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MEC Tarn 2

rated 3.5 of 5 stars

The Tarn 2 has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best three-season tents for 2024.

photo: MEC Tarn 2 three-season tent

Three season, two (1.5, really) person tent. Single entry, pyramid design, ply/nylon construction. Intended use, backpacking. A little heavy weighing in at almost 3 kgs.


  • Good price
  • Stable construction
  • Reliable


  • Very snug when inside (bad for tall people)
  • Some moisture transfer/Poor ventilation
  • Low ceiling

I used this tent backpacking on Vancouver Island over a period of two weeks. 

Setup: I found this tent very easy to pitch. The only issue arises when clipping the fly to the poles, as there seems to be a little too much tension, and it can be difficult to get the ends of the poles into their anchors at the ends of the tent body. This concerns me, as I can see the material weakening in these areas in the future. Fly first setup is simple, should you need to set this tent up this way.

Stability: Very stable tent; this is due to the third pole, which hoops over the entrance. I took this tent winter camping, and it held up under two feet of snow. 

Weather Resistance: I've only seen about two days of hard rain with this tent, and I found that it handled all right. I did find that the floor was a bit damp after day two, and I was using a groundsheet. 

Ventilation: Condensation was a big issue with this tent. It is mostly a closed canopy, with two thin strips of mesh at the top, and the option to convert the door to full mesh. Maybe better as a spring/fall tent. I took this tent out in August, and had condensation problems for a few nights. 

Room: It is SNUG inside this tent. I can see anyone taller than me (5'7") having a comfortable time in this tent. There is little headroom. As for it being a two-person tent, you'd have to be on very friendly terms, and leave your gear outside in the single, albeit roomy, vestibule. I see it more as a 1.5 person tent. 

Packability: Very easy to take down and pack up. I heard of other users stowing the tent and fly in a 10 L stuff sack different from the one it comes in, for easier stowage. I found the bag it comes in is shaped perfectly for strapping it to the outside of my pack

Ease of Use: Very consistent, and everything worked as expected. I did experience problems with the window on the fly delaminating. MEC repaired this for me free of charge, as it happened early on, in the first two weeks after purchase. They advised my that it was probably due to the tent being packed when damp. I see this as inevitable, given the weather on the PNW. 

Features: Reflective tabs and guylines, def a life saver when trying to find tent in the dark. Two inner pockets, but no loft (are loops on upper canopy for a loft option. I used them as anchors for a clothesline). Poles are different colours, to help with tent setup. 

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $199

Great ultra light backpacking tent with 3 7001-T6 poles. While called a two person, you had better be close friends. Perfect for one person (Large) and gear (Lots). Large vestibule, mesh pockets, condensation vent and rings for a gear loft. Totally free standing. Easy to shake out the sand and move it off a rock or root. The tent body utilizes a color coded clip system and the Fly hooks to the pole ends as well as velcro fasteners. If you utilize a "Foot Print" you can even take down the inner tent in the dry and leave the tent fly up. Great for rainy days! In the warm seasons leave the tent body behind and save ever more weight. All seams are sealed and the fabric is very water proof.

The clip system does take some getting used to. At the pole intersections, if you clip on the wrong side, the un-clipped pole wanders. If you do it right the tent is very solid. Fly goes to the ground and handles wind and rain very well.

Design: 3 Season Back Packing
Sleeps: 2-
Ease of Setup: Easy Clip System. Color coded for Idiots.
Weight: 5 lb.+/-
Price Paid: $215 CDN

My wife and I took the Tarn 2 on a bike expedition in Nova Scotia, and it worked flawlessly. On a couple of nights the rain and wind off of the ocean pounded like mad, but we stayed bone dry. On hot trips I have removed the fly, which helped to keep things fairly cool.

My only comment is that the tent would be a tad small for two larger people. I'm 6'5", and would like just a bit more length when using the tent for 2, which the Tarn 3 has. The extra room would be better for two guys as well, unless you want to spoon with your buddies.

Design: MEC Tarn2
Sleeps: 2
Ease of Setup: No problem!
Weight: 2.8 kg
Price Paid: $180

I guided with this tent for 4 months in northern Ontario, i have nothing bad to say about it. Didn't seem to matter how bad it rained, nothing inside got wet. Lots of room for one with gear, though I have squeezed 2 people into it, it's a tight fit. The only downside to this tent is on really hot trips the fly holds in the heat, removing the fly helps, however.. if it's raining.... you're kinda stuck.

Sleeps: 2
Ease of Setup: Very easy

Sorry to disagree, but the Tarn 2 is far from ultralight. When it first came out it was a step up from the old canvas tents, but technology has left it far behind. The new Camper 2 runs at 2.11 kg min. wt. and it's a lot cheaper and far easier to set up.

I bought a Tarn 2 few years ago and tried setting it up in my kitchen. It took me half an hour, and it looked a bit warped when I got done. This is truly a 1.5 person tent, not a 2 person tent. I took it back and swapped it for the Camper 2.

Price Paid: $187

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Price Reviewers Paid: $180.00-$187.00
$199.00 CAD