The new Access 2, Two-person, Four-season ski touring tent from MSR is one of two main, all-season tent categories now offered by MSR. As well as the Access line, there’s also the Remote. To see our review of the Remote 2 Two-person Mountaineering tent, click here, will ya? MSR, part of the Cascade Designs family of companies, has been making tents for a long time—and you’ll see a bunch of them reviewed here on the site. Here are a couple others if you’d like to have a look: MSR Carbon Reflex 3 Tent, and the MSR Mutha Hubba NX 3.
As a warm-up for the rest of the review, we thought we'd include a video from the folks at MSR. It's a little salesy—but it's still informative.
Winter camping is not known for being a minimalist endeavour. It can be tough to haul around a full backcountry ski setup, multiple days’ food and a hefty 4-season tent, along with all the other essential bits ‘n’ pieces. One of the ways to make life a little easier is of course to shave the pounds and cut the size of your pack. Many people are happy to take an extra load for security and comfort, whereas some of us like to keep tabs down to the last gram and perhaps take that slightly colder, lighter sleeping-bag and suffer through the night for an easier days travel on our skis. Personally I find that a little of both worlds can make for a sensible and more achievable goal when it comes to dialling in your set up, so I approve of MSR’s new line of Access tents.
The Access series are designed to be lightweight yet still stand up to the rigors of a backcountry winter camp. MSR has proven itself in the past by making fantastic backpacking tents, namely the Hubba series. The Hubba tents have been around a few years and are much loved by many folk, and have received multiple Outdoor gear awards from various retailers and reviewers throughout the industry. Well built and very lightweight they manage to tick a lot of boxes for many people, no matter what size of backpacking tent they’re in the market for.
I was given the opportunity to try out the Access 2, the 2-person model in one of their most recent lines. Being marketed as a 4-season tent it comes with an inside canopy that has a nearly full covering of 20D Ripstop Nylon along with a rain-fly of the same thickness that is rated to 1200mm water repellence testing. The floor is thicker and comes in at 3000mm, an additional footprint is also available. Many folk who are familiar with the figures for winter shelters may raise their eyebrows a bit at this. There’s no doubt about it, the walls are not as thick as you might find on other tents. This is going to affect both waterproofing and warmth. Anybody who’s used a 3-season tent in the depths of winter will tell you, the ambient temperature of your tent makes a difference; it’s not just your sleeping bag & mat!
But we’ll come back to that.. Let’s set it up...
The set up is fast. It’s easy enough that it can be done with one person with frozen fingers, trust me. Two Crisscross poles that fit into four grommets, and one perpendicular that sits across the centre of the structure. This too has its own grommets at the base of the tent, unlike the Hubba-Hubba where it does not reach the floor. Having this slightly extra long length of pole is to give the tent a little more strength in wind and under snow-loading, though it does reduce the door and vestibule size.
|Rainfly Fabric||20D ripstop nylon 1200mm Durashield™ polyurethane & silicone|
|Canopy Fabric||20D ripstop nylon & DWR|
|Mesh Type||10D polyester micro-mesh|
|Floor Fabric||30D ripstop nylon 3000mm Durashield™ polyurethane & DWR|
Overall I love what MSR is doing with this design. You don’t always need an ultra heavy duty shelter even in the winter months. Some people are also happy to sacrifice a little warmth for the weight and ease of packing. For these folks this tent makes total sense. The other great thing about this model is you could use it year round. Many 4-season tents are simply overkill for a warm summer night where as this ticks both boxes when it comes to both warm and cold weather. I’d feel very secure sitting out a summer storm in the Access 2. But would I trust this tent in a serious winter storm and very cold temperatures? Honestly I think I’d rather have something a little more heavy duty for those sorts of weather events such as a design from the MSR Remote series. That being said, this tent has its niche and it does a very good job of filling it.
Weight: 1.64kg / 3lb 10 oz
Number of Doors: 2
Number of Vestibules: 2
Floor Area: 2.69sq m / 29sq ft
Vestibule Area: 1.62sq m / 17.5sq ft
Livable Volume: 1586L / 56cu ft
Internal Peak Height: 107cm / 42”
Packed Size: 46 x 15cm / 18 X 6in
|Interior Space 2/2
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