Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
MSR Carbon Reflex 2 Tent Review
Display Avatars Sort By:
Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
MSR Carbon Reflex 2 Tent Review on 04/28/2009 19:15:55 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

MSR Carbon Reflex 2 Tent Review

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: MSR Carbon Reflex 2 Tent Review on 04/28/2009 19:34:43 MDT Print View

Let's see: The same weight as the Scarp 2, but $170 more expensive, considerably less roomy (narrower and less ceiling height), less sturdy, only one entry. Sounds like a winner. No doubt BPL members will be queuing in droves for this tent.

Perhaps I'm missing something. What advantages does this tent have?

Will: a thorough review as always, thank you. Your reports are always excellent. What is the possibility of incorporating short videos into your reviews in future? (like you did for the Big Sky convertible review). I would really like videos to become a permanent part of all BPL reviews. There are no real technical challenges, and I think they would be greatly appreciated by BPL readers!

Edited by ashleyb on 04/28/2009 19:41:43 MDT.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: MSR Carbon Reflex 2 Tent Review on 04/28/2009 19:42:06 MDT Print View

@Ashley: You're not missing anything. Also, Backpacker mag (trust them if you will) said the tent had durability problems due to its lightweight fabrics.

Once again, I'm waiting for this tent to flop simply due to price. If I'm going to drop $500 on a tent, it's going to be a Hilleberg or Stephenson or some other extreme-conditions tent.

Henry Shires should also be tee'd off; the tent is essentially an expensive take on his Rainbow/Double Rainbows. Also, DR setup time wins v. this tent.

The floor width discrepancy bothers me. This tent appears suited for sleeping head-to-foot. My MK1 has a 48" floor width and even that is probably too tight for the tent's use (winter camping). With 40" to play with, where is the room for anything else?

I second the video plugs. Great review, as always Will.

Edited by citystuckhiker on 04/28/2009 19:46:35 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Carbon Reflex 2 on 04/28/2009 20:17:36 MDT Print View

Out of curiousity, how does the floor space compare to the regular Hubba Hubba? I suspect the HH is wider for two.

Ashley, isn't this shelter lighter than the what the Scarp 2 is expected to be? The Scarp 2 will also have less head room at the ends, which is a consideration for taller folk. Just curious.

Thanks Will for the thorough review.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Carbon Reflex 2 on 04/28/2009 20:22:03 MDT Print View

> Ashley, isn't this shelter lighter than the what the Scarp 2 is expected to be?

Oh, yep, I wasn't looking at the "trail" weight which is indeed lower than the Scarp 2. But it uses carbon poles and is only 40 inches wide (as opposed to 52 inches). Not sure whether there will be much more head room at the end. Maybe a bit. The Scarp 2 has a head height of 44 inches in the middle, and something like 18 inches at the end.

The price is nuts, but I guess not many people will be paying retail.

Dan Cunningham

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Re: Re: Carbon Reflex 2 on 04/28/2009 20:36:38 MDT Print View

40" Wide?? Seriously!? And that is somehow a 2 person tent? I hope you are lovers! :)

A Double Rainbow is effectively 48-50" wide, and the Lunar Duo is even wider at 54", and both are also longer as well. Did I mention higher peak height? Both only weigh 2.5 pounds, have 2 doors, and are under $300!

I am sorry if somebody here owns one, but I do think this tent completely absurd and a waste of money. Except for the fact that you can buy it from places like REI since it won't go up in flames, I don't get it.

Just to compare space, here is the MSR tent with two 20" pads compared to my Lunar Duo (MSR is the upper left photo). Which would you rather sleep in?

2 Mattresses in Lunar Duo

Edited by mn-backpacker on 04/28/2009 20:37:34 MDT.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Re: Carbon Reflex 2 on 04/28/2009 20:42:16 MDT Print View

When you think about it, this tent bears most resemblance to the single-person rainbow, which is 38 inches wide in bathtub mode. It also has only one entry, but is less than half the price and only weighs 2 pounds 2 oz!

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
MSR Carbon Reflex 2 Tent Review on 04/28/2009 21:22:10 MDT Print View

To me it appears that sitting up facing each other there could be more head room in the MSR, however there are several inches of space between the inner and the fly. The inner is loose so you can have the head against it and not feel any pressure.
Laying down the Scarp 2 will have a lot more usable space, the 86" of the TT are corner to corner and so is the 19.5" min height.
Note that the MSR corners move inward and a few inches are lost because of the angle of the inner. ( with two people side by side ,the max length is irrelevant)

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Carbon Reflex 2 on 04/28/2009 21:34:25 MDT Print View

Not sure on the weights everyone is throwing around. My single person Rainbow after seam sealing is 38 oz. No way the Double is the same weight. In any event, this MSR will be heavily discounted at some point. I think if it was $300, it would be a viable alternative to big and tall folks who would use the shelter as a 1+ shelter.

I also think that we need to compare double wall to double wall. If you consider the more robust materials, perhaps the MSR is also more viable. The curved spine also provides much usable space for taller folks, especially over faces when sleeping.

Don't mistake my comments other than trying to engage discussion. I don't own nor will I be buying this tent but I find that many of us (me included) tend to instantly jump on a mainstream manufacturer without perhaps comparing like products. Just a thought.

Scott Smith
(mrmuddy) - MLife

Locale: No Cal
MSR Carbon Reflex 2 Tent Review on 04/28/2009 21:54:02 MDT Print View

As always an Excellent review ..

So, I suggest a new rating standard ..

