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Novapro Sports Illumina X

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Novapro Sports Illumina X four-season tent

Great value for money, free-standing 2P tent for all but the worst conditions. Lightweight, versatile, and roomy the Illumina X is an excellent tent for fair and foul weather

Pros

  • Lightweight at just over 1.5kg—about 1.8kg with footprint
  • At less than AU$300 great value for money
  • Simple design, set up in less than 5 minutes
  • Can be pitched as fly only or mesh inner only
  • High solid sides on the mesh inner keeps out condensation
  • Excellent in strong winds and heavy rain
  • Tent Fly and Floor PU5000MM and fully seam sealed

Cons

  • Lack of ventilation means condensation can be an issue
  • Single entry only
  • Vestibule a bit on the small side

Having transitioned from road cycling to hiking over the last couple of years I‘m learning through experience that hiking, very much like riding a bike, gets easier if you’re carrying less weight (no brainer really!!).

My first attempt at an overnighter ended shortly after it began when, on a hot day and packing 20kg+, I nearly fainted after a short but very steep climb. Since then I‘ve been thinking a lot more about my equipment and what I actually need on the hike, cutting weight by losing the “just in case” items, and replacing my cheap heavy products with lightweight better quality equipment. 

Last year I reviewed the Black Wolf Stealth as a great entry level tent which, at 3kg, is a bit on the heavy side for hiking or trekking. Since then I’ve moved to the Illumina X as my tent of choice and in the handful of times it has been used have found it to be an excellent all-round trekking tent. While not in the ultralight category at a shade over 1.5kg trail weight it is pretty much half my previous tent, add the purpose-made ground sheet and you’re at about 1.8kg.

It also packed down to about half the size without sacrificing roominess once pitched. To cut down weight further it can be pitched as a fly only or inner mesh only if you’re confident of not getting rained on, the design is simple and can be easily pitched in under 5 minutes once you’ve got the routine sorted. 

While searching for a tent I looked at literally hundreds of “2 person“ variants, the reality with all is there’s enough room for you and your gear and the Illumina X is no different; plenty of headroom for an average size bloke, put another person in with you and both your bags will be spending the night outside. The vestibule also is just a fraction small for my liking, redesigning the fly entry and zip with the ability to make a canopy using hiking poles I believe would be an improvement.

A single entry can be a downside but hey, you can only get in and out one side at a time right? This does however make for less ventilation and condensation can be an issue, to counter this the Illumina X has high solid sides on the mesh inner to prevent condensation buildup coming into the sleeping area; I am a hot sleeper and seems to work as I am yet to wake up with wet gear.

The few times I’ve used the tent so far have been in winter and while South Australian weather is hardly arctic my most recent outing had some pretty foul weather with heavy rain and strong gusts of wind; the tent held up beautifully and felt solid with only one very minor leak discovered at the top end of the fly zip which should be easily fixed with wax or a small patch. I have spoken to a couple of fellow hikers with the same tent who camped in truly horrendous conditions, torrential rain and extremely high winds, and highly recommended it (the tent not the conditions!).

To sum up the Illumina X is a fantastic little tent, more so considering the price tag of under AU$300 compared with tents of similar quality from more well-known manufacturers. 

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Source: bought it new
Price Paid: AU$269

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Specs

Best Use Hiking, Camping, Backpacking
Seasons 4 Season
Capacity 2 Person
Design Freestanding
Weight 1.55 kg (excluding footprint)
Footprint 230 g
Packed Size 40 x 13 x 13 cm
Assembled Size 210 (L) x 125 (W) x 100 cm (H) + 60cm Vestibule
Tent Fly & Floor Fabric PU5000MM Fully Seam Sealed+ Coating PU3000MM Fully Seam Sealed
Wind Speed 30-40km/h (Moderate to Strong Wind Speed)
Tent Fly 360T 20D Nylon Ripstop
Inner Tent B3 Breathable Mesh
Bottom Tent 360T 20D Nylon Ripstop
Poles 7001-T6 Aviation Aluminum (8.5mm)
Accessories 1 Carry Bag, Duraflex Buckles
Product Details from Novapro Sports »

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