Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo

Specs

Weight 26 oz / 740 g
Pack size 11 x 4.5 in

Reviews

The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo is a well thought…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample for review and testing provided by Six Moon Designs)

Summary

The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo is a well thought out design that provides a lightweight, roomy, and reasonably priced shelter option for the solo hiker. The latest design of the Lunar Solo utilizes 100% Silicone coated Polyester material that is a marked improvement over the Silnylon that was used previously and is a reflection of Six Moon Designs' efforts to continually improve their product designs.

Pros

  • Fast and easy setup
  • Good headroom
  • Just the right amount of floor space
  • Angle of entry and large door opening makes it easy to get in and out of tent
  • 100% Silicone coated Polyester material has minimal sag even after exposure to rainstorm

Cons

  • Quality of the setup is a function of what you put into it or setting up the tent consistently takes a little practice
  • Internal gear/storage pocket is poorly designed
  • 100% Silicone coated Polyester floor is a slippery material

Overview

The Lunar Solo is a popular Six Moon Designs single-wall solo tent design that was upgraded recently to utilize a new 100 percent Silicone coated Polyester material. The tent is a non-freestanding single pole configuration made utilizing 20D weight material for the tent canopy and 40D for the tent floor, and 20D UL No-see-um netting for the door area and the venting that runs around the perimeter of the tent. The tent has a floating bathtub style floor construction. The seams that would be susceptible to leaking on the floor and tent body do not come sealed and you either have to seal the seams yourself or Six Moons does offer a service for $30 to seal all of the key seams when you order the tent from them. The tent provided to me for this review had all of the seams sealed by Six Moon Designs.  

I have structured this review into the four main sections listed below followed by a summary at the end.  

1. The Basics of what is included with the tent

2. Physical Characteristics of the Lunar Solo

3. Design and Construction

4. My Experience Actually Using the Lunar Solo

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The Basics of What is Included

The Lunar Solo tent comes packaged in its primary stuff sack as shown in the picture below.

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Within the basic package you get the tent, stuff sack, primary guy line that comes pre-attached to the tent, and a simple set of instructions for setting up your tent. 

To actually be able to use the Lunar Solo you need to provide a trekking pole that is or can be adjusted to approximately 49 inches and six tent stakes (eight if you want to use the side pullouts), and while not required, a good ground cloth/footprint is always a smart thing to use and Six Moons recommends that one be used with the Lunar Solo.

Six Moons was also nice enough to include their 49-inch long carbon fiber pole, one of their single stake sets, and a Polycro footprint. With the exception of the carbon fiber pole, which I alternated use of with my trekking pole, I used the stake set and footprint provided by Six Moon Designs when I used this tent so that my review reflects the complete system that you could purchase from Six Moon Designs along with the Lunar Solo.

The tent includes a preinstalled reflective single guy line that is key to the overall design as it is what is used to tension the trekking or tent pole used to provide the primary structure for the tent. The guy line has a loop at the far end for attaching to a stake and a typical cord lock adjuster at the upper end where it attaches to the tent. There is also an adjustable attachment for one half of the vestibule that comes pre installed on the guy line and it consists of a short section of cord tied as a prusik knot with a plastic clip. In addition, preinstalled adjustable straps are included at each of the five corners of the tent that are staked out and tensioned during setup.

The printed setup instructions provided by Six Moon Designs are simple and straightforward, but more importantly someone new to the Lunar Solo should really take the time to read the instructions as the process you follow really makes a difference in getting the tent set up correctly. Six Moon Designs also has additional setup instructions on their website here at this link.

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Physical Characteristics of the Lunar Solo 

Weight

One of the primary selling points of the Lunar Solo is weight, so when I weighed the tent I found the measured weight to be right in line with the 26 ounces that Six Moon Designs advertises for the Lunar Solo. Listed below are the actual values I measured compared against the published weights from the Six Moon Designs website.

