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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > MontBell Crescent 2 Tent > Test Report by Ken Bigelow

MontBell Crescent 2 Tent
Test Report Series by Ken Bigelow
Initial Report - May 27, 2008
Field Report - August 4, 2008
Long Term Report - October 5, 2008

MontBell Crescent 2 Tent 

Personal Biographical Information:

Name: Ken Bigelow
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Height: 5' 8" (1.7 m)
Weight: 175 lbs (79 kg)

Email address: krb84108 (at) yahoo (dot) com
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Backpacking Background:


My adventures vary in length from a weekend to over two weeks.  I am shifting my backpacking style to a lightweight approach.  I use hammocks and lightweight tents to reduce weight.  From spring through fall I typically backpack in the mountains or desert, while in winter I often go snowshoeing.  I typically see a wide variety of climates ranging from -5 F (-20 C) with snow to 90 F (32 C) and sunny with just about everything in between.


Initial Report
May 27, 2008

Product Information:

Manufacturer:
MontBell
Website: http://www.montbell.com/
Year Manufactured: 2008
Color: Forest Green/Olive Green
MSRP: $279 (US)

Listed Manufacturer Tent Measurements (from literature & website):
Packaged weight – 3 lbs/ 1.36 kg
Min weight – 2 lbs 9 oz/1.16 kg
Floor area – 33.9 ft2 (96 in x 59 in)/3.2 m2 (2.4 m x 1.5 m)
Vestibule area – 2.2 ft2/0.2 m2
Peak height – 45 in/114 cm
Room height – 43 in/109 cm
Tent packaged size – 12.6 in x 5.5 in/32 cm x 14 cm
Pole packaged size – 15.7 in x 2.0 in/40 cm x 5 cm

Observed Tent Measurements:

Tent weight – 2 lbs 6.2 oz/1.08 kg
Tent stuff sack weight – 1.0 oz/28 g
Floor Dimensions – 96 in x 59 in/2.4 m x 1.5 m
Peak interior height – 42 in/107 cm
Vestibule Dimensions – 2 ft x 20 in/61cm x 51 cm
Tent packaged size – 14.5 in x 5.5 in/37 cm x 14 cm
Pole weight – 6.6 oz/187 g
Pole storage sack weight – 0.4 oz/11 g
Pole packaged size – 16 in x 2 in/41 cm x 5 cm
Stake weight (9 total) – 0.4 oz per stake (3.6 oz total)/11 g per stake (102 g total)
Stake storage sack weight – 0.4 oz/11 g
Pole sleeve weight – 0.3 oz/9 g
Supplemental guylines weight – 0.2 oz/6 g
MontBell Crescent 2 Layout

Listed Manufacturer Footprint Measurements (from literature):

Footprint weight – 11 oz/312 g
Footprint size – 56 in x 93 in/142 cm x 236 cm

Observed Footprint Measurements:
Footprint weight – 10.2 oz/289 g
Footprint stuff sack – 0.4 oz/11 g
Footprint size – 54 in x 91 in/137 cm x 231 cm
Footprint Dimensions

Product Description & Initial Impressions:

The MontBell Crescent 2 Tent is touted as a light and fast, single-pole, two person shelter.  The shelter arrived in a stuff sack with a single orange, aluminum pole (in it’s own stuff sack), a olive green footprint (in its own stuff sack), and a third stuff sack containing nine aluminum stakes, an emergency pole sleeve and two additional orange guylines.  I received what I expected after looking at MontBell’s website.

Packaged Gear in Stuff Sacks
MontBell Crescent 2 Shelter, Pole, & Footprint in their Stuff Sacks

Both the tent’s and the footprint’s sack had hangtags and literature attached listing instructions for erecting the structure, maintenance and storage instructions as well as MontBell’s lifetime guarantee. The instructions for both had very clear illustrations and were easy to follow. 

