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Stephenson 2R

in Shelters - Double Wall Tents

Average Rating
4.10 / 5 (10 reviews)

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Mathieu Fagnan
( MFagnan - M )
Stephenson 2R on 08/02/2005 13:19:28 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

Exectionaly light: 2.75lbs packed. Plenty of room for 2 plus gear.Easy to set up, required only 3 stakes, 7 for worst nightmare condition. The tent is VERY strong if setup well (survived major strom on Denali), but required TOTALY flat ground and very good staking points, since all the strenght comes from stakes tension, conditions not always easy to find in real life. In dry mountain air (on Denali and Logan), only minimal condensation on the single wall ends (easy to wipe). But in normal camping conditions (Adirondaks, trekking in Peru, etc.), condensation is really hard to avoid, even on the double wall center section. User need to take precaution about this all the time, so it's a little pain to manage. Sold it to get a waterproof/breathable tent (probably an Integral Desings), but could buy it again for a expedition if weight was critical.

Ryan Jordan
( ryan - BPL STAFF - M )

Greater Yellowstone
Stephenson 2R & Winds on 08/02/2005 20:17:52 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I would agree that the 2R is a very strong tent if properly set up. The exposed panel that is not supported by structure - i.e., the double wall section - needs to be extremely tight to resist a lot of bellowing from high winds.

I've had great success with the 2R, as a backpacking tent and a mountain tent, although I've replaced it with an ever so slightly heavier and far less livable, but simpler, ID MK1Lite. For backpacking, it's been replaced by a slightly heavier and more livable Big Sky Products Evolution 2P.

The 2R would be a 5 in my book if it had better views (the S option gives this but you don't have access to the side windows without exiting the tent) and if the end cones were cut a little different to give better tension on the center panels.

Alan Marcum
( ammpilot )

SF Bay Area
Good in high wind, easy setup when raining on 06/06/2007 16:28:46 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I've now had my Warmlite 2R for a couple of years, and in a couple good wind storms (well, good for the SF Bay Area): one with 40 gusting 50, one with 30 gusting 40 and rainy. Tent held up fabulously. Also used it on snow camping trip: again, performed well (though conditions, despite very cold for Sierras, were benign).

Support from Stephenson's has been great: they have excellent tips on setup and use beyond the instructions. (E.g.: sleep with your head directly under the top of the front hoop for better condensation control.)

Also used this at Philmont, during monsoon rains. Condensation on nose and tail cones (single wall areas) Mathieu mentioned easily manageable, despite days of continuous rain early, and driving cold rain late in our trek.

People envied the light weight, easy setup, and integral fly (inside stayed dry while setting up in rain). Sure, a single-walled waterproof-breathable tent has this same quality, as do most shelters, but it's not so common in a double-walled tent.

I have the big door (LD option) and side windows (S option). Given experience so far, I'd skip the side windows if I ever need another (they add 5 ozs, and I've seldom used them--but, the few times I have, others in the group thought them pretty cool!).

I've not had problems with ground contour that Mathieu mentions, but you do need a way to get the stake-outs to stay put!

Edited by ammpilot on 06/06/2007 16:30:55 MDT.

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David Noll
( dpnoll )

Maroon Bells
2R Warmlite Rocks on 08/31/2007 19:21:23 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Our Warmlite has the side windows and full zip door. It has done the Winds, BWCA, Isle Royale and the Superior Hiking Trail on weeklong trips and has handled wind, rain, and snow. It weighs 3#60z, sets up easily and is bombproof. It may not be the perfect tent but has handled everything. We especially love the side windows.

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Frank Feagans
( ffeagans )

Midwest USA
A 6 on a 1-5 scale on 09/13/2007 20:42:30 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

This purchase exceeded my expectations in the field. My wife and I just returned from a 4 day / 3 night trip in Grand Canyon, and we can't imagine ever backpacking without this tent again.

Extremely easy to put up and take down, very lightweight but rugged, breathable, comfortable, a lot of room, and the Grand Canyon wind was not a problem even when hitting the tent sideways on the last evening.

And our other hiking couple's wife was quite jealous of our color selection!

I have no idea why we don't see more of these. We've hiked hundreds of miles in the SW, and used many tents. I like my Big Agnes SL1 and liked my North Face Slickrock, but this tent is the bomb.

adam brenner
( )

Olympics and Cascades
Why don't more people own this? on 06/17/2008 18:34:45 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

The few downsides are the price, occasional condensation (which is controllable), and the mild billowing of the sidewalls if not set up properly. The floor is a bit slippery but is easily solved with some drops of silicon.

I have a 3R and a 2R both with side windows- they are awesome in the heat.

The 3R is my favorite but for the weight the 2R can't be beat.

I would give the 2R a 4.5/5 for taller people with a bunch of gear and 5/5 for average height people.

