Usually gear names are some crazy mishmash of numbers and letters that only have meaning to the geekiest of the geeky, but pretty much anyone who has been above sea level knows that the EV here stands for Ed Viesturs. Ed (he lets me call him Ed, or at least I’ll just assume I can call him Ed until he writes in and tells me otherwise) has detailed the specs for this tent for Mountain Hardwear, and it’s evident that he’s left nothing out. Wait, he’s left some stuff out, or else this high-altitude mountaineering tent wouldn’t weigh in at an insane five pounds. Okay, so he’s left the vestibule out – it’s built in. He’s left out the minibar and the espresso machine, which, let me tell you, go a long way in convincing me to go climb anything in winter. I had high hopes once I heard about this built-in vestibule thing, but no – the minibar is not similarly included. Ah well, sometimes a Geargal has to take one for the team.
Most of the Geargals have taken this tent out at one time or another. None of them, I have to point out, were doing anything particularly epic so we all feel a little sheepish about toting around the Ed Viesturs name when it’s a balmy 20 degrees out and we’re only at 300 meters. But then we realize that we only have to carry five pounds of tent even in winter, and we feel better. We do find that lots and lots of people want to borrow this tent when they do anything in winter, and the Head Geargal gets a little shifty-eyed when anyone but her takes it somewhere without her when it’s below 50 degrees. She is well known for her lack of tolerance for cold, which is pretty funny for someone who lives in Alaska and runs an outdoor gear blog, so she never likes it when she doesn’t have the warmest tent in the arsenal at her disposal. [Nice. Way to blow my gnarly persona. -HG]
We have mixed feelings about the built in vestibule thing. I suppose if you really are in some sort of desperate situation (and I find 90% of all mountaineering a desperate situation, I admit) you probably would really like having your stuff in the tent with you instead of outside getting assimilated into the snowpack by driving wind and blowing snow. I have to say that personally I don’t mind having all my gear in the tent but you can really tell that Ed is a dude by the way the built in vestibule takes up most of the doorway. It just reminds me of the way I have to step over 8 pairs of dude shoes just to get in the house – a chick would have put the gear space AWAY from the door. Now, I’m sure there is some sort of fancy mountaineering reason why it’s better to have the gear near the door, but I don’t know what it is and as you’re probably gathering from this post, I really don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to mountaineering. One thing that I understand about mountaineering is that people who do it really like each other a lot; if they didn’t there is no possible way they could tolerate being in a tent this small. For a two person tent these are some cozy accommodations. But that’s OK because I suppose if you’re in an extremely cold environment, close quarters help preserve body heat. And speaking of preservation, this tent is so windproof that it has all kinds of warnings printed on the inside about how you HAVE to open the vents or you are risking suffocation. Eeek! It feels all kinds of bizarre to be opening vents on your tent when it’s really cold out. But I follow directions and was afraid of waking up dead, so I opened the vents as ordered. The tent still stayed pretty warm and for a single wall tent didn’t frost up too badly – but even if it did, there is a cool little zipper in the floor for “frost management.” Now I am dying of curiosity – do high altitude mountaineers really bring along little brooms to help with the frost management? I must know. I mean, is that a luxury item or what? Also I have to mention that it’s hard enough to get dudes to sweep the floor in a normal house, do they really put any time into sweeping the floors of their tents? I just can’t see it.
Well, I don’t know about dudes, but my winter camping trip with the EV2 really proved that chicks don’t mind a little tent maintenance – we swept out the frost like there was no tomorrow. Though admittedly if that cool frost management zipper hadn’t been there, we probably wouldn’t have bothered. So kudos to Ed Viesturs for promoting cleanliness and making dudes think about sweeping. If only I could install a dirt management zipper in my kitchen floor. [Readers, I present to you a winter gear review written by my least winter-ish writer. Well done! Now give me back that tent. – HG]