KUIU Mountain Star
- Fast pitch with external poles
- Tougher than most 3-season tents
- Easy to vent
- Big doors
- Snug floor area for two
- Pole clips hard to use with gloves or cold hands
- Single zipper on doors
Lightweight hunters are as demanding of their gear as backpackers, so it’s no surprise a tent from a hunting company is one of the best we’ve tested. It’s tough enough to use in three full seasons, set up is easy and fast, it doesn’t weigh too much, and it provides about as much room as we expect. Our few issues with the tent are minor and easily overlooked.
Shoulder room feels about average for this category. Tapering from 56 inches to 46 it’s designed for sleeping shoulder to shoulder. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for gear inside, but the two vestibules are big enough to store a full pack.
The Mountain Star comes with aluminum or carbon fiber poles, the latter ditches a couple ounces of weight for an extra $30. Either way, the tent weighs in just over three pounds, respectable for a three season tent and impressive considering its stability and ruggedness.
This was the fastest tent in the test when it came to setting up. The reason is the integrated fly and tent with exterior clipping poles. So rather than set up the tent and then lay the fly over top, the pole attaches on the outside, pitching both fly and body in one. The asymmetric design made it a simple task. There are two cross poles and a truss pulling the fly well over the doors, like an awning. Clips hold the poles in place, while carabiners lock the joints where the poles cross together. These locking carabiners took some effort to work with—a pain on chilly mornings.
In howling alpine winds the 10 guy out points helped lock this tent down. It barely flapped. Heavy rains rolled off for hours and never threatened to drip into the interior with the door open. The central truss pole pulled the vestibule over the entrance like an awning. This kept the interior dry and makes it possible to cook in the vestibule. A bathtub floor kept puddles from being an issue. Two vents and a mesh body allowed plenty of ventilation.
For a tent designed to be lightweight, the Mountain Star has most of the features we look for: pockets for staying organized, two doors, two vestibules, and two vents. Some touches we didn’t expect: the vents can be opened from inside the tent and the logo glows in the dark, ideal for orientating and finding the tent in the dark. The only thing we missed were two-way zippers—the door and vestibule only have one zip.
How We Tested It
The tents in this test were used in the backcountry on rainy overnight trips in Utah, sea kayaking on Vancouver Island, and backpacking the B.C. Coast Range, along with some other forays. With over more than a month of nights in theses tents, we got to know them like they were our own bedroom.
For more reviews beyond this 2017 test, check out our Best 1 Person Backpacking Tents of 2017, Best 3 Person Backpacking Tents of 2017, Best Weekend Backpacks of 2017, along with other hiking and camping related gear tests.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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