Wanting a little more room than my snug, but trusty REI 2-person tent, I opted for the Mountain Hardwear Hammerhead 3. With a bit more wiggle-room and storage, it’s a comfortable 2-person and a capable 3-person tent. My primary goal was to have a great tent to take one or two of my kids up in the mountains and the Hammerhead 3 fits that bill nicely.
Mountain Hardwear Hammerhead 3 Tent Features:
- Guaranteed watertight construction with fully taped fly, taped perimeter seam, welded corners and welded guy clip anchors. Rain room tested with 1200″ of rain in 24 hours.
- Atlas 7001™ pole system is strong, lightweight, durable, resistant to corrosion and dents, and easy to service by hand in the field
- Pitch Light™ configuration allows user to set up a superlight shelter using only the tent fly, poles and footprint (sold separately)
- Large mesh area for maximum ventilation when needed; can be covered with zippered roll-back sky panel for warmth and privacy
- Two adjustable vents in fly sheet for air circulation
- High ceiling for extra head room
- Two large canopy doors with dual slider zippers for easy entry
- Two vestibules for storage
- Reflective starter point, guy-out loops and zipper pulls for easy set-up at night
- Superlight 1/4″ buckles and webbing reduce tent weight
- Color coded pole loops for easy set up
- MSRP: $300
Mountain Hardwear Hammerhead 3 Tent Review
Bomber Mountain Hardwear construction… check. Ultra-huge mesh windows for stargazing… check. Excellent headroom… check. The Hammerhead 3 is not an ultralight 3-person tent, but it’s built smartly with a bevy of features to make it a versatile choice for those seeking a little extra elbow-room.
Setup is straightforward with two identical poles running fore and aft and a single peaked pole for height. Poles are color-coded and are slightly bent to make the proper shape. This is great when pitched, but when stored, the poles then don’t sit completely flat, thus taking up a little more room than standard, unbent poles. The poles connect to resin clips in 6 locations along the floor of the tent. These simple clips allow for easy pole attachment and staking while also making for easy rain fly attachment.
The two carabiner-like clips secure the poles where they intersect. The gate stays closed with simple spring pressure from the clip body. These major intersections are easily done first to keep the tent in place, then followed by the remaining hooks to secure the tent body. To unclip, a squeeze of these two carabiners pops the gate open and you’re good.
The Hammerhead is appropriately named as it sits very tall and features double-sided entry with dual vestibules with 20 sq. ft. of exterior storage. While the rain fly will undoubtedly be used most of the time, one of my favorite features of this tent can be used when going fly-free. The absolutely enormous grill on the Hammerhead provides quite the view of the night sky. Now there are a ton of tents with ample mesh for breathability and a clear view of the night sky, but this one is unique in its ability to cover that huge mesh area with its roll-back sky panel. It zips off and neatly rolls out of the way for unimpeded viewing then can be covered mostly or completely with a few zips and clips.
Without the rain fly, many mesh-happy tents can become downright chilly, but with the roll-back panel zipped back in place, 35-degree nights were considerably less chilly. We were able to enjoy the clear view of the sky until it was time to sleep, then zip it closed for a bit more privacy and warmth.
All doors and zip-away panels can be rolled and secured via either simple hook and pull latches or simple drawcords that allow for tighter stowing. With that simple addition, door panels were securely and easily kept out of the way.
I did have some issues with the double doors. While it’s nice having two doors, they aren’t all that large, so access isn’t quite as roomy as other tents. I also couldn’t get the tent completely taught at the door zippers, so it typically required a two hand process with one hand holding the tent tight and the other pulling the zipper open or closed.
I pitched it using the optional footprint, which is recommended and further extends the tent’s function in Pitch Light configuration (e.g. poles, fly and footprint).
The rain fly provides ample double-sided vestibules to stash gear and keep them from the elements. I didn’t encounter any foul weather while using the Hammerhead 3, so I’ll have to report back later and just take Mountain Hardwear’s word on the watertight construction for now.
As it is, the Hammerhead 3 is a great option for backpacking and car camping with double-wide comfort for two or ample for three.
Good Hammerhead 3
- Love the roll-away sky panel for stargazing or privacy
- Extra headroom is great
- Double entry with roomy vestibules
- Simple pleasures add up: pull-tight drawcords and resin pole/stake clips
- Taped construction for weather protection
- Can be pitched in several options–especially when used with the optional footprint
- Great breathability
- Does well in wind
Bad Hammerhead 3
- Could be a tad lighter
- Bent poles don’t store flat, so they take up extra space when packed
- Doors required two-hands to open/close
Bottom Line: Mountain Hardwear Hammerhead 3 Tent
With an amazing roll-away convertible sky view panel, the Hammerhead 3 tent is like sleeping the the cockpit of a fighter jet with a wide-open view of the sky. Then, when it’s time for privacy or extra warmth, the zip panel closes. I like the extra headroom and amply-sized double vestibules combined with numerous great little features. There are lighter 3-person backpacking tents, but this one is quite compelling.