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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > MontBell Crescent 2 Tent > Test Report by Chuck Carnes

MontBell
Full
C R E S C E N T   2
T E N T

Initial Report: June 4, 2008

Field Report: August 8, 2008

Long Term Report: October 14, 2008

Biographical Information
Name: Chuck Carnes
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 175 lbs (79 kg)
E-mail Address: ctcarnes AT yahoo DOT com
City, State, Country: Greenville, South Carolina, USA

Backpacking Background
I love the outdoors – I’ve spent time camping in the outdoors since I was born, and have been actively hiking and backpacking since then. I consider myself a lightweight hiker, usually carrying 20 – 30 pounds (11-13 kg) for hikes up to a week in length. I hike at an easy pace, averaging 2 mph (3 kph). I am a one-man tent camper for now. I like to carry a single trekking pole when I hike to help relieve stress to my legs and knees. I like to get out on the trail as often as I can.

I N I T I A L    R E P O R T
June 4, 2008
PRODUCT INFORMATIONPackage
Manufacturer: MontBell
Model: Crescent 2
Persons: 2
Season: 3
Color: Frost
Floor Area: 33.9 sq ft (3.1 sq m)
Vestibule Area: 2.2 sq ft (0.2 sq m) 
Peak Height: 45 in (114 cm)
Year of manufacture: 2008
URL: http://www.montbell.com

Listed Packaged Weight:  3 lb 0 oz (1.36 kg)
(tent body, poles, stakes, stuff sacks)
Listed Minimum Weight:  2 lb 9 oz (1.16 kg)

Actual Weights of Separate Items: 

Tent Body: 2 lbs 5 oz (1.05 kg)
Tent Stuff Sack: 1 oz (28 g)
Pole: 6 oz (170 g)
Pole Sack: 0.5 oz (14 g)
Stakes: 0.5 oz (14 g) [per stake] x 9 stakes = 4.5 oz (128 g)
Stake Sack: 0.3 oz (8 g)
Pole Repair Sleeve: 0.3 oz (8 g)
Extra guyline: 0.3 (8 g)
Actual Packaged Weight Total: 2 lbs 14.9 oz (1.33 kg)
plus
Footprint (not included): 10.5 oz (298 g)
Total package w/footprint: 3 lbs 9.4 oz (1.63 kg)

Actual Packed Sizes:
Tent in stuff sack: 5 in x 12.5 in (12 cm x 32 cm)

Poles in stuff sack: 1 in x 16 in (2.5 cm x 41 cm)
Stakes in stuff sack: 2 in x 7.5 in (5 cm x 19 cm)  

MSRP: $279.00 USD

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
The MontBell Crescent 2 Tent is a two person, three season, non-freestanding tent. It's a single pole, 'A' frame type shape which the ridge clips directly to the pole that runs from front to back. 

The Crescent is a single wall tent and has a full mesh wall on one side for excellent ventilation and a full nylon wall with a full length vent at the bottom. The nylon wall is made of 21 Denier nylon and has an awning just above the full length, 4 in (10 cm) tall mesh vent. The mesh wall can be covered with a 40 Denier Rip-Stop nylon rain fly that is made to the tent along the ridge. The rain fly is staked out enough to give plenty of room between the fly and the mesh wall. The attached fly also has a zippered door and has a small vestibule for gear. Inside the Crescent are a few hanging loops and a corner mesh pocket. 

The entrance into the Crescent is through a 'tear drop' shaped mesh door that opens fully. The floor is a bathtub style floor that returns vertically about 4 in (10 cm). The Crescent is staked out with 9 aluminum alloy 'V' stakes and also comes with extra guyline and an aluminum sleeve for pole repair.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS
The MontBell Crescent 2 Tent arrived in great shape with a footprint in with the package (sold separately). The instructions were attached to the draw cord on the tent stuff sack. I looked over the instructions briefly and thought how difficult it read to erect the tent. After doing measurements and weights, I took the tent outside to be put up. Most of it was straight forward and when it came to staking the tent out I had a hard time getting the fly and the tent body material tight. After a little bit of adjusting and stake moving, I got it as tight as I could. With a non-freestanding tent I find it hard to get the material tight the first time staking it out. For me it takes a few adjustments.

