User Review: LightHeart Gear Solo
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $199
A super-lightweight, sturdy, and very roomy solo tent with great open views when in net-tent mode.
- Packs small
- Very sturdy
- Hard to keep interior dry during setup in rain
- Seam-sealing is a pain
This is a great solo shelter. Especially if you use trekking poles when hiking, this tent is super-lightweight (because you will use your trekking poles to support the tent rather than lugging additional tent poles). Pitching the tent is easy and fast, though might take a little getting used to. Floor is a diamond shape, which provides a lot of space but do keep in mind that as you get to the tips of the diamond floor the space is narrowing down so has limited use. Still this is much roomier than most other solo tents.
The Lightheart is a hybrid double-wall design, meaning it offers the benefits of a double-walled tent (better ventilation and thus less condensation build-up) while the tarp remains attached to the inner tent along the ridgeline. My favorite feature of this tent is the ability to roll the tarp up for a true net tent on warm nights under the stars. There are some other popular solo tarp-tent hybrids out there, and they are good products, but none that offer the 360° open views of the Lightheart with this much space inside.
The geometry of the setup makes this tent extremely sturdy. Trekking poles are stronger and stiffer than tent poles, so you actually have a stronger structural support with the Lightheart than you do with a typical free-standing tent. If you don't have/use trekking poles you can get lightweight tent poles made for the Lightheart. The poles insert into a small plastic ridge pole at the peak inside the tent, and when the trekking/tent poles are extended and pull the tent taut they form a single solid support system that stands up to almost anything.
Eight stakes will completely guy out the tent and tarp -- I use two bigger/stronger (MRS Groundhog) stakes for the ridge line (lots of soggy soil here in Georgia) and little Ti shepherd's hooks for the other 6. I also added 4 guy lines to the tent floor tie-outs, easy to slip those onto the same stakes as the fly uses to give even a little more width inside. The tent seam-sealed, ridge pole, added guy lines, and stuff sack come in a hair under 30 oz. This probably offers the best floorspace-to-weight ratio of any solo tent (unless you look to cuben fiber and price tags of double or more).
Seam-sealing this tent is a bit of a chore because some parts need to be sealed on the inside and some on the outside, and this tent has some deep corners that are hard to get into. You can do it at home but probably will need to do it in phases, letting it dry before turning a corner/pocket inside out to finish just that part. For a fee Lightheart will seam-seal it for you, and I suggest you consider letting them do it.
When setting up this tent in the rain it can be a little tricky to keep the interior completely dry, but as long as you keep the tarp pulled over the tent as it's going up your moisture should be minimal and easy to wipe up with a camp towel.
All in all a great tent, very pleased. Invariably on the trail I have other hikers asking what it is, or who say they have heard of it, and without exception they are all impressed. I am too.