Tent weight:

  • Six Moon Designs published: 26 ounces
  • Actual Measured: 25.8 ounces (seam sealed tent, stuff bag, and included printed instructions)

Weight of the additional components provided by Six Moon Designs:

  • Carbon Fiber Pole: Published: 1.8 ounces; actual 1.8 ounces
  • Stakes Set: Published: 2.5 ounces; actual: 2.1 ounces
  • Polycro footprint: Published: 1.2 ounces; actual: 1.6 ounces
  • Total weight for Tent, pole, stakes and footprint:  
  • Based on published data: 31.5 ounces
  • Based on my actual measured data: 31.3 ounces

Packed Physical Size

The advertized size for the Lunar Solo packed away in the included stuff sack is 11.0 inches long x 4.5 inches in diameter. I found that with the Lunar Solo stuffed in the included stuff sack and setting on a table in a free state that the physical size would be closer to 16.0 inches long x 4.5 inches in diameter, but that the tent is not tightly packed and can be crushed down to a smaller volume. From a real world perspective the tent would easily compress down without any problem to a volume of around 9.0 inches long and 4.5 inches in diameter. 

In actual use I packed the stakes and footprint with the tent in the stuff sack include with the tent and that final package took up very little space stuffed down inside my pack. When I carried the carbon fiber pole I would pack it along with my fly rod on the outside of my pack, which is a ULA Circuit. When broken down like this, I found that the Lunar Solo took up very little space in my pack and would pack very quickly and easily, which I considered a big plus.

Assembled/Setup Size

The actual size of a tent when it is set up does not vary significantly as your primary interface when using the tent is the floating floor.  Where I experienced variation with setting up the tent was with the height of the vent/mesh that runs along the four rear facets of the tent, which are directly impacted by how you set up the tent.

The basic dimensions Six Moon Designs publishes for the Lunar Solo floor are 90 inches by 48 inches at the widest points, and a peak interior height of 48 inches. Normally I would provided the actual measured dimensions when I evaluate a tent, but with the Lunar Solo how you set up the tent can have a direct impact on what I might measure, so trying to do a detail comparison is less relevant, but I can say that I did check the basic dimensions of the floor and peak height and found them right inline with the specifications published on the Six Moon Designs website.

From a more simplistic perspective, I feel that the generous size of the Lunar Solo should easily accommodate almost any hiker up to about 6'6" and still provide adequate room for sleeping and sitting up to change clothes, etc.

Design and Construction

I have owned a number of tents over the years from manufactures like North Face, Marmot, REI, Tarptent, and MSR, but this is my first experience with a Six Moon Designs product and I found that they take a slightly different approach with some design details when compared to other manufactures.

The Lunar Solo is somewhat unique in that it is a single pole, single wall tent with a modified hexagon footprint.  Six Moon Designs has manufactured the Lunar Solo for a number of years and over time they have refined the Lunar Solo design with changes to the physical size of the tent, depth of the bathtub floor, etc., and their most recent design change was in 2018 when they switched to using a new 100 percent Silicone coated Polyester material for the floor and tent body.

The Lunar Solo utilizes a free floating bathtub floor made from a 40 Denier 100 percent Silicone coated Polyester material and the tent canopy is a 20 Denier 100 percent Silicone coated Polyester material. Both the tent canopy and the tent floor have a 3000 mm of waterproofness rating, which is a robust rating compared to a lot lightweight tents being manufactured today that are rated more along the lines of 1200 mm. If you are not familiar with waterproofness ratings, a 3000 mm rating means that the material will just start to allow water to pass through when it is subjected to the pressure of a one-inch square column of water, 3000 millimeters tall.

The floating bathtub floor is suspended from the canopy by large mesh panel in the front that contains the zippered door and also by a six and a half inch wide band of mesh that runs around the perimeter of the tent. In addition, there are elastic straps that go out from the bathtub floor to each corner of the tent that is staked out. All the mesh is of 20D UL No-see-um netting.

One unique characteristics of the Lunar Solo is that when you purchase the basic tent none of the seams are sealed to make them waterproof. To me this seems a little odd in this day and age when just about every outdoor tent, jacket, etc. comes with taped seams. Six Moon Designs has an option where you can have them seal the seams for an additional $30 or you can purchase a tube of Seam Grip +Sil and do it yourself. Many of the seams within the Lunar Solo do not look like they would lend themselves to be seam taped easily, but there is one typical felled seam running across the tent floor that looks to be the idea candidate for a taped seam.

I was able to ask the designers at Six Moon Designs why they didn’t consider tapping the seam across the floor and they shared with me that both sides of the of the polyester material they are using are treated with silicone and that there currently isn’t a commercially available silicone tape that would allow them to tape the seam. They also shared that with the materials used in other tents that are typically taped, only one side is coated with silicone and the side that is taped is coated with polyurethane, and that with the materials with the polyurethane coating are not near as durable or as long lasting as a silicone coating. So from a design perspective the Lunar Solo utilizes a more robust material with respect to durability and waterproofness with the tradeoff of a little less elegant, but adequate approach to waterproofing seams.

The Lunar Solo I received from Six Moon Designs for this evaluation had had the seams sealed by Six Moon Designs. Here are a couple of pictures showing what the seams sealed by Six Moon Designs look like (the dirt and grit are from recent trips...).

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Another design detail I found different on the Lunar Solo compared to other tents I own is the seam construction method utilized. On most if not all of the other tents I own the primary method used to sew seams is a felled seam. With the Lunar Solo a majority of the seams are an overlock construction like shown in the picture below. While I prefer a felled seam due the way they lay flat and have fewer exposed threads compared to the overlock seams used in the Lunar Solo, it may not make much of a difference from a durability standpoint.

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I was able to ask Six Moon Designs why they chose this seam construction method and they responded that they feel it is much lighter approach as it uses less material to help keep the weight of the tent down, but doesn’t take away from the performance of the seam. I thought it was a difference worth sharing from a design perspective only, as I haven’t nor do I expect to ever have any issues with the seams on the Lunar Solo.

My general impression of the overall construction of the Lunar Solo is that Six Moon Designs only does what is needed and nothing more, which probably supports the Lunar Solo being as light as it is. I have sewn my own gear in the past and I like layers of reinforcement and heavy bar tacking, but with the Lunar Solo what you will find is that the reinforcement and bar tacking are not excessive and are reflective of a design where the focus is on minimizing weight.

Another unique design characteristic of the Lunar Solo is that the main pole supporting the tent is designed to be cantilevered back about ten degrees as shown in the picture below. This combined with the large door opening has the added benefit of making it easier to get in and out of the tent due to the tent floor extending out beyond the peak of the tent.

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Because the pole is leaning back there could be a concern for the bottom end of the tent or trekking pole slipping outward, but Six Moon Designs included design features to help prevent that. The Lunar Solo includes a webbing tab where the base of the pole would be located and the tab contains a grommet that accepts the end of the tent pole Six Moon Designs sells for use with the Lunar Solo and also has an elastic loop to retain the grip of your trekking pole. The pictures below show the tab and also the handle of my trekking pole installed in the elastic loop. I have utilized both methods on various trips and each works equally well.

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The interface for the upper end of the pole consists of a simple sewn pocket that you would insert a tent or trekking pole into, and the size is pretty generous and should be able to accept the tips of most trekking poles.

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There are five corners that need to be staked out when setting up the Lunar Solo and each of those corners is adjusted through the use of a flat webbing strap that is also reflective. The loop at the end of the strap that the tent stake passes through is not very big and will accept a stake up to about a half an inch in diameter which covers the majority of stakes most people would be using, but if you were using large diameter stakes in sand for example you might have to girth hitch the strap around the stake.

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Within the interior of the tent there is only a single clip for hanging gear that is located at the peak of the tent.

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At the peak of the Lunar Solo there is also a hooded feature with a built-in support that is intended to be a vent, but from my experience in using the tent I didn’t find it very effective, but it does make a nice feature for displaying the Six Moon Designs logo.

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The optional tent pole available from Six Moon Designs that I used as part of this review is a three-section, shock corded design made using Easton Custom Carbon 6.3 carbon fiber pole sections. The pole is a nice design that contains a tapered end for interfacing with the lower grommet and a protected tip that slides into the pocket at the peak of the tent. When the pole assembly is collapsed down into its three sections it has an overall length of approximately 17.25 inches.

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One weak element of the Lunar Solo design is the single mesh pocket attached at the base of the fixed mesh panel at the front of the tent. The mesh pocket is a “bag” style design that for the most part rests on the floor of the tent. Due to the open nature of the pocket and its location, it doesn’t securely hold items and is susceptible to being bumped, crushed, etc. I think with a little creativity a more useful mesh pocket could be integrated into the fixed mesh panel on the front of the tent that could be larger and more secure.

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The flaps on the vestibule is similar to what you would see on the fly of other tents and utilizes a zipper running the length of the opening and two approximately three inch long Velcro strips to secure the storm flap where one is located at the end of the opening and the other midway along the opening.

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Another feature unique to the Lunar Solo is that the flaps for the vestibule are tensioned by way of a small prusik knot and plastic hook that come preassembled to the main guy line of the tent. This feature is needed because the main guy line is tensioned by means of a cord adjuster located near the peak of the tent so whenever there is an adjustment in the guy line it causes the flaps of the vestibule to tighten up or get looser which is then addressed by sliding the prusik knot along the main guy line to get the correct tension of the vestibule.