Full 2      Full 3

Fly - Quarter Open                                 Fly - Fully Open

The Crescent can be vented in several ways. The pictures shown above shows the fly only a quarter of the way open. The fly can also only be open just at the door way which is not pictured. The most ventilated option is to have the fly fully open. This may be nice on a summer night when some fresh air is needed but the bugs are out too much to have the vestibule door open. The fly is held open by several toggle and loop fasteners that are attached along the ridge line. 

Side      Side 2

Mesh Wall Side                                Nylon Wall Side

The mesh wall side, as mentioned above, gives full ventilation on one side of the tent. This side is where the door is. The nylon wall side has an awning at the bottom which covers the full length, 4 in (10 cm) mesh vent which is just above the edge of the floor. This side also has a small 'eye lid' vent at the top side.

Vestibule    Vent

Fly extended beyond mesh wall                Full length vent on Nylon side

The rain fly extends out beyond the mesh wall about 8 to 10 in (20 to 25 cm). This seems to give great ventilation even when the rain fly is fully deployed. The awning on the nylon wall side covers the full length vent but also gives plenty of ventilation along the bottom on this side and extends out enough to keep rain from splattering back up into the tent through the vent.  

Summary for Initial Impressions
I found the Crescent to be fairly easy to put up once I got it spread out on the ground. I'm not too fond of non-freestanding tents because it makes it more difficult to get the fabric tight to prevent sagging. But this tent has enough attachment points for the guylines that it's easy enough to adjust to get the fabric tight.

I found the vestibule to be a little small and only has enough room for a pair of shoes or boots and some small gear. But if the tent is to be used as a one person tent then the interior is well spacious enough for me and my pack. The ventilation seems adequate but that will be determined in the field during my upcoming summer months. The entrance is a little small but during mosquito season, this will help prevent them from entering when I enter. Although I may not see much rain during this test series, I will however encounter very hot days and nights. I am looking forward to seeing how well it ventilates and keeps me dry if a storm does occur.

That's Good:
* Lightweight
* Full side of mesh and rain fly optional
* Great interior room
* High bathtub style floor

That's Bad:
* Small entrance
* 'V' stakes are hard to put into hard ground with just the hand
* Non-freestanding
* Small vestibule

F I E L D    R E P O R T
August 8, 2008

During this 2 months of field testing, I have only taken the Montbell Crescent 2 tent on one overnight trip. The temperatures have been too hot for any extended weekend trips or for lengthy backpack trekking. So it was just a one night, quick observation for testing purposes. The overnight trip was to the Pisgah National Forest where I encountered very hot days and dry conditions. The elevation at Pisgah was between 5,500 ft - 6,500 ft (1,676 - 1,981 m) and temperatures ranged from 80 F – 90 F (26 C - 32 C) during the day and 60 F – 70 F (15 C - 21 C) at night with the humidity ranging between 90% and 95%. I never experienced any rain just high humidity.

Setting up the Crescent was easier this time than the initial setup. Things like that just stick in my mind, once I set it up once I don't need the instructions again. As I mentioned in the Initial Report that the 'V' stakes that came with the tent were hard to put into hard ground, I decided to carry them with me hoping to find softer ground than my back yard where I initially set it up. I did find a decent spot and the ground was a little bit softer than my back yard but I still had to find a rock to put the stakes in the ground. I sometimes use my foot (with a shoe or boot on) to 'step' on the end of the stake and push into the ground, but with these 'V' stakes, it wouldn't take much for the stake to go through the sole of a shoe or boot.

With the temperatures and humidity ranging in the upper 90's F (30's C) I pitched the tent with the fly fully open. This gave me plenty of ventilation and it did not feel as hot as it would if the fly covered the mesh wall completely. The mesh wall did an excellent job of keeping all bugs and mosquitoes from entering into the tent. The inside of the tent is very roomy for one person and feels even more roomy when the fly is fully open. It has that 'lean-to' feeling except with a mesh barrier for protection from the bugs. I do find it a little difficult getting in and out of the entrance door. It is a bit smaller than I am used to and I find myself catching the bottom lip with my knee or the upper part of the opening with my shoulder. It's not a 'show stopper' but I have to be careful when entering and exiting so that I won't rip the fabric or bust a zipper. As I said previously, I did not experience any rain but I did experience a lot of bugs and mosquitoes.

