Bibler is no longer in business, and the Fitzroy has been discontinued. The Bibler Fitzroy was renamed and is now called the Black Diamond Fitzroy.
This is essentially a winter tent. When you already have a three-season tent, this is the tent for that other season. Like most specialized products it performs its specialized function well. The tent has mosquito netting but my experience is that it works best in temperatures where bugs are not present. In temperatures much above freezing I would recommend a traditional three-season tent. The ventilation in this tent is not appropriate for warm weather. However for snow, ice, and wind the Fitzroy approaches the ideal tent.
Absolutely no stakes are required for it to be fully erected. The tent weighs six pounds. Its single skin design sheds high winds with remarkable silence compared to double wall designs. The zippers won't freeze. There is a small back door "just in case". It is excellent for one person and reasonable for two. Its yellow color transmits a lot of light into the tent. The tent sets up from the inside and does require some practice to set up. In the following commentary I will refer to "cool weather" which is above zero degrees Fahrenheit and '"old weather" which is below zero Fahrenheit.
This is a different kind of tent. The poles fit inside the tent and there is no rain fly. It is easiest to set up if there is no equipment in the tent but it is possible to crawl into the tent with all your gear and then set up the tent. The poles fit into metal reinforced fabric pockets in the tent corners and two fabric pockets on the each side of the tent. Look inside the tent to locate the heavy fabric pockets before assembling for the first time. If possible assemble all four poles outside. Insure poles are all the way together, otherwise damage to the poles will result.
It is possible to assemble the poles inside the tent but care is required to insure the joints are fully together. In cool weather the shock cord in the poles works as expected. In cold weather the shock cord actually expands, becomes inflexible, and inhibits the joining of poles.
The black poles are used corner to diagonal corner and are installed first. The poles should follow the seams across the top of the tent. The gold poles come next. Install the poles and move them until they line up with the black tape seams inside the tent. Fasten all the tabs. This gives the tent strength. It is easy to tell if the black poles are fully joined. It is not so evident with the gold poles and special care is required.
Next insure the pole ends are still in place. In high winds orient the tent so a corner of the back (small door end) angles into the wind, and use several tie downs to secure the tent. An ice screw tie-down is good insurance if setting up on a lake. Now go out and help your friends set up their supposedly free standing tents (the tent is free standing, it's just the fly that takes six stakes!)
Take down in cool weather is simply a matter of removing and folding the poles and stuffing the tent. In cold weather it is entirely different. The poles will not come apart because the joints have frozen together. Remove the poles and warm and separate the joints one by one with warm body parts or very carefully over a warm heat source. The fabric of the tent will be stiff from frozen moisture and difficult to fold. It will be impossible to fit into the stuff sack. It is best to bring a larger stuff sack for this situation. In cold weather I use a ground cloth to keep the tent from freezing to the ground. Better to abuse the ground cloth than the tent's floor.
In The Field
If ice forms on the outside of the tent just shake it off. Condensation is less of a problem with this tent than with most others. In cool weather condensation forms on the poles and may run down them to form a puddle of water at the pole ends. I place a little wrap of cloth at the pole ends to hold the water. Wipe off any water on the poles prior to disassembly. In cold weather a little wisk broom is handy. Little hoarfrost spikes will grow from the surface of your sleeping bag and will need sweeping away. Cooking inside the tent in windy cold weather generates lots of water vapor but it will turn to a solid, ice, in seconds. The effects of condensation are not a real problem until its time to take down the tent.
The mosquito net on my Fitzroy tent was removable and has never been used. The door zipper has not yet frozen. The little back door is handy for scooping up snow for melting.
Headroom in much of the tent is sufficient to sit up straight with a little room to spare. I have had three people inside to play cards and swap lies for hours without feeling too crowded. ("It's been dark for three hours and it's only eight o'clock?!"). My six foot four inch frame does not brush the ends of the tent but there is not much extra length in a winter sleeping bag.
The tent fabric hushes the sound of falling snow. In a three-season tent falling snow makes a delightful quiet hissing sound that is absent with the Fitzroy tent. When the wind starts to blow the tight pitch of the tent tends to understate the intensity of the weather outside. The flapping fabric you hear will be on your companion's tent, not yours.
Design: free standing rectangular dome
Ease of Setup: easy after the first
Weight: 6 pounds
Price Paid: way too much
I've found with any type of mountaineering equipment that experience is a must!!! If not, then a person will always buy and use "LOW-END" equipment. I purchased the Fitzroy Bibler tent a few months ago recently where I live (Mojave Desert). It snowed three feet. I set the tent up in my backyard (setting up the tent is a little tricky at first). The snow covered the tent (measured the top eight inches of snow).
