View Full Version : Black Diamond Lighthouse tent

02-05-2008, 18:49
We bought the Black Diamond Lighthouse single wall tent in October 2005 and have loved the tent...until recently. We read great reviews of the tent on how water tight it is in heavy rains for days on end. Most of our trips until recenty have been without rain. Our last 2 trips have been rainy and our experience has been water dripping from the Epic fabric after only three hours of light rain. Luckily the rain stopped after 3 hours. I cannot imagine how much rain we would have had in the tent after more than 3 hours. The rain inside the tent comes in 2 forms: 1) water drops that collect on the inside and then drop (one night was 40 degrees... the other night was 50 degrees but very humid...we had the tent well ventilated both nights); 2) the other form of water we get is in the form of "spritzing". We spoke with Black Diamond who recommended to "put the tent body in a dryer and put the dryer on a low setting. You want to warm the body of the tent but please be most careful as to not toast the tent. This will expand the silicone capsules and "reactivate" some of water-repelling capabilities of the Epic fabric." We did, but still suffer the same problem. Has anyone else used this same tent with success in rain? We were planning on using this tent on our 2008 AT Thru-hike which begins in less than 2 weeks, but now wonder if we have the right tent for the rainy AT conditions.

Del Q
02-05-2008, 21:52
Switch. I personally like the Big Agnes, free-standing tents.

02-05-2008, 21:55
I've used the Lighthouse over the past 4 years, and I experienced the same thing on a trip back in the fall. Not major leaking but enough to make it a pain in the a$$.

I'd switch it out for a different tent for your thru-hike.

02-06-2008, 07:39
Glad to hear some real world review of this fabric.

I almost pulled the trigger on the Firstlight, but was concerned about exactly this.

02-06-2008, 11:40
Bummer. I can actually say I have never had a tent leak under any circumstances, this goes for the ultra cheapie ones. I set them up in the yard first and the questionable ones get sprayed.

Now even the cheaper tents are taped. I would not expect leakage from a known brand like that, I am guessing it's that fabric.

There's that spinnaker stuff I have read about. It's kind of crinkley, I wonder if it will show up in mainstream models any time soon.

02-06-2008, 17:50
We've been in communication with Black Diamond and have received the following update:

"The Epic fabric series of tents (Lighthouse/Firstlight etc.) are a new idea for the outdoors and will require many to re-think how they buy and use shelters. As we state in our literature these tents are not considered waterproof, merely water-resistant. Sealing the seams will help (we're assuming you did this) but in the conditions you describe it would not be unusual to notice some dampness after or during a constant several hour rain shower. The Epic fabric has some limitations in terms of it's ability to repel mositure over the long haul (although it does very well) and condensation is also a significant factor over a long period of pounding rain. Especially if temps were bordering around the freezing mark or quite cold. Superlight tents like these have significant advantages for the traveler who require the absolute minimum in pack size, weight and ease of set up. They are wonderful for this and designed with these intentions in mind. These advantages do come with some compromises however and for some this is acceptable. For others that require long-term durability and absolute waterproofness there may be better choices."

I think in hindsight, our mistake was taking as gospel many folks reviews on the tent surviving huge long storms and being bone dry. We still love this tent. It has a niche...we just better understand the definition of the niche now. We will probably still use it on our AT thru-hike, but include a homemade rainfly...and still have a lighter smaller compact solution than most tents on the market.
I hope that this thread helps others become more aware of Epic fabric abilities and limitations so that they can make the proper selection for the type of hike underway.

02-06-2008, 20:53
Helps me. Thank you.

Have a grand time!

02-07-2008, 23:17
What kind of niche does a tent that can't keep you dry fill?!?

02-08-2008, 03:11
Wow, this isnt good news. I was a few days away from buying a Hi-light. I'm gonna have lots of fun trying to find another 2 person tent less than 3lbs :(