Instead of " recommended" ( for example) . how about, " yes, I would buy this tent" as in .. not a "comped tent"; and, lined up against all of the competition, I would buy this tent ( also assumes, like most of us, that the reviewer owns a handful of tents )

So, in this case would Will buy . with his own hard earned $ this tent .. hmmm, me thinks not..

David Booth
(davidbooth) - M

Locale: Australia
MSR Carbon Reflex 2 Tent Review on 04/29/2009 03:49:46 MDT Print View

What is this phantom Scarp 2 ? Is it real or imaginary?

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: MSR Carbon Reflex 2 Tent Review on 04/29/2009 04:01:51 MDT Print View

> What is this phantom Scarp 2 ? Is it real or imaginary?

The new tarptent from Henry Shires, check out his website if you haven't already.

It's due to go on sale early May... so possibly as early as next week. Very cool tent. The reflex would be embarrassed to stand next to it.

Unless there was a fire, in which case the reflex would come out on top. ;-)

Aaron Lastname
(Cloudveil9) - F
TarpTent on 04/29/2009 08:02:28 MDT Print View

I'm not really sure of this comparison between this tent and the Scarp 2 - Isn't the Scarp 2 supposed to be quite a bit larger, and heavier? The packaged weight of the MSR is only 52oz (Website spec). Granted it looks on the small (And expensive) side, but in that same weight class I would lean towards comparing it more with the Rainshadow 2, say. A couple oz lighter after seam-sealing and with two poles...And a lot bigger. (Even than the Scarp 2)

Edited by Cloudveil9 on 04/29/2009 08:14:12 MDT.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: TarpTent Scarp 2 on 04/29/2009 08:07:21 MDT Print View

Pretty sure the Scarp 2 weight is also 52 oz for the standard 1 pole model with mesh interior.

Aaron Lastname
(Cloudveil9) - F
Scarp 2 on 04/29/2009 08:08:55 MDT Print View

I was thinking with the crossing poles for the Scarp 2, I guess. I see now that the MSR is not free-standing so I suppose it might be better to compare it to the Scarp without the crossing poles. My bad. :) Nothing has convinced to give up the Rainshadow 2 yet though! :P

Edited by Cloudveil9 on 04/29/2009 08:13:37 MDT.

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Responses to Carbon Reflex Questions on 04/29/2009 08:12:14 MDT Print View

Hi all, here's my responses and added comments to the discussion on the MSR Carbon Reflex 2 tent:

Ashley and others: The design of the Tarptent Scarp 2 was not finalized, and therefore the tent not in production when I wrote this review, so I couldn't use it for a comparison. Now we have the Scarp 2, and it is indeed a strong contender versus the Carbon Reflex 2, Big Sky tents, and others. I am currently testing the Scarp 2, and we will publish a review in early June.

As David points out, in all fairness, double wall tents should be compared with other double wall tents. Comparing the Carbon Reflex 2 to single wall tents is lapsing into a discussion of favorite tents.

Regarding videos in reviews: I have included a video in some of my past reviews, especially when I was able to show the product in more extreme conditions, or where I felt a video tour would show the product better than mere words. Including videos was a big challenge for BPL's production staff, but I believe they have the mechanics worked out now. I will strive to include a video in my reviews from now on. I think they really help readers get familiarized with a product to assist in making a purchase decision, especially for an on-line purchase when they can't physically check out a product in a store before purchasing it.

Happy hiking,

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: MSR Carbon Reflex 2 Tent Review on 04/29/2009 11:44:59 MDT Print View

This tent will sell. It won't sell like the new NeoAir, but it will sell, for one important reason: it is the lightest two person, double walled tent you can buy from REI. Actually, it is probably the lightest two person tent of any sort you can buy from REI (I think REI only sells the Bibler/Black Diamond single walled tent, which is just a bit heavier). Likewise, other retailers (mail order, etc.) don't carry tents from the smaller outfits. The $500 price tag is steep, but people will pay it (after all, compared to something like a car, $500 is not that much).

As this excellent article mentioned, this tent, like so many others, are hamstrung by the flame retardant standards. I wonder what this tent would weigh if it was made from silnylon, or better yet, Cuben fiber?

Richard Sullivan
(richard.s) - MLife

Locale: Supernatural BC
Re: MSR Carbon Reflex 2 Tent Review on 04/29/2009 13:18:59 MDT Print View

One thing Will omitted from the What's Good section is that the tent has 10,000mm waterproofness on the floor. This is great for the NW where we often camp on sodden ground or could have a river below the floor all night. For comparison the BA tent floors are 1200mm which will soak through easily. I read that the standard for silnylon is 2psi or 1400mm. So in any case we are looking at 7-8 times the pressure rating on the floor versus typical UL tents.

I am told that MSR builds for the Northwest...

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
MSR Carbon Reflex on 04/29/2009 16:03:39 MDT Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/22/2009 15:32:21 MST.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Responses to Carbon Reflex Questions on 04/29/2009 18:50:27 MDT Print View

Thanks Will. I'm looking forward to your Scarp 2 review, though chances are I will have bought one by the time the review comes out!

Good to hear you will try to pop a few more videos in. I guess it's not "straightforward" if BPL is using its own software to display the vids. I was imagining it could be as simple as inserting a youtube video into the page, but forgot that it would need to be member-restricted so that wouldn't work too well on youtube!

I guess we should all be glad that the mainstream manufacturers are continuing to push their tent weights down. As has been pointed out, the main thing hamstringing these tents is that they are made out of heavier material -- which is not entirely their fault.

I can bag them out for calling it a two person tent when it is only 40 inches wide though. In a way it's the worst of both worlds -- wider than you need for a one man tent, but not wide enough for 2 people! I wouldn't even sleep in a 40 inch wide tent with my girlfriend!