Exped Outer Space II Tent Review

Exped Outer Space II Tent Review

The Exped Outer Space II is a large two-person double-wall freestanding tent with a front vestibule that’s large enough to seat two people. You can set up the rain fly first in order to keep the inner tent dry if it’s raining, or you can keep them together when you take the tent down and pitch them at the same time the next time you set the tent up. You can also just set up the rain fly by itself if you want a covered place to sit to get out of the sun or rain.

Specs at a Glance

  • People: 2
  • Type: Freestanding Double-Wall
  • Doors: Two
  • Minimum Trail Weight: 5 lbs 15.3 oz (including 2 stuff sacks)
    • Pole: 1 lb 15.4 oz
    • Inner Tent: 1 lb 4.6 oz
    • Rain Fly: 2 lbs 9.3 oz
  • Floor Dimensions: 84.6″ x 51″
  • Floor Area: 30 square feet
  • Vestibule Area: 39.8 square feet
  • Peak height: 59″
  • Number of Poles: 1
  • Minimum number of stakes to pitch: 2, but you’ll want at least 8 to hold it down in wind.
  • Canopy Fabric: 40-denier ripstop nylon/15-denier no-see-um mosquito mesh
  • Floor Fabric: 68-denier PU coated taffeta polyester, 5,000mm water column
  • Rainfly Fabric: 40-denier PU coated ripstop nylon
The Outer Space II has 1 tent pole with 31 segments
The Outer Space II has 1 tent pole with 31 segments

The Outer Space II is a big tent and it takes little practice to set it up, although color-coded components are a big help. The tent only has one tent pole, but it has 31 shock-corded segments! While it is a little ungainly, the fact that there’s just one pole makes it a lot harder to lose than if you had to keep track of several poles.

The rear door can be unzipped for additional ventilation
The rear door can be unzipped for additional ventilation or as a second entrance.

The tent has two doors, one in front and one in back, which can be unzipped, rolled back, or vented in a number of different ways in order to reduce internal condensation buildup, even when it is raining. The front doors can be rolled back and secured with elastic cords and toggles to create a large vestibule space for covered gear storage, cooking, or lounging if you’ve brought along some camp chairs. The headroom under the front vestibule is excellent and you can even stand up to get dressed.  Just keep in mind that the front vestibule area is floorless and unscreened, so susceptible to insect pressure.

The Outer Space II vestibule has plenty of room for chairs, gear storage, and cooking
The Outer Space II vestibule has plenty of room for chairs, gear storage, and cooking

The inner tent hangs underneath the rain fly using toggles, which is a common design found in a lot of European tents. This makes it easy to remove if it’s not needed or easy to keep dry if you want to set up the rain fly first. The inner tent is shaped like a pyramid with a gear loft to hold a headlamp and two corner pockets to hold personal items. It has two doors, so you and a companion can have your own entrances. Solid fabric panels along the base provide extra privacy, while mesh uppers provide ventilation.

The inner tent is quite spacious and cozy.
The inner tent is quite spacious and cozy. Note – Rear rain fly door is open for a breeze.

As you can imagine, the Outer Space II makes a big wind target when there’s a breeze. But it comes with numerous extra guy-out lines so you can anchor it securely. The tent includes short 4 and 5/8 inch plastic tent stakes, called Swiss Pirahna stakes, which provide a surprisingly secure hold.

Swiss Pirahna stakes
Swiss Pirahna stakes


However,  they can be difficult to drive into densely vegetated soil without a hammer, so I’d encourage you to bring a collection of different stakes so you can adapt to different soil/ground conditions. I’ve found that curved Shepard’s hook style stakes, like the red MSR Hook Stakes work best with this tent, plus the red color makes them difficult to lose.

The Outerspace II has plenty of extra guy lines for windy conditions
The Outerspace II has plenty of extra guy lines for windy conditions

At 5 lbs 15 oz, the Outer Space II is pretty heavy for backpacking use, although it would make a great basecamp tent if you split the tent with a partner. That said, if you normally carry a 3-person or 4-person tent for basecamping/backpacking because you want extra space and or room for a canine friend, the Outer Space becomes a much more attractive alternative.


