Aug 18 , 2014
By Randy Johnson KUIU has developed a new lightweight, easily pitched tent to save the mountain hunter/backpacker valuable time when out on the mountain facing Mother Nature. The new Mountain Star tents combine advanced fabrics, pole technology, and an innovative freestanding exoskeleton pole design that makes them ultra light, stable in harsh storms and extremely easy to set up and take down. KUIU continues its outstanding tradition of designing cutting edge, ultra light gear with the design of this very comfortable tent. The Mountain Star is strong, lightweight, durable, highly functional and very worthy of your consideration. Overall Rating: FACTS AND FEATURES: KUIU has established itself as manufacturing quality, ultra light hunting gear, allowing mountain hunters to go further, faster and be more effective out in the field. After listening to recommendations from their hunting clientele the KUIU team recently “unveiled” their new lightweight Mountain Star tent. Designed to hold up against the high winds and inclement weather conditions that hard core mountain hunters invariably face when pursuing wild sheep, goats and other big game animals in the rugged backcountry of North America or around world the Mountain Star features a combination of innovative performance changing fabrics/design. Freestanding, the Mountain Star tent is designed to increase stability and promote the basic foundational integrity of this shelter in the wind. Most tents integrate a pole system that you set up then deploy your rain fly to. However, with the Mountain Star, the unique pole system is placed on the exterior of the rain fly thus serving as what could be referred to as an “exoskeleton over the fly itself.” KUIU’s design team utilized technologically advanced fabric, hardware, and pole technology in the development of a high performance, light tent that is extremely durable and capable of holding up in the worst of weather conditions. The Mountain Star is simple to set up, offers double walled protection and is classified as a 3-season tent. It is offered with a 1 person or 2 person capacity option and weighs in at a remarkable 2 lbs. 10 oz. and 3 lbs. 5 oz. respectively. Both options feature a large vestibule that is critical for protecting gear from the elements as well as food preparation during storms. Highlighted with a double intersection pole design in combination with a horizontal roof truss the Mountain Star Tent was built for stability. This architectural design increases the overall integrity of the structure so that it can withstand high winds. With the placement of the pole system on the exterior of the tent fly KUIU’s Mountain Star provides for a faster setup and takedown. When you are out on the mountain facing the wrath of Mother Nature every minute counts. Having the tent fly and body connected together eliminates the frustrating struggle of attaching your rainfly in high wind and wet weather. This design also keeps dust and moisture out of your home on the mountain. It should be noted that you have the option of removing the tent body from the Mountain Star for “fly only or fly and footprint pitching” of your tent. As I emphasized earlier in my comments, KUIU designed the Mountain Star tent to meet the rigorous demands of mountain hunters and backpackers who expect gear that has the ability to withstand the fury of fierce, stormy weather. The one-man tent has ample room for a single occupant and the two-man is light enough to also meet the needs of those individuals who likes more space. With 38 and 39 inches of ceiling height in the one and two-man tent options a tall person can sit up in the Mountain Star without touching their head on the ceiling. There is plenty of vestibule space in either tent to store gear without having to worry about getting pelted by snow or rain. With such a structurally strong tent, you might think that condensation would cause you issues. However, the ventilation is better than expected although I have yet to find a tent that doesn’t have a few condensation issues in extreme cold weather. Add to this the fact that the Mountain Star can be erected with the rainfly attached and you never have to worry about the interior of the tent getting wet when pitching it in a rainstorm. For me, this architecture design feature is a major selling point. I also like the grey color of the tent as it blends well into the colors of the surrounding mountain terrain you are in. Bright colored tents stand out like a sore thumb! Please review the inserted pictures to gain a better perspective of how well the Mountain Star is built. I also encourage the readers of my review to study the Technical features of this tent and measurement details as you compare with other manufacture’s models. Durable Ultra light Waterproof Fabric The Mountain Star Tent is constructed from Toray Artistic 100% ripstop