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Rab Summit Mountain Bivi vs. Black Diamond HiLight Tent
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Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
Rab Summit Mountain Bivi vs. Black Diamond HiLight Tent on 07/30/2011 19:47:32 MDT Print View

Hi everyone,

Any thoughts on the Rab Summit Mountain Bivi vs. the Black Diamond HiLight Tent?

Rab Summit Mountain Bivi

Black Diamond HiLight Tent

I haven't seen either of these shelters in person. How much more bomber is the Rab? Is the Black Diamond annoyingly small for a person who is 6 feet tall? (single occupant) Reviews of the Rab are very hard to find. There are quite a lot of reviews of the Black Diamond, and they are generally quite positive.

This is for 12,000 feet, summer or fall conditions.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
BD on 07/30/2011 19:59:33 MDT Print View

Paul, I can't speak for the rab, but I own a BD firstlight, which is the same length as the Hilight. I'm only 5'9" and I find the tent pretty short. I use a size long bag in the winter in order to have room to store my inner boots, gas canisters, electronics etc, and I was def touching the ends of the tent, which led to a wet footbox. Sleeping diagonally helps mitigate this, but overall it's just a short tent.

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
Length on 07/30/2011 20:06:22 MDT Print View

Thanks, Konrad. It seems like it would be a no-brainer for Black Diamond to lengthen the tent some.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
length on 07/30/2011 20:32:11 MDT Print View

I agree. For backpacking, it would have been nice if it was a bit longer. Yet at the same time, it's an extremely well designed tent, and geared towards a specific niche. IMO it's perfect for those done-in-a-day, fast and light summit pushes. The tent is extremely wind-stable, easy to erect, lightweight for it's 4-season protection, and will fit 2 climbers who are looking to carry as little weight as possible. Too bad, i don't fit that niche. :)

Richard Fischel
bd did make a longer version - it was the lighthouse on 08/01/2011 14:50:05 MDT Print View

look for a pre-owned bd lighthouse - it's a palace for one and livable for two. it's the same length as the rab at 87", 4" wider at 51" and taller. two guys 6'2", 200# could be stuck in a lighthouse for a couple of days and not kill each other (maybe) and you'd be most comfortable sleeping head-to-toe. Not a palace, but livable. when traveling with two guys the vestibule is very handy and at right around 4.5# for tent + vestibule it's lighter than a lot of a alpine bivi's when the weight is split between two.

the bd's are not as bomber as the rab, but i haven't had a problem in high winds, heavy snow or rain. condensation build-up has never been an issue either. It’s also a little more versatile than the rab because of the big door and rear window for great ventilation in warmer weather. Be sure to stake it out befor putting any of the poles in. the tent is so light it makes a great kite.

Here’s a site with the spec’s for the lighthouse and some good pictures -

Richard Fischel
bd in action on 08/01/2011 15:31:41 MDT Print View

here's a picture from one of my favorite (not mine) trip reports over at cascade climbers of a bd in action -

bd in action

and here's the story to go with it -

also nice foto of a cilogear pack in action and at the end

Matt Mioduszewski
(water-) - F

Locale: pacific nw
you won't find hoot about the rab on 08/01/2011 15:38:00 MDT Print View

really. i wrote an exceedingly thorough review of the summit mountain bivi and it was on their site for a while but appears to have been removed? I gave it 4 stars but said 3.5.

a real shame i can't just paste it here! It is short. It is bomber. I have a FF bag with eVent so I dont worry about touching the walls at all. Plus, it truly is designed for very cold. High altitude and very cold, no humidity. With a buddy I slept toe to foot. Wish it had a dang vent in the back and or top. That would go a long way for my use, but again I'm using on cascade volcanoes which don't really get that cold, relatively speaking. It still gets the job done nicely. The floor is very strong. Getting the velcro around the poles internally rips up liner gloves or = very frozen fingers from handling the metal. Opening the 'triangles' that store guy lines is hard to do in the cold/with gloves on. I have had it in some big wind but not big enough to truly test it. I am continually adjusting the way I guy it out as well. Anyways I think it could handle 80mph sustained, if the rear or a corner was into the wind, so long as it wasn't the front door.

