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  1. #1

    Question Ultralight tent Comparison

    Looking to covert to a lighter tent for 1 person. I am currently looking at Tarptent Rainbow, Six Moon Designs Skyscape Trekker, or Lightheart Gear Solo. Most importantly looking for fast and easy setup, waterproofness (for hiking the AT), durability, light weight, and reasonable cost.

    Has anyone used these tents? Any other tents you would recommend?

  2. #2
    Registered User AO2134's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airgirl View Post
    Looking to covert to a lighter tent for 1 person. I am currently looking at Tarptent Rainbow, Six Moon Designs Skyscape Trekker, or Lightheart Gear Solo. Most importantly looking for fast and easy setup, waterproofness (for hiking the AT), durability, light weight, and reasonable cost.

    Has anyone used these tents? Any other tents you would recommend?
    I own the scout, which is basically the same as the trekker, but slightly heavier. I haven't used the other tents you are looking at. I have used the tent a lot and it has held up great. I got it used. I have no desire to change. I love it. That being said, the tent does come with some minor drawbacks.

    First, since it is a single wall tent, condensation buildup could be a problem. I simply carry something to wipe down the wall every time I wake up. The condensation amount however has never really caused me a problem.

    Second, it is not the easiest tent to set up. For example, just about any of the free standing tents could be set up in seconds. There are still times I struggle to set up the tent given the use of the spacer and trekking pole design. Sometimes I can set up the tent very quickly. Other times, it can be frustrating to set up the tent.

    Those are the only two downfalls to the tent. I have tested it in rain; however, I never have in a very hard, prolonged downpour. I am not sure how it would hold up with all day heavy rain.

    That being said, I love the tents weight (34 oz) and price $125. More importantly, the price. I think the trekker would save you 10 oz and cost about double. When I decide to get a new tent there is a pretty good chance I will get another scout. I can't justify spending double the money for 10 oz. Weight doesn't much matter to me.

  3. #3
    Registered User Old Hiker's Avatar
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    I have the LightHeart SoLong 6 with awning and two doors. Looked at, bought and tried the solo, but was too cramped for me. I also didn't like the wasted space in the pointed ends.

    Only problem in FL summer is condensation. Seam sealed it myself with the recommended 1/2 - 1/2 mineral spirits and 100% silicone caulking and have had NO leaks.

    I'm 220 #, 6'2". SoLong 6 fits great.
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  4. #4

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    All of the lighter tents you can setup with trekking poles are great for weight savings, but many of them are not so great if you're ever stuck inside one for any time longer than going to sleep, then waking up and immediately exiting the tent. The problem is that when using trekking poles (doesn't matter if they're in the center, or on an end), that high point where the pole is then immediately slopes down to ground level - so you have a VERY narrow peak to sit up in.

    The TarpTent Rainbow is heavier than many trekking-pole tents (my came weighing almost 3 ounces more than what their website lists, so 42.8 ounces although a carbon pole will save you a little over 2 ounces for an extra $25), but that central tent pole running the length of the tent gives you a much nicer slowly sloping headspace to sit up in which just makes the tent a lot roomier. I've played cards in mine with 2 people no problem - couldn't do that with any of my other lightweight tents. It says it sleeps 1-2 people, but good luck getting 2 people who aren't a couple in there (and with most of my friends switching over to >20" wide sleeping mats we would never fit).

  5. #5
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    I'm reasonably happy with my Tarptent Rainbow. 2 lbs., on the money. Sets up quickly. Plenty of room. Keeps me dry. Some condensation issues, typical of single-walled tents.

  6. #6
    Registered User Vegan Packer's Avatar
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    I just got back from two trips with a new SMD Skyscape Trekker, about 14 nights of use. I am very happy with it. Very light, and it was plenty roomy for one plus gear. Inside, I was able to store everything that I would need during the night and for morning (next day's clothes set aside for morning, first aid kit, hung my lamp from the top, camera, etc.). I like sleeping comfortably, so I went with a 77 inch x 25 inch Thermarest NeoAir XLite, and that fit, too.

    I am in the middle of editing my pics and videos from my trips to Washington and North Carolina, and I definitely have a full clip showing the tent set up. I have no idea how long it will be until I finish and can post.

    I had steady nights of rain, and I never had a problem with water entry. Actually, I had one spot that looked like it was starting to go through a seam on the top, but I re-sealed it between trips, and it was 100 percent after that. (I think that the issue had to do with seam sealing on the first go, and it was not a problem in the tent design.) On the long wall (from the top point down to my feet) there was condensation, but I would just wipe that down in the morning, open the fly while making breakfast, and everything was dry and ready to go by the time I would break down and leave camp.

    I made a custom Tyvek groundcloth with entry mat, and then I carried a tablecloth sized piece of leftover Tyvek that I would, when I was able, add to the end of the entry mat. It made it like I had a whole front porch to sit out on and do things like cook meals, give myself a quick field bath with a washcloth, etc., and that was a great little addition.

