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SMD Skyscape X, Lightheart Cuben Solo, or ....
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Eric Dysart
(ewdysar) - F

Locale: SoCal
SMD Skyscape X, Lightheart Cuben Solo, or .... on 01/04/2012 14:47:46 MST Print View

I'm just getting back into packing after a few years off and it's cool to see some of the new equipment. I'm in SoCal and will be spending my backcountry time in the local mountains and the Southern Sierras. My shelter has traditionaly been for bug protection and weather, so I prefer a fully enclosed solution. I've already got a TT Rainbow (33.65 oz trail weight) and a floored TT Virga 2 (29.2 oz trail weight, no poles). I have preferred the Rainbow for the extra headroom and interior space with only a 4 oz weight penalty.

I'm considering some of the lighter one person tents and think that the Lightheart Cuben Solo or the Skyscape X seem like good alternatives. These tents are very similar, is there anything that really sets them apart from each other? I see that in John's reader review of the LHG Cuben Solo, his tent weighs in at 24.5 oz packed and ready to go. I want something more open than Henry's TT Sublight and I'm not sure how I feel about the Tyvek body. I am a big fan of Henry's products and advertised weights of both of my tents were spot on after sealing. I would also be interested in a GG The One, but they appear NLA...

Do you think that I will see an appreciable weight drop? In your opinion, would this be worth the considerable investment? Should I live with the Rainbow and focus my weight loss efforts elsewhere for now?

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: SMD Skyscape X, Lightheart Cuben Solo, or .... on 01/04/2012 17:13:23 MST Print View

One difference between the Skyscape and the Lightheart is that the apex of the Skyscape is a bit off center. This means that it is not symmetrical (foot to head). This means you can put your head close to the end that has more head room. The drawback is that there is less room above your feet. Personally, I like this approach, which is why I chose it.

The Lightheart looks to have a higher bathtub, which would be really nice. I assume this reduces the breezes on the face (condensation is not a problem since it is double walled).

Oh, I forgot to mention that the Skyscape X weighs 15 ounces (not counting poles or stakes). I would assume the Lightheart Cuben is similar.

Edited by rossbleakney on 01/04/2012 17:15:28 MST.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
Hm on 01/04/2012 17:27:29 MST Print View

I suppose it depends. Are you happy with the performance of your rainbow? If so, I don't see any reason to plunk down a whole lot of cash for cuben. WIthout knowing the rest of your gear, it's hard to say whether or not you could do with cutting weight elsewhere. I've always felt like the shelter is one of the most difficult things to get finalized. So many sizes, shapes, materials, pros, and cons. The grass is always greener, I suppose.

Perhaps you could post a list of the other gear you'll be using and we could see if there would be other areas where your time would be better spent cutting weight?


Eric Dysart
(ewdysar) - F

Locale: SoCal
My other gear on 01/04/2012 18:11:19 MST Print View

Mosr of my other gear is still seems current. Without going into my heavier gear, here's a quick list off the top of my head:

Tents: TT Rainbow, TT Virga 2, ID Sola Shelter long
Packs: ULA P2, Jansport Nisqually, Gregory something (4000 ci)
Bags: WM Highlite, WM Ultralite, NF 0 deg bag
Cooking: SP Ti Mini Solo with SP GP Ti or older Caldera Cone, new Caldera Keg
A bunch of different pads down to 1/4" CC
Random GoLite, Mont Bell, Patagonia clothes
Petzl Zipkas, assorted water filters, Aqua Mira, long Ti spoon, assorted bear cans, etc.

The only other place to drop noticable weