The Naturehike Star River 2 is an affordable two-person tent for year-round backpacking adventures.
With a strong frame and a waterproof coating that resists over 4000mm of water, you can trust this tent in wet and stormy weather.
It is also suitable for camping in the winter months, so long as you bring the appropriate sleeping bag and thermal pad.
It’s not the best choice for hot and humid climates, though. It has only one vent, so heat and condensation can build up quickly.
Later in this review, I’ll give you some tips to avoid condensation and overheating, along with everything you need to know before going ahead with the purchase.
Naturehike Star River 2 Review
Who Is the Star River 2 For?
The Naturehike Star River 2 is an ideal tent for one or two people who want to hit the trails outside of the hot summer months.
Many backpacking tents will do fine in good weather, but you can rely on the Star River 2 year-round.
Design, Material, & Performance
While it’s slightly more expensive than some of Naturehike’s other tents, the Star River 2 is still a great value for what you pay.
Of course, this is an entry-level tent and should not be treated like an expedition tent that costs 10 times the price.
In this section, I’ll talk you through the design, material, and performance so you know what you are getting for your money.
Waterproofing & Wind-Resistance
The waterproof coating can resist over 4000mm of water. So, if you pitch your camp sensibly and take good care of the tent, you can trust it to keep you dry in heavy rain.
For example, you should spray your tent with a waterproof coating after each heavy rainfall because some of the protection inevitably washes away in a storm.
The Star River comes with a footprint, which you can place on the ground beneath the tent.
The footprint doesn’t make your tent more waterproof per se, but it does prevent any rubbing or tears in the tent floor that would let water into the sleeping compartment.
The half-dome shape can handle wind exceptionally well, and the 7001 aluminum frame is solid and robust, preventing buckling in heavy wind. Make sure to set out the guy lines for more wind resistance.
The guy lines will also stop the wet rainfly from flapping, which can bring moisture into your sleeping compartment.
The Star River 2 is reasonably durable, but has some limitations.
The strong frame and tent footprint will help extend the life of this tent, as will regularly respraying the rainfly.
At 20D thickness, the tent fly can withstand light snowfall. If you’re going to head out into high altitudes where there’s a chance of heavy snow, you’ll want a minimum 40D thickness for your tent walls.
As can be expected with a tent of this price, it’s not going to last a lifetime. Some users reported small tears and rips from the fifth or sixth trip.
You can limit tears by choosing a camping spot without sharp pebbles or plants on the ground. (You’ll get a better night’s sleep, too!)
Also, avoid pitching during a windy time of day when the tent is more likely to flap around and catch on something.
Ease of Set-Up
The Star River 2 features a quick and straightforward pitching system, so you can set up everything in a couple of minutes. Simply unfold the hub-style frame and clip it into place.
You don’t have to be strong or tall to set this up, as it is lightweight and compact.
If you’d prefer to cut some weight on your trip, you can use the Star River 2’s light-and-fast set-up option.
In fact, you can set up this tent without the inner body for an ultralight tarp-style shelter in the mountains.
Comfort & Livability
This tent is technically a two-person tent. Personally, I would want to sleep in it only with my husband, sister, or best friend at a push!
You won’t have a lot of elbow room, so choose your tent buddy carefully if you’re going to be sharing.
To be fair, there are two vestibules for you to keep your kit, so at least you don’t have to share with your backpacks, too.
If you use it as a one-person tent, you’ll have more space to spread out, but then you’ll have to carry the full weight (4.4 lbs) in your pack instead of sharing it with your tent buddy.
A center height of 43.2” (110 cm) is pretty decent for a backpacking tent. Most people will be able to sit up comfortably without brushing the ceiling, which can make a game of cards or reading a book a lot more comfortable.
There are also two separate doors, so you don’t have to climb over your tent buddy to come and go. This makes a huge difference when you are sharing a space.
Something that isn’t so comfortable about this tent is its limited breathability. The sleeping area can get quite hot and stuffy in the summer months.
You do have a vent to help with this, but you should try to pitch in the direction of the breeze to get fresh air moving through the interior.
Weight & Packed Size
The weight of your tent is critical if you’ll be backpacking. At 4.6 lbs (2.1kg), it’s on the heavier side of hiking tents, but it will be no problem for two people to share.
If you’re camping alone, you might have to make some weight savings elsewhere to keep your pack at a comfortable weight.
To be fair, this model is suitable for 4 seasons, so it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect anything lighter at this price.
What Users Are Saying About This Tent
Most users of the Naturehike Star River 2 have great things to say about this tent.
Typically, people say the comfort and dimensions are very good for its weight. The two doors and two vestibules make camping a lot easier, and users report staying warm and dry in foul weather.
On the other hand, some users report that the ventilation isn’t good enough for summer camping. The lack of ventilation can lead to a build-up of condensation and an uncomfortably warm sleeping compartment.
To avoid this, you’ll want to camp in a shady spot whenever possible. Keep your vents open all the time, and store any damp kit out of the sleeping compartment.
You can also take down your tent in the daytime and pitch it again just before the evening. This prevents heat from building up throughout the day.
What I Love About the Naturehike Star River 2
There is a lot to love about the Star River 2.
I particularly appreciate the two vestibules and two doors, which make the tent seem much more spacious.
It’s affordable, you can trust it to keep you dry in the wettest and windiest weather, and it’s a great weight for the price.
What I Don’t Like About This Tent
I’m not overly impressed with the ventilation. I would have liked to have seen a ground vent to help draw cool air in and up through the sleeping compartment.
Pros & Cons
If you’re not entirely convinced that the Star River is the best tent for you, here are a couple of other options.
For folks who’d prefer a 4 season tent that’s a bit lighter and better for use while mountaineering, the MSR Access might be more appropriate.
Or, if you’re not going to camp in extremely cold weather and want something more suitable for summer, the Naturehike Cloud Up 2 is a super-popular and affordable option.
The Star River 2 is an affordable, comfortable, and portable tent for year-round backpacking adventures. You can trust it to look after you in some of the foulest weather, and it’s easy to pitch in less than two minutes.
It might not be the best tent for summer camping, as the ventilation is limited, and you might find your sleeping compartment getting too hot.
I hope you found this article helpful, and I wish you many happy camping adventures!
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Gaby is a professional outdoor educator, guide, and wilderness medicine instructor. She holds a master's degree in outdoor education and spends most of her time hanging out with penguins and polar bears in the polar region. When she's not outdoors, you can find her traveling, reading Nietzsche, and drinking copious double espressos.