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  1. #1

    Default Six Moon Lunar Solo - Opinions?

    I am thinking about buying the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo. It will be used for a number of 3-4 day trips, leading up to an AT thru hike next year. I am looking for opinions from people that have used the tent about the followng issues: 1) Did you find this easy/hard to set up after, say the 10th time? 2) How bad did you find the condensation compared to other single wall designs? 3) This tent seems to have a great price to weight ratio. Does it hold up well?

    thanks in advance
    Paul

  2. #2
    Registered User AO2134's Avatar
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    I use the scout, which is similar, but not exactly the same. I loved the weight, size, price ratio. Just couldn't beat it.

    You do get used to setting it up after a few times, but every once in a while I still have trouble setting it up once and it can get frustrating, but usually I can set up the tent fairly easy. The design of to solo is similar to the scout but not it looks like the solo using a single poll.

    As to condensation, it is a problem with the tent. However, I carry a REI towel and wipe the single wall tent down every time I wake up while in the tent and that solves all my problems. The condensation has never been bad enough that I wished for another tent or that I woke up wet. It is a drawback, without a doubt, but it is worth the weight, size, and price in my books.

    As to durability, I bought my scout lightly used. I have put it thru probably 40 overnight hikes and the tent is still going strong. May need to re-seal it soon though.

    I haven't tested it in heavy, constant downpour. I would be a little worried about the bathroom floor with that. Setting it up perfect with be critical to keeping dry on those conditions.

    I hope this helps.
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  3. #3

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    I used one for several years. It's not too hard to set up, but I found I had to restake it once the center pole was inserted. I would start with the center stake in the back, then move to the ones on either side, then the next set, then insert the pole, then pull it upright and then go around and redo all the stakes to get it stretched out properly.

    I had two main issues with the tent. 1) it takes up a lot of space so it's difficult to set up in a tight location, which is often the case. 2) The walls come down at a pretty steep angle so it's almost impossible to change a shirt sitting up and not rub against the fabric, which often has condensation on it. Also due to that steep angle the foot of the sleeping bag often pushes up against the fabric and gets wet.

    I spent one scary night in that tent during a thunder storm. A strong gust of wind pulled out the stake holding up the center pole so the whole thing fell down on me. I spent the rest of the storm sitting up and holding the trekking pole up, thinking "this is not a good idea with all that lighting around me". Then another gust of wind pulled out one of the corner stakes so that started flopping around. But despite all that, I did stay reasonably dry.

    Other then that, it's a decent tent. I replaced it with the Skyscape Trekker which I'm pretty happy with.
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    I bought a SMD Lunar Solo in 2010 and used it on my thru in 2011. I still use it at least one weekend a month camping with the Scouts and an occasional week-long section hike. After all these years the floor is getting a little thin by the door, I consider this normal wear.

    I found the tent more than sufficient for a Thru. It is easy to set up with a little practice, light weight at 23 oz. and has more than enough room for me and my pack.

    The current LS has some improvements and also a heavier floor is available. I would go with the light floor and use a tyvek ground cloth.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  5. #5
    Registered User Vegan Packer's Avatar
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    I ended out getting the Trekker instead, but each has its benefits. The Lunar Solo is a bit taller, but the high point is in the center, so you may feel like the wall is just over your head/face when you are laying down. I suggest checking to see what people say about whether they hit their heads when sitting up in the morning. Since the wall is a bit steeper with the Solo, that may not be an issue, but I would check about that. With the offset high point of the Trekker, the wall is held up above your head when you are laying down, and you won't hit your head on the panel when sitting up.

    The Trekker's floor is longer, at 103 inches, whereas the Solo is 90, but the overall floor area of the interior of the Trekker is a bit less than the Solo's. The Trekker's floor on the head side comes to a point, whereas the Solo is squared off. I used that extra narrowed space for storage, and I also have a pad that is tapered at the head, so it was a pretty good fit, especially considering that the pad is 77 inches. Depending upon your needs, the squared off area at the head of the Solo may be a better fit for you, even if it is a 13 inches shorter.

