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Big Sky Evolution 1P EX Tent SPOTLITE REVIEW

Lightweight, solo, double wall tent, with two vestibules.


by Ryan Jordan | 2006-04-01 03:00:00-07

Big Sky Evolution 1P EX Tent SPOTLITE REVIEW


When I first reviewed a Big Sky Evolution 1P solo tent, I was immediately struck by its usability. However, for conditions where I want a tent - day after day of wet, rainy, and cold weather - I still wanted more space, and specifically, dual vestibules. Sure, I could upgrade to a two person model with dual vestibules for not much more weight (e.g., the Evolution 2P), but the smaller footprint expands pitching options and a smaller interior volume makes for a warmer tent for the solo hiker.

Most solo tents offer only one vestibule. For those that like to cook from their tent, this is a limitation. Trying to organize wet gear while making enough room in a single vestibule for cooking is inconvenient at best. Thus, two vestibules would provide some significant usability advantages in a solo tent, and such is the premise behind the design of the double wall Evolution 1P EX.

I've used the tent while camping in snowstorms in the high desert of Southern Utah, and in the cold and rainy spring at lower elevations of Southwest Montana. The tent pitches fast, has been stable in moderate winds up to about 25 mph (due to its symmetrical design, which is aided by the presence of dual vestibules), and its dual vestibules provide excellent ventilation, gear storage space, and usable cooking space.

Because I view this as a luxury item rather than a spartan piece of kit, I'd prefer more interior pocket space for organizing essentials and clothing, due to the limited footprint of the inner tent. In addition, the canopy suffers minor design flaws and it's difficult to achieve the perfectly taut fly pitch that is the hallmark of the finer high end tents from the likes of Hilleberg and others.

What's Good

  • Usability: the most usable and space-efficient design of any solo tent I've ever used
  • Wind Resistance: perfectly symmetrical wedge design provides excellent storm resistance
  • Weight: no double tent with this inner + vestibule floor space can be found at this weight from mass market manufacturers
  • Pole Options: manufacturer provides either carbon fiber poles (for greatest weight savings) or aluminum poles (for best stability)
  • Ease of Pitch: the tent goes up fast, can be pitched with the fly on, and arranged in any direction without sacrificing views due to the dual vestibule design

What's Not So Good

  • Flysheet Cut: A less than perfect flysheet cut that prevents a perfectly taut pitch
  • The Window: A window in the flysheet that adds weight, is too small for bringing in a meaningful amount of natural light, and fogs up anyways; I'd rather have a nice big window to bring in more light on gloomy days, or no window at all.
  • Interior Stash Pockets: I'd prefer more pocket storage. Footprint of the inner tent is limited, so the ability to organize gear off the floor is beneficial for getting the most out of this tent

Big Sky Evolution 1P EX - 1
The Big Sky Evolution 1P EX has vestibules on both sides.

Features and Specifications

  • Weight Manufacturer Minimum: 2 lb 10.5 oz (1.21 kg) with carbon fiber poles, 2 lb 13.7 oz (1.30 kg) with aluminum poles
  • Floor and Fly Fabric: 1.4 oz/yd2 (47 g/m2) silicone-coated nylon
  • Inner Tent: 1.0 oz/yd2 (34 g/m2) noseeum mesh
  • Doors: 2 doors on either side of the inner tent, providing full access to each vestibule
  • Vestibules: 2 vestibules, one on either side, both providing zippered access to outside for ventilation/views/entry
  • Pitching Options: Either or both vestibules can be completely rolled up in fair weather, leaving you with 270 degree views from inside the tent; Either or both vestibules can be pitched with one or two stakes and their zipper(s) partially or completely zipped, offering a variety of door configuration options for adjusting weather protection, views, or ventilation


"Big Sky Evolution 1P EX Tent SPOTLITE REVIEW," by Ryan Jordan. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2006-04-01 03:00:00-07.