    Set up is quick and easy. Without timing it to say for certain, I would say that I could easily set up in less than three minutes, unless there were issues with staking in rocky areas. You just stake out the head with one stake, down at the bottom with two more, put in the poles to get it standing, and then add a stake on each side for the flies.

    The only thing that I don't love, or that I worry about, is the connection point for my poles. It has worked well, but I am not sure how it will work in the long run. I've seen some mods for that, and I will consider that for next season.

  7. #7
    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    I've owned the TT Double Rainbow and TT Notch...love the Notch, not big on the DR... if you have a pack with a back pocket you can set up and pack up without getting anything wet but the tent, hang your pack on one of the hiking poles at night to keep dry and off the ground and have access to it, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who's owned a Notch that didn't like it.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Airgirl View Post
    Looking to covert to a lighter tent for 1 person. I am currently looking at Tarptent Rainbow, Six Moon Designs Skyscape Trekker, or Lightheart Gear Solo. Most importantly looking for fast and easy setup, waterproofness (for hiking the AT), durability, light weight, and reasonable cost.

    Has anyone used these tents? Any other tents you would recommend?
    I think you've selected 3 very good shelters. I have experience with all three, either owning or sleeping in, and of the three I would recommend the Lightheart Solo. Don't forget to add an extra 2 ounces of weight for seam sealing. That cranberry/pewter color combination is drop dead sexy.

    Have you considered the Tarptent ProTrail? It is the lightest and cheapest in that genre with the only exception that it is a front entry. I noticed your list were all side entries.

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    Check out the Stratospire 1 Tarptent. It's very spacious and not very heavy. Our friend bought his SS1 after a tour of our Stratospire 2. You could live like a king in the SS1 solo, and 2 people would squeeze in in a pinch.

  10. #10

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    The advantage of the LightHeart tents over all the rest is the middle pillar on the side walls which prevents the bathtub wall from being flattened to the ground.

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    "The advantage of the LightHeart tents over all the rest is the middle pillar on the side walls which prevents the bathtub wall from being flattened to the ground."
    If one likes a substantial bathtub floor, the Notch/StratoSpire 1 and 2 have a fairly high floor that does not flatten out (unless you deliberately let the inner down)
    The Rainbow/Double Rainbow have a floor that can be clipped high at the ends lifting the sides too when you do that.
    BTW, never assume that every shelter a brand has behaves the same way as the one we know.
    Some examples :
    nt-10.jpg
    mtdw-1.jpg
    dr-12.jpg
    ss2-5.jpg
    [email protected]

  12. #12

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    [email protected], had two of your tents ( double rainbow and contrail)and got rid of both because if anything touched the middle of the bathtub sidewall- it would roll flat. I know many happy people with your tents, but it was a huge negative issue for me. The sidewall pillar between the bathtub wall and tent roof has the strength to hold up the bathtub wall that mosquito no see em netting or elastic cord and clips does not, in my experience. My solong 6 has been a great tent. Giuseppe

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    I used the SMD Skyscape Trekker on last year's hike (6 days in VA) but not with any others on your list. It was good but there were a few little things I didn't like. Some have mentioned the spreader. I made a modified one out of PEX tubing to replace the original. Also, I found one vestibule to be of little use with only one door. I found the flat panel at the feet (the single wall panel) would sag a lot. Someone mentioned bathtub floors can collapse. I found this to be true in the Trekker, although I never camped in the rain so I can't say if it water would come in over the edge - but I did worry about it. I found the tie backs for the doors hard to work and not placed in the optimum position (the door would still tend to drop down and get in the way even when tied back).

    I sold the Trekker and got a Tarp Tent Notch instead which I used on my 4 day hike last week. It uses one less stake to pitch. I don't have panel droop problems (there are no single wall panels). The floor sides seem to stay up better. The tie backs are easier to use and placed better. The floor area may be smaller, but it has two large vestibules accessible from two door, so everything except me goes out there. It pitches very easy, although I will need a little practice to get it just right every time. I will not be selling this to try another for the foreseeable future.

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    My SMD Trekker is fairly old (I bought it the first year it came out), so keep in mind that some of my complaints may have been addressed. I mostly like it, but if severe weather is expected, I head for the shelter if one is available. It is very similar to the Lightheart Solo, which I've had the opportunity to compare it to on the trail.

    I think it's the easiest tent to set up I've ever owned. You just stake it out and then insert the poles. It's even easy to set up in the rain. There are no guy lines to trip over in the dark. It weighs under 23 ounces, including stakes and stuff sack and fits in the sleeping bag compartment of my pack with room to spare for my Neoair.

    My complaints are the leatherette hiking pole ridge gadget that someone already mentioned, and the low bathtub walls, both of which are not a problem with the Lightheart solo. Also as someone mentioned, the single-wall roof section gets condensation, but as he said it doesn't seem to be a problem. I think that's because it's not directly over your head and the slope prevents it from dripping on you.