The screen door is nice, but then I don't understand having that if it is truly meant for cold cold cold... glow in the dark zipper pulls are nice, they do glow for hours. The guy line included sucks - it was rip-off triptease.. no reflective fiber in it, just a grey fiber. small nag for sure.

umm hmm.. well heres some pics but i can get much more into it.

in fact...i just remembered i wrote someone on cascadeclimbers a huge long PM about it. I'll post that here in a moment


rab 3

Matt Mioduszewski
(water-) - F

Locale: pacific nw
rab details on 08/01/2011 15:59:04 MDT Print View

QUOTED from previously written PM

alternately I can share some pics, and could possibly take some specific close-ups or explain any details. I definitely have some critique of it, though it is my first 4 season tent so I do not have a good baseline. it hunkers in the wind great, it is narrower a bit than the specs, if i recall. if you're a 6 footer+, a winter bag will make contact with the walls. The velcro that goes around the poles inside the tent to secure them and keep them in place moreso is an honest pain in the ass as getting it tight around the poles is impossibly to do with gloves on, thus your hand is touching the metal and can get cold really quick (maybe something to secure once you're inside in your bag. The tent has 3 bomber sewed 'triangle pouches' on both sides and the back--they have a velcro closure in which to keep the guylines, i find this very nice for keeping the guys on the tent without them all over the place if you're not using them/when packing--that said if staked out too tightly on the horizontal (as opposed to more downward, immediately next to the tent, it can make the area between the triangle guy attachment and the top of the tent less vertical, which collects snow easier. in addition to those 3 points, you have 4 corners and two spots on each side for stakes, and then on each verticie (vertex?) where the poles are, there are guy loops to stake out. thus the potential for... a total of 7 guy lines if needed? and I think with a long guy-line setup you could make some sort of triangular tensioning system going using 2 pole-guy points and the middle triangle piece. though i do not know where to find the 'ultimate guy-out' instructions..seems more like a from the hip/experience type learning as far as utilizing all guy points.

it should have a window, or a vent or something--though that is not to say due to condensation--the front door/screen can be left cracked in a multitude of ways in more relaxed conditions as well. it would just be nice, say for firing a stove up, or looking out of the tent, to have the opening. the smaller mountainbivy one has a rear 'port' for dumping urine out.. i guess to keep the weight down they did not bring that to this version. a buddy who has a mnt hardware EV2 was extremely skeptical of single wall no vents up at camp muir, but he felt the iced condensation was equal or less than his EV2 with full vents open. food for thought.

The eVent material is good, but i think it may be a little more fragile than other materials--if it gets stretched (like over something somewhat pointy/cornered in your pack or if you try to roll it too tightly) you can see the fabric has distorted a little bit. (sort of like if you push your finger into a cotton shirt to make a point, it gives a localized stretch. it does to a perceptible, but much lesser degree.

pluses--two poles and the tent, thats all, right at 4lbs--it can sleep two, though i probably wouldn't look for a total stranger to be in there with me.

the stakes that come with it are pathetic, and the guylines and zipper-pull string mimics the kelty triptease stuff in that it looks like it has grey reflective fibers in the yellow cord, but alas, it has no reflectivity, wtf? for the cost i find those details lousy. the zipper pulls though have glow-in-the-dark plastic which impressively remains glowing 6, 7, 10 hours later it seems..

in addition it has a hell of a lot of little reflective things on it, from the guy loops to the triangle parts, to if you replace their guy-lines with reflective type--which can be nice in the dark/dark fog.

looking out on what is available on the same level there is the firstlight and the i-tent i think.. the itent being a bit more robust with waterproof fabric vs that new green stuff that is water-resistant.

Okay, well I think i probably criticized it more than i praised it, but I'm just trying to say the pain points as I see/saw them. I do like the tent and never get the impression that it will fail me, it feels bomber when guyed out and inside. the bright red color is also nice, imho--you can see your tent from far away which i think is a plus.

whew, hope that helps!

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Rab Summit Mountain Bivi vs. Black Diamond HiLight Tent on 08/01/2011 16:03:12 MDT Print View

Don't forget the Integral Designs Wedge. Event with a vent. Short in height but very long with almost vertical ends (88").

Cameron Wiggin
(aspenblue) - F
My tent one year later on 09/19/2011 00:09:35 MDT Print View


This is my first post about my favorite piece of camping gear. This tent is difficult to find in the states, however if you are fortunate enough to get it with a porch then jump at the opportunity. Before buying the tent I spent many hours reading the review of this tent on BPL and would recommend reading that post thoroughly before reading further.

Good wasn't it? I have had my tent for almost a year now and I spent last winter in Colorado alone and with another in very cold and windy weather. The tent does very well. Like most individuals, I was skeptical about a single wall tent. I have had bivi's, and a go-lite silicone ripstop (utopia). The bivi sacks that I have had are goretex and work just fine. The single walled and floor-less utopia is terrible with out a breeze. I also have a MH Trango, not light, noted for reference of my tent experience.

This tent has raised my expectations of what a tent can withstand and how well a fabric should breath. It has made me a believer in all things e-vent. The performance of the tent is great and I expect it to last me many seasons. I bought the tent in olive green, great camo, not good if you want to be seen. I would buy the red if at all possible.

