Solo Tent

2:05 a.m. on February 23, 2008 (EST)
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After twenty years of using an old, no-name brand tent that weighs a ton, I have finally decided to purchase (or at least look into) buying a solo tent. What I am really looking for is a lightweight, compact, weatherproof tent that is reliable, and preferably pretty cheap. My one major concern is that I will be doing alot of fall/early spring backpacking. Since I get chilly easily, would I be more susceptible to it in a single tent, as opposed to a tent with other people warming it with body heat.

So, anybody have a good solo tent that they could recommend?

3:25 a.m. on February 23, 2008 (EST)
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Among the relatively recent, affordable solo tents, I like Eureka Spitfire a little bit, and similar tents by Sierra Designs. I like OR Haven and similar GoLite series probably more, but arguably, these aren't full "tents."

Wenzel makes a nice tent for under $50, supposedly for two, but good for one, with complete floor and netting, but it's coated single wall, and only good for three seasons, given impermiable floor and related drainage problems.

Hillenberg and Montbell are other obvious possibilities. But given cost of some of these options, one must also consider Black Diamond First Light, a slightly larger tent, supposedly for two people at under three pounds and nearly $300, apparently offering good, full protection.

Most free-standing solo tents out there are not good weight/value/space propositions, in my view.

I own and use the long discontinued, 2.5 pound Sierra Designs solo Divine Light tent, single wall, advertised at 20 sq. feet.

Its angled front arch and resulting wide door remains a unique and slightly brilliant innovation for miniature tent design, unaccountably now not available.

Yet despite its advantages, this solo tent was simply too small for me to tolerate, I concluded after many years and nights.

Subsequently, I purchased several alternatives, none entirely satisfactory, including a slightly larger, heavier, taller and more bulky, Mountain Hardwear solo tent, now also discontinued, and similar to curent Spitfire.

I ditched the thing and my favorite tent is currently 3-pound, 50-sq. ft GoLite Hex, with 5 feet of headroom and no floor or bug net.

I continue to occasionally use SD tent in severe bug environments, but the Hex alone, without bug insert, has provided somewhat effective protection in moderately severe bug infestations.

I also own and use quite a bit, the Integral Designs SilShelter at 1 pound, and nearly large enough for two people. Though I have a few objections to this item, I do wish to acquire slightly heavier bug net for this rig, for total of slighly more than 2 pounds.

The SilShelter and bug insert rig I describe is much more fussy to erect than the BD First Light as well as many solo tents on the market. But it is probably as large as BD and a fair bit cheaper.

I continue to believe, or imagine, that OR Night Haven and similar Golite series are good compromises, considerably more space than a "solo" tent, with insect netting, low weight and slightly moderate cost.



6:31 a.m. on February 23, 2008 (EST)
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The BEST, Hilleberg Soulu, mine is the neatest LITTLE tent I have owned and I have had a few.

The other BEST, Integral Designs Mega Sola, sometimes hard to get and lacking heaadroom, but, this is a BOMB in harsh alpine conditions, erects in a flash and is my solo hunting tent in BC wilderness.

A GOOD choice at a lower price WOULD be the BD First Light OR a Big Agnes solo tent.

12:02 p.m. on February 23, 2008 (EST)
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I'll look into those. Thanks.

11:23 p.m. on February 25, 2008 (EST)
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So after a few hours of research, I came across the MSR Hubba, 1 person, three season tent. I looked at moosjaw, and found that there are now a few different versions of the Hubba. What is the differences between them??

Heres the links:

And then the:

And Finally, the:

And I'm sitting here thinking... What is the difference between them?

[Edited by Dave: fixed URLs]

11:24 p.m. on February 25, 2008 (EST)
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Forgot to say, if anybody see's another tent that they would recommend to me that is on, please do so, my mind is not set in stone yet.

5:44 a.m. on February 26, 2008 (EST)
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Oh, I see. the first one is last years model. The next two are the new ones One with a screen body for good ventalation and stargazing and the other with a breatheable body for more wind and snow protection. I think you need to ask yourself "am I going to use this mostly in summer?" "Will I be using this in blowing snow or sand?" Me personaly I value stargazing on a clear night above all and would go with one of the mesh ones.

10:39 a.m. on February 26, 2008 (EST)
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Ok, thanks. Would it be worth it to go a few dollars up and get the hubba hubba???

And anything else to look at before I have made a final decision?


5:17 p.m. on March 25, 2008 (EDT)
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I will recommend the solo tent I use-the ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 1.0.

This tent I took on my backpacking trip down in the Missouri Ozarks. Extremely lightweight. Tent body constructed entirely of mesh. Packs down very small.

Here are some photos of my tent in use:

Hope it helps!

9:55 p.m. on March 25, 2008 (EDT)
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There are many solo tents for three seasons. If you are looking for something light, check out Henry Shires' Tarptent Rainbow, an ultralight solo tent. He also has the Contrail, another UL tent. Sixmoondesigns also makes a very light solo tent, as does Black Diamond and a few others. Terra Nova has a really interesting one, but this is a British company and I'm not sure who carries them here. I've seen them online.

REI sells the Quarter Dome,a fairly light, small tent. They have a little video of it on their website, plus some owner reviews. It is reasonably priced as well-under $200.

12:04 p.m. on March 26, 2008 (EDT)
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Tom, Terra-Nova makes some excellent tents.

I always wanted the Quasar. Great little mountaineering/four-season tent. Very similar to my (former :() Diamond Brand Mountain Home in design.

