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2R Stephenson tent
Gear Review

2R Stephenson tent

2R Stephenson tent

Page Type: Gear Review

Object Title: 2R Stephenson tent

Manufacturer: Stephenson Warmlite

Your Opinion: 
 - 5 Votes


Page By: Dean

Created/Edited: Feb 6, 2003 / Jan 20, 2007

Object ID: 660

Hits: 7526 


The following description comes from the Warmlite company page which you can access here

THE standard of performance in severe weather use, WARMLITE tents are the lightest tents made. Exceptional dependability, ease of use, and light weight - along with options found in no other tents -

Elliptical ARC Shape for wind stability, strength, quietness, headroom and space: this shape gives stable air flow and lowest wind loads, no high stress, flapping, noise and failure so common in others. No need for many annoying staked out lines and their stress points. Conical ends form built-in “vestibules” for cooking and gear storage, and uniformly distribute loads from stakes, directed for best holding power. Well placed pockets aid gear storage and organization.

Most ROOM, for sitting and working with good headroom. 60" width (89" in Model 5). Two people can sit side by side in front half of Model 2 or anywhere in 3, or 4 across in Model 5. Floor shape gives best fit for sleeping bags and gear.

“Vestibules” for gear and cooking are standard, (not an expensive extra weight option), and are floored to keep gear clean and DRY, for a stable, easily cleaned cooking space. Model 2 tents have vestibule at front, others at each end.

Fast, EASY Set Up. Two permanently curved poles slip easily into full length sleeves. Setup is quick and simple even during fierce winds when other tents can’t be setup. Only three stakes are needed to hold a Model 2, four for Model 3 or Model 5. (Those so called “free standing” domes need stakes at each pole end for any wind resistance. Imagine trying to get poles in, or Fly on to a partially erected dome in rain, with strong wind whipping it about!) When you are tired and short on air in a wild storm your IQ of 176 loses first digit, and you NEED the simplicity of a Warmlite tent!

EASY TENSION ADJUSTMENTS, from INSIDE, for tight wind-stable tent without leaving your warm snug bed.

STRONGEST POLES -7178T6 is much stronger than those in any other tents - curved to shape and stiff to hold tent shape and stability in any wind. These resist 20 times more force than thin flexed-to-shape poles used on most other tents. Flexed poles use 80% of their strength just flexing to shape. Stephenson poles need no load sacrificing flexure, and are MUCH stronger and stiffer to begin with.

ADJUSTABLE VENT SYSTEM for full control of warmth & humidity. HIGH vents let out humid air while LOW vents let in heavier dry air. This “chimney effect”, assures excellent venting even in still air, when other vent schemes fail. Optional windows on each side open from inside (once the outer cover is raised) for views and cooling.

DRY, WARM: Double walls, silicone coated fabric and sealed seams provide full rain protection, best warmth, and least condensation. The inner wall is kept warmer by an insulating air gap between walls, aided by radiant heat blocking aluminized exterior. The tent stays dry inside; warmth of inner wall eliminates the miserable condensation so common in other tents, and aids differential height chimney venting. Warm humid lighter air rises up and out the top vents, while fresh, dry air is drawn in through the lower vents.

Sealed one piece construction. No loose “fly” to get heavy with condensation, soak the inner tent, or let the inner wall soak up rain during setup or take down, the worst problem of old style tents. Tradition isn’t good when it leaves you wet.

LIGHTEST Weight: The lightest, yet strongest tents made. (Only 1 to 1 1/2 lb. per person.)

Weight may vary due to coating thickness (seldom over 2oz), or by seam sealing efficiency.

Simple, Quick Entry - Sloped door makes entry easy while keeping out bugs, rain and snow. The door is easily held to keep out rain or snow while opening the freeze proof zipper, then the door slope makes it easy to go thru. The door can be used even in highest winds without degrading strength or stability. There’s an inner backup coil zip and a bottom zipper to seal against crawling bugs. On Model 3 and 5 a door on other end provides an alternate entry.

