IF THERE IS EVER a product that offers the perfect excuse to buy more than one of, it is a hiking tent. If you live in Australasia you can be subjected to a wide variety of weather conditions. From Tasmania's southwest and NZ's Fiordland, through to the hinterland of east coast Australia and the outback, you will cop everything from sweltering heat and humidity, through to torrential rain and snowfall.
There is probably no one tent that "does it all" in regards to being able to handle all conditions from sea-level to alpine, but Macpac's Minaret - the NZ brand's long-standing two-person three/four-season tent - comes extremely close.
I have owned a Minaret for three years now, and during that time I have used it in a variety of locations - the deserts of NT, the Blue Mountains, NSW south coast (and mountain hinterland), the Vic High Country and NZ's South Island - and it has kept me dry, snug and well protected.
The construction is formidable: a UV30 flysheet (30-denier double-ripstop, silicon elastomer-coated nylon) provides ample protection from the sun/wind/rain (3500mm HH waterproof rating); the Torrentwear XP floor (a tub design) is rated at 10,000mm HH and is extremely tough (with high tear and abrasion resistance); two 9.6mm DAC Featherlite NSL aluminium poles; and a double door and dual vents. Simple, but extremely effective and, impressively, considering all these "heavy-duty" features, the Minaret weighs in at only 2.1kg.
The Minaret is touted as a two-person tent and yes, you could definitely fit yourself and your (close) partner inside, but it is slightly narrower than others on the market and the length is "cut back" at the front/vestibule end, so the taller occupant needs to sit on the longer side.
Having said that, the interior measurements are not overly cramped at 2.5m long (long side; 2.0m short) by 1.150m wide. The height is 1m, allowing most people to sit up inside the tent easily (I am 181cm and don't touch the roof; those above 185cm may do). The vestibule area - 0.5m x 1.15m - is triangular in shape and you could squeeze two 60L packs in there, but it would be very crowded.
The Minaret's tunnel design means it needs to be secured via front and rear pegs and there are plenty of spare guy ropes and pegs included, so you can tie it down tight in high-wind conditions. I have had to use all guy ropes on only two occasions and the tent stayed tight as a drum.
The double front door is great, allowing for excellent interior temp regulation and air flow, and the dual vent system does also assist; only in really high humidity have I had any issues with (minor) condensation.
Overall, I have little to quibble about regarding the Minaret. More space would be appreciated - when travelling two-up - but that would entail more weight if you didn't want to sacrifice the Minaret's bombproof construction. The only other thing would be a door/opening at the rear of the tent, if only for additional airflow, although, again, this would add weight.
As a one/two-person tent that can be used in any conditions, the minaret does a top job. It isn't cheap (worth noting: if you join the macpac wilderness club, you get a discount on all macpac gear), but when you consider the high-level bombproof construction - and its awesome versatility - the macpac minaret is a sound outdoor equipment investment.
RRP $749.95 www.macpac.com.au