When MSR heard that I was heading to the Highlands they very kindly offered to let me try one of their new Access tents. Mark at UOG had previously tested the Access 1 tent earlier in the year in snowy conditions so I had no doubt it was a great choice for this trip. He’d been extremely impressed when using one in the Cairngorms so I was looking forward to trying one for myself. To save weight I decided to share a tent so opted for an Access 2 rather than carrying separate tents and split the components between us making for a light carry. We knew that there were a couple of bothies on the trip so we would be mixing bothy stays with some wild camping. The first night we chose to stay in the tent rather than a bothy in order to cover more ground before stopping.
The Access is extremely straightforward to pitch. It pitches inner first but this is no problem because it takes so little time to get up. I’m a big fan of the Hubba range and the Access is very much like a Hubba on steroids. The materials and tent fittings have the same reassuring feel of quality that you see on the Hubba tents but with the addition of the central pole that gives extra stability and snow loading capability. The poles use a new composite which is lighter than aluminium but stronger and much more flexible so in high winds the poles are virtually unbreakable. Where an aluminium pole will crack or bend in extreme conditions, the flex in these poles allows them to bend further and spring back with no damage. There are also additional guy points to further add to the Access’ ability to shrug of windy conditions.
As the Access is a 4 season tent it has been designed to be roomier inside compared to typical 2 person tents assuming that you might be spending more time inside when the weather is poor. With 2 of us inside the tent it never felt claustrophobic as there is plenty of head height and the door sides of the inner raise vertically. The inner of the tent is mostly fabric which keeps the tent noticeably warmer especially when the wind picks up compared to a tent with more mesh. It might make the tent a bit stuffy in the summer but for the rest of the year it’s appreciated. The Access 2 is perfect for year round camping in the Highlands.