The shelter is hexagonally shaped with two longer sides and four shorter sides (the vestibule adds a seventh side when down and fully guyed out).  The body of the tent consists of an olive green, nylon bathtub floor and a canopy that’s half forest green nylon and half black mesh.  There’s a non-detachable forest green nylon rain fly (connected at the ridgeline) that can cover the mesh or be rolled up and secured to the forest green nylon canopy using hook and loop tie backs.  There is only one entrance to the shelter.  It is located on the mesh side along a shorter side.  There are two mesh pockets inside the tent both on the mesh half of the shelter.  A 9.5 inch x 4.5 in (24 cm x 11 cm) rectangular mesh pocket is on the other shorter side of the tent (on the mesh side). A smaller 4 inch (10 cm) tall polygon shaped pocket is located just below the entrance in the one of the tent’s six corners.

Triangular Vent And Rectangular Mesh Pocket
Rectangular Mesh Pocket & Triangular Interior Vent

Erecting the non-freestanding tent is a very simple process.  Two opposite corners of the tent have longer black webbing straps with an inner and outer grommet (similar to a lot of tents).  One end of the pole goes into a grommet either the inner or outer grommet) on each end of the shelter and then pole clips connect the tent’s body to the pole to form a ridge.  There are a number of guyout points on the tent.  One on each corner of the tent, two (one on each side) along the long sides of the tent, two along the ridgeline, and four on the fly (one being for the vestibule).  The points along the ridge are looped fabric and are where I have the option of attaching the supplemental guylines if needed.  All the other points have orange line anchored to the shelter with black webbing.

On the mesh side of the tent looped lines attached to the bathtub floor are designed to be secured to stakes (or some other anchor).  If the fly is used, line attached to the fly is to be secured to those same anchors and has an adjuster to increase or decrease the tension as required.  The opposite side of the shelter has a single line that goes through an oversized plastic ring and is connected to the bathtub floor at one end and a piece of nylon, which extends past where the canopy connects to the rest of the shelter, on the other (this overhanging extension looks similar to an eave on a house).  The ring is secured to the anchor which then tensions both the floor and the overhang of the shelter simultaneously.

Plastic Ring Guyline
Guying out the Tent with the Plastic Ring

There are three ventilation points on the shelter.  One is obviously the mesh side of the tent (which can be covered by the rainfly).  Two smaller vents are located on the opposite side of the tent.  One is a 4 in (10 cm) strip of mesh that runs along the long end of the tent and connects the nylon canopy to the bathtub floor.  This vent has an extended (or overhanging) strip of nylon (as previously discussed) for protection from the weather (whether it actually works or not will hopefully be determined through testing).

4 inch Strip Vent
Vent - 4 in (10 cm) Tall Mesh Strip

A triangular mesh vent located near the ridge of the shelter on the side opposite the entrance is the third source of ventilation for the Crescent 2 (see Rectangular Mesh Pocket and Triangular Vent image above).  This mesh has a semi-conical hood for its weather protection.

Conical Vent Cover
Vent Covers - Exterior View

After receiving the Crescent 2 I set it up immediately.  Setting it up was pretty intuitive and I did not use the instructions to erect it.  After pitching the tent I noticed that the entrance is along the shorter sides and not one of longer sides.  I’m excited to see how this works as with most other single pole tents I’ve seen (that have the entrance in the middle or along a longer side) have proved to be very difficult, if not impossible, to access the entrance without getting wet if it is/has been raining.  I am looking forward to testing this layout and see if it works or not. The entrance is what I would describe as ‘lung-shaped’ and is a little smaller than I’m used to (in other shelters).  I managed to catch my head going in and my feet coming out (but I consider myself to be a fairly uncoordinated person so this may be me and not the shelter).  I will be interested to see if this is a one time incidence or a reoccurring issue.

Tent Entrance
Door and Small Interior Mesh Pocket

The small vestibule can be completely closed, completely open (secured with hoop and loop tie backs), and a partial opening (also with its own hook and loop tie back).

Rain Fly Adjustability
Vestibule Closed (Top), Partially Open (Middle) & Completely Open (Bottom)

Footprint:


The Crescent 2 footprint is hexagonal in shape and is the same olive green color as the bathtub floor on the shelter.  There is a burgundy MontBell logo along one of the shorter sides.  There is a similar logo on the shelter itself by the entrance.  Aligning the logos (with the one on the footprint facing down) properly orients the shelter and the footprint.  Two of the corners have long black webbing straps with an inner and outer grommet.  These are similar to the ones on the tent that the pole is inserted into and correspond to those same ones on the tent.  The remaining corners of the footprint have orange looped guylines attached with black webbing and are aligned with the tents bathtub floor guylines.