My observations about its performance are all positive, here are some things that I would mention. I have the "porch" which is a vestibule. I would recommend getting the porch. I guess because of fire retardation rules in America rab cannot call it a tent so they cant call it a vestibule either, its a porch. In terms of space, it is limited, and for someone over six foot they may find it cramped with gear and two people. I am 5;9 and find the tent roomy. It is necessary for two to sleep in opposite directions. The sides on this tent must be tied out because two pole design and large surface area. If there is a crosswind the sides blow in considerably. The stakes and guy lines are pitiful and needed to be replaced. The pockets for the guy lines are neat however, I would have liked to see even more weight cut and for them to use a structural tape. Another interesting feature are the tie in points. This winter I will be on a ledge and using these features. The ability to be tied in and comfortable with out a door open for rope is a real creature comfort in a smallish tent. There are tie in points on the ground level and on top. If your thinking its a lot of tent your right. It enables me to go further, colder with less weight, and more comfortable than any other system I have found. Good luck and be sure to read the earlier post. That review is pretty spot on. Ill post photos as I take them.

Edited by aspenblue on 09/19/2011 00:20:54 MDT.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Rab vent on 09/19/2011 14:55:04 MDT Print View

Matt said: "Wish it had a dang vent in the back and or top." You must have the big one, the little one has a sleeve vent at the bottom back, for reaching out and collecting snow, but if propped open provides huge ventilation. Oh, I see you mention that later, but think of it as a urine-dumping port: just don't do both that, and snow collecting!

Edited by RobertM2S on 09/19/2011 15:03:54 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Rab Summit Mountain Bivi vs. Black Diamond HiLight Tent on 09/19/2011 17:24:24 MDT Print View

English and US terms.
Porch = vestibule
Peg = stake
Skin = wall
Inner = tent
Tent = fly or fly plus "tent"

Edited by Franco on 09/19/2011 17:25:55 MDT.

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
Direkt 2 tent on 09/19/2011 21:04:06 MDT Print View

Mountain Hardware's entry may be a serious contender. It's not released yet though.
Direkt 2 (OU9613) Tent

Ueli Steck Project

Extremely light weight, this two-person internal pole mountaineering tent is the lightest Mountaineering tent ever built by Mountain Hardwear. The Direkt 2™ is purposefully designed for the rigors of high altitude expeditions. Direkt 2's trim design fits on ledges, and its internal pole set up makes set up in harsh conditions safer and easier. TX07 PU fabric, a lightweight, strong, non-stretch laminate, stabilizes and strengthens when pitched. Interior ventilation helps frost management.

Features: Industry leading DAC Featherlight™ NSL poles • Internal Pole System • Proprietary Evolution Tension Arch™ stabilizes tent using fewer poles • Welded zipper flap construction is lighter and drier than a sewn flap • Zippered Mesh vent with integrated snow flap allows ventilation while keeping the weather out • Superlight 1/4" buckles and webbing reduce tent weight • Reflective zipper pulls.

Usage: 4 Season High Altitude Mountaineering / Expedition
Our lightest two person expedition tent ever built by Mountain Hardwear, the Direkt 2 is designed for ultra-light high altitude alpine climbing.
Capacity: 2 Doors: 1 Vestibules: 0
Minimum Weight: 2 lb. 8 oz. (1.12 kg.) Pack Weight: 2 lb. 15 oz. (1.32 kg.) Interior Peak: 44 (112 cm) Floor Area: 25 sq. ft.; 2.4 m2 2 Packed Diameter: 5" (13 cm) Packed Length: 10" (25 cm) Tent Floor: 30D Nylon Ripstop 2000 mm Ether Type PU/SIL FR Nylon Canopy Fabric: 20D Nylon Knit Mesh (100% nylon) Fly Fabric: 30D Nylon Ripstop 1200mm PU (100% Nylon) Reinforcement TX07 PU (100% nylon) Poles: DAC Featherlight™ NSL poles Tent Pole Diameter: 9 Color: State Orange; $500

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Rab Summit Mountain Bivi vs. Black Diamond HiLight Tent on 09/19/2011 22:16:50 MDT Print View

MH Direkt 2
MH Direkt 2
MH Direkt 2 open

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
Direkt 2 fabric on 09/20/2011 15:40:44 MDT Print View

Is the Direkt 2's fabric breathable, and if so how breathable is it going to be?

Richard Fischel
direkt2 dimensions on 09/20/2011 16:16:15 MDT Print View

at 25 sq/ft of floor space you better be on pretty good terms with your climbing partner and hope neither of you is much taller than about 5'9". sort of like these two happy campers in their ff spoonbill. i always thought someone at ff had to have a great sense of humor to work the word *spoon* into the name of a double sleeping bag.


but at least on route you'll have a smaller shelf to carve out of the ice/snow (insert wink here)