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Hands-on Gear Review
Alps Mountaineering Lynx-2 Review
Cons: Heavy, lack of privacy
Bottom line: This inexpensive and spacious tent is ideal for trips on a tight budget.
Floor Area: 37 sq ft
Packed Size: 6 x 20.5 in
Manufacturer: Alps Mountaineering
This tent is about tradeoffs. It's one of the least expensive tents we tested and the roomiest. However, it's also the heaviest and not our first choice for use in high winds. If you don't mind the weight, or perhaps might be able to split the weight with a friend, and only go on occasional camping trips, it's by far the best value. The window does let you look outside in a storm, but it also allows other people to look in, making it the only tent we tested without privacy. Want to toe-dip into backpacking without spending big money and remain comfortable? This might be the right tent for you.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Alps Mountaineering's Lynx 2 is one of the roomier tents we tested, earning it an 8 out of 10. It is incredibly spacious for two people. It has two small interior pockets and a detachable large gear loft; there's plenty of storage space for small items like sunglasses and headlamps and the two-door style of tent is the most comfortable. The Lynx also provides adequately sized vestibules. Ultimately, we think the REI Half Dome 2 Plus is a higher quality roomy option and it earned a perfect 10 out of 10, with the NEMO Dagger 2, Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO, The North Face Triarch 2, and NEMO Galaxi 2 earning 9 out of 10s.
We are not sure how we feel about the Lynx's side-wall windows. It has windows on the fly and inner tent so that the camper can see out — but the problem is that others can also see in. When you have your headlamp on at night, your tent becomes a fish bowl, which is a privacy issue.
If you're camping without a crowd, the windows allow you the opportunity to star gaze!
You decide how much privacy you need from your tent, and you'll either love the windows — or hate them! The plastic felt heavy and cheap to us; this was a major turn-off during testing.
Ease of Set-Up
The Lynx 2 is a standard, free-standing, two-pole construction tent. It is easy and simple to set-up, with the tent body clipping to the poles in a crossed pattern. We think it is a bit odd that the Lynx does not have a master point at the apex of the body where the poles cross, which is a standard feature of most two-pole tents. Instead, it just has a regular clip in the center, and you choose which pole you want to clip it to. It comes with cheap hook stakes that bend easily and four pieces of low-quality guy line. The guy lines are long enough to stake appropriately, but it did not come with enough guy line for all the guy points.
If you're looking for a tent that pops up with seemingly no effort, the NEMO Galaxi 2, Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2, and the NEMO Dagger 2 were all very intuitive and could be set up by our testers the first time - in under five minutes.
The Lynx held up well to the moisture our testers encountered. We are concerned that the design and construction quality could become issues in serious weather. The Lynx has the tallest peak height of all the tents we tested, and this, along with its two-door design, could make it a sail in moderate to high winds. In contrast, the Hilleberg Anjan GT is relatively low-slung and rides tough winds far more easily.
We did experience some condensation after a cool, damp night, and ventilation in the tent was overall not its strong point. Both the Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL 2 mtnGLO and the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 offer far better ventilation for damp conditions.
While the 75D 185T polyester fabric was heavy and "crinkly", we deduced that it would seemingly wear well. The Lynx must be aired out carefully after each use due to interior condensation, and stored properly. Considering how many campers will not take the time to properly dry and stow the tent, this was a concern with our testers. That said, with care and use and moderate conditions, the Lynx should last car-campers and occasional backpackers for several years. If you're looking for a tent that will last and last and last, explore the Hilleberg Anjan GT and the Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO.
Weight and Packed Size
At six pounds, this is the heaviest tent we tested. The next heaviest tent in our review was the NEMO Galaxi 2, at 5 pounds 8 ounces. The Lynx is also a large, bulky tent with a packed size of 6 x 20.5 inches, whereas the Galaxi packs down to 18 x 6.5 in. Considering the weight and dimensions, this makes the Lynx 2 a great candidate for splitting up among two people, or for riding along in your car, but makes it difficult for one person to hike long distances with.
The lightest tent in our review is the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV (2 pounds, 5.6 ounces) and the Tarptent Double Rainbow, which weighs in at 2 pounds 15 ounces. Other light weight contenders include the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV 2 (3 pounds, 1 ounce), NEMO Dagger 2 (3 pounds, 12 ounces), The North Face Triarch (3 pounds, 12 ounces) and the MSR Hubba Hubba NX (3 pounds, 13 ounces). Similarly, the packed sizes for the Double Rainbow and Fly Creek HV scored well in the packed size and were the smallest in our fleet.
We did enjoy the carry handle and cinch straps on the stuff sack, but the tent felt more designed to be carried from the car to a campsite than thrown in a pack and carried into the backcountry. Another tent with innovative cinch straps in our reviews was the MSR Hubba Hubba NX.
At $160, this is one of the least expensive tents in our review. The REI Half Dome 2 Plus is a similar tent that has higher quality construction and weighs a pound less. BUT, the Half Dome costs $60 more. The Kelty Salida 2 costs $100 less than the Lynx and weighs 18 oz. less, but offers 5.5 square feet less of interior space.
As we noted above, the Lynx 2 was one of the lowest-rating tents in our test, but also is the cheapest at $159.99. It is one of the roomiest tents in the review with 37 square feet of interior space. The roomiest tent was the REI Half Dome 2 Plus with 38.1 square feet. We did like the detachable gear loft; there was plenty of interior storage space thanks to the large loft and two small wall pockets. The vestibules offer above-average storage size at a combined 20 square feet, but the tent is quite heavy at 5 lbs. 13 oz.
Overall, we'd recommend the Lynx as a decent — but not stunning — choice for the car-camper who is looking for a lot of interior space with a low price-point. If you're looking for a roomy tent and are willing to spend a little more for a higher-quality product, look at the REI Half Dome 2 Plus, the Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO, and the The North Face Triarch 2.
— Jessica Haist and Jess McGlothlin
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