Big Sky International Convertible 4P (Light 4-Season) and Montana 2P (4-Season) (Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2008)

Both tents have multiple configurations available. The summer version of the Montana is a two-person double-wall tent that weighs as little as 2 pounds 1.7 ounces and the winter version is just 3 pounds 9.5 ounces!

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by Will Rietveld | 2008-01-24 22:42:00-07

Overview

Big Sky International makes the lightest double wall tents to be found anywhere. Their Evolution 2P (two person) now weighs as little as 2 pounds 11.5 ounces and has won numerous awards. Now Big Sky is in competition with itself with last summer’s introduction of the Convertible, and now the Montana. While selecting a tent from Big Sky used to be a no-brainer (get the Evolution 2P), the choice has now become more complex.

Convertible 4P

As explained in our dispatch from the summer 2007 Outdoor Retailer Show, the Convertible can be configured as either a three- or four-season tent. The Convertible is a lightweight alternative to a traditional bomber tent, but it will withstand only moderate snow loads, thus the classification “Light 4-Season”. For more details on the design of the Convertible, click on the above link to read our dispatch.

Big Sky Products Convertible 4P and Montana 2P - 1
Big Sky International Convertible 2P (grey, in winter configuration) and 4P (yellow, in summer configuration). Both tents have fly-only, summer, and winter configurations. The fly only and summer configurations use two poles and the winter configuration uses three poles. The winter fly (grey tent) has a snow skirt at the bottom that can be rolled up, and the summer fly (yellow tent in left rear) does not have the snow skirt.

New for spring 2008, the Convertible will be available in a four person version, the Convertible 4P. The tent basically has three configurations (fly-only, summer, winter), and you purchase the components needed for each one. The fly only configuration (46.9 ounces) uses two poles. The summer configuration (4 pounds 4.4 ounces, $400) uses two aluminum poles and has a mesh inner tent and fly without a snow skirt. And the winter configuration (4 pounds 11.7 ounces/$559) uses three poles, has a thin nylon inner tent, and the fly has a snow skirt.

Montana 2P

Would you believe a true four-season, two-person, double wall tent that weighs 3.5 pounds? The Montana is a departure from Big Sky’s “two doors/two vestibules on the sides” design. It uses three lateral poles that slip into sleeves on the fly, but it is not a tunnel tent. Rather, it has a caternary ridgeline, and the poles are shaped so the tent actually has an A-frame shape. The inner tent clips to the fly, and can be left connected so the tent can be erected as a unit - quick and easy. The tent has a vestibule entry at the front with a top vent, and a rear storage vestibule with a top vent.

Big Sky Products Convertible 4P and Montana 2P - 2
The Big Sky International Montana tent in winter configuration (three poles, winter fly with snow skirt, and thin nylon body) weighs 3 pounds 9.5 ounces.

Now, here’s where the convertible status comes in - the Montana also has three configurations - fly only, summer, and winter. The fly-only configuration makes a very nice floorless single wall tent. The Montana really gets remarkable in the lightest version of the summer configuration (two carbon fiber poles, spinnaker fly, mesh body) - it’s a two-person double-wall tent that weighs just 2 pounds, 1.7 ounces; the cost is about $450. And in the winter configuration (three heavy duty aluminum poles, thin nylon body, and fly with snow skirt), the Montana weighs just 3 pounds 9.5 ounces, and costs about $400. The summer Montana will be available in spring 2008, and the winter Montana components will be available in fall 2008.

Big Sky Products Convertible 4P and Montana 2P - 3
The lightest version of the Montana in summer configuration (two carbon fiber poles, spinnaker fly, mesh body) is a two-person double-wall tent that weighs just 2 pounds 1.7 ounces. The cost will be about $450.