Summary:


The MontBell Crescent 2 Tent is a single pole, non-freestanding shelter.  I found the Crescent to easy to erect and roomy inside.  I like the location of the entrance, but I did have problems initially getting into and out of the tent with its small size.  The vestibule, while small is adjustable.

Things I like so far:
  • Easy to erect
  • Roomy interior
  • Lots of vents
  • Adjustable vestibule
Concerns:
  • Small Vestibule
  • Only one entrance
  • Size of the entrance

Field Report
August 4, 2008

Campground Instructions

Field Locations & Conditions:

So far I have used the MontBell Crescent 2 Tent for 16 nights.  I spent fours days/three nights backpacking along Washington’s Wilderness Coast in Olympic National Park, I did an overnight backpacking trip in Cedar Mesa Region of Southern Utah.  I continued to backpack in Utah’s High Uintas for three days/two nights and spent a total of seven days/six nights backpacking in the Wasatch Mountains.  I used the Crescent 2 Tent for two days camping and hiking just outside Bryce Canyon National Park in Southern Utah and for three days in Maine’s Baxter State Park. 

I’ve backpacked with the Crescent 2 Tent at elevations ranging from sea level to 11,500 ft/3,500 m.  The terrain I’ve covered has included lots of boulder hopping, rocky terrain, snow covered trails, muddy (sometimes flooded) pathways, sandy washes, sandy and gravel beaches, and dry dirt.  Nighttime temperatures have been between 29 F/-2 C to around 60 F/16 C and I’ve seen both very low and very high humidity.  I have seen light, moderate and heavy wind.  I’ve also experienced various degrees of rain ranging from a light sprinkle to a heavy downpour while in the Crescent 2 Shelter.

Field Performance:

MontBell Crescent 2 Tent

For the first two months of testing I have used the MontBell Crescent 2 as both a solo shelter and a two person shelter.  For solo use the Crescent 2 is extremely roomy.  I’ve kept all my gear in the shelter with me while I sleep and have had more than enough room to maneuver around inside it while getting dressed, packing/unpacking my gear, reading a book, writing in my journal, listening to my portable music player, stargazing, eating a meal or just tossing and turning in my sleep.  With two people in the tent I still had room for a good portion of our gear and I still did not feel cramped at all. I believe we could have fit a third person (or at least a small child in with us) as long as nobody minds being close.

The Crescent 2 Tent breathes extremely well (as I expected it to).  I have never experienced any condensation whatsoever in the Crescent 2 (either alone or with two people) when used with the fly completely rolled up.  In the High Uintas temperature fell to just below freezing and my tent never had a drop of condensation on it, my hiking partner could not say the same about his tent.  The first night I spent in Maine’s Baxter State Park we had heavy wind and rain all night long in moderate humidity.  I awoke to damp walls in the morning but the two other tents in my party had pools of water in them.  I was very impressed with the Crescent 2’s performance under these conditions.  I am yet to notice any splash problems during rainstorms I have experienced.  If the rain is really hard I have had the silnylon stretch (assuming my guylines were tight enough) ever so slightly so I do lose a little tension by morning.

I’ve only had noticeable moisture inside the tent two times during the first two months of testing.  The worst case was my last night in Baxter State Park. I left the vestibule partially open and did wake up to some very damp walls, but the humidity was astronomically high so I wasn’t too surprised by this result (it was so humid I could barely breathe).  The only other time I’ve had lots of moisture inside the Crescent 2 was not so much a ventilation issue as much as a negligence error on my part. While backpacking along on Washington’s Wilderness Coast Trail in Olympic National Park I fell asleep prematurely with the vestibule open (but the rainfly down).  I woke up in the middle of the night to find a moderate rain storm had found us and the rain was making its way inside the tent.  I quickly closed the vestibule, but a noticeable amount of water had already made its way inside.

