User Review: MSR Ventana
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $175 CDN
Reasonably lightweight, roomy, comfortable tent; easy to pitch, rainproof, plenty of gearspace and pockets inside, and a great all-over mesh construction with a sturdy fly. Still going strong after 5 years of pretty solid use, including living in it 6 weeks straight in the alpine (Canada).
- full mesh tent stands alone without fly
- headspace, unique box design
- solid protection against rain (e.g. 17-hr downpour in tropics)
- fly has no windows at the back to open for ventilation
- a bit heavy for real backpacking
I bought my MSR Ventana in 2006 before a 3-month backpacking trip through Argentina. At $175 CDN it was a steal (I think new was $325) — and I've never regretted the purchase.
Although it's listed as a 1.5 person, two of us slept comfortably in the tent for more than a week at the time; the vestibules provide plenty of space for gear both front and back, and the crossing arches of the poles make a nice box design that maximizes the space while minimizing areas that are too small to utilize (usually corners and along the sides).
It's unfortunate that there are no small openings available for ventilation; during a long rainstorm in Argentina the condensation built up simply because there was no way to open the tent up without getting drenched through the doorway. It's also too bad that there's no zippered access from inside the tent to the rear vestibule, but it's not such a hardship.
The tent is pretty easy to set up and stands free or staked down. It would be handier to have clip-in poles rather than sleeves, but other than that I couldn't complain — just two lightweight folding poles to slide in and the thing is up and ready to go.
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