Rating: 4 / 5
My usual solo snow camping shelter is a MLD duo mid with bivy sack. But last year I started doing base camping so I started looking for an affordable, relatively lightweight 4 season tent. After examining Black Diamond single walls and various expensive Hilleberg tents, I decided to buy the String Ridge 2. Last February I camped in it for two nights at Horse Camp,Mt Shasta and one night near Brokeoff Mountain, Lassen National Park.
The manufacturers' specs are:
-List priceL $599
-Trail Weight 5lb
-Packed Weight 5lb 11oz
-Footprint Weight 8oz
-Fast Fly Weight 3lb 11oz
-Packed Size 8" x 20"
-Floor Area 31.5sq ft
-Vestibule Area 11sq ft
-Head Height 42"
-Foot Height 22"
On the plus side:
-Affordable, especially with the REI discount and various on line sales
-Lightweight @ 5 lbs
-Very large vestibule that I could cook in if needed
-Easy to set up
-It comes with large stakes that can be rigged as deadman
-Large rear window and vented vestibule control condensation
-Hub and spoke pole construction looks strong for static snow loads
-Large mesh pockets for storage along both sides
Room for improvement
-The tent is a little short. I am 6 ' 2" and there is about 12 inches of extra room. If I slide down a bit, my feet are touching the end of the tent
One minor quibble:
The pole that holds up the vestibule is mechanically connected to the outer tent with a sleeve and two velco straps. So the outside front side guy lines are mechanically connected to the poles for stability when there is force on the tent from the side. In contrast, on each side the center cross pole is connected to the outer tent with just two small velcro straps. So the two side guy lines are connected mechanically to the pole by just these two velcro straps. I have no near term plans to take this tent above tree level for mountaineering. In high winds even 10 pound mountaineering tents will start to deform from the side and the side poles aided by the guy lines are the resisting force. I wonder how well these two velcro straps will hold in such conditions.