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Mont Bell MonoFrame Hexagon

in Shelters - Double Wall Tents

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4.00 / 5 (1 reviews)


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Jordan Hurder
( jordanhurder )

Locale:
Southern California
Mont Bell MonoFrame Hexagon on 07/08/2006 15:38:30 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Note: Will Reitveld wrote a very comprehensive review of this tent that is posted on this site, although it never hurts to offer a different perspective.

Initial Impressions: the package that came from Mont-Bell was really small and very light. I weighed the tent on a postal scale, and it came in at 3lb 6oz, a little heavier than Mont Bell claims. The tent is manufactured in China and is very well put together.

Setup: The Hexagon is not a perfect hexagon; it's more like a long rectangle with two small triangles on each end. There is one pole that runs long-ways from each of the points through a continuous pole sleeve. There are 6 stake-out points on the tent, and the rainfly attaches to each of these points, or it can be staked out separately. There are no vestibules. To run a rainfly-only setup, you can detach a strip of webbing that connects the two pole grommets from the main tent. This setup yields a fairly light (under 2lb) floorless shelter.

The Review: I'm a die-hard tent user, even if it means more weight. There are lighter tents out there, but not by all that much, and ones that are much lighter are also much smaller. I enjoy the flexibility of double wall tents, but I was tired of the weight, which is why I chose the Hexagon.

Useable space: I use the tent as a solo tent, and as such, it has a ton of room (on paper, there is 34 sq.feet of floor space). I can keep all my gear in the tent with me and have more than enough room to relax. Because of the single pole, there is a decent amount of wall-drape, and that cuts down on headroom. Pressing gear up against the sides of the tent does a lot to push the walls back out, increasing livable space. The single door is easy to get in and out of if the tent is only being used by one person.

That being said, I feel this tent would be miserable with two people. First, you couldn't put gear up against the walls to increse headroom, because you'd need all the space for both campers. Second, while the tent is big for one person, it's not *that* big, and the two campers would have to seep head-to-toe. Third, because of the door placement, leaving the tent in the night will most certainly disturb the other camper. So, if you're a solo camper who wants a DW tent and some extra space, this tent is your ticket. If you're a pair of hikers, I'd suggest looking elsewhere. In fact, for 2 people, I'd rate this tent a 2/5 rather than the 4/5 rating I gave it.

Features: This tent is feature-light on purpose. I don't mind. I haven't yet missed mesh storage pockets or a vestibule, since I have enough room to keep the gear in the tent with me (if I were using the tent with another person, I'd need that vestibule). Also, the lack of a vestibule keeps the pitch really small- smaller than solo tents w/vestibules that I've tried. This has saved me when I've had to camp in less than stellar sites. Things I don't like: I wish there was more mesh on the inner tent. I don't like all-mesh tents, but a couple windows in addition to the mesh door would be nice. Also, for flexibility, there are 2 doors on the inner tent- a mesh door and a solid nylon door. The theory is that you can use just the inner tent in fair weather, and at that point you would want the second door for privacy. Why this theory doesn't hold up: with no other windows, you'd need to keep that second door at least halfway open for ventilation and condensation resistance, and at that point, for partial coverage of an already small door, it doesn't seem necessary. Getting rid of the door and the extra zipper track would save even more weight, and it would solve the problem of trying to zip up the mesh door and zipping the nylon door by accident.

Condensation: I've used this tent only in the summer, and to resist condensation, I've left the mesh door zipped with the rainfly door open. There is a vent in the rainfly that is situated over the inner door so that, even with the rainfly door closed, you can still get some airflow, although I've preferred to maximize airflow in the tent. So far, I've had no condensation at all, but this may change when I spend a warm, rainy night in the tent and have to close the fly to keep the tent dry.

Tips: It is absoultely necessary, in my opinion, to stake the fly separately. Otherwise, it hangs limply against the inner tent, which would choke off airflow between the tents and probably certainly lead to unacceptable levels of condensation. Also, you can get a pretty taut fly by staking it out separately, which will go a long way toward improving wind stability. It should be noted that there aren't guyout points on the fly, so in wind, staking it out is the only way to make it tight. Even on still nights, I carry the extra 6 stakes it requires to stake the fly separately. It's worth it. Second, since the tent is so light, I choose to carry 4 gold Easton stakes to stake out the four primary corners of the tent. I've found that the tighter you stake out these points, the less wall drape you experience. Because the gold Easton stakes hold so well, I like to use them. Whatever stakes you use with this tent, be sure to get a tight pitch on those first four points, and you'll enjoy more interior space.

Storm Performance: I can't comment on it, since I haven't used it in a storm. I bet it's pretty good, and I'm wouldn't be worried to use it in bad weather. The guyout points on the tent attach to the pole sleeve to keep the pole from deflecting, and I imagine using two diagonal lines from each point would improve stability more than a single line running perpendicular to the pole on each end. Only two guylines are supplied, though.

Other things: I love the color. Yellow, orange, and red rainflies produce a really nasty mood in the tent, in my experience. The lime green color filtered through the white inner tent is incredibly soothing to me, which is nice. This is probably personal though. Also, the supplied stakes are terrible. Swap them out with something else or get your swearing mouth ready.

Overall: Barring some nitpicks here and there, it's a great solo tent for a tent-lover. Also, the rainfly-only option will probably help me kick my tent addiction and enter the world of tarp-camping, which probably wouldn't be a bad thing, now would it?

Edited by jordanhurder on 07/13/2006 18:23:47 MDT.

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