User Review: Black Diamond Firstlight
Price Paid: $299
A tent has a clear primary job—keeping you dry. The Firstlight fails miserably at this job. BD describes the fabric as “water resistant” which is an overstatement. In an extended light rain or even a short downpour, the fabric wets out and wicks moisture inside. Because it’s a small tent, your sleeping bag, clothes and lots of other things you care about will be in contact with the wet tent walls and soon your entire kit is soaked.
I’ve used the tent for around 30 nights. Most of those were dry, but on a recent trip in the Bob Marshal, we got rain every evening. And did we get wet! We kept a pack towel in the tent to dry the walls and our gear.
On our last night, I started keeping track of the amount of water wrung from the pack towel. We soaked up more than a cup of water in a single night. I had expected a little condensation from a single wall tent and we certainly got that, too. But I also expected the tent to protect us from rain. It does not.
Even after painstakingly sealing the seams, big droplets from on the poles and drip on your face. The water pours down the poles and pools in little puddles in the corners (which ironically are waterproof). I might even get past the wet pole thing, however, if the walls didn’t get soaked, but they do.
I also am disappointed in durability and construction. The minimalist brows of the door and rear vent are supported by flexible wire. The ends of the wires are cushioned by little plastic caps, but the wire poked through one of those and wore a hole in the fabric sleeve and now sticks out.
I gave the tent a half star because it is really lightweight and easy to set up. But if it can’t keep you dry, what’s the point? This tent is nothing more than a very small mosquito net or a very expensive backyard play tent.