Black Diamond Mega Light
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $60
BD's Mega Light is a versatile, multi-seasonal shelter. In wet weather it makes a bivysac livable. In winter it provides a perfect bubble of comfort without compromising your sleeping quarters.
- Simple, fast setup
- Packs small
- Light weight
- Single wall doesn't stop all rain
- No floor is drafty and allows entry of undesirable elements like critters and moisture.
Bought my Mega in the '70s, yea, 1970s and it still works. As a 3-season minimal shelter it's good enough. It can be drafty but sets up in 2 minutes with you inside during a downpour if necessary.
Works best with a bivysac as they aren't really "waterproof." I use mine for kayak beach camping but my preferred use is as a lounge/cook shelter on winter trips. Set it up over a snow dugout and you can lounge in shirt sleeves with a stove for heat at -10°F and the next morning shake off the frost and pack it away.
This is by far my favorite, most long lived tent, BD rocks!
Design: single pole "circus" tent
Weight: 3 lbs with poles and stakes
Price Paid: $320
I have owned many tents. I am 53 years old and have been a backpacker/mountaineer for 33 years. The older I get, the more important light weight becomes.
The Mega-Light with a space blanket for a ground clothe is ideal. It is HUGE; advertised for 4 people (who would have to be very good friends). I use it for solo or 2-person trips. It is big enough to sit in and cook during bad weather. Small tents get miserable for long periods of bad weather.
The wind gets in under the bottom hem if you aren't careful. Use elastic guy lines, and pitch it low to the ground if you expect wind. Snow walls are very useful. Don't rely on your ski-poles for the center pole. Nice idea, but in really nasty weather, when you really need a tent, you will want the security of the very nice 14 oz pole that comes with the tent.
With the factory pole, and good stakes or deadmen, it is as strong as a VE 24. Sylnylon needs a special seam sealer. The seams aren't taped. The design is simple you could sew it yourself from studying pictures.
Works in all seasons. Take a slightly warmer bag in the winter because of the draft factor.
Design: tarp shelter
Ease of Setup: very easy
Weight: 1 kilo or 2.2 pounds
Price Paid: 160 pounds
Myself and my brother used a Mega Light on the Mont Blanc tour last September and I was very impressed. It has bags of room for two people at less than a kilo, took less than two minutes to put up and although condensation proved a problem on two mornings it served us really well. I would recommend this to anyone trekking Europe.