If you're going lightweight and are essentially sleeping on a lot of what remains of your gear then 5/5 even if your tall.

A great 4 season, with little competition.

Great customer care and customizability.

Very durable. Have had it out in torrential downpours with 30 knot winds without a problem.

Edited by on 07/11/2008 00:05:38 MDT.

Pedro Arvy
( PedroArvy )

2RS on 10/22/2008 16:56:46 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

It won’t fall down, it withstands high wind but there are too many usability issues with this tent to make it easy to use.

Perhaps 10 years ago these tents were ahead of their time.
Now they are not.
Other companies have caught up with lighter materials and improved ultralight designs.
The company has refused to innovate and their tents have some OBVIOUS problems:

- No vestibule. Open the door - in comes the rain. It is claimed that adding a vestibule would weaken the tent. Sounds like nonsense.

- No mid-height guy lines. The owner says these would weaken the tent - what nonsense. If they were correctly designed they would stop lateral movement under high wind like they do in every other tunnel tent. The poles on this tent are very thin but large diameter aluminum that could well have wall failure with a mid height guyline. That's true. So why not redesign them?

- The 2 wall option of this tent is not really 2 wall at all. It is a layer of material hanging from the roof with barely a separation.

- The massive tension you have to apply to the ends to get it taught can only be done easily on good soil. Add more guyline from the sides and roof would alleviate this issue.

- The windows cannot be opened or closed from the inside. You have to get out of the tent to close windows when its raining.

This company has work to do if this tent is to really be cutting edge ultralight.
If you call them on the phone to discuss this sort of stuff you get the outdated prejudices of the owner who once had a leading edge product and could afford this sort of attitude. Others have caught up and now he sounds just plain lazy to me.

At current prices, this can only be a 3/5. Functional but not that usable.

To refer to Canyons comment below, this tent may have the greatest space to weight ratio of any tent I know of too but I am hardly ever in such extreme environments that this is an issue. The others factors affect me far more frequently.

Edited by PedroArvy on 11/04/2008 22:50:48 MST.

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canyon steinzig
( canyon )

Nor Cal
high altitude on 10/26/2008 01:49:39 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

This tent separates itself from all other "similar" designs when it comes to locating it above tree line in potential Real weather. I'm not sure those who argue other tents have replaced it are as accurate as the might think. For very lightweight three season below treeline, yes, much has changed. But is there a tent that has this weight/room ratio that can withstand wind? I woulld actually be interested in that tent.

Lynn Tramper
( retropump )

The Antipodes of La Coruna
Maybe mine was a dud? on 11/04/2008 12:30:59 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I agree with Petras summary, but would add that MY tent seemed to be defective to the extent that the inner tent around the window was almost hanging in our faces...I think this was a problem with sewing in the zipper.

Condensation was the worst I've ever encountered in a tent, and without opening the side windows (or if you don't have this option) it was difficult to vent. This problem was made worse by lack of insect mesh on the front door (ie when insects were a problem you had to keep the front door completely zipped up). There is also the ground level mesh floor perimeter which makes the floor of the tent vulnerable on soggy ground, and also seems to increase condensation via evaporation of moisture from damp soil (we see the same problem with our SMD Refuge-X). This mesh flooring also allowed spindrift to enter the tent.

As Canyon says, it was pretty stable in the wind provided you had it pitched rear into the wind, but if the winds shifted or were chaotic we had problems for sure. For the weight, comfort, cost and versatility, we find the Double Rainbow to be exceptionally wind stable and an all around better tent. Throw in the DR liner to make it a virtual double skinned tent. For expected severe winter or storm conditions, we happily carry the extra weight to take a Nallo 2 and be dry and comfortable. To be fair, spindrift is also an issue with the DR, and the Nallo has some venting problems, but other than that I wouldn't want another Stephenson's unless they radically changed their design and attitude.

Edited by retropump on 11/04/2008 12:38:38 MST.

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Peter Atkinson
( sewing_machine )

Yorkshire, England
Stephenson 2R - very good but not perfect on 06/29/2009 01:04:28 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

... but then what tent is?!

I have the 2R version with windows, and find this tent roomy and very stable; we camped at a high level (for the UK!) on a mountain side in Scotland and the tent was a secure comfortable base that gave us a lot of internal space. The tent is also very light to carry and quick and easy to put up.

The down side is that there is no vestibule. I cannot understand why this seems so important to me (but it is!) - as in tunnel tents a user usually has to pass through their gear to get to the main body, and the only difference here is that there is a floor in the vestibule and no door (I have the model with a dam to provide some separation/protection from water/dirt). What real difference does a door make other than physchological? I guess the main issue is the floor making cooking inside hard in consistent poor weather.

Edited by sewing_machine on 06/29/2009 01:06:14 MDT.

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