I really like the adjustability of the rainfly.  I love watching the stars at night while lying in my tent and the ability to convert the tent (by fully opening the fly) to half mesh allows me a fantastic view for stargazing.  My only complaint about the rainfly would be the inability to adjust the fly while in the tent.  I would like the ability to fully open and close the fly without having to get outside the tent.  If the rainfly is partially open or closed I can adjust it while still keeping my body inside, but fully rolling up (or unrolling it if it is already rolled and tied down) can only be done from outside.  This is not a huge deal though as if it looks like a storm is possible I won’t fully open the fly anyway.  Rolling/unrolling the fly is still a quick and easy process, but I have to be outside of the tent to do it (which means I have to get off my lazy butt - not something I am ever thrilled about doing in a rainstorm).

Weather isn’t the only thing the Crescent 2 Shelter is good at protecting me from.  Bugs thankfully cannot get through the mesh.  I’ve had more than one trip where mosquitoes and black/horse flies were trying to eat me alive.  Once the shelter was up I was in it right away.  When they are exceptionally bad I’ve stayed in the tent from the moment it is erected until the bugs settle down for the evening.  I only come out to go to the bathroom (again thank goodness for the roominess inside).

Biting insects are also good motivation to pitch the tent rather quickly.  After forgetting to soak my clothes in permethrin I had to put on my wind jacket simply to keep the bugs at bay while I put the tent up.  I didn’t time myself, but do know it was up faster than my hiking companion’s tent.  I am very grateful that the Crescent 2 goes up fast and easy because mosquitoes suck!  I also erected it rather quickly in Maine.  We arrived in camp between storms which had been pretty constant all afternoon.  The moment I pulled the tent out I was sure it was going to start raining again any second and quickly assembled and guyed out the shelter so my gear did not get completely drenched.  The rain did hold off for a few hours however so there was no real need to rush.


One thing I would really like to change on the Crescent 2 Tent is the door (mesh) opening.  The teardrop shape is a little too small for me and I find myself having to be extra cautious to use the entrance without snagging my body on it (and even then I’m not very successful).  The zippers on the mesh door also have a tendency to snag.  There is a zipper for the rainfly (just above the door zipper) which has a protective strip of nylon fabric for weather protection.  This strip catches in the zipper quite frequently.  The snag eventually comes out by reversing it(sometimes this requires more effort than others), but this can be annoying. I would be interested to see if reversing the door (so the hinge is underneath this strip) would reduce the snagging somewhat.  The vestibule entrance works fine for me as is.  It is both large enough for me to use without catching myself on it and its zipper does not seem to snag.

MontBell Crescent 2 Entrance
MontBell Crescent 2 Tent's Entrance

Summary:

So far I’ve found the MontBell Crescent 2 Tent to be one of the best single pole tent designs I’ve ever seen.  It’s a fast and easy setup with plenty of room inside for me to move around either with another person or by myself.  It breathes quite well and has kept me protected from all kinds of bad weather.  I would like to see a larger door entrance or at least the hinge moved to the other side (or something else done) to reduce snagging.  I’m having fun with this tent to I hope to continue to do so for the next two months of the test period.

Things I Like:
  • Easy and quick setup
  • Good protection from the elements
  • Breathes remarkably well
  • Roomy interior for one or two people
Things I’m Not Thrilled About:
  • Size of the entrance
  • Door zipper gets snagged on rainfly zipper protection fabric
  • I would like to see the door hinge on the opposite site of its current location
  • Rainfly cannot be completely opened/closed while inside the tent

Long Term Report
October 5, 2008
MontBell Crescent 2 Tent

Long Term Locations & Conditions:
 
For the last two months of the test period I have been limited to only 6 nights of field use.  I used the Crescent 2 tent on a three day/two night trip in Great Basin National Park, Nevada and on a three day/two night trip as well as an overnighter in Utah’s High Uintas Wilderness.  I also used it on an overnighter in the Wasatch Mountains.
 