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The stake set included with the Lunar Solo was the Six Moon Designs Single Stake Set that can be used with several of their shelters. The set includes a single 8-inch Easton nail stake for use with the main guy line and five 6-inch 7075 aluminum L stakes for staking out the remaining five corners of the tent.

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My Experience Actually Using the Lunar Solo

I have known about the Lunar Solo for a long time and always had the impression that the design struck the right balance between cost, weight, floor space, and other features that it would make it an ideal tent for the solo hiker. Now that I have had a chance to use the Lunar Solo on a number of trips, I can say that my initial impression was correct and this really is a very well thought out design that I have enjoyed using on my extended hikes.

The number one feature of the Lunar Solo that initially captured my interest was the amount of interior space the design had for a single-person tent. I much prefer to bring all my gear into my tent instead of having to leave my pack out in a vestibule and the Lunar Solo allows me to do that with room to spare.

I currently use a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra mattress that is 78 inches by 20 inches and 3.5 inches thick, and as you can see in the pictures below I still have ample clearance at my head and feet from the wall of the tent. I do need to use the two optional pullouts on each side of the tent to get that clearance because of the thickness of my mattress, but probably wouldn’t need to use the pullouts if I was just sleeping on a foam pad. It's also worth mentioning that the Silicone coated Polyester material used for the tent floor is a bit on the slippery side as I found that it took very little movement on my part when I was sleeping to get my Big Agnes mattress to shift around on the tent floor.

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Headroom in and around the main pole is also very good in the Lunar Solo and you have more then adequate room to change clothes, etc. I think that the interior space would be more then adequate for someone up to 6'6" in height.

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Setting up the Lunar Solo is a pretty straightforward process and the instructions included from Six Moon Designs are helpful the first time you go through setting up the tent. Six Moon Designs also has additional instruction on there website here at this link.

While its not difficult to get the tent setup in its basic form, it does take a little practice and finesse to get a real nice setup of the tent where the canopy is nice and taut and the bathtub floor is hanging just right so you get the greatest amount of ventilation. If you're not very mechanically inclined and are they type of person that wears slip-on shoes because you struggle to tie your own laces, then this may not be the tent for you, but for everyone else you shouldn’t have too much of an issue, especially if you invest a little time to get familiar with setting up the tent a few times before you take it out on your first trip.

The use of an adjustable trekking pole gives you a little more flexibility in setting up the Lunar Solo over using the fixed 49-inch long pole available from Six Moon Designs. Six Moon Designs indicates the 49-inch long pole is the optimum height to give you a setup with good ventilation. With an adjustable trekking pole in good weather conditions you can use a longer length like 52 inches and have the straps at each corner at the longest length which will give you the maximum ventilation and deepest bathtub floor. If the weather looks more stormy then you can reduce the trekking pole length to something less the 49 inches which will enable you to get the back edges of the tent all the way down close to the ground and also reduce the gap between the vestibule and the ground.

Due to the guy lines and staking the Lunar Solo needs a reasonably sized area to set it up, but I never really found it to be an issue when looking for a campsite.

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The lower edge of the flaps on the Lunar Solo that make up the vestibule don’t come down close to the ground and therefore make the tent more susceptible to winds and other storm related conditions that could act on that side of the tent. In the printed instructions included with the tent (but not with the instructions on their website), Six Moon Designs in step number one states that you should lay out your Lunar Solo so that the rear of the tent is pointing into the wind.   

I am not always good at following directions and the picture below is of a camp I made at Sallie Keyes Lakes (California) during a section hike along the John Muir Trail where the front of the Lunar Solo faced the lake so that I could enjoy the view. As the afternoon wore on the winds picked up off the lake and my Lunar Solo took on an “inflated” look. If the winds had continued into the evening I would have rotated my tent 180 degrees away from the wind, but I got lucky and the winds died down before I called it a day.  

While the description of the Lunar Solo on the Six Moon Designs website states that “The Lunar Solo’s distinctive low hexagonal shape easily spills the wind no matter the direction” the tent in reality is sensitive to wind directed at the front/vestibule side of the tent. This isn’t necessarily a design deficiency, but it is a characteristic of the design that needs to be taken into account when picking a site for the Lunar Solo.

