Gear Review: Macpac Olympus

Me in my Macpac Olympus

The first Gear review!

I thought I would start with some big ticket items, I dont tend to research the cheaper items, but when it comes to a tent or a fuel stove, I do my homework. As a result, along with roughly 12 months testing, I bring you the Macpac Olympus Tent review.

Rating Table

My rating system for tents is going to be pretty straight forward. I am going to rate each tent and give it an overall score, based on the average score in the following categories:

  • Ease of setup
  • Weight
  • Waterproofing
  • Windproofing
  • Fly quality
  • Ease of setup on fly
  • Vestibule size & quality
  • Condensation

The Macpac Olympus is an excellent hiking tent, a “5 season” tent as according to Macpac, it warrants use all year round, which can be a big saver when you want to experience some winter hiking or camping.

Sunrise over my Macpac olympus

Macpac olympus, Sunrise at Farmyard, Cathedral Ranges

The Stats:

This is straight off the Macpac website for accuracy:

Cost: RRP: $899.95 , Sale: $674.95 (this tent is often on sale for Macpac members, including right now)

Snow on my Macpac olympus

Beginnings of snow on my Macpac Olympus, at the beginning of the afternoon, before the sun had even set! No, its not hail.

Size One size
Weight (minimum) 2.8kg
Weight (total) 3.1kg
Fabric Fly / Floor UV30TMSI / TorrentwearTM XP
Colour Juniper, Saffron
Persons 2
Floor area (l x w) 2.2m x 1.35m – Height 1.15m
Vestibule area (l x w) 1.1m x 1.35m
Rolled size 55 x 15cm
Poles 3 – DAC Featherlite NSL / 9.6mm

The tent also ships with a repair kit for the fly and/or inner and an aluminium tubular brace in case of a pole snap. There is also the opportunity to purchase a foot-print for this tent, improving its performance in the cold.

The Writeup:

The Macpac Olympus is an incredibly verstile tent, with some very interesting and innovative concepts built in. The fly and inner can be packed as one reducing setup and pack-up time, the aluminium frame poles go through the fly and the inner hangs off the frame. This means making the inner stay away from the fly much easier, it also makes setting this tent up very very easy. I can, with the help of another put this tent up in literally 3 -5 minutes on a slow day, from peg out, to complete free-standing glory. Due to the fly first architecture , the tent itself is great even in the rain, as you dont have to let the inner get wet at all during setup.

Macpac Olympus

My Macpac Olympus

I have to say, that while it is a little heavier than some of the 2 or 3 season tents that are available on the market, for example some of the MSR range, it is considerably more versatile (and really only about 1kg – 800g heavier). I have had this tent on Mt Loch (Near Hotham) when it was snowing; and it was cold; in fact it was -6 degrees out-side + wind chill, which i speculate was roughly another -5 to 10, but no where near as cold as it could have been if not for this tent. If you plan to use it in Alpine areas, I highly recommend purchasing the footprint, which I cant find online at this time, but am sure I have seen them in the shop. (I plan on getting one this year)

I have also has this tent with me when I went camping at Ned’s Gully earlier this year, in summer; it has a pair of vents on either end, which improve air flow and allow it to be used even on hot steamy nights. The vents allow for considerable reduction in condensation on the inside of the tent, which is another big plus, though due to the domal shape of the tent, the fly does still tend to get a bit wet on the inside over-night.

It is extremely waterproof, as one would expect; with tub floors, I Cannot stress enough how valuable these are, tub floors are great because they are made of a heavier plastic / tarp, that can safely have items up against it even during rain. This means that should it be pouring with rain, it is quite easy to avoid your bedding getting soaked from sitting up against the side of the tent, even if you camped in a shallow river! Though I certainly recommend against it.

Macpac olympus

My Macpac Olympus, right before pack-up

The vestibule is quite sizable, as you can see on the top image, it doesnt boast a connected tub floor, as a result i use a $2 tarp from Aussie Disposals to keep my pack and gear dry. The vesti can comfortably fit a 75L pack on either side and still allow room to move in and out of the tent. I highly recommend the Olympus as a great allrounder tent. It will perform well in almost all conditions, working as a functional base on day hikes near the beach all the way to as a mountain tent on multiday hikes in the Australian Alpine areas. Due to the weight it is definitely a 2 man tent on longer expeditions, but the extra weight is well worth the comfort that it will provide should it turn out to be un-favourable weather conditions.

Overall

Easy Set Up

Weight

Waterproof

Windproof

Fly Works Well

Fly Set Up

Vestibule

Lack of Condensation

4 Responses to Gear Review: Macpac Olympus

  1. Is it free standing without pegs or must it be pegged like most tunnel tents appear to

    • Hi Erin,

      Its not really free standing; no tunnel tent I can think of is, it doesn’t have the traditional X shape that is required for free-standing dome/tunnel. That being said, I have set it up on hard ground before and used rocks instead of pegs to hold it out successfully.

      Do you need a free-standing dome?

  2. Just wondering what your thoughts are on swags? I do a bit of camping but have yet to do any hiking and camping together. When hiking do you think a swag or tent would be better? At the moment I only have a swag and when its rolled up it looks a little big to take on a hike but I imagine a tent wouldn’t be much different?

    • Swags can be great, but you need to be aware of the weight. Your biggest enemy when hiking is the weight of your gear. If you plan on carrying enough to hike overnight somewhere, you want to make sure that you carry as little as possible while still being safe.

      The Macpac in that article packs up far smaller than any swag I’ve ever seen. It rolls up into a package of about 45cm x 20cm x 15cm; and I might be over-stating its size even then. To give you an idea, its about the size of a rolled towel. So I think its best to say; yes it definitely does pack away much smaller.

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