    There is room for stuff besides you in the tent but it's still pretty cramped if you like to keep your pack in the tent instead of the vestibule. But it's a palace compared to the REI Quarterdome I used to have. It has two large vestibules, if you like vestibules. The Lightheart's vestibules are not big enough to be good for much. But I rarely use the vestibules for anything other than water bags, so it's not a big deal to me. Like the Lightheart, the rear vestibule in the Trekker is not reachable from inside the tent, but Lightheart offers a second door option if you're willing to sacrifice the weight to reach a space barely big enough for your boots.

    The worst thing about my Trekker is that it's not very dry in a severe storm. Mine mists badly, although this may have been addressed in later versions by tighter fabric. Fortunately, I use a poncho instead of a rain jacket, and in bad storms, I cover myself and gear with the poncho to stay dry. The low bathtub is also a problem, especially if you're forced to use the typical designated tent site which invariably becomes a mud puddle in a storm. The mud splatters under the rain fly and the bathtub walls are not high enough to keep it from splattering you, even through the netting.

    The Lightheart is much roomier both on the sides and the ends. However, it's also much longer, since it has four-point diamond footprint rather than a five-point footprint and most of that extra length is wasted space since it's too narrow to be useful. The Lightheart ridge gadget is a substantial piece of plastic tubing pre-bent at the correct angles for the hiking poles instead of a sewn pleather tube like on the Trekker. Neither tent has enough headroom to be nice to just hangout in, but the Lightheart is a little better. The Lightheart is fully double-wall, so condensation is not a problem and misting is prevented. I believe it has a mist-proof rainfly, anyway. The Lightheart weighs a few ounces more and costs about twice as much.

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    I have no idea how my Tarptent Stratospire bathtub floor would ever flatten. I have slept laying against the bathtub wall all night as I was on the downhill side of the tent, and it held me fine . But maybe I am missing something. Glad you like your tent, though, Giuseppe! All the tents being mentioned are great from all I have gathered. HYOH

    Sent from my KFTHWI using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Namtrag; 09-01-2015 at 21:08.

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    "[email protected], had two of your tents ( double rainbow and contrail)and got rid of both because if anything touched the middle of the bathtub sidewall- it would roll flat'
    Giuseppe,
    that is why I suggested that it isn't safe to assume that every product by any brand is the same as the one you know.
    This is a close up of the floor on the Notch :
    Notch-bathtub-floor.jpg
    [email protected]

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    Big Agnes currently makes a 1 person UL tent that's freestanding and the lightest tent in the world(freestanding). It's expensive, but all lightweight things are. Check it out on their website. It's a sweet tent. I think it's just over 1lb, which is the same as my sleeping pad!

  18. #18
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    I am also researching for a UL shelter system for my thru hike. I am a side sleeper, and don't think a hammock will work for me. I have narrowed down my present choices to; Six Moons Lunar Solo, Lightheart Solo Awning, and the Tarptent StratoSpire 1.
    From what I have read, they are all pretty close in weight and quality. I do like the fact that the Strat is a 4 season double wall tent, but I like the other 2 for their aerodynamics, for high wind conditions.
    I will have to keep watching for the winter sales to get the best deal. The dollars are more important than the grams for me right now. Call me a dollar weenie.
    “Every path but your own is the path of fate. Keep on your own track, then.” Thoreau.

  19. #19
    Registered User Vegan Packer's Avatar
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    For informational purposes, the SMD Skyscape Trekker now comes with entrances on both sides. I am going to contact them this winter to see if there is a way to have the second zipper added to the side the doesn't open on my current tent.

    Yes, I have worried about the bathtub floor, but it has never turned into an actual issue. A lot of that is my fault, because I got the wide and long Thermarest Neoair Trekker mattress, and then I added other items inside, crowding things a bit. I switched to an XLite, though it is still the long and wide version, and that has made things roomier, even with all of my extras inside the tent, since it is not a full rectangle, but more of the mummy shape. (By getting the large size but with that shape, it is roomy enough for a side sleeper. It's a great compromise pad.) I've not had any water entry issues, even with the Trekker pad, though the head of it was wide enough to flatten the bathtub a bit when I used the Trekker. Still, I do wish that they would make the bathtub edge a little higher, just to avoid worry.

    I am in the middle of editing my video from my recent trip. I have full clips of set up, what it looks like with all gear inside, and video of when I was sitting inside, so that you can see how much room there is. I would stop and export the clips right now, but the GoPro Studio software is so touchy () that I won't get to that part until I finish editing and saving the full video from the trip. It could take a while.

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    I am getting ready to try out my new MSR Hubba NX 1. This is the seventh or eight shelter I have been trying out since I got back into hiking. Very quick and easy to set up. Love its freestanding ability. Packs down to quite a compact load. Weighs maybe three pounds. Seems very durable and weather proof. Hope to give it a try in the wilds this weekend.

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