Gear Review: Exped Mira II Tent

Exped Mira II

Backpacking Tent
Exped Mira II
$379, 3 lbs. 14 oz.

Rain, hail, snow squalls, strong winds, temps below freezing, as well as dry, calm nights in the 40s and low 50s—I saw it all in this tent, from Washington’s stormy Olympic Mountains to Idaho’s City of Rocks and Smoky Mountains. It handled that entire gamut of conditions: keeping us dry though tempests and not bending in gusts of 30 to 40 mph, while ventilating well on clear, mild nights. But the real selling point is that it performs at this level—plus has decent interior space and two doors and vestibules—while weighing in under four pounds and setting you back less than four C-notes.

Exped achieved the low weight through reducing the pole structure at the foot of the tent without compromising stability, though we were careful to try to pitch the beefier end of the tent into the wind. The Mira II nonetheless has thicker, more durable nylon fabric (70-denier nylon in the floor, 30-denier in the rainfly) than many competitors in this class. Exped nailed other important details, too: The doors prevent rain dripping inside when you’re coming and going, and the vestibules are each big enough to store a pack and boots (we also cooked in one). While the 29.6 square feet of floor space is fairly average in this weight class—a six-foot buddy and I (I’m five feet, eight inches) found it a little cramped but livable—the peak height of 43 inches provides good head room. The color-coded poles and sleeves make setup easy; and while sliding poles through sleeves is slower than clipping up a tent, it is also sturdier. All in all, you get your money’s worth in this high-performance, lightweight, three-season tent.

NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu. See more reviews of backpacking gear I like by clicking on the “backpacking gear reviews” tag in the tag cloud in the left sidebar.

—Michael Lanza


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8 thoughts on “Gear Review: Exped Mira II Tent”

  1. Thanks for the review. My old MSR Hubbard Bubba is worn out and I just went to my local outdoor store here in Australa and was impressed by the Mira II they had on display. Your review has convinced me it’s the one for me!

  2. Hi Tom, You should trust the source you believe has the most credibility. I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker for almost 20 years, and a field editor and regular contributor for the magazine for more than a decade. I’ve tested more tents than I can estimate. I only review gear I believe is a top performer and worth telling my readers about. I’ve read many reviews from other online sources that I thought were ludicrously over-critical. I’ll leave the judgment to you. Thanks for writing.

    • Hey Michael,

      I saw that you subsequently revieed Sierra Designs Flash 2. Which of these tents are you packing now? For the Flash 2, with the side vestibules not touching the ground in areas, don’t you have trouble with sand and/or rain blowing in?

      I have both tents sitting in my living room while I try to decide which to take on the Wonderland trail ina month.


      • Hi Cheryl, good question, there are many similarities between these two tents, including weight and sturdiness. I didn’t have trouble with rain blowing in on the Flash 2, and I don’t think blowing sand would be a greater problem in it than the Mira II (or similar tents) unless you encountered severe wind in a very sandy or dusty locale. As for which tent I still use, I just used the Mira II backpacking in the Glacier Peak Wilderness because I happen to still have it, while the Flash 2 ended up with another Backpacker magazine tester after I finished with it.

        For the Wonderland Trail, I guess I would lean toward the Mira II, favoring the greater rainfly coverage and head room over the Flash 2’s superior ventilation. But I would also suggest you think beyond the Wonderland to future trips and which of those attributes will be more important to you: superior ventilation or the rainfly and head room. I hope that’s helpful. Let me know if you have more questions.

    • Hi Michael

      Looks like a good all around compact tent; good materials and constructions, with attention to details. Where to go for buying one (North or/and South America) ?


      • Hi Felipe, you will find a Dealer Listing link at Exped’s website, as well as contact info to put that question to them if there’s not a dealer near you.

  3. hello
    I have one question.
    I read in a German test mag that the tent is useless as it does not realy protect you from wind=it is said to be useless in colder regions.
    the test written in “outdoor magazin” also claims that it will collaps as soon as the wind is faster than 60km/h(40mph)

    whom should I trust?