MSR Zoid 1.5
Design: Non free standing
Ease of Setup: Easy
Weight: 4 lbs.
Price Paid: $189
I use this tent as a solo and it works very well for that purpose. Mine weighs 4 pounds even as a carry weight. Lots of room inside and I stay very dry with no leaks in heavy rain. It has a little less headroom when sitting up but I am willing to sacrifice that for the amount of room inside. No problems with this tent so far.
Design: sort of tunnel-shaped
Ease of Setup: 2 minutes
Weight: 1.75 kilos
Price Paid: can't remember
Sure, this tent is pretty lightweight, easy to set up and roomy as a single tent. BUT what does MSR mean, Manhattan Safety Research? I can't see how the designers of this tent ever set foot outside in rain, cold and wind.
Bought the tent to go for a 6-week hike across the Hardangervidda Plateau in Norway, and the price, weight and small pack size appealed to me. Luckily I tried the tent before going on the hike... The first night I tried it I realized that I needed a warmer sleeping bag than the one I planned to use. This because the fly stops up to 25 cm (10 inches) from the ground and the sleeping compartment is made from mesh, so even moderate winds will blow straight through. When I read the label warning me of suffocation I nearly laughed my a.. off! The weight I saved on the tent was wasted on the heavier sleeping bag. It would have been cheaper to go for the better tent...
On the first night of my hike, it was raining as well, and to my surprise everything inside the tent was wet from condensation. How do you get condensation when it blows straight through the tent all night? Beats me! Getting in and out of the tent without getting your back wet is impossible, the zipper on the fly snags EVERY time, and the cords for tying down the various doors flap even in moderate winds.
I got through my 6-week hike, but I haven't used the tent since. Doubt I ever will!
Two stars for the fact that it never rained through the fly and that it stood its ground in pretty heavy winds. Oh, and the mesh-pockets were great for drying socks...
Design: Three-season non-free-standing tunnel/hoop-type
Ease of Setup: Easy
Price Paid: GB£135
On first outing in Snowdonia, Wales, it coped well in persistent rain, with no leaks. Also proved fairly stable in sudden wind gusts even without additional guying of the tent. You do need to watch that the fly is tautly stretched over the inner tent though, as there is not much space between the two on the roof of the tent. So, if the fly sags, some condensation will transfer itself from it to the inner mesh tent and a few droplets can leak in as a result.
Also there is a tendency for water to drip into the inner tent when opening the fly if wet. The bathtub groundsheet seemed rather thin for my liking so I improvised an additional plastic groundsheet, which of course unfortunately adds to the overall weight. Also it's next to impossible to pitch the bottom edge of the fly next to the ground -- there's pretty much an inch or two gap over most of the perimeter. This is great in summer, and it didn't get stuffy inside, but could be an issue if there is lots of cold wind, or snow/sand blowing about.
And don't believe any of this '1.5' nonsense - there really is only room for one person and their gear, and that's it.
Having said that, it's light and small when packed up, and looks great too -- sort of reminds me of a stingray, so I certainly don't regret buying it.
Design: ultra lite
Ease of Setup: Goes fast once you get a pattern down
Price Paid: $210
I've soloed in this tent for three years. In heavy rain & winds it's held up very well. I modified the "sleeved rainfly attachments" by sewing in "velcro loops" where the fly sleeves attach. This gives me a much faster pitch in bad weather. Every time I try a "freestanding" tent, I go back to my Zoid 1.5! Great floor area for big and tall folks. The two doors allow great flexibility in pitching.
Design: 3 Season Non Freestanding
Ease of Setup: Easy
Weight: 3lbs 8oz
Price Paid: $180
Ordered this as a solo option, but it will squeeze 2 with two 3/4 thermarests. Two full length doors and vestibules provide ample room for all gear, and mulitple configurations of the fly. Performed flawlessly in the rain and light wind. 27+ sq ft is more than enough room as a soloer!!
Price Paid: $160
Used this tent for a solo nine-day sheep hunt. Sets up easily and quickly. It's a great solo tent for us bigger guys and I really like the extra room under the rainfly for your gear. No problems in wind and rain.
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