I have been looking for a new tent for yonks, each year I have said, I better get something that is better suited for alpine conditions. Ever since doing my first snow camp trip with my old MSR Hubba Hubba I have wondered about how well a proper 4 season tent would go and whether it was worth upgrading – noting that really the key difference between a 3 season and 4 season tent seems to be use of a full nylon inner in place of a mesh inner. That air gap between the fly and the inner is what keeps that warmth in. It (4 season) might also help reduce the need for my mega snow walls :) although they are a joy to build :)
I’m by no means a tent guru and my experience is pretty well limited to a couple of lightweight hiking tents and on the opposite end of the spectrum the taj mahal 3 room car camping tent for the minions..that said, that ain’t gonna stop me having an opinion :)
Also, in expanding my skillset into timelapse video, I have cobbled together a short video of me building my snow wall, setting up the tent and taking it down, pretty useless but cool for kicks and giggles….the world needs more useless videos right :) but, check out that snow wall, shoulda been a civil engineer (or a brickie)
The MSR Hubba Hubba is a pretty fine tent, I have had this one for over 10 years, its done every state in aus from car camping to hiking, the first fly literally disintegrated over the years (common issue with these), however the inner and the poles have served well and probably will for several years yet (inner floor tub will need resealing soon I think). I did get a replacement fly from the distributor(shout-out to Spelean) for a very reasonable price so I can’t complain too much about that. The Hubba is a good tent with the biggest strength lying in the fact that its very light and very simple, putting it up is a breeze and something I can do in literally a couple of minutes, it does lack some nice features, like pockets and hooks and the assembly of the eyelets onto the poles can be a bit onerous at times, but other than that its pretty good.
Onto the Mont Dragonfly, I was going to buy the Mont Moondance FN 2 person tent, this is one that I had looked at previously and liked, the specs all seemed good and improved on the Hubba with the exception of weight – however thats not super critical for me, durability and protection rate higher for me than weight (as I shoulder my canvas backpack at 3.5 kgs :) )
Other ones I have looked at are the Macpac Olympus, tried and rock solid from what I have seen, good price currently too at 700 buck or so on special. I’m not sold on the whole tunnel design, I do like the dual vestibule and free standing design of the MSR Hubba and Dragonfly/Moondance. The tunnel design and the increased bulk was a small deterrent for me with the Olympus, however I do know a few people who have them and rate them very highly….. The Wilderness Equipment Second Arrow was another on the cards, but I think the tunnel design in this and the opening turned me off, not bad, just not a style I think I wanted, again, the side vestibule is something I really liked and was familiar with. I really like setting up the vestibule with pit in it so you can sit easily in your tent and cook outside – a neat trick I learnt from Mike Edmondson.
So, I recently gave the Dragonfly a good red hot go in the snow, I did make sure I had the opportunity to set it up prior to going, I figured whilst I could probably work it out, but best to be familiar with it :)
In a nutshell, without in super detail here’s what I reckon:
- Easy and quick to setup, in particular the clip in nature of the poles, inner and fly work really well, getting the cross pole in and the fly attached is really easy, with the Hubba it was always a battle to get those eyelets onto (and off) the cross pole.
- Lots of inner pockets, in the ends, and in the roof, very handy.
- Lots of space, for a two person tent, I am pretty sure I could get two adults and a kid in it, bit squeezy but doable – that makes for a very nice roomy tent for me – this is a big factor since being rather tall (6’6”) there is nothing worse than having your feet hit the end of the tent, particularly when the end of the tent snows up.
- A few hanging clips/carabiners, a nice touch which makes things a bunch easier, my old Hubba had two fabric loops and that its.
- Good vents, these work well, in my Hubba, condensation was a bitch, there was no vents so in the right conditions it felt like it was gonna rain inside the tent :) The Dragonfly has two vents, accessible from the inside which in my case worked brilliantly.
- Guy ropes – these work great, one peg nails the the end and distributes load into 3 points on the tent.
- Made/design/sold by a aussie company – that counts for a lot to me nowadays – I would much rather my money go towards a local mob (even if its still manufactured O/S), rather than some US based company like MSR. Also, it’s certainly worth mentioning that the Mont service is awesome, whilst many don’t see value with that, particularly in this online age – it counts a lot for me.
- Some of the clips are a but fiddly, this is a bit of pain when its cold and your working with gloves and have to take gloves off – that said with practice I reckon it will be fine.
- Roof is somewhat flat – this makes for lots of lateral headroom inside, however it does cause snow to pile, in my first night in the snow it did pile up, it did however shed, albeit in rather large chunks.
- Durability – this one is hard, until you have owned something for several years and flogged it, its hard to know how something with hold up – hence at this point I’ll just say that the tent does have a lot of plastic clips and bits, these make for an easy assemble, particularly the inner to fly clips however I do wonder about the longevity of these items. One concern I have is that whilst the plastic clips might last environmentally, it could be my big hoofs that tread on them as I set it up that might cause problems :)
In terms of cost, its set around the typical 2 person lightweight 4 season mark, the newer MSR ones are in the same ballpark so cost is not really a negative or positive.
A shoutout to Bogong Equipment from who I purchased the Dragonfly Tent from, I needed a new tent pretty quickly (within a couple of weeks) but these guys emailed me back to say it was in stock and could send it out the same day if I placed the order, which I did, the thing turned up in my PO box the next day! credit to Auspost also (not often I say that :) ) – all with the covid-19 lockdowns as well!
So, here is my awesome timplapse, sorry about my ass getting in the way. And also a bunch of images from my first night in the tent.
Find more awesome Monty Mont stuff at Mont Adventure Equipment