User Review: Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1
Design: 3 season hikers tent
Ease of Setup: Easy set-up but too many stakes for the fly.
Price Paid: $215
I bought this tent new with the ground cloth and have used it for three trips (each trip had multiple night camps in different spots). I was attracted to it for its small pack size. I ride adventure touring motorcycles so, pack size is paramount. It easily fits inside a pannier box on my bike.
The tent sets up quickly but uses a lot of stakes for tiedowns (11 stakes if my memory serves correct). The stakes work well if you are on soft ground. Anything rocky and they bend under the hits of my camp hammer. At the price of the tent there should be heavier stakes.
I think this tent is over priced though. Jury is still out on the build quality but it does seem delicate. The ground cloth is really thin so, if there are rocks with any kind of protruding points at all, they must be removed from the tent site. I would have liked to have seen a thicker/tougher ground cloth.
I am 6'3" tall - athletic build. The length of the tent is fine but the width is narrow. I use a 25" wide Therm-a-rest inside okay but there is virtually no room for gear storage so I end up stashing my riding clothes along my sides down the length of the tent. This eats up precious floor space. I was able to put my riding helmet and a few very small items at the foot of the tent. The vestibule is so small it is really useless. I can't believe BA didn't just expand the vestibule area to accommodate any gear you have with you. The opening is a little difficult to get in and out of for people as large as me.
On the last camp trip I spent two nights out in temperatures below 40 degrees with moderate winds. It was cold outside but inside the SL1 it was nice and warm. I was surprised by the ability of the mesh to keep out any blowing cold air. However, this would be bad in the summer unless you used the rainfly and ground cloth alone (not what I want to do since bugs and other critters could just join you as you sleep).
If I was a hiker/backpacker, this tent would be top on my list. It is small and light and is really just a step above a bivy. As a motorcycle rider/camper I have other gear that I don't want to leave on the bike and need to secure it inside my tent while I sleep. I will probably step up to a 2 person tent.
I give the SL1 a 3.5 star rating. If the ground cloth was more substantial, the stakes were heavier and the vestibule was at least twice the size, I would give this tent a higher rating. If the price was lower and the above were fixed it would be a slam dunk.