The fall season is coming up in a few weeks and I will be getting out more with the Montbell Crescent 2 tent and I will continue to monitor the great features of this tent and comment on them as well in the Long Term Report.

Summary for Field Report
The Crescent was much easier putting up the second time and much quicker. I'm still not happy with the 'V' stakes that come with it but they will do for now. I just have to make sure I can find soft ground or a rock to pound them into the ground. The full mesh wall is great when the temperatures are high and ventilation is a must. 

That's Good:
* Full mesh wall for much needed ventilation
* Easy to set up

That's Bad:
* Still the small entrance


L O N G   T E R M    R E P O R T
October 14, 2008

Fortunately I have been able to take the Crescent 2 on several trips since my Field Report. I went on a two night stay in Caesars Head State Park where the temperatures ranged between 65 F to 75 F (18 C to 23 C). The elevation ranged between 1,200 ft to 1,350 ft (366 m to 411 m). During this time I did not have any precipitation.

My next trip was an overnighter to Jones Gap State Park where the temperatures ranged between 62 F to 85 F (16 C to 29 C). The elevation ranged between 1,050 ft to 1,200 ft (320 m to 366 m). Again, I did not have any precipitation.

My final trip with the Crescent was another overnighter to Table Rock State Park where the temperatures ranged between 75 F to 80 F (23 C to 26 C). The elevation ranged between 1,200 ft to 1,400 ft (366 m to 427 m). I did not have any precipitation on this trip either.

I have pretty much enjoyed the trips I have had with the Crescent 2 tent. Each time that I have been it has always been very easy to set up. I seem to be getting better and faster each time. I always learn something different about the tent's setup and it makes for a better pitch. Whether it's tweaking the guy out lines or putting them in a different position I can usually get a tight pitch.

During the trips I never experienced any precipitation but I did have to deal with dew in the mornings. Sometimes the dew in the East is as bad as an overnight rain. Most mornings the fly wall and the nylon wall sides would be drooping from the weight of the dew. The fly wall, the side with the full mesh, would droop but not enough to touch the mesh portion behind it. I was able to get the fabric tight enough on initial setup to prevent this.

On occasion I did experience condensation on the inside. It wasn't enough to feel like it was raining on the inside or anything but condensation was present. Since there was not any rain I was able to keep the door portion of the fly open to allow cross ventilation to keep the condensation down to a minimum, however, I did find the entrance area to the tent a little damp from the dew that fell directly onto the mesh and dripped into the tent. Knowing this is why I never rolled the fly up to expose the full mesh wall. I did, however, do this during the day while the sun was out to get fresh air into the tent.

I still found the entrance very narrow to get through and was constantly catching the edge of the entrance with my pants pocket or cuff or knees. I think this could be slightly bigger since it is a front entrance to give the user plenty of room to get in and turn around. I found the interior of the tent very inviting throughout the test series. I like the room of tent and found it very spacious. I had plenty of room to sit up and change cloths and also organize my gear in my pack while in the tent. To me, that is a big deal about a tent. I like having room to sit up without my head rubbing into the peak of the tent. Luckily, I did not have to deal with very many mosquitoes so the mesh wall was a great barrier against those.

Summary for the Long Term Report
I really have enjoyed staying in the Crescent 2 tent. Despite the small entrance it makes up for it in room and spaciousness inside the tent. The set up certainly got easier each time I put it up. I'm still not crazy about it being a non-freestanding tent. But I have learned to deal with it and I can still get a tight pitch if the ground is somewhat level. I will probably change out the 'V' stakes for hook style stakes. The 'V' stakes were just too pointy and sharp to try and push into the ground with my hands or the heel of my shoe. Most of the time, finding a nice rock was hard to come by. All in all the Crescent 2 is a great tent for the solo user if you are looking for a lot of room and a decent weight. It could work for a two people also but the gear may have to go outside in the small but useful vestibule.

That's Good:
* Full mesh wall for much needed ventilation
* Easy to set up
* Can get a tight pitch if worked with and adjusted

That's Bad:
* Still the small entrance
* Small vestibule 
This concludes this test series
Thank you MontBell and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity.


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Read more gear reviews by Chuck Carnes

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > MontBell Crescent 2 Tent > Test Report by Chuck Carnes



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