The Exped Outer Space II is a large and luxurious two-person double-wall tent that can be set up fly-first to keep the inner tent dry. It’s well suited for basecamp-style backpacking with a huge front (floorless) vestibule and awning that you can sit under for sun or rain protection. The inner tent is well ventilated and spacious with two doors so occupants have their own entrances. But what sets this freestanding tent apart from other two-person tents, besides its huge interior volume, are the many ways it can be configured for different uses. For instance, if you want to just use the rain fly to sit or camp under, you don’t have to buy a separate footprint for a fly-only pitch. That’s just one of many ways you get more for your money with this tent. Exped is a Swiss Backpacking Gear Manufacturer that makes well designed, high-quality tents so it’s nice to see that they’re now carried by REI in the states.

Disclosure: Exped provided the author with a sample tent for this review.

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  1. Phil, great review, as always. Interesting tent. yes, a bit on the heavy side, but if you split it (with the two enclosed stuff sacks) between two people, it;s not so bad. The entire time I was reading your review, I was thinking “what a great canoeing trip tent this would make for me and my lady”. Small to pack, but ample on the inside space incase you need to hunker down at basecamp for a rained out day.

    Last comment, is that I completely agree with your thought about using the MSR red metal stakes. I have replaced almost all the stakes in all of my tents with those exact same stakes, and never been disappointed. Especially considering the plastic Swiss stakes (I can’t imagine using them in the Whites!).

    Best wishes on continued succesful hiking.

  2. I think I ‘d give this tent a close look if I was still in the 2 person tent market.
    This may not seem very important – until you set uo an “inner tent 1st” in a rainstorm. That’s why I’ve owned a Tarptent Scarp 2 for several years.

  3. I was really excited to hear from Exped about its debut as I was looking for an exoskeleton tent that would perform well in rainy setups and have a good sized vestibule. They told me that REI would be carrying it and I checked their site daily to see if it was listed. It showed up as ‘shipping within 30 days’ and I placed my order, pumped to try it out. The tent arrived well before the 30 day period and I set immediately to check out in the back yard.

    Exped’s reputation for quality seems well deserved. Setup was straight forward. The pole structure, though complicated, went together nicely and provided an easy framework for laying over the tent body.
    Attaching the pole ends to grommets was simple and hanging the outer fly to the frame went well………….except:

    As mentioned in the review the tent presents a considerable wind target. The product material also references this, providing specific instruction for setup in windy situations to “prevent the tent from ballooning and the tent from taking flight” These precautions are pretty straight forward, specifying staking the windward corners and opening vestibule doors to allow wind to pass through. I followed these to a T but at 17mph the wind pulled the stakes right out of the ground leaving me with a badly bent set of poles.

    I am no novice to tent setup and am left thinking that this design is going to cause a lot of heartache to users who have to setup in windy situations. Still it is a wonderful design and seems to be good quality so for those that do not anticipate such situations this may be a great choice. I am just not confident that it will suite my needs on a long trip where I do not have the choice of avoiding high winds.

    REI was good enough to send me a return label and agreed to take a look. There is really not much to see other than some bent poles, a read of my sad story, and a consideration of the manufacturer’s wind caution and reviews like Philip’s. In the end they will just need to determine if this is a design issue and / or determine if this is a user experience that they should expect to hear more of. We’ll see.

  4. We went on a vacation with the exped outer space III, but came back disappointed. We experienced some bending of the poles as well, but most importantly, the connecting nodes in the pole structure broke. Both of them, under normal circumstances and use (2 weeks trekking in sweden, fine weather), making the tent almost completely useless. Can’t recommend this tent to anyone..

  5. I have the 2 person version, and have found it to be pretty good in wind if you use a little common sense and add extra guy lines that wrap around the external poles. Really you can add as many as you want or need, and this makes it pretty good. Mine has stood up to 30 mph gusts and steady 20 mph wind with no issue at all. I only added 2 guylines going off the front hub. I wouldn’t rely on it in a hurricane but for most conditions it’s fine. I love it for canoe and kayak camping.

  6. Same issue with pole hubs. Unfortunate poor construction, but fixable. If you haven’t experienced this frustration yet, ot want to keep it from happening again, I’ve found filling the hub joint centers full with quality epoxy after roughing up the inserted silver pegs, solves the issue.

    I concur and have found this tent works great as a canoe/kayak tent. Setting the shell up in the rain and having a huge space to toss wet gear while keeping your sleeping area dry is a real plus.

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