nylon that is durable, extremely light, and is highlighted by high tear strength. An application of Toray Kudos DWR and a PU waterproof coating ensure that your tent stays dry. Lighter and Stronger Poles The Mountain Star Tent features industry leading Easton Carbon Fiber poles and a unique exoskeleton pole design that minimize overall weight and increase performance. Easton Carbon Fiber has a much higher strength-to-weight ratio than even the finest aluminum poles making it the strongest, lightest weight, tent support system in the world. TECHNICAL FEATURES: • Toray Airtastic 100% ripstop nylon 10Dx20D • Toray Airtastic 100% ripstop nylon 30D • Easton 6.3 Advanced Carbon Fiber and Nano Aluminum • Toray KUDOS DWR • Duraflex Hardware • Robust 3+ Season design • Free standing • External pole design allows fly and body to remain attached • Fly only pitch or Fly and footprint pitch for the ultra-weight conscious • Unique suspended Double Wall tent design • Tent, pole and stake bags included • DWR treated for added water repellency BODY AND FLYSHEET • Fly and body always attached keeps rain and dust out during pitch • Mesh upper body provides increased ventilation • Side access for easy entry • Integrated large vestibules for gear storage and food prep outside the main living area • Adjustable vents for increased air circulation and reduced condensation • Fully taped seamed fly, tub and floor for guaranteed waterproof protection • Ergonomic design to sit-up and lay-down with adequate head room • Internal storage pockets for organization • Internal webbing loops for night suspension of gear POLE FEATURES AND CONSTRUCTION • Easton carbon fiber poles with higher strength-to-weight ratios than the finest aluminum poles • Multiple tent to pole connection points for increased stability (more than comparable 3 season tents) • Double hoop & truss design that is incredibly stable in high winds • Exo-skeleton pole design for increased stability and easy pitch • Symmetrical pole design for maximized interior space and increased stability MOUNTAIN STAR MEASUREMENT CHART STORY: If you are a mountain hunter or avid backpacker then it is a given fact that you will spend a lot of nights out on the mountain in a tent. You simply pack your “shelter” on you back. I’ve had the opportunity to “live out of” and field test a lot of different tents over the years. Through those experiences I’ve witnessed first hand the good, the bad and the “ugly” features in various designs. Through trial and error I try to eliminate the “flaws” that come with many tent systems/designs. I demand a shelter that meets very specific criteria for my individual needs. I do my best to utilize tents that will prevent nightmarish memories of tent poles breaking in the wind, leaky rainfly’s, stuck or broken zippers and ventilation systems that just didn’t get the job done. When you are facing the wrath of Mother Nature fickle disposition there is nothing more exasperating than having to deal with tent malfunctions. When the tent that you are dependent upon to protect you from the elements doesn’t provide you with the ability to get out of inclement weather to relax then you are going to lose valuable sleep and rejuvenation of your body. Without proper rest your body and mind are going to function properly. Choosing a high performance tent is an extremely critical decision. Go with a cheap, poor performing design and I guarantee that you will regret it. As I research tents I look for a design that is strong, yet ultra light. Because time is critical when you are out on the mountain your tent must be relatively simple to pitch. I’m completely sold on tents featuring rainfly’s that are attached or self-incorporated into the main tent structure itself. This design has saved me from getting my tent wet wet during inclement weather while pitching it. After all, how many tent manufacturers can you think of who were brilli brilliant enough to allow you to pitch your tent with the outer shell or rainfly already attached to the inner-shell like like the KUIU Mountain Star does? Basically, the tent I choose must be extremely functional as well as comfortable. Great job KUIU on designing a tent system with the outer exterior (rainfly) and interior shell of the tent already attached as one! When I read KUIU’s Press Release on the Mountain Star I knew immediately that they had once again raised the bar with a high performance tent! With the Mountain Star I could pitch the tent in just minutes and it was strong enough to withstand gale force windstorms. Not only did I find the Mountain Star to be extremely light for backpacking but I have appreciated the spacious interior, vestibule room and 3-pole frame system. The design and quality of this tent is as good as it gets. My 1-Man Mountain Star can be set-up within minutes. Here it is on a recent Rocky Mountain Goat Scouting Trip in Utah’s