The Convertible and Montana are both tents you can build by choosing the components that meet your needs, via Big Sky’s a la carte system. You can purchase components so the same tent can be used in either summer or winter. Many hikers will want only a two-person/three-season tent, so the summer versions of the Evolution 2P, Convertible 2P, and the Montana 2P are the ones to look at. The choice will be difficult. For a roomy base camp tent or family camping tent, the Convertible 4P provides plenty of room and weighs just 4.25 pounds.

Finally, a word about availability. As readers know, Big Sky has a history of being optimistic on availability dates. The new tents are planned for spring 2008 introduction, and we have been told that Big Sky's "new factory" is much more dependable than the previous one, so we can be hopeful to see the new tents before summer at least.


Citation

"Big Sky International Convertible 4P (Light 4-Season) and Montana 2P (4-Season) (Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2008)," by Will Rietveld . BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/big_sky_products_convertible_4p_and_montana_2p_orwm08.html, 2008-01-24 22:42:00-07.

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Big Sky Products Convertible 4P (Light 4-Season) and Montana 2P (4-Season) (Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2008)
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Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Big Sky Products Convertible 4P (Light 4-Season) and Montana 2P (4-Season) (Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2008) on 01/25/2008 01:25:04 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Big Sky Products Convertible 4P (Light 4-Season) and Montana 2P (4-Season) (Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2008)

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Big Sky Mirage on 01/25/2008 02:56:18 MST Print View

Any word on the single wall mirage announce at summer 2007? The article from that show says it was due to be released January 2007.

Glenn Roberts
(garkjr) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
Aptly named? on 01/25/2008 05:32:24 MST Print View

Based on some of the heat expressed in the discussion of Big Sky on this and other forums, does the name "Mirage" seem ironic? Or perhaps resemble an eery premonition of things to come?

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Michael Church
(machurch) - F - M
Tent Availability on 01/25/2008 08:52:20 MST Print View

What is the latest word on order versus delivery dates for Big Sky tents? Last year the situation was b ad with waits of from several months to over a year. Anyone know the current situation?

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Re: Big Sky Mirage on 01/25/2008 18:09:03 MST Print View

I asked Bob Molen about this and he said that since the weight of the planned Mirage is so close to the Convertible 1P, he will let the Convertible 1P cover that niche. The lightest configuration of the Convertible 1P, with CF poles, is 1 pound 12 ounces, and that's a double wall tent (the Mirage was single wall).

Don Selesky
(backslacker) - M
Re: Tent Availability on 02/26/2008 01:42:46 MST Print View

I'm at 2 years and counting. Can't get Bob to answer any more emails.

Scott Smith
(mrmuddy) - M

Locale: No Cal
VERY poor business Man on 02/26/2008 11:55:17 MST Print View

My guess is that he's lost a TON of business . due to his inceadibly poor business practices..'

I've wanted to buy one of his tents . so bad ( ! ) . for a couple of years now . However, given the ongoing posts . there is now way that I'm going to . until things change

Dave Heiss
(DaveHeiss) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Mirage replacement on 02/27/2008 12:39:18 MST Print View

I was also interested in the Mirage, but was skeptical about the promised availability date. So I cooled my jets and waited for the surprise. Yep, there was one, and it's more than just bait-and-switching the Mirage for the Convertible 1P. The Mirage was going to be quite light and rather affordable, at $199 for AL poles and $299 for CF poles. By comparison, the Convertible 1P in its lightest configuration looks like it's more expensive - but it's hard to tell how much more expensive because of the different materials and features that can be ordered.

The Convertible 1P may fill the niche, but I doubt it will expand the potential user base as much as the Mirage would have.

Don Selesky
(backslacker) - M
Re: Re: Tent Availability on 03/17/2008 13:27:04 MDT Print View

I got an email from Bob saying that the tent had shipped.

Only took 2 years and 3 months.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Big-er Sky on 03/18/2008 21:46:15 MDT Print View

I was talking to Bob the other day and he made a reference to "Cottage" manufacturers. I guess he meant to say he isn't one. It would be interesting to know how many tents he actually delivers.

Edited by redleader on 03/18/2008 21:48:13 MDT.