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On one trip I did experience a night where it rained heavily throughout most of the night and I didn’t experience any issues with leaks in the canopy or with the floor of the Lunar Solo. Also, the tent stretched very little as a result of the rain and much less then what I have experienced with tents I own made from Silnylon, so I think the change made by Six Moon Designs to use the 100 percent Silicone coated Polyester material for the Lunar Solo was a great decision.

I haven’t used the Lunar Solo in snowy conditions just yet, but I anticipate that the 100 percent Silicone coated Polyester material will perform well and that as long as you use the side pullouts and follow the Six Moon Designs recommendation to re-tension the tent a half an hour after setting it up, that the tent should do an adequate job of shedding snow.

My experience with condensation in the Lunar Solo was kind of a mixed bag as I had good nights and bad nights with respect to the buildup of condensation. Some of the issue may have been the lack of time I spent in setting up the tent after a long day where the venting around the perimeter may not have been at its full height or it could have also been related to camps I made out in the open versus ones where I had more cover from trees.  

Another factor could have been that you need to keep the vents around the base of the tent clear for them to function. I am a little bit of a tent slob and gear can end up everywhere and anywhere in the tent, especially since the floor space is available to bring all my gear into the Lunar Solo and this could have played a part in blocking the vents on some of the nights I experienced more condensation.  

In the end, I would say the Lunar Solo is really no better or worse then other tent designs I have used with respect to condensation. You tend to notice condensation more in a single-wall tent like the Lunar Solo compared to a double-wall tent because the inner wall of a double wall tent (which is typically mesh on most three-season tents designs available today) keeps you from contacting the outer waterproof wall of the tent that the condensation collects on as you move around inside the tent.

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Price

The list price of the Lunar Solo is $200, which I think is a fair price for the basic tent given the weight and functionality of the design. This price needs to be put in perspective as you really need to seal many of the seams, which will cost you an additional $30 if you utilize the Six Moon Designs service (recommended), or around $10 if you do it yourself.

If you purchased everything you needed to set up the Lunar Solo from Six Moon Designs your total cost would be $280 ($200 for the tent, $30 for sealing, $30 for pole, $11 for stakes, and $9 for footprint) which still isn’t too bad, but considering most people use trekking poles and probably have stakes from a previous tent they own, the real price would be $230 for the tent and seam sealing, which is a fair price for a very lightweight spacious tent.

Summary and Recommendation

I really like the Lunar Solo and wouldn’t hesitate recommending it to someone looking for a reasonably priced, lightweight, three-season tent. While the Lunar Solo does require an upfront investment of time to get familiar with setting up the tent consistently, the overall design, excellent floor space, and the use of the new 100 percent Silicone coated Polyester material really make this a great choice for the solo backpacker.

Many thanks to both Trailspace and Six Moon Designs for the opportunity to evaluate and test the Lunar Solo for the Trailspace Gear Review Corps!

Experience

I have been using the Lunar Solo on a number of weekend and longer multi-day trips this past spring and summer in western and central Washington state and also down in the southern Sierras outside of Bishop and Mammoth in California. I have been backpacking since the mid 1970s and have had the opportunity to own and use a variety of tent designs from various outdoor tent manufactures.

Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Great review and info, Mike! Thanks for taking the time to test the tent and share your feedback.


26 days ago
Bobsdock

Great reveiw brother thank you ! I just got the lunar solo a couple of weeks ago I've only done one two night trip so far but I'm love'n it so far.


25 days ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Bobsdock, I hope you'll consider sharing your own review of the Lunar Solo once you've had it for a while.


25 days ago
Mike Mineart

Hi Bobsdock, I think you made a great choice in picking up the lunar solo and I think the more you use it, the more you're going to like it!


24 days ago
Bob Withrow

Everything Mike says about this tent is true, especially about the setup. It's tricky and takes some time and practice to get right. I know I'm going to love mine but it's going to take another dozen or so set-ups to get it dialed in. I love that it holds me, my gear and even my 60# dog. And...it is incredibly light for everything you get. I'd go out on a limb and say there is no way you get all this tent offers in any other package at comparable cost.


23 days ago

Excellent shelter for an extended backpacking trip.

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: List

Summary

Excellent shelter for an extended backpacking trip. Simple, lightweight protection from the elements and bugs.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Excellent bug protection
  • Waterproof floor (if seam sealed)

Cons

  • Needs to be staked
  • Steep learning curve
  • Needs an adjustable hiking pole

Lunar Solo from Six Moon Designs

The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo is a very well designed and lightweight tent for backpackers. It performs all the functions of a tent (shelter from weather, protection from insects, etc.), at the weight of a tarp.  

