REI Mountain 3



I wouldn't want to take it mountaineering, but a heck…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $150


I wouldn't want to take it mountaineering, but a heck of a good tent for bad weather camping in rain and windy conditions.


  • 5-pole design can withstand heavy winds
  • Entries on each end allow for assembled cots to be inserted
  • Footprint of fly is no wider than the tent
  • Front vestibule allows entry in rain without getting tent wet
  • Tent openings can be zipped shut to keep blowing dust out


  • Ventilation is not the greatest
  • Heavier than I'd want to carry backpacking
  • Rear vestibule is too small to be of any real use

After suffering through some windy (but dry) camp trips in Death Valley and various rivers that resulted in a tent full of dust, I went looking for something I could zip completely closed when conditions warranted.I also wanted something with a more robust pole setup that could stand up to the wind without folding or breaking poles. This led me to 4 season tents, which were overkill and way too expensive for what I was after.

I happened to stumble across a used but like-new Mountain 3 on CL, and my research revealed that it zipped fully closed and had a 5-pole design to withstand high winds. The primary knock of online reviewers was that it really wasn't a suitable 4-season mountaineering tent, but since I wasn't planning on doing any mountaineering, it suited my needs.

I have been very happy with the size and shape of the tent, and I really appreciate the pole-supported vestibule porch, which allows for storage of wet gear, dry-entry when it's raining, and for the tent door to remain open even when it's raining. The footprint is relatively narrow (but long), and thus will fit into more spaces than our other tents with flies that are very wide when guyed out. The three-person is very comfortable for two, but would be kind of snug for three "comfort" campers.

The tent is easy enough to pitch, given that it uses clips and no sleeves to feed through. It does take a while to set up, however, given that there are five poles. The design does result in walls that are pretty vertical and good head space for sitting up or kneeling. The tent pitches very tautly and is very stable in winds. There are multiple pockets and a gear loft as well as multiple webbing loops for hanging lights or other gear.  The tent has held up admirably for three seasons of use now with no obvious signs of wear or damage.

Overall, the Moutnain 3 is not very good at ventilation, is kind of heavy for backpacking, and due to all the poles it doesn't pack very small. However, for a rock-solid shoulder season tent that will keep you dry (and dust free) in rain and wind storms, it works very well.


Thanks for sharing your Mountain 3 review, Dale. How long have you been using yours? Got any pics?

2 months ago
Dale Van Valkenburg

this is its third season in, mainly for shoulder season river trips. I do have some good pics of it in action, but haven

2 months ago
Dale Van Valkenburg

figured out how to post them yet!

2 months ago

Hi Dale. To add a picture, go into editing mode on your review. Click the photo icon (little green tree) above the body of the review and you'll be able to upload a picture to insert. Hope that helps.

2 months ago

First off this tent is roomy but the smaller vestibule…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Design: 4 season freestanding
Sleeps: 3
Ease of Setup: once or twice at home and good to go
Weight: 9 lbs 13 oz w/o footprint

First off this tent is roomy but the smaller vestibule is small. You might fit boots in there but that is about it. It fits 2 people with ease and three comfortably.

The window is a nice feature but zips up kind of sticky part way. The tent vented reasonably for 0 degrees and held up to 80 mile an hour gusts with all the tieouts. You will need different stakes for snow and more to use all the tieouts. It is very waterproof and little condensation with the top vent open.

It is a little heavy and hard to split among 2 people because of the top vent design (needed to separate pole from fly otherwise would have gave five stars. All in all a very good tent!


My fiance and I bought this tent for two particular…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Design: Four-season dome
Sleeps: 3
Ease of Setup: Challenging the first, but extremely easy after
Weight: 8 lbs. 13 oz.
Price Paid: $349

My fiance and I bought this tent for two particular hiking trips (but there will be more in the future). The first to Big Bend and the second to Colorado. We just got back from Big Bend and it did fantastic! It takes a bit to set up the first time, but once you figure everything out it's easy. Thought it would be hot for the desert, but it breathed very nicely. We also got hit with wind and rain, no problem. We even set it up in a poor drainage area with water pooling under the tent and not a drop came in. (However, we did move it to a better drainage area once the rain stopped. Why take the chance when you don't have to?)

I personally would not use this for a car-camping tent, but that's because we usually car-camp with two dogs and a queen air-mattress. This tent would fit my need better as a backpacking tent, but it isn't the lightest tent out there so we have to split up the weight a little bit more between two people. Once set up, no worries, sleeps two easily with both backpacks in the tent. I LOVE THIS TENT!

REI also offers an incredible return/exchange program.

REI Mountain 3


The REI Mountain 3 is not available from the stores we monitor. It was last seen November 2, 2012 at REI.

If you're looking for a new four-season tent, check out the best reviewed current models.