EMS Alpin 2
Design: Four-season freestanding
Ease of Setup: Very easy to setup, flexible setup depending on the conditions
Weight: 7-11lbs depending on setup
Price Paid: $400
I have used the Alpin 2 in a variety of conditions ranging from -20 deg snowy nights in the Adirondacks to a rare warm 80 deg in April and I have yet to be disappointed.
There are two ways to setup the tent, which is nice as I separate out the inside from the outside when packing it in my backpack/compression sack. The fly can be setup independently which provides a fast shelter when it is raining. While staying protected the inside of the tent clips onto the fly with little difficulty so long as your start from the center and work your way out.
***The inside offers a lot of room to move around without worrying about headroom. Sleeping space is long enough to sleep comfortably in and I don't feel too tall for the tent (I'm 5' 11" tall). Each corner and two walls offer nice sized pockets for your Nalgene, glasses, etc. without getting in the way. The dual door setup is great for when nature calls and you don't want to disturb your partner.
When the vents are open the inside had little moisture buildup on the walls and it stayed fairly warm for those cold winter nights. The moisture builds up on the inside of fly and vents out. There are gear loft loops but EMS doesn't offer a gear attic which I find strange and concerning as I don’t know if another brand will fit this tent or if it is universal.
***The exterior of the tent is more than capable of handling whatever I throw at it. The fly sheds snow/rain without any problems, which is very comforting to know especially as my last so-called 4-season tent collapsed on me during a snow storm at 2am ;-(. I have not used the glow-rope guy lines yet as I have not experienced strong enough winds to require them but I'm not worried about their construction as the rest of the tent is a bomb shelter from what I've seen.
The zippers on both doors are solid and typically do not get caught on the fly when closing. The vestibule offers space for your backpack and other gear with extra space for cooking.
***Overall this tent is amazing and it will and has served me well in all of my outings. Keep in mind this is not a light tent weighing in at ~7-11 lbs depending on the setup but most 4-season tents average this weight. My only true concern is how cool it stays during those hot and muggy nights.
Design: four-season free standing
Ease of Setup: Too hard to get ends of poles in gromets. Otherwise, not bad.
Weight: 9lb 12 oz
Price Paid: $300
I bought this tent about two years ago from EMS in Arlington, VA. I've always used The North Face (plus a few "off" brands I've thrown away) but wanted something a little smaller... okay, and cheaper. I liked the shape and I also liked the concept of setting up the fly only with the tent body already clipped inside. I gave it 2.5 stars because it's a very warm tent, has a good design and is fairly easy to set up.
The cons: 1) Much too heavy for a 2-person tent. 2) It takes too much pressure to insert the pole ends into the grommets. While on a February trip to Tallulah Gorge, GA, I was trying to get the pole out of the front grommet and 15 inches of the fly tore. To make matters worse, they charged me $13.00 plus shipping to fix it.. It shouldn't have ripped in the first place (the store suggested UV damage!?) and should have been repaired for free.
BTW... A couple years ago, my dog chewed a hole in my 1987 VE25. TNF repaired it - with full warranty - for $10.
Lesson learned: You only save money in the store.
Where to Buy
The EMS Alpin 2 is not available from the stores we monitor.
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Here's what other sites are saying:
Double-wall shelter for winter camping and mountaineering, the EMS Alpin 2 tent features plenty of room for two and loads of gear.