnes MtnGLO strand of lights (highly recommended). Overall my modification of dyneema guy cord, biners stakes and lights added 6oz to the tent. Well worth it IMO for the added strength and creature comforts.
The tent is great, but loses a star for the price and the low walls. My partner and I fit in it comfortably (I’m 5’9 she is 5’6 we are both medium builds) with room for gear, but make no mistake there is not a lot of extra room. It could be a bit awkward with two bigger people sharing it that don’t like to cuddle. I’m excited to use it this winter for touring. Above treeline I’ll dig it down in the snow a bit for added wind protection, but am not worried about its strength.
Single person tent
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
The description, floor plan and features of this tent were everything I have been looking for for backcountry tours. The materials are top notch. Set up is easy.
But... upon using it it I was severely disappointed.
!st off, the poles didn't come with my tent and after contacting MSR got them shipped out.
The condensation is pretty bad due to that the tent fly (no matter how much I tried) would rest on the body of the tent.
The biggest failure is simply the architecture. The walls of the tent body are so low angle that it creates a large amount of unusable space. 6" of the 4 corners is too low for even a sleeping pad. to position a pad and bag so that it wouldn't touch the sidewalls I was basically in the middle of the tent. My partner and I had to curl up just so our heads and feet didn't push against the walls. The condensation that built up dripped onto our heads and feet soaking our bags.
This tent needs to go back to the drawing board in my opinion to be considered for use in the snow.
This tent would work as a 1 person (under 6') great. But for 2 people, no way
Here is the tent used in a field with perfect weather and still condensate without the fly. I set the bottle where it touches the 2 sidewalls. A nalgene isn't as tall as a human body on a sleeping pad. There is 8" of unusable space per wall.
Overview & Specs
can i set this thing up on the snow without the footprint?
Yes! In snow I often leave the footprint because snow can get between the tent body and the footprint and melt creating a wet spot. going directly on the ground this won't happen