I used a 2009 model Lunar Solo on my thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) that year. It protected me from sun in the desert, snow in the Sierras, rain on occasion, and clouds of mosquitoes in Yosemite. Overall, I never regretted my shelter choice during my PCT hike.

I still use that same Lunar Solo these days (early 2013). Although it is showing its age, with a little repair from time to time, it is still a reliable solo shelter.  

You can buy the Lunar Solo from Six Moon Designs (SMD) either seam sealed from the factory, or save a little cash by seam sealing it yourself. I like the opportunity to save a little by performing the simple stuff myself. I ordered mine not seam sealed and did the waterproofing (seams and floor). That way, if I'm sleeping in my Lunar Solo in the rain and wake up wet, it's my fault. 

The engineering of the Lunar Solo looks fairly simple at first glance. A simple single pole teepee type shelter with a hanging tub floor and bug net. You will learn the first few times using it that simple it is not. The Lunar Solo has a steep learning curve and must be set up perfectly for it to function as intended. Putting it up a couple times before taking it to the woods is a mistake.

This shelter requires practice to master with its staked design. Once mastered, you will learn how to improve it even more every time you use it. I switched to longer stakes to get it higher off the ground and improve airflow. Also, the sides must be pulled very taut to maximize space inside. Once you get the hang of the shelter's setup, you will be impressed by its stability and weather resistance.

Condensation is an issue. There is no single wall shelter out there that is immune to condensation. We exhale moisture, and given the right conditions, the moisture will condense on the shelter material above us. The only way to minimize this condensation is through ventilation. The Lunar Solo does a very good job of this with its tarp like construction; however if there is little wind and the air is cool, you will wake up to some dripping. 

The Lunar Solo has an amazing amount of room inside for a solo shelter that is supported by a single hiking pole. Staked out perfectly, I have even used it as a two person shelter. We place our packs in the vestibule and have enough room to sleep comfortably. The small pocket in the bug mesh is a nice little feature for storing your headlamp, keys, etc.

The small packed size of the Lunar Solo and lightweight feature makes it my go-to shelter for most of my outings. I use it for backpacking and on overnight kayak trips.

Like most lightweight hiking gear, you have to expect damage during heavy use. I find it funny when someone brags about their latest super ultralight backpack or tarp tent and how much they paid for it. Then, a few weeks later up the trail, I find out they had to go into town to get some of that gear replaced due to damage.

It's simple folks—ultralight gear means less material, less tough material, less stitching, and less reinforcement. It's a trade-off between weight, durability, and comfort. A decision that each person must make for him/herself.

My Lunar Solo has been going strong for four years now. I have had to sew up a few places, patch a few holes, and re-seam seal it on occasion. But given the use I have gotten out of it, I consider this shelter to be one of my better gear decisions. 

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A superb weight-saving tent that offers unprecedented…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: £150

Summary

A superb weight-saving tent that offers unprecedented head height and stability in high winds.

Pros

  • Very lightweight
  • Small pack size
  • Headroom
  • Side entrance (for generous view)
  • Generous space for gear
  • Compatible with trekking poles

Cons

  • Fiddly to erect
  • Single skin means you will get condensation
  • Pole supplied not 49"
  • Not free-standing
  • The door does not have a double zip

Having put my doubts about single-skin tents aside, this is fast becoming my favoured tent for backpacking. Its combination of low weight, small pack size, and generous view thanks to the side entrance mean this is an excellent choice for lightweight backpacking.  


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The website says that it takes time to practise erecting the tent correctly—they are not wrong. I chose a short trip with fine weather to spend a warm lazy evening at the campsite taking it down and putting it up until I mastered it. I found it worked better with a trekking pole, as the carbon pole supplied was an inch too short, so the tent sagged. Using a trekking pole meant I could more precisely adjust how taut the fabric was. I can now erect it in a few minutes. I used my other pole to attach to the guy line above my head to improve the space between me and the tent wall. 

