Mountainsmith is an outdoor gear and active lifestyle apparel manufacturer founded in 1979. They got their start in Golden, Colorado with a backcountry sled, then secured a patent for a lumbar pack designed to shift load away from the shoulders during backcountry skiing. Today Mountainsmith sells packs, trekking poles, camera bags, tents, coolers, dog products, and coolers.
The Genesee 4 is a four-person, three-season, all-purpose tent that is “equally at home on the trail or in the campground” according to Mountainsmith. It has 56 square feet of usable interior space and was chosen as a “Top Pick” by Camping Life magazine.
- 30d x 244T Nylon storage sack
- 7075 Aluminum V-Stakes
- Fly: 185T Poly PU2000MM waterproofing
- Tent: 185T breathable poly
- Floor: 190td Poly PU5000mm
- Poles: 8.5mm DIA anodized Yunan 7000 series AL alloy
- 96″ x 84″ x 52″ (244 x 213 x 132 cm)
- Packed: 19.5″ x 8″ (49 x 20 cm)
- Pole diameter: 8.5 mm
- Packaged Weight : 6 lbs 14.5 oz
- Trail Weight : 6 lbs 9 oz
What we like
The Mountainsmith Genesee 4 has 8’ x 7’ interior floor space. That’s 56 square feet of usable floor space, making it a great 4-person tent. We like the rectangular layout because it uses space more efficiently than square layouts like 7.5’ x 7.5’. The Genesee is a four-corner freestanding tent with a dome, and it uses an X-shaped pole configuration.
With a trail weight of 6 lbs., 9 oz., the Genesee 4 is easily light enough for backpacking. Mountainsmith keeps the weight down with 8mm poles and thin 185T poly fly. A lot of ultralight four-person backpacking tents on the market weigh in at 5 lbs and a few ounces, so we were impressed with the weight of this all-purpose tent.
When we packed it down, the Genesee 4 measures a compact 19.5 by 8 inches. The packed size is an essential measurement for backpacking tents, and the Genesee is small enough when packed up to qualify as a good backpacking tent.
The 2000mm waterproof rainfly provides excellent coverage of the entire tent; it’s tested and proven to keep 2000mm of vertical water over a square meter out over 24 hours. With a higher-than-average waterproof rating, this tent delivers excellent performance in rainy conditions.
The tent has two doors and two vestibules, with a total vestibule area measuring 21 square feet. The vestibules are an excellent place to stash gear and provide a little bit of extra distance from the rain when it’s wet outside.
The interior is big enough to fit a queen air mattress, or several adults and their gear, or a family of four. The vestibules are helpful for keeping equipment and clutter out of the sleeping area.
Mountainsmith engineered tent fly ventilation windows to keep the Genesee from gathering condensation overnight, which is a welcome feature in hot climates. The No-See-Um mesh wall panels save weight and allow for excellent airflow. The tent also features a handy and generously sized detachable ceiling loft pocket and interior mesh storage pockets.
The tent is structurally sound and sturdy, with a proven and straightforward pole frame design. It has just two poles that cross over one another in an X shape, making for an easy and intuitive setup.
The tent also features clip-pole attachments for weight savings and breathability. Most users can set up the tent in 5-10 minutes on their first try. Breaking it down takes slightly longer than setting it up.
The Genesee 4 has bathtub floor construction, with a high floor to keep water out. The factory taped floor seams and fly also assist with staying dry inside in wet weather.
Fortunately, Mountainsmith didn’t design the Genesee with unnecessary features; the design is sleek, uncluttered, and efficient. But they did include some nice extra touches that contribute to the impression of overall quality: the guy lines include a tension lock cord adjustment, which means you don’t have to retie the guy lines multiple times to get the tension right in windy weather.
The guy lines are 3M reflective cord, which is useful for working in low light, and also prevents other campers from stumbling into your tent in the dark. The zippers are YKK, which beats the weak no-name zippers on a lot of competitors’ tents.
What we wish was different
The most noticeable tradeoff of the Mountainsmith Genesee 4 is the 52” peak interior height. That’s 4’4”. We understand why Mountainsmith would make this decision to keep the weight down for an all-purpose tent, but some users may be disappointed if they’re used to tents with more headroom.
We noticed the floor of the tent was thin. Mountainsmith doesn’t include a footprint (exterior floor protector) in the basic package, but one is available from Mountainsmith separately for about $29. We would like to see a thicker floor construction, or a footprint included for free.
As a three-season tent, the Genesee 4 is not for winter camping. We didn’t test the Genesee in harsh cold weather, but some users report the mesh isn’t good for staying warm while camping in fall or early spring, either.
What other customers say
Mark H. says Mountainsmith is a reliable brand, and the Genesee 4 is a testament to that. He thinks it looks, feels, and performs like a much more expensive tent.
Jo H. says it is perhaps the best tent they have ever purchased, and it’s still perfect after 30 days of camping in harsh weather.
According to Mark B., the Genesee 4 tent is high quality, a great price, and very light. He thinks to do any better, you’d have to spend two or three times more on a different tent.
The Mountainsmith Genesee is an excellent all-purpose tent. It isn’t as light as a niche ultralight backpacking tent, and it’s not as big as some heavy weekender tents, but it’s got the right mix of features and durability to handle any camping trip you can imagine.