User Review: Black Diamond Lighthouse
Design: Three-season freestanding dome
Ease of Setup: PITA
Weight: 3 pounds and a beer.
Price Paid: $369 USD
Just received my new Lighthouse in the mail and finished setting it up in the garage. I then promptly took it down, packed it up, and shipped it back for an exchange.
Here's how I started...
1. I plan to use a tent for motorcycle camping (so weight isn't too much of an issue.
2. I researched on the internet...heavily and found no objective reviews. The only reviews I saw were from those who had received one free for the review and/or magazine reviews (which are almost always useless due to advertising revenue taking away all semblence of objectivity). I guess if someone gave me a free tent, I wouldn't care if it was a Wal-Mart special, or a citadel worthy of Mt. Everest. I would liken those type of reviews to a host asking their guests how the beer tastes...all free beer is good beer. Nuff said.
My thoughts on this tent:
1. No vestibule...totally blows if you're a motorcyclist or someone who likes to keep things out of the rain. One can be purchased separately, which conveniently jacks the price up to over $500 USD.
2. Its just not worth the money and here's why: Setting it up was a pain, the poles don't stay in the little "snaps" at each corner. Needless to say, this is a disaster waiting to happen, since one of my poles slipped out of the reinforced area and slipped into the fabric area. Luckily, I noticed it in time, had I been distracted by rain, wind, dark, etc., the tent would have been toast. Going on to the internal, velcro "pole loops": They are lame and a major annoyance, it would have been a lot easier if they had just made them solid loops instead of those funky velcro things, at least at the top of the tent to keep it somewhat in order. The poles don't match up to the tent structure, so it looks lopsided (and yes, I read the directions, and took my time setting it up). Finally, YOU HAVE TO SEAM SEAL IT YOURSELF! I took one look at all those seams and said "screw this noise". All that for a $370 tent? Granted, I never took a hose to it to verify the claims of water-resistance, but it didn't look or feel that different from your standard rip-stop nylon tent. Anyway, as I said before, having to seam-seal it myself was the last straw.
Oh, and one final note: Contrary to what BD claims, the pack size is NOT 6x9" (which happens to be why I bought it, so it would fit in a saddle bag comfortably)...they are false advertising by not including the 16" broken down poles. As a result of this "gray area", they separate the poles from the tent when packing...major PITA. Actual size: an excessively awkward 8x17"
Thank God for REI's return policy.