ProView – MSR Access 2 Tent

This fall I had the pleasure of reviewing the MSR Access 2 tent. My first product test was in Moab, Utah with a client who had never camped before. Next, I took the tent into the rugged Gore Range in Colorado on a five-day alpine climbing mission. Lastly, I spent three nights in the tent on Longs Peak in Colorado in extremely harsh winter conditions.

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MSR Access 2 Tent Two-Person, Four Season Ski Touring Tent

Product Description: Built to be the ultimate shelter for backcountry skiers, splitboarders and snowshoers, the Access 2 tent is lighter than a mountaineering tent, but warmer than MSR's backpacking tents. Limited mesh on the tent body offers greater warmth on frigid nights, while the light and packable design saves you precious energy on the climb and descent. The interior is spacious for delayering, and the strong frame resists overnight snow loading. Quick to set up, the tent offers the protection needed for camping in less severe conditions, such as those near tree-line—making it perfect for accessing the bowls, ridges and powder fields above.

Price: $600 MSRP

  • Quality
    (4)
  • Fit
    (3.7)
  • Versatility
    (4.5)
  • Style
    (4.5)

Summary

Overall this is a fantastic tent that is lightweight and very easy to set up. It performs well in many different environments and can handle wind and snow well. The fact that the tent has two doors and two full vestibules is awesome. I also really do like the bright red color of the tent as it is easy to see in poor visibility. This is a feature I value when guiding alpine climbing or backcountry skiing. Adding ventilation to the fly and increasing the mesh ventilation on the tent would be a welcomed improvement. I also would like to see bigger inside pockets. I give this tent a 4/5. A few minor improvements and the tent would quickly get a 5/5.

Overall
4.2

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to set up
  • Large vestibules for storage

Cons

  • Sloping tent walls make it harder for tall people to get comfortable.

Ease of Use

As a full-time mountain guide, I have spent years guiding and camping in many different environments and feel pretty savvy with pitching a tent. When I read the description of the MSR Access 2 tent stating that it is easy to set up I figured the best test was to have someone who has never camped before attempting the process of pitching the tent. My client from Italy had never even seen a tent before our camping 101 class. I gave him the tent without any instructions on how to proceed and he managed to put the tent up without any difficulties. He kept saying “this is easy”. It helps that the stuff sack has very clear pictures depicting the process. Mission accomplished!

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Features/Function

For my client’s first night sleeping in a tent, I let him explore the luxury of sleeping solo. He was so very pleased with how lightweight and packable the tent was and the comfort and roomie feeling inside that he is looking to get one for himself, even though it is considered a two-person tent. It was fairly warm during our camping experience. In the desert heat, the tent ventilated sufficiently but not perfectly. The mesh vents are small but camping without the fly would be the preferred option when in warmer temperatures.

The next testing environment was at 11,000 feet in the Gore Range in Colorado, where I was teaching a beginning mountaineering course. I was sharing the tent with my co instructor. The inside of the tent is very comfortable for two but there is not much extra room inside for gear storage. This is not of great concern as there are two vestibules that are large enough for backpack storage and cooking. The latter was pretty important as it was cold and blustery and it rained and snowed pretty hard. The seams on the tent are factory tape sealed which is really nice. Aftermarket seam sealing never seems to work.

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One slight inconvenience is that the fly does not cover the tent body when the fly door is open thus allowing any precipitation to come straight inside the tent. There are two mesh pockets inside the tent big enough for storing small items (phone, headlamp, lip balm etc.) but they are not quite big enough for larger items such as socks or gloves. The tent is definitely designed for two people sleeping head to foot, a feature I do like as it gives each person their own space inside the tent. However, the sidewalls of the tent are not that steep so they may hit the sleeping bag of tall people down by the feet, something that can be quite annoying especially if using a down bag.

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My final testing environment was spent on Longs Peak in Colorado at about 12,000 feet. I was guiding a client for four days working on expedition preparation for her upcoming Antarctica trip. We had the most rugged weather I have ever experienced in the mountains with single digit temperatures, heavy snow and winds up to 80 mph. Setting up the tent in the dark with high winds would have been a bit of a challenge for a solo person but with two people it was much easier. The fly completely covers the tent and it is easy to attach it to the tent body and stake it down using the included super lightweight but sturdy stakes. The tent also comes with several additional guy lines that can be used for extra security. The winds were so intense on our journey we had to add four additional guy lines to secure the tent to shrubbery and boulders. The tent held up very well in the high winds and heavy snow. We did get a lot of condensation inside. The small mesh vents on the tent and the lack of other vents on the fly did not seem sufficient.

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Final Word

Overall this is a fantastic tent that is lightweight and very easy to set up. It performs well in many different environments and can handle wind and snow well. The fact that the tent has two doors and two full vestibules is awesome. I also really do like the bright red color of the tent as it is easy to see in poor visibility. This is a feature I value when guiding alpine climbing or backcountry skiing. Adding ventilation to the fly and increasing the mesh ventilation on the tent would be a welcomed improvement. I also would like to see bigger inside pockets. I give this tent a 4/5. A few minor improvements and the tent would quickly get a 5/5.

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Mia is a full-time guide with Colorado Mountain School. She has taught and guided in the mountain environment for over 30 years. She guides in all mountain disciplines including rock and ice climbing, alpine climbing and ski mountaineering. When not working she may be found climbing offwidths at Vedauvoo and Indian Creek or skiing some deep powder somewhere. You can follow her on Instagram at @mtnmia.

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