Mountain Hardwear Skylight
I searched long and hard for a tent to take with me…
Design: Three season
Ease of Setup: Easy, if a bit time consuming
Weight: Under six pounds
Price Paid: $225 (on sale)
I searched long and hard for a tent to take with me on a recent 10-day trip on the AT. After looking extensively on the net and in retail stores, I decided on Mountain Hardware as my company. Everything about the company and their products has impressed me. While a bit expensive, the features will long outlast the dent in my wallet.
This three season tent set up well, but took a little while as it takes nine stakes to set up properly. Another reason tent setup is somewhat time consuming is that the distance of the tent to the poles as well as the fly to the ground are both adjustable at the stake points. This means that you can set the tent up relatively tight or loose and that you can set the fly close to the ground for ultimate weather protection or a bit higher for more ventilation. The tent vented excellently, although the temps never got above the 50s at night, but I think it will do well in the summer. The vents are extremely well placed, one large one in the roof, another at the foot, and two at the head on either side, right next to where each person's head is. It also slept two very comfortably, which is surprising after seeing it for the first time. The vestibule was roomy as well and held all of our gear the first night through a light snow.
My one complaint with the tent is that the door is on the side, so that one person has to climb over the other to exit and enter. The front of the tent comes to a point, which when set into the wind breaks it exeptionally. We were camped out on high ridges for almost every night of the trip and the Skylight did a superb job of keeping out the wind. When set up head into the wind, the foot side of the two door vestiblule can be left open for great ventilation through the HUGE circular door with virtually no wind enteringr. There is also a nice big circular window in the other wall and a small one at the head.
Overall, I could not have been happier with this tent. The adjustability, including very large stake loops, made set up a delight. You are able to set the stakes in a wide arc, so that even in rocky terrain I had enough room to find a soft spot and still set the Skylight up perfectly. It also packs up nice and small and fit in my bag almost without me noticing it was there. I also LOVED the window in the roof. I'm used to a tent that you can see out of the windows when it's all zipped up, and was concerned about a claustraphobic feeling with the Skylight's full coverage fly, but the window really opens up the feel of the tent.
I look forward to sleeping in it alone; it's light enough to pack fairly easily but is big enough to be almost luxurious if you're alone. It also left plenty of room for gear inside and has many, well-placed pockets which were very useful, especially when sleeping two people.