Alpiners’ Picks: Our All Time Favorite Tents!

Anyone who is looking for the perfect tent has been confronted with the large number of options! To help with buyers anxiety, we wanted to bring you a short list including some of our staff’s favorite tents and the adventures they’ve enjoyed while camping. We’ll even tackle the unfortunate circumstance of finding a comparable tent for one that has been discontinued; ‘Oh the horror!’.

Marmot Limelight 2



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Gretchen Carleton, Assistant Buyer for Women Apparel: “The best part about this tent is that it is the perfect size for two people. It takes only a couple of minutes to set up, it compacts very nicely and is extremely light.

My husband and I took the train from Saint Louis to Sedalia Missouri, and then rode our bikes back to Saint Charles on the Katy Trail. We carried all of our supplies on our bikes and this tent was one of the items. It was perfect shelter on a perfectly beautiful ride!”

Chloe Tennant, Director of Social Media: “The Limelight 2 is super cozy and perfect for two campers. The rain fly also withstands those pouring summer showers keeping you both nice and dry!

My boyfriend and I decided to take a last minute trip over Labor Day weekend to Johnson Shut-ins, there we were able to camp comfortably under the stars in our Limelight 2! We fell asleep with the rain fly off until I woke up at 5am to thunder! I quickly grabbed the rain fly, flung it over and it turned out to be a massive rainstorm! Luckily the tent kept us dry!”

Mountain Hardwear Drifter & Shifter Series

$227.97 (Drifter) & $249.00 (Shifter)


The Drifter Series has been modified into a new series, The Shifter!


Bart Karnowski, Alpine Shop Kirkwood Assistant Store Manager: “Mountain Hardware Drifter 3 (The Shifter 3 is the newer version) is my pick.
It sets up in five minutes and is easy to take down.

I spent the last warm weekend of the year last October at Cuivre River State Park. It was the week after SWAP and the perfect/relaxing wrap up to the sunny season.”

Paul Miller, Alpine Shop Columbia Outfitter: “I have a Mountain Hardwear Drifter 2, and as posters have said above, the Drifter series (and now Shifter Series) is solid. Easy set-up and take-down. It could be a little lighter but I’ve been happy with mine.”

Nemo Losi 3



Beth Rutledge, Alpine Shop O’Fallon, IL Outfitter: “I’m a fan of the Nemo Losi 3person with the add on footprint. I saw it in use this past summer in Glacier National Park. The guy who owned it was traveling from California to Chicago with his husky and they were on their 10th travel day when we met him. With the optional footprint, the pup was able to be in the tent with him without poking his toenails through the bottom of the tent. There was loads of room inside the tent with a ton of head room. Great looking tent and not terribly heavy. He, his name is Mark by the way, also has a 2 person Losi for backpacking, he’d like a lighter one but it is such a good tent it’s hard to get attached to a lighter one as good as this!”

We carry Nemo products at our store and although we do not have the Losi on hand, we can special order this item.

Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5



Liza Babington, Alpine Shop Columbia Store Manager: The Hammerhead 2 from Mountain Hardwear is my favorite! It is unfortunately not made anymore. What makes this tent awesome is the zip out window that goes from the floor of the foot side of the tent all the way past the top and about 1/8 of the way down the other side, giving an awesome star view at night and tons of airflow. Because you can zip the whole thing closed it also means you can pitch it without the fly when it’s hot and still have privacy. It has 3 smaller windows so you don’t lose airflow, plus tons of headroom because of it’s crazy shape. My favorite adventure in my tent was camping at Horseshoe Canyon on a climbing trip. It wasn’t a crowded weekend so we were able to find a spot where we could pitch it without the fly and stargaze all night!”

The Hammerhead was loved for its airflow and views due to it large mesh zip-out windows! The Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5 is the best comparable model! It’s catty-cornered zip-out windows offer a good amount of airflow and a beautiful view of the surroundings and sky!

The North Face Tadpole 2 & Stormbreak 2

$309.00 (Tadpole 2) & $159.00 (Stormbreak 2)


Mike Prasse, Alpine Shop Chesterfield Outfitter: “I’d have to say that my favorite tend has been and continues to be my original North Face Tadpole. I love love the easy set up, it’s durability in very strong winds, and the vestibule size for a two man tent. Sure the older model isn’t quite as light as the newer versions yet I still love it. I spent nearly a whole summer in it while I was in college running school groups down to Sams Throne in Arkansas. I still have it, use it and love it.”

We are able to special order the Tadpole 2 tent, its the perfect technical backpacking tent: super light, functional, and sturdy. Another great option for someone who doesn’t need the high technical specs and is looking for a middle range in price, The Stormbreak 2 is the pick for you! It’s not as light as the Tadpole, but it can be put together in a jiff!


Our Mission

In store and online we are determined to help you find the best tent (and any of gear you might need) for you and your adventures! Many of our tents are 3-season and paired with the right sleeping bag can keep you comfortable through many different climates. Give us a call, visit us in store, or shop online for your new favorite tent!