Large Door: The ‘95 door design allows optional extra zippers on left side to let whole door panel open for loading or stargazing: better than old drop front for large door, and good for stargazing. (Ventilation is impaired if the door is left open.)

Wide Range of Options for many different needs:

Heres a trailspace review of this tent and also another review to look at if you click on this



Viewing: 1-4 of 4

DeanUntitled Review

Voted 5/5

One expensive puppy for sure but one heck of a tent. I've had mine now for 34 years (see pic above taken at Gardner Meadows in 2004) and it has been outstanding all of these years. I bought mine in 1972 and it has seen hundreds of nights of use. The key to longevity is simple: Don't ever loan it out. You have to pay attention to taking proper care of this item and I've have made certain it never suffered any abuse. I've had to replace a pole section on two occasions and have used a patch kit for a couple of holes in the floor but it has otherwise stood the test of time.

One thing I've made sure of is to not leave the tent in direct sunlight whenever possible. My style of backpacking / climbing generally means I'm packing it up every morning anyway. I've rarely done a basecamp set up but in the northwest, the skies are often cloudy anyway. Here is a photo taken in 1974 with my tent set up and here is another pic showing it in 1976.

The only problem experienced with this tent over the years has been minor condensation on the single wall portion of the tent. I've kept a small terrycloth to wipe the condensation away. I still take this tent when I'm hiking with someone else who doesn't have a tent. It sleeps two fine.

This tent has been used on expeditions such as Mt. McKinley in Alaska. Read Quang T. Luong's review of the tent based on his Mt. McKinley experience with it. Check out Qt Luong's pics of his 2R on Denali
as it was his choice and this pic shows why and his pic is outstanding, in more ways than one. His final pic shows the tent and his gear

Update: 2007 This past summer (2006), one of the poles bent and some of the pole's tube fabric ripped out necessitating me to put the tent away until I can get it fixed. However, the years are beginning to show and it is probably best to retire this tent so that it doesn't fail on me when I need it. 35 years is a good run. I'm looking to replace it with a 4 season type tent. My thanks to the Stephenson company for such a quality product. On 3/12/07 I finally put my trusty Steph to rest. I'll miss it. Now to replace it with something that I won't need 35 years out of, maybe just 25 years will be fine. ; )
Posted Feb 6, 2003 5:41 am

William MarlerUntitled Review

Voted 4/5

Excellent lightweight tent. Good for when you have to pack all your gear by yourself. You have to take care of how you handle it as it is fragile partly due to its lightweight. If you take care of it and as the other reviewer mentions don’t leave it out in the sun and don’t lend it. It will last. We ahve had ours for 10 years. Be careful you don’t get sand in the poll joints. The polls are strong but will bend if not treated properly. Small footprint makes for less time preparing tent platforms. I have used it in the Canadian Rockies as well as on Aconcagua at lower camps as a backup. I am not sure how it would take the higher winds up high. Packs up real tight.
Posted Feb 6, 2003 10:08 am

Derek FranzenStephenson 2R Tent

Voted 5/5

I've had this tent since 1979 and have spent hundreds of nights in it. It is lightweight (2 lbs), packs small and is strong. I've spent nights in howling winds and snow and felt very secure (while other member's tents collapsed).

Tent tensioning is accomplished from inside the tent and you don't even need to get out of bed to do it. I carry a small sponge for the little condensation which collects on the inside floor of the tent.

This tent sleeps two and their gear well, though being low-ended (one end) changing clothes and sitting up is a shared proposition. Stephensens Warmlite does make a slightly larger (heavier at 5 lbs) tent, the 3R. I've been fortunate to use this tent also, a buddy owned one (and I recently purchased one for family outings) and for extended trips the extra room is nice.
Posted Jun 20, 2005 11:29 pm


Voted 5/5

Stephenson's are THE standard for weight, room and performance in their class, especially for contiguous mountaineering. It is more breathable and adjustable than any other tent. It is space age technology and deserves way more cred.

Hillebergs are a slightly tougher options lately for colder, windier expeditions.
Posted Jan 4, 2010 12:47 am

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