I've used the Helix for four years now and it's been…
Design: 3 season, not freestanding
Ease of Setup: a snap
Weight: 4 lbs, 1 oz
Price Paid: $180
I've used the Helix for four years now and it's been a great four pound tent. It definitely is a one-person tent. I am 6'3" and it's tight but light. Everything was built to last on this tent and there's not so much as a fray. The newer materials that are out now look great so I'm thinking about moving up to something bigger like the Sierra Designs Lightning. The Helix has been a good friend to me though.
OK, I have only used the tent once so far, but I encountered…
Design: 3 season single pole (not freestanding)
Ease of Setup: a snap
Weight: 4 lbs. 4 oz.
Price Paid: $220
OK, I have only used the tent once so far, but I encountered quite a bit of wind and I was snowed on overnight. The tent was pretty tight, even though it has only one pole. I wanted a one-person tent that was no more than 4 1/2 pounds but also with headroom. It ended up being between the Helix, The North Face Canyonlands and The North Face Slickrock. The Canyonlands is similar to the Helix but only about 3 1/2 pounds; but if you are 6' tall forget about sitting up without your head wedging between the sides of the tent. Plus, the Helix has more floor space. The Helix's door is a little small compared to the Canyonlands, and the vestibule is almost non-existent (boots only), kind of a drag. Slickrock is about 4 lbs. 10 oz., but can easily sleep 2. With the Helix, the floor layout is kind of rhombus-shaped and, again, a 6-footer can just barely lie lenghtwise in it, so I would forget about fitting two in there. The Slickrock has very little vestibule space but it is freestanding and has two doors. They save weight by making it partly single-wall.
If you are looking for a 4 lb. one-man tent with some space, you are going to have to sacrifice some things, so I'm satisfied with the Helix so far. It's more expensive than both of TNF tents, but I was able to get some discounts and ended up paying $180, which is cheaper than the Slickrock. If you can handle the few extra ounces and aren't spooked out about all the reviews that claim the single-wall leaks, then you might want to take a look at the Slickrock. If you are small in stature and want to go cheap, the Canyonlands might be for you. But the Helix is a good tent if you can get it on sale.
If you are looking for a lightweight 3 season tent…
Design: 3 Season, Single Hoop
Ease of Setup: Easy, but not freestanding.
Weight: 4 lbs 4 oz
Price Paid: $250
If you are looking for a lightweight 3 season tent with great views, this is it. Almost the whole tent is high quality mesh. It uses just one pole and a minimum of 6 stakes to set up, without the fly. The whole thing is extremely well built--very high quality materials.
The Helix is very stable and the fly uses quick release buckles and an additional 4 stakes to set up, so it is quick. I haven't used this in the rain yet, so I can't comment on how well it does in inclement weather. I will say that it is VERY stable when pitched with all of the stakes, and the rain fly looks pretty heavy duty, I have no doubt it will be fine in the rain.
But I have used it in the summer and it is great! Plenty of room for 1 (27 sq ft) but two (very friendly types) can fit in without having the sleeping pads overlap. The mesh is great for views. To get an idea of the view, lay down on your back wherever you would pitch your tent. Look up or to the sides, that's what you'll get from inside this tent. And the mesh breaks the wind very well. So using this in a windy area without the fly means you won't loose heat like you might think in a mesh tent.
It packs up into the size of a large loaf of bread and weighs hardly anything. Highly recommended.