Inside, the space is very generous. There is plenty of room for all my gear and sleeping kit. I really like the fact that unlike my Vaude Hogan UL1 I can tie back both sides of the entrance and enjoy a generous view sitting up or lying down. I enjoy the fact I can sit up comfortably or be able to lay back, relax, and enjoy the view. Taller people will find there is enough room to lay down without the need to sleep diagonally. The ground sheet is a little thicker (therefore heavier) than other lightweight tents on the market, but I feel it is worth it as it is more durable and means there is less need for a footprint. There is a handy pouch for essentials and a toggle for hanging things such as a head torch. 

There are always trade-offs with lightweight gear and this tent is no exception. The absence of an inner tent means there will be condensation, especially on warm still cloudless nights in the UK once the air has cooled during the night. Add that to what is produced by the occupant and it can become quite wet. That said, in other weather conditions with more wind and cooler temperatures and less humidity, there will be less. Annoyingly the tent door does not have a double zip, so I could not make the vent at the top bigger by undoing the door.

Single skin tents are colder. There is no layer between the inner and fly sheet to trap air and there is a mesh all away around the base on which the fly sheet "floats" to aid ventilation so weight saved may be offset by the need for a warmer therefore heavier sleeping bag.

There was no wind the night I used it, but once erect and tightened the tent felt very solid. The shape of the tent will clearly allow wind to "spill" over it and it should cope with even the worst of conditions. My only concern is that here in the UK rain is often horizontal and driving rain could well enter the tent through the mesh ventilation. 

Finally, I was lucky to find a pitch that would take my pegs on the thin chalky soil of the South Downs. This is a huge consideration because if it is not possible to get the pegs in the ground, tent will not stay up! Therefore, choice of pegs is critical in this respect. 

Overall, this is a great tent. Whilst it will end up wet on the inside in some weather conditions, its strength, weight, generous space, and small pack size mean it is well worth considering. 

Experience

A few nights on the South Downs and Dorset Jurassic Coast in the summer. I have owned it for a year or so. This is my first experience of single skin tents.

Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for sharing your experience with the Lunar Solo, Oliver!


4 months ago

The space and function of this tent is impressive…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Design: three-season, not free-standing
Sleeps: 1
Ease of Setup: It's not difficult to set up, but it does take repetition to learn to lean the support pole off-vertical away from the tent to get the proper ground clearance around the perimeter of the fly.
Weight: 26 oz, 28 oz with stakes
Price Paid: $195

The space and function of this tent is impressive for its weight. Two people could squeeze in if truly hard up. I'm 5' 11" and can easily sit up tall without pressing my head into the ceiling (peak height is determined by your pole or hiking stick). There's room to scatter my gear along with my pack inside. Ventilation is surprisingly effective.

My last trip had temps into the low 20's and by morning the outside was coated in frozen dew but inside everything was bone dry—not even frost on the inside of the ceiling. I've not used it yet in "warm" wet weather, but expect ventilation to remain more than adequate since one can partially raise the vestibule without exposing the door to rain. And speaking of the vestibule—very simple, clever, adjustable, and huge.

I decided to get the standard floor, as opposed to the optional ultralite floor. I'd feel obligated to use a ground sheet with the ultralite floor and there goes my weight savings, so I'm not using a ground sheet, and have already accepted the inevitable wear spots on the floor. I went back and forth between the floorless Wild Oasis model and the Lunar Solo before settling on the Solo, so there is already part of me waiting for the day when I can cut the floor out without feeling guilty. I decided that having the option of sealing out flying bugs with the mesh door would probably trump the meager ounces saved in weight, so that's how I ended up with the Solo.

Regarding the workmanship I have to concede that there is inconsistency in the quality of Six Moon products. I suppose the owner takes a certain amount of pride in having these things made in the USA, but the flaws I've personally seen in the products strongly suggest at least one novice is let loose constructing these things.

Fortunately I was able to buy mine from an authorized retailer in Portland, Oregon, (The Mountain Shop) so I set it up and spent a long time checking every seam and stitch. My flaw was an errant snip of the scissor that created a 2-mm hole in a very non-critical corner of the bathtub floor—easy to fix with seam seal and the 5% price reduction clinched the deal.

I owned an earlier version of this tent that used…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $180

I owned an earlier version of this tent that used velcro down the side on the vestibule to close it. The newer one has a zipper in the middle, which would be a great improvement over mine.

Plenty of room, not the easiest to set up, but with a little practice that is resolved. Just like all single-wall tents you will have some condensation at different times.

Bottom line is for about a pound and a half this is fantastic and I tried over and over to get my wife to put a zipper in mine (she wouldn't let me touch her sewing machine), so in the end I sold mine.

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