Sola Tent

1:54 a.m. on October 18, 2006 (EDT)
(Guest)

I would like to know if anyone here is familiar with Integral Designs four-season one man Sola tent. I am planning on camping out next summer when bicycling around Iceland’s ring road so my primary concern is to find a well designed waterproof tent. I have been informed by an Icelandic friend of mine that since there is a great deal of moisture in the ground in Iceland that I should be sure to purchase a tent that will not only keep the rain out but will also prevent moisture from seeping in through its floor.

7:30 a.m. on October 18, 2006 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
715 reviewer rep
3,169 forum posts

I'm not personally familiar with the Sola. However, we do have one user review for it in Trailspace's gear review section:
http://www.trailspace.com/gear/integral-designs/sola/review/1153/

The review is from 1998, but they gave the Sola four out of five stars and said "waterproofing is excellent".

-Alicia

11:27 a.m. on October 18, 2006 (EDT)
MODERATOR
38 reviewer rep
1,769 forum posts

I looked at this thing on backcountrygear.com's website. It is tiny. Since you are going bike touring, weight isn't as important as it is for hiking. Have you ever been "tentbound" in the rain? I have and it's no fun. I took a Sierra Designs Flashlight bike touring years ago. I was alone and that is a two person tent. It had enough room for two and some gear, but I was glad to have the extra room in the rain when I was alone. I would not want to be stuck all day in something I can't sit up in like the Sola.

I suggest looking at either a light two person tent or something like the Hilleberg Akto, a one person tent which gets high marks for being weatherproof-it is a four season tent and has a vestibule, which in the rain is very useful. The Akto retails for $345, I think, but I see used ones once in a while.

If you look at backcountrygear, REI, or similar stores online, you will see plenty of small, lightweight tents around the same price as the Sola, but with more room, more headroom and some have a vestibule. Be aware that some single wall tents are more water resistant than waterproof, in other words, they are waterproof up to a point then the fabric gets saturated and they start to drip water. A double wall tent with a waterproof rain fly should not have that problem.

Whatever you get, you will probably have to seal the seams with seam sealer (a goo that you spread on the seams to seal the holes made by sewing the panels together). If the ground is going to be really wet, you may want a footprint-you can make one yourself from a piece of Tyvek or similar material or buy whatever the manufacturer sells for your tent.

There are lots of choices. If you are near a store like REI, go there and have them set up some of the tents they carry so you can see what they are like. Get in them, look around, then ask yourself, "Do I want to be stuck in this all day waiting for it to stop raining?"

3:43 a.m. on October 20, 2006 (EDT)
(Guest)

Thank you very much Alicia and Tom, I greatly appreciate the information which you have both provided.

2:18 a.m. on October 31, 2006 (EST)
14 reviewer rep
5 forum posts

You might also consider the Hilleberg Nallo 2. It's much larger than the Akto, much easier to pitch (especially in the rain), but only weighs 2Kg. The vestibule is great for storing evrything, plus larger enough to cook in safely. In extremely wet conditions, consider having a sheet of plastic that is large enough to come up the walls a bit. This becomes a second floor when required: Once tent is pitched and you want to come in (cold and soaked through after a day's riding in the rain), simply crawl in. After getting warm with a hot drink, get out of the wet gear, then spread out the dry plastic sheet. Everything that goes on to it will be dry (sleeping bag, spare clothing). Wet gear can go under the plastic sheet or put out into the vestibule to be sorted out.

6:28 p.m. on December 2, 2006 (EST)
12 reviewer rep
102 forum posts

I used a similar tent, though a bit smaller, as my main shelter for ten years. (1980s version of long-discontinued Sierra Designs Divine Light) Though I used it for up to six nights once or twice, I found I could stand two nights and then I got a little uncomfortable psychologically, with the space. I still use it on rare occassions.

This summer I spent twenty nights (non-consecutive) with Integral Designs Sil Shelter. I started to want more space so I recently bought a Go Light Hex, which is relatively enormous and weighs three pounds.

During my week in Iceland, I used a square tarp and groundsheet. It was okay, but not optimal only because Iceland is nearly always breezy. It was cloudy a lot but never rained very hard so I don't remember any unusual problems with moisture.

If you stay in hostels occassionally for respite, I'm sure you'd be fine with the Sola. It's certainly a bomber design but maybe a little heavy for the space you're getting.

December 29, 2014
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