2:30 a.m. on March 28, 2008 (EDT)
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The Terra Nova website has several solo tents-the Laser Photon and the Laser Competition look kind of like the Hilleberg Akto and weigh less than a kilo. Unfortunately, they cost 300 and 250 pounds (not Euros) which works out to $600 and $500, so they are incredibly expensive. The Photon is a few oz. lighter.

The Akto is about a pound heavier. The prices of the Lasers make it look like a real bargain and it's almost $400.

One of Henry Shires' Tarptents is less than half the cost of the Terra Nova tents.

6:32 a.m. on March 28, 2008 (EDT)
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I've always wanted one of these, but they only come around on e-bay every now and then and I just got a new tent last month.

2:40 p.m. on March 28, 2008 (EDT)
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Unfortunately, Wanderlust developed a reputation for taking orders and payments, then not delivering the tents customers had purchased. This happened in 2003-2004 or so and then the company just disappeared-phone disconnected, website gone, no mail answered and so on. There were several discussions about Wanderlust back in 2005 on another site I belong to, including posts by unhappy customers who never got their tents.

The SixMoonDesigns tents look somewhat similar to the Wanderlust based on the pictures I have seen.

5:46 p.m. on March 28, 2008 (EDT)
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Yeah Tom, It's sad that such a great tent maker would disappear like that without explanation. Still, that tent is such a brilliant piece of design. I also like the Six Moons tent, and this new one from Gossamer is tops in my book too.

7:40 p.m. on March 28, 2008 (EDT)
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Not sure what happened to Kurt (Wanderlust), but he left a few buyers very unhappy. Too bad, as you say, because the few who had his tents really liked them.

One thing about Henry Shires (Tarptent)- he makes his tents here, rather than outsource them overseas; he also gets his fabric here, so his supply issues are closer to home for him. He also belongs to another forum I help moderate and he checks in every now and then with responses to posts about his tents. It isn't often you see that. He will also update older versions, if that is possible-do things like install a floor if you have a floorless model and want to change it.

I've only seen his Cloudburst in person-I bought a used one, but never used it, so I sold it, but all of his tents get good reviews from their owners.

6:52 p.m. on May 27, 2008 (EDT)
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I am very interested in the Hubba too, but I laugh when I see that the HP is $100 extra, and only 3 oz lighter

11:05 p.m. on May 28, 2008 (EDT)
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Its actually 8 oz lighter and has much less mesh, increasing it's use in crappy conditions. The regular Hubba is known for letting horizontal rain in through the mesh (the fly does not go down far enough).

If you wait about 3 weeks, Tarptent will have the new Sublite out. In Silnylon it will only weigh 18 oz or so and use two trekking poles for support.

11:15 a.m. on May 31, 2008 (EDT)
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um, according to, and there is a 3 oz difference in packed and minimum weight (rei says 4 in packed though), and only 1 oz between the fly+footprint options,

6:25 a.m. on June 1, 2008 (EDT)
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I ordered the Rainbow from tarptent, and I was wondering, what is the big difference between silnylon and the regular fly matirial (PU,PE coating etc).
Is silnylon such a great inovation that now people who seek 3 season tents do not need the double wall tents and can go for the silnylon single wall tent?
Or do the single silnylon tents wont survive a big storm, leaving only the double wall tents to survive?

4:27 p.m. on June 3, 2008 (EDT)
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I have a new Sierra Designs Electron tent with footprint. It's made for two, but I find it perfect for one. It's my "motorcycle camping" tent.

3:19 p.m. on June 9, 2008 (EDT)
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There was some discussion on this thread regarding the HP version of the Hubba and the regular Hubba. I too was curious as to the differences and contacted MSR:

Apart from the additional 20d uncoated nylon (great breathability), the floor is a 10,000mm coated floor, the same coating MSR uses on their mountaineering tents with twice the waterproof rating as the standard Hubba. It comes with a gear loft (included in the weight), all of the corners and guy lines are reinforced with a welded patch, and the staked corners have an ingenious tentioning cordage lock that makes it easy to get a really taut pitch.

Worth an additional $100? Only 'you' can determine that.

7:03 a.m. on June 28, 2008 (EDT)
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The UK magazine TGO just did a test (Chris Townsend) on solos and this is the order of preference: Hilleberg Akto, Terra Nova Laser Comp., Golite Shangri-La 1 (lowest price), Lightwave t0 trek xt, and Wildcountry Sololite.
Of course this might mean European prices and the review is biased in favour of cold and wet conditions, but I thought I would put it out there (isn't the NW USA similar conditions?). The Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 seems to only make the shortlist because it is cooler mesh for the inner and the porch is too small, otherwise it looks a good stable configuration. The Golite is one of the bring your own trekking pole A-tents with an optional groundsheet. The akto is a bit low, so if you are tall and want to sit up then try it out first (the inner can be removed easily).

Personally, I would avoid the longitudinal hoops and go for a transverse. The tent pulls the tent with a shallower angle on transverse meaning less flapping in the wind, especially side on winds.
The akto is expensive but famous for quality and is Townsend's own long-running favourite. I would consider it an investment. There is often a debate about the akto vs the TN laser which I cannot understand: the akto is a better, more efficient tent, is more expensive and heavier.
I found Hilleberg floors to be a bit thin, though your mileage may vary and there are full footprints available if you do a long distance hike.

All the best.

8:24 p.m. on June 28, 2008 (EDT)
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Jon.C, For what it is worth, I don't mind paying European prices. I have always stuck with Italian boots for instance.
If the sole is glued on, or if they are made in china, forget about it. Just my preference. I have a friend with a Hilleberg tent and it is nice.

June 19, 2018
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