I’ve backpacked with the Crescent 2 at elevations ranging from 7,000 ft/2,100 m to 13,100 ft/4,000 m.  The terrain I’ve covered has included lots of boulder hopping, rocky terrain, snow covered trails, muddy pathways, and dry dirt.  Nighttime low temperatures have been between 25 F/-3 C to 43 F/6 C.  I have seen various degrees of wind.  I’ve also experienced various forms of precipitation including rain, hail and snow. 
 
Long Term Performance:
 
For the final two months of testing, I have enjoyed taking shelter inside the MontBell Crescent 2 tent for my backpacking excursions.  In the High Uintas Wilderness I used the Crescent 2 tent with some nasty weather from the moment we arrived and had to deal with precipitation in one form or another the entire trip.  Since we had to make camp in rain I was again very happy that the tent can be pitched rather quickly and had it erected and guyed out in just a few minutes.  The rain turned to hail, back to rain then to snow and continued to constantly change form over the course of the trip.  The wind also kept coming and going in gusts. 
 
In the morning I awoke to find the windward side of the tent plastered in pine needles, leaves and other small backcountry debris.  I had slight condensation inside the tent but considering the duration and intensity of the storm I was more than satisfied with the Crescent 2’s performance.  The extended overhanging nylon and the rainfly properly guyed out (to the same stakes that anchor down the mesh side of the tent) do a superb job of keeping rain and windblown debris out of the tent.  I never at any time became concerned about the tent’s stability even with the gusty wind and the structure is pretty solid when staked out.  The snow did however become a concern as the Crescent 2 is not advertised to be able to take snow loads.  The weight of the snow did cause some sagging of the shelter, but the structure did not collapse and I am impressed by its stability, which I’d have to say, exceeded my expectations in this department.

Crescent 2 Under Snow Load
MontBell Crescent 2 Under Wet Snow Loading
 
My complaint about the door size being too small still stands.  It turns from a minor annoyance to a mild concern when entering the tent while it’s storming outside.  When I enter the tent the small entrance I have to squeeze through considerably shakes the tent and whatever shell I’m wearing.  This sends water droplets all over near the entrance (similar to a wet dog shaking off excess moisture).  The good thing is that the dropping water seems to be localized in the door area so it’s not a huge issue.  I just have to keep everything I need to stay dry away from the entrance when coming in (thank goodness it’s a roomy interior).  Perhaps a larger vestibule would work so that I could shed my outer shell before entering the tent, but as long as there’s enough room for me shoes (which there is on the Crescent 2) then that’s certainly not a must have as it would increase the weight.  
 
I have only used the footprint when I am camping or when I know that I’m going to be on rough terrain.  In Great Basin National Park, I had backpacked the region before and knew the campsites were very rocky so I brought it along.  It’s easy to set up and does an ok job of keeping the bottom relatively clean and there are no holes in the floor, but it’s definitely something I consider excess weight if the ground isn’t going to be too harsh on the Crescent 2.
 
The MontBell Crescent 2 Tent has been through rain, wind, hail, snow and sun.  After four months of testing, I have been unable to detect any frays, scratches, rips, tears, holes or anything other sign of damage.  It’s been a very durable shelter for me.
 
Summary:
 
I’ve seen lots of bad and good weather with the MontBell Crescent 2 Tent.  It’s been an excellent shelter from the elements.  It’s quickly and easily erected and taken down.  It has plenty of room for a two person shelter and very spacious for one.  It’s ventilation is very good and has performed admirably under all but extreme conditions (where I wouldn’t expect any shelter to breathe well).  It’s been durable and has withstood four months of abuse without any problems.  The door is still too small for me, but the tent remains to be the best single pole design I have ever seen.  I am very impressed with the Crescent 2 and am happy to add it to my gear closet.
 
Things I Like:
  • Easy and quick setup
  • Good protection from the elements
  • Breathes remarkably well
  • Roomy interior for one or two people
  • Durable
 
Things I’m Not Thrilled About:
  • Still don’t like the size of the entrance
 
This concludes my Long Term Report. Thanks to MontBell and backpackgeartest for allowing me the opportunity to test the Crescent 2 Tent.

 
 
 

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Read more gear reviews by Ken Bigelow

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > MontBell Crescent 2 Tent > Test Report by Ken Bigelow



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