The tent didn't sway, meaning it didn't buckle the slightest from the weight that was on it. It remained sturdy and didn't sag in between the easton aluminum poles. Because with the placement and design of Bibler's statement that "YOU MAY SPEND SOME TIME WAITING OUT A STORM."
I also bought the ground cloth and the vestibule with it, which is optional. I'm an absolutely very rough and tumble backpacker who puts his equipment through the worst type of conditions possible!!!
Like I said, the Fitzroy is a little tricky to set up, but the instructions are easy to understand to the letter. If you want a well engineered and all out shelter then spend the extra change.
Always remember to research your equipment before you purchase it, cause you really don't want to be caught out in the middle of nowhere with equipment that's not made, or intended for your use out in the elements, and was easy on your pocketbook. I've been there done that!!!
Design: four season dome
Ease of Setup: easy
Price Paid: $800
VERY expensive, but a bombproof tent. I'm 6'3" and can easily fit another person and some gear inside. This is not a three-person tent as advertised. There's no way three people could live in this tent without killing each other.
Excellent design. Even without guying this thing is totally rigid and rock solid. You can almost sit on the top. Steep walls make for efficient space usage. Fabric does suffer from minimal condensation in humid climates, but that's not what this is for. Higher up there was NO condensation after many nights over 10,000 or so. Of course it's totally waterproof (even without seam-sealing the outside stitching).
Little velcro things inside have also been replaced with these nifty locking plastic tabs that are much easier to work with. All poles set up from the inside so even in high winds you can get it up.
If you can afford it... BUY IT.
Design: 4-Season single-wall 4-pole mountaineering
Ease of Setup: very easy
Weight: 6.5 pounds or so
Price Paid: $800+ usd
Love this TENT!! I've camped throughout Canada (NWT, B.C., Yukon, and recently Newfoundland), U.S. (including Alaska). Plenty of rainy nights, windy nights, and all kinds of nights. This tent has made it thru it all unfazed.
Condensation is minimal, mainly collecting on the poles. Three-man tent description is a bit generous at best, two-man is a little tight, one-person is just right.
I don't think you'll find an easier tent to set up than the Fitzroy or a more stable tent in inclement weather. Absolutely waterproof, even without a rain fly, which can be tricky to setup in inclement weather. Great job to Bibler/Black Diamond for an incredible product.
Design: free standing, 4 season
Ease of Setup: incredibly easy
Price Paid: $780
In one word bombproof. All this tent needs is bulletproof fabric and it could stand up to anything.
This is one of the lightest four-season, three-person expedition tents in the world, and definitely the strongest. The price tag is a little steep, but if you can afford it definitely fork over the extra dough.
To sum it all up, if you're in the market for a strong, good looking, four-season tent this tent is definitely worth checking out.
Design: 4-season expedition
Ease of Setup: Very easy to set up due to the fact that there are no pole sleeves to thread
Weight: 6lb. 1oz.
Price Paid: $910
I live in a resort town in Colorado and have the worker-bee "luxury" of being able to travel extensively during our off-seasons. My Fitzroy has been on several dozen pretty crazy trips, typically lasting a month or more. From six weeks paddling The Inside Passage, to tons of high-altitude winter conditions, this is THE tent to depend on when your shelter means everything.
I could elaborate, but ultimately, that's probably all you need to know. Peace!
Design: 2-person or solo palace
Ease of Setup: 20 minutes first time, 4 minutes thereafter.
Weight: 6 pounds
Price Paid: Pro Form
Don't let anyone tell you this is a three man tent. It is tight with two and minimal gear (with no vestibule). I have enjoyed mine in all kinds of weather in the Colorado and New Mexico Rockies (downpours to heavy snow). It has never leaked and condensation has been very light. A little more headroom would have been nice and it is priced high but I wouldn't trade it back for a double wall tent.
Design: 4 season expedition
Ease of Setup: easy once you get comfortable with bending the aluminum poles
Weight: 6lbs, 1oz
Price Paid: $695
The best tent on the planet!!!
I have put mine through some extremely brutal conditions and it never has given me a hint of trouble. If you can afford it, get one!
Design: four season
Ease of Setup: not too difficult
Weight: 6lbs., 1oz.
Price Paid: $725