high Tushar Mountain terrain. My Mountain Star took every punch that a fierce desert windstorm threw at me! It is very capable of standing up to the harshest elements that a Mountain Hunter may encounter. My old one man tents have served me extremely well over the years but I have been looking for an ultra light strong tent such as the Mountain Star that I could use for late fall backpack trips and hunts that would provide me with more head space and room as well as overall strength. My Mountain Star 1-man tent has stood up to some tough conditions in exceeding my expectations! Upon receiving my new KUIU 1-Man Mountain Star tent the first step was to ensure that it could be pitched easily. It was even simpler and less time consuming than I thought. All I did to erect my Mountain Star was stake down the 4 corners of the tent body since the rain shell is already attached, insert the long poles into the sleeve ends, clip the Eastman Carbon poles to the rainfly, install and clip the remaining short pole, then go about the process of pulling the tent taut before staking out the guy lines. Very easy and efficient. [caption id="attachment_1024" align="alignnone" width="636"] MOUNTAIN STAR PACKS EASILY INTO ITS CARRY SACK![/caption] With every item of gear that I own the special attention to little details make a huge difference in separating quality from inferior products. I found that KUIU’s design of the Mountain Star went the extra mile with detail and focus on small features that make it an incredible tent/product. Here are a few of the extra details that I personally have appreciated: Adjustable “kickstand” vents for wind flow and internal storage pockets to organize important items like your headlamp, ear plugs, chap stick, etc. I also liked the internal webbing loops that I can hang clothing from at night. The tent zippers are covered by protective nylon flaps that keep out damaging rain and sand. This also ensures easy zipping without getting the tent fabric caught. You can also velcro the vestibule together at two points to “tighten down the hatch” to ensure that the elements stay outside A fully taped seamed fly, tub and floor help guarantee waterproof protection. The entrance and roomy vestibule were perfect. These two details have enabled me to easily store and protect my gear. During severe weather I can cook in the vestibule. This may sound funny but I like to dream about “big rams, bucks and bulls” when I crawl into my tent at night after a tough day of hunting. On the inside roof of my 1-Man Mountain Star Tent KUIU has cleverly imprinted their “ram head logo” and it “glows in the dark”! I just love lying there on my back in the comfort of my KUIU Superdown Sleeping Bag looking up at that big ram head on the ceiling. I don’t know if it was Jason Hairston or one of the members of his innovative team of dedicated mountain hunters that thought of the fluorescent ram head imprint but in my opinion it is really, really cool. Technically, the Mountain Star was built for the abuse that comes with living in the rough, rugged terrain that Mountain Hunters are always drawn to. Made exclusively by Tai Chung Canvas, the industry leader in technical tent manufacturing since 1956, KUIU’s Mountain Star tents are an integral part of their new ultra light sleep system. These tents are perfect for prolonged trips out on the mountain or just for a quick overnight stay to get you out of the weather. The Mountain Star’s game changing ultra lightweight, strength and innovative features are a backpack hunter’s dream! In conclusion, I highly recommend the purchase of KUIU’s Mountain Star tents. If you are seeking an ultra light tent that is extremely durable and strong for extended backpack trips as well as a shelter that will provide you with the protection you need in nasty weather then you should give serious consideration to purchasing the Mountain Star from KUIU. The KUIU 2P Mountain Star sells for $449 while the 1P will cost you $399. The available footprint is an added $39. The steel grey color is appealing and blends in well with the terrain you may spend your time in. Importantly, KUIU has an excellent lifetime warranty and has always been good to work with their clientele and have been very good to address any issues that I have ever encountered. What they could do better: The KUIU team continues to do an incredible job with innovative products. One feature that I would like to see KUIU incorporate in the future for their Mountain Star tent is the design of a reinforced tent bag that will not wear out under rough field conditions. Also, the pegs for my 1-Man Mountain Star have worked extremely well but KUIU may want to consider some titanium “stinger” pegs that are even smaller and stronger--including a loop of florescent nylon on the pegs so that they are easier to pull up or locate in the sand would also be appreciated.