    The Trekker has two vestibules, whereas the Solo has one. Also, the Trekker has about double the storage space in the vestibules. Although the interior floor space is a bit less than the Solo's, if you are considering overall space that includes area for storage, this could affect your final determination about which model is a better decision for you.

    The Trekker now opens for entry on both sides. The Solo has one entrance. At times when the weather permits, opening up all sides of the Trekker is great, and you will have almost all net surrounding you. It really makes it feel much bigger and wide open.

    The Trekker is a hybrid double wall, so you get screen to protect from condensation dripping. The Solo is a single wall.

    The Trekker is super easy and quick to set up. It requires one less stake than the Solo, but you will either use two trekking poles or tent poles, whereas the Solo only needs one. I have never tried setting up the Solo, but I imagine that you will quickly become an expert.

    Both tents weigh the same.

    In my Washington video, I show set up of the Trekker (at 3:11-3:31), you can get an idea of how much room is inside when I am fully sitting up (at 4:08-5:01), and then I give a "tour" of its features and how I set it up for storage during use (at 16:18-19:39).



    Good luck with your decision. No matter which tent you get, SMD makes great stuff.
    Last edited by Vegan Packer; 10-27-2015 at 18:57.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulWorksHard View Post
    I am thinking about buying the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo. It will be used for a number of 3-4 day trips, leading up to an AT thru hike next year. I am looking for opinions from people that have used the tent about the followng issues: 1) Did you find this easy/hard to set up after, say the 10th time? 2) How bad did you find the condensation compared to other single wall designs? 3) This tent seems to have a great price to weight ratio. Does it hold up well?

    thanks in advance
    Paul
    I'm a big fan of the Lunar Solo. It does have a learning curve to get a good pitch, but once I had it dialed it wasn't a problem. I'd say condensation is similar to other single walls or perhaps less then most when it isn't raining and both doors are wide open. I've used mine about 150 nights and I don't see why it won't last at least 150 more. I've found this tent to be storm worthy as well. I think it's a great value in a shelter.

  7. #7

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    Vegan & others,
    Thanks for the feedback. A careful reading of the SMD description for the Solo suggests that design was changed and the pole is no longer centered, but offset to one side, solving the headroom problem.

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    I was going to start a new thread to ask a question on the almost identical Solo LE, but I will ask it here instead.
    A few poster mentioned a learning curve in setting it up.
    My problem, is that no matter what I do, I cannot get the bathtub floor to do anything but lay flat on the ground. This is my first single wall tent (well, that doesn't count the green canvas pup tents of childhood) and so I don't know if the problem is common to all single wall tents or is limited to the Solo LE.
    In one online video the guy uses sticks to raise the attach points. It works, but I think it is kind of a PIA. There has to be a better way.

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    When you first set it up make sure the all stake straps are fully extended. After set up readjust the pegs as needed, use the adjusters as a final way to tightening the tent. The further out the pegs are set the higher the canopy sets, which makes the floor set up.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  10. #10
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    Make sure that you use the longer Easton aluminum pegs, hammered into the ground about two-thirds of the way. That way you can attach the floor at ground level, and the "fly" towards the top of the pegs. This maximizes air flow and improves tautness. I find that I typically have to re-adjust each stake-out after the initial setup, and perhaps tighten again in the middle of the night. I've only had a real problem with condensation once when camping in the cleared area outside Walnut Mtn. Shelter overlooking Hot Springs on a calm humid evening in October. I did have some "micro-spray" come through the tarp roof once during a hard thunderstorm, but that nothing really got wet from that. I have the original Lunar Solo, but now tend to lean toward my Cuben fiber zPacks Hexamid Duo with a bathtub floor to further cut weight. The Lunar Solo offers a nice all-around package, however.
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  11. #11
    Registered User ryjohnson09's Avatar
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    I recently purchased and used the lunar solo LE...I very very very much like it! I posted a blog post which goes over the specs/setup. I used it recently on my latest backpacking trip last week.

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