Mountain Hardwear Lightwedge 2 DP Review
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A tent is a tent is a tent, right? In some ways, yes. In other ways features, weight, and size all matter—especially when you’re backpacking a long distance or expect adverse terrain and weather conditions. The Mountain Hardwear Lightwedge 2 DP is a lightweight shelter for backpacking or car camping that comes as footprint, canopy (tent itself), rainfly, three poles, and stakes—or rather, a pretty standard tent package. Looking deeper, there is one key feature that marks this tent as a stand-out from the sea of camping shelters.
Dry Pitch Makes It Different
This key element, and the Lightwedge 2 DP’s standout feature, is where the DP comes from—Dry Pitch. This allows for the rainfly to be set-up first or by itself, so if caught in wet conditions the fly can be erected quickly so you and your stuff can take cover. Once you’ve got the fly erected, the rest of the tent is surprisingly not cumbersome to set-up from under the fly. This also means you have set-up option, allowing the camper to set up just rainfly, just the tent canopy, or both together. At the heart of the Dry Pitch system are the DAC corner pieces which each layer of the tent and poles attach to. These small plastic pieces can be independently attached to each component of the tent or to the poles, making the various setup options possible.
Setting Up the Mountain Hardwear Lightwedge 2 DP
The DAC system makes erecting the tent traditionally with no instructions quite easy. Just lay the footprint and tent out with the poles on top, attach the corners to the DAC clips, assemble and insert the poles in the DAC clips. Hook the center slider attachment to the center hub, the tent hooks to the poles, insert the brow pole over the door, spread the fly over the entire tent, and clip the corners to the DAC connectors. Staking the tent down is optional, but staking the fly down so it doesn’t contact the tent is recommended, especially if you expect rain or wet conditions. “Dry pitching” the tent is nearly the same and just as easy. Lay the fly over the poles, tent, and footprint first, then climb underneath to set up the poles under the fly. Finish by securing the tent clips beginning at the back of the tent and moving toward the front. The DAC clips allow all three pieces of the the tent to remain connected even during packing and storage, so this is another dry pitch option—lay out the tent components already connected at the corners, then slide the poles between the fly and the canopy and press the poles into the DAC clips. While the DAC clips were extremely easy to use, I found that sand, dirt and debris collected in them. In addition, twisting the the clips made removal easier than just pulling them straight apart.
How Big Is The Mountain Hardwear Lightwedge 2 DP?
The Lightwedge 2 DP is a two-person backpacking tent, and has enough space for me (6′ 2″ male) and my girlfriend Steph, who’s 5′ 2″, with just a small amount of extra clothing inside the tent. At a measured 48″ tall this tent has ample headroom even for me, measuring taller than the claimed 45″. Inside you’ll find small mesh pockets for quick access to things like headlamps, keys, etc. as well as a Tension Shelf just above the door which we found useful for storing sunglasses and electronics that needed overnight charging. The single vestibule is large enough to keep two gear bags and several pair of shoes out of the elements. While an additional door and vestibule would be welcome to store more gear, the weight penalty wouldn’t be worth it. On my postal scale it weighs 6 lbs. 1 oz., just 2 oz. more than the manufacturer’s claimed weight and comparable to other two-person backpacking shelters.
Wind and Rain Oh My!
We slept in the Lightwedge 2 DP on a three-day, two-night biking trip across the western Colorado and Utah desert where conditions change quickly and can be harsh. The first evening, the winds were howling at a canyon rim camp site. A gust of wind whipped through during set-up blowing the tent into a low scrub tree, yet the Lightwedge 2 DP survived with no visible damage even on the lightest mesh portions. That night, we felt no drafts inside the tent with the door and vestibule zipped up, although the wind continued until dawn. Mountain Hardwear also boasts the Lightwedge 2 DP has “guaranteed watertight construction with fully taped fly, taped perimeter seam, welded corners and welded guy clip anchors” and we found it to be plenty rain resistant when a 3 a.m. storm rolled through unexpectedly.
The Lightwedge 2 DP Sounds Awesome! Any Cons?
I’m very pleased with the performance of the Lightwedge 2 DP. I noticed that there’s some tension from the rain fly on the tent poles when set-up, which made the zipper on the door and fly a little challenging to use at times. There are only two small windows on the vestibule of the Lightwedge which didn’t allow for a lot of natural light into the tent, but this did make sleeping in past sunrise easier. The base of the Lightwedge 2 DP didn’t lie completely flat, keeping the seam off the ground which might be a benefit in the wet. This didn’t cause any issues with space or otherwise, but did cause us to double check our set-up.
Mountain Hardwear Lightwedge 2 DP Summary
The Mountain Hardwear Lightwedge 2 DP is a comfortable, versatile tent for backpacking and car camping. The variety of set-up options and features make it attractive as a long-term, multi-use addition to your camping shelter arsenal. You can visit www.mountainhardwear.com for more information about this and all Mountain Hardwear products. The Lightwedge 2 DP retails for $290.00 and is available in green only.