Black Diamond Bombshelter
Price Paid: $615 tent $46 footprint
The last new tent I bought was a North Face Westwind in 1986. A superb shelter which never let me down over the years. Recently, I thought it time to consider something new, larger, and capable of seeing me through another 25 years of adventure. The single wall Bibler/Black Diamond Bombshelter caught my interest with its light weight, 50 sq. ft. of floor space, and finally a pretty reasonable sale price.
I was considering the North Face VE-25 or Mountain 35 but the deal on the Bibler was too good of a value to pass up so I moved on it. Now that I own one and have used it this winter here are my thoughts so far...
1. Well thought out design and good construction. Yes, you have to seam seal areas but the sealant is provided with the purchase and easy to apply. The floor weight is ok for snow but a little light for rock or rough ground so pick up a footprint.
2. It is advertised as a 4-person but realistically it is just right for 2 with all your gear inside.
3. The front vestibule door is a bit small to squeeze through but hey, I guess it helps keep the weigh down.
4. The corner buttons that the poles fit into take some getting used to especially when setting up in the dark and wind. It's perhaps more a case of figuring out a pitch procedure that works for you. I find that staking the tent out first and then crawling in with the poles works best for me. It's best kept to a one man job though as I think it would get pretty confusing if more crawled in to try to pitch.
5. The pegs provided are small T-stakes. I prefer and use the larger BD T-stakes that I have used on my Westwind for many years.
6. The tent pitches tight as drum even w/o guy lines.
7. Since it's a single wall you can really only split the load between two persons (one w/tent, one w/poles & stakes & footprint). But it's a light load and I put the tent in a compression stuff sack and cinch it down.
8. The head room is not really high but it's ok for me at 6'2" sitting, dressing, and cooking. I don't plan to add a gear loft as there is plenty of space for two in winter and 3 in summer.
So far I like it for the purpose I intend it for. If it holds up for me like the NF Westwind has I will be very pleased. Time will tell.