Mountain Hardwear Helion 2
Design: 3 season
Ease of Setup: as easy as it gets
Price Paid: $280
It's important that you understand what this tent is. It is advertised as a 2-person tent, but it's really a large 1-person tent. I've used this when camping with my girlfriend, but she is TINY. Otherwise it's an excellent size for just one person.
I recommend buying the footprint for the tent, but otherwise it's rain performance was excellent. I've used it in 4 downpours with ZERO issues. It packs small and is very light. A typical high-quality Mountain Hardwear offering.
Design: three season ultralight
Ease of Setup: kind of a pain with the short pole sections
Weight: 3#14oz (a few more ozs than they say0
Price Paid: $209
I got this tent for half price, still think I paid $50 too much. The floor is really cheesy, would have to get a footprint, that is not available, and if it were, it would put the tent around 4 1/2 pounds, and there are much better tents, in this range for much less money.
Really dissapointed in Mountain Hardwear. GoLite and Big Agnes are much better. Like the others said, it is tiny, I am 6' even, and am touching my feet (too small to go at an angle). The third pole design kinda blows also, it takes that much longer to set it up, also it is not well ventilated. I set it up next to two other tents I have, one a four season, and it was really hot inside, the other two were not that bad, (it was 75 out).
So if you really want to save weight, get a tarp and floor combo, and a bug screen. I can get these under 3#, So I see now why this tent is discounted so much.
Design: three-season ultralight freestanding
Ease of Setup: moderate
Weight: 4 pounds
Price Paid: $400
Well well, I was waiting and waiting for any review on the Helion 2 and the first I see is a nice negative report.
Well, I did my research and I bought one anyway. I was looking for a freestanding (nice for hot open sky nights and beaches and rocks) ultralight 1-person tent (big 1 person tents are often called 2 person tents, so there you go) with real weather proof construction, a large (read usable) vestibule, and a single large door. I found it.
Yes, clips would have been easier to use and quicker (like the SL2), but I have heard they can rattle in high winds, etc. In any case, I'm already pretty quick with this tent (which is tiny) and it fits one person and a backpack (under the ample vestibule) very well. Smart construction uses well built corners and pockets.
Many tents I saw in this range either had strange shapes with the fly on that could pool water (such as has been reported with the MSR Hubba) or had areas of the tent that just weren't covered (as I witnessed when checking out the SL1 and SL2 in person, with the fly on).
For a bomb proof small footprint size tent, this looks like it's a class leader.
I'll update with more information after an upcoming long outdoor excursion.
Design: three-seaon free-standing trapezoid
Ease of Setup: moderate-ish
Weight: 4 pounds
Price Paid: Returned
Buyer beware! Purchasing the Helion 2 will most likely only make your retailer or Mountain Hardwear happy. Sound like harsh criticism? Read on.
The Helion's advertised floor area is 28 square feet--a small two-person, but a doable size. I set up the tent and was shocked at how small it was--nowhere near the size of my other 28-ish square foot tents. I measured the actual floor, and calculated real floor area of roughly 19.7 square feet! That's strictly solo tent size! Most of the area comes in length; two 20 inch Therm-a-rests won't fit--not even the tapered ProLites--without significant overlapping.
In some bizarre experiment, Mountain Hardwear also decided to combine the worst attributes of pole clips and sleeves. What they did was use small plastic rings instead of clips. So you have to thread the poles through these things one-by-one over their entire length. You don't get the ease of clips or the strength of poles.
I won't deny that they used some pretty nice looking materials that're relatively light. But here's the bottom line. The Helion 2 is a $400 dollar, 4 pound solo tent. There are plenty of solos out there, the same size, a pound to two pounds lighter, for at least $150 dollars less. In my mind, then, there's no point in a Helion.
Ease of Setup: Easy
Price Paid: £270
This tent is advertised as guaranteed waterproof. It is not. Mine starting leaking after 3 weeks. The top sheet became completely porous in heavy rain. Not much fun. Don't buy this tent.
Where to Buy
The Mountain Hardwear Helion 2 is not available from the stores we monitor.
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