Review: Mountain Hardwear Shifter 3 Tent

Mountain Hardwear has long been a leader in high-end expedition gear, but if you’re just car-camping or even doing simple overnighters, they’ve got you covered too. Parlaying their expertise from this domain into designing well-priced high-quality offerings for less hard-core circumstances, their Shifter 3 tent is a worthy addition to any adventurer’s arsenal for the less-frosty months of the year.

First, this is a three-season, three-person tent, and it’s true to those parameters. It would be tough to fit four in here, three works, but two is most comfortable. Though it might be tempting to use it in winter with the robustness of the fly, the poles aren’t strong enough to handle snow or wind and the body is designed for air circulation as opposed to heat retention. The top of the tent is full mesh for good venting, but so is the full back wall.

Shifter 3 on a moody Arrow Lake, Revelstoke, British Columbia.

Shifter 3 on a moody Arrow Lake, Revelstoke, British Columbia.

The Shifter 3 has a standard pop-up structure that take only five minutes to put up. It’s only got two poles, comes with a ground sheet and also a fly. What sets it apart then? Construction and weight. At TK, this is mid-entry offering is comparable to way more technical tents in the high-end categories above it. The material is lightweight but sheds water and breathes much like technical outerwear does. There’s Velcro to secure the fly extra securely if you want it—which is optional, it fits fine without it if it’s not windy—it has two full doors, front and back, storage at the top (an attic) and even has a built in bottle opener. There’s also the thoughtful little bonus of a pole splint, should you ever break one while in the field.

The loft, or "attic," as I like to call it.

The loft, or “attic,” as I like to call it.

The coolest feature, though, is a pop-structure built into the vestibule to provide extra storage space. It’s best explained by just looking at the photos, but it actually works really well.

Tons of room to leave your stinky sandals out the back door.

Tons of room to leave your stinky sandals out the back door.

The Shifter 3 is perhaps a little tall, which makes it catch more wind under stormy conditions, but that’s more headroom when it’s nice out. It’s also a little finicky packing the fly into the stuff sack with the extra structure built into the vestibule—two small sewn-in-poles—but does fit just fine with a little extra care. It is, however, very robust. This tent has been with me all summer in rain, sun, sleet and dirt, anywhere from the alpine to car-side campgrounds. As long as you clean it, it keeps on ticking.

Snug as a bug with the Shifter 3 all done up.

Snug as a bug with the Shifter 3 all done up.


  • Split solid canopy/breathable mesh construction for both privacy and ventilation
  • Fly configuration offers large front-door vestibule for easy entry/exit and “shouldered” backdoor vestibule for gear storage
  • 2 mesh/canopy doors with dual-slider zipper for easy entry and exit
  • Footprint included
  • Gear loft (included) provides convenient storage
  • Industry leading DAC Pressfit™ poles
  • 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
  • Reflective guy-out loops, starter point and zipper pulls for easy set-up at night
  • Mesh storage pockets


  • Pole Type: DAC Pressfit™
  • Fabric Fly: 75D Polyester Taffeta 1500mm PU
  • Fabric Canopy: 68D Polyester Ripstop DWR
  • Fabric Tent Floor: 70D 190T Nylon Taffeta 3000mm Ester Type PU WR


  • Weight Packed: 6 lb 9 oz / 2.96 kg
  • Weight Minimum: 5 lb 9 oz / 2.51 kg
  • Weight Pitch Light: 3 lb 10 oz / 1.64 kg
  • Tent Capacity: 3
  • Number of Poles: 2
  • Number of Doors: 2
  • Number of Vestibules: 2
  • Height Interior: 48 in / 122 cm
  • Length Packed: 25 in / 64 cm
  • Diameter Packed: 7 in / 18 cm
  • Tent Floor Area: 43 sq ft / 4.0 sq m
  • Tent Vestibule Area: 10 sq ft / 0.9 sq m


Author / Contributor

Matt is the associate editor at Forecast. He’s been penning and editing ski, adventure and mountain culture-based stories for over a dozen publications for the last decade.

Share your thoughts on this post