Design: lightweight technical
Ease of Setup: childlike
Price Paid: £23 / $40
Gelert Tents are manufactured in North Wales.
I have owned a Gelert Solo since May 08 and have used it on a weekly basis until Nov 08 in Snowdonia.
The Solo costs peanuts and the next tent of comparable ability is twice as expensive. The tent is double skinned, so you don't wake up at 4am in a wet nylon mess.
At 1.5kg it is very light and the Solo's carry bag is as big as two rolled up newspapers. It ACTUALLY fits in it's zip up bag and has a repair kit in a zip pouch within. This small pack size means it straps neatly on any number of places on your bergen ("pack ", to you civvies!). To pack the Solo actually inside your bergen would be no drama either and it is ideal for all you cycling and canoe freaks who delight in shaving your legs, or drowning in rapids.
The tent has two poles. a big one and a small one, so even in the dark you can't mess up. The inner pitches first which is a pain in the wet but the whole rig can be up and habitable in 5 mins.
At 6ft tall and 15 st, I can stretch out and have a good night's sleep without ripping the thing to bits and contorting into a fetal position. The inner tent is well thought out with a niknak pocket and a strop for a lantern...albeit a small one!
The door runs the whole length of the tent and is mesh..ideal for hot nights with Scottish midget trying to get in to eat you. That considered, the tent's low profile means draughts are non existent and gales do not affect stability.
I can lean on my side and comfortably read a book or cook, with the door open. The vestibule (porch to you and me ), between the inner tent and the fly lends itself to accommodating a smallish bergen but hey, if you want to sleep with your pack then buy a caravan.
If you don't trust the weatherproofing on your bergen or it's integral cover then buy an MOD "BERGEN COVER" in fancy desert camo for £19 new on the net ; and be the envy of all the locals.
The fly has a single vent with a flap. So long as this is pegged out then you stay dry and don't suffocate.
The fly is also proofed and advertised as a 1500mm hydrostatic head. I have found this watertight, as Gelert "weathercheck " most of their kit. One bloke recently lay in his tent and had his old dad turn the garden hose on it with no adverse result, so enough said.
The only downside is the use of lightweight fibreglass poles that have cracked. I only had the smaller main spar develope a hairline crack which was fixed with parcel tape from Tesco's in Porth Madog. Job done.
I have written to Gelert about perhaps using alloy or aluminium poles and received the following reply today:
"Thank you for your comments and feedback, we are always happy to receive comments so we can better our products and customer satisfaction.
Following the comments from others we are looking to improve the quality of the poles moving forward. Because this tent is designed to be more of an entry level product we are not looking at Aluminium poles as this would double the price
Customer Service Administrator
In conclusion, this tent works and is cheap. There is nothing on the market to touch it for practicality and compact design. In fact, most of its competitors are around £100 .
I am a true fan of my trusty Solo and Gelert have done themselves proud with a backpacker's equivalent of the Model T Ford! You can have any colour so long as it is green!
Where to Buy
The Gelert Solo is not available from the stores we monitor.
You may be able to find it new or used at one of these sites:
US | Canada | UK | Aus
Or you may want to check for a dealer list or direct sales on the Gelert web site.
Retailers: Do you sell this product? List your site here.