Exped Carina II
Great backpacking tent.
- Great side vestibules
- Good weight for so much space inside
- Possibly not very good in strong winds
We have a bunch of Exped tents. We have a Venus 2 and a Gemini 2. We love the Venus 2, but it is kinda heavy... the tent fabric alone (i.e., the tent without the poles or stakes) weighs 5 lbs. Plus, due to its exoskeleton design it is inconvenient to split the tent into to equal halves for carrying. So, one person gets stuck carrying the tent fly AND inner, and that weighs 5 lbs!
When we saw the Carina II tent become available we thought: Awesome, same basic pole structure as the Venus 2, but lighter, and NOT exo skeleton.
The Carina 2 is similar to the Venus in its pole structure and vestibules, but it is a more conventional tent in that the inner is pitched first, and then the rain fly. This makes it easier to split into two equal halves to pack with a partner. Plus, it weighs about 2 pounds less than the Venus 2 to begin with.
So, we ordered the tent. We like it, but, would have to say that it is not great in strong wind. The structure just isn't as wind-strong as the Venus (or Gemini II). We had it staked out very securely and thoroughly, and used all the little straps that secure the rain fly to the tent poles, but the tent still was heavily distorting in 25 MPH gusts. We were worried that we would not have a shelter for the night. To be fair, Exped markets the tent as a tent "designed for moderate climates." So, we were pushing it a bit.
The tent did hold-up, but it definitely was a blow to our confidence in the tent for our uses. We almost always camp above tree-line, in the snow often, and there is usually wind. Now, if you are backpacker who usually ends-up camping in the trees I would say this tent would be excellent, one of the best for that use. But, for above treeline/mountaineering kind of trips I'd have to say that wind stability would be a concern I would have.
The tent is roomy both in terms of length and width. I am 5'11" my wife is 5'5". We both have plenty of room.
The vestibules are great. A safe place to keep your boots at night, and a backpack too. And, you could even sit in the tent and have a stove placed just outside the vestibule for cooking in foul weather (I would never cook with a stove actually inside the tent or vestibule).
The colors are very cheery, like all Exped tents, and so it is nice being inside the tent. The yellow interior colors are my favorite color of any tent I have ever used (30+ years of backpacking/climbing)
It is easy to set up. The main poles slide easily into the sleeves, as does the cross-pole. Getting the rain fly attached was a bit difficult at first due to the little pockets in the fly that secure the fly to the ends of the cross pole. But after a couple of uses the fly seems to have stretched-out just a tiny bit, enough to make this part of the setup easier.
The tent has nice adjustable lines at each of the four main corners, and at the vestibule tie-outs as well. It also has four additional length-adjustable tie-ins along the main poles.
The floor material seems thick and durable.
Ventilation is good, two "brow" vents on the rain fly (one on each side), and the inner is part mesh/part fabric - A good balance between the two. No condensation problems. I find that tents with the interior made entirely of mesh are not warm enough, and too drafty. Exped used enough mesh to help the tent ventilate, yet there is enough fabric so that it's warmer inside the tent, than outside, on a cold night.
My wife and I think of this tent like this: If you want a palace that is relatively lightweight (around 4 1/2 Lbs) for all around backpacking, the Carina 2 would be great. If the weather turns to rain this tent would be great because it has very functional vestibules. The Gemini 2 might be better if you're above treeline a lot (better wind performance) but it is slightly less roomy than the Carina 2 and has a slightly less great vestibule (though still a good one). Then, of course, for better all around sturdiness and all season performance, with way more control over ventilation and warmth there's the Venus 2, but you get what you "pay" for in terms of weight!
All the Exped tents are well made, have lots of thoughtful functional features, are cheery to be in, and are made of durable materials. Thumbs up for Exped, and great customer support too!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: around $350 or so
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Historic Range: $255.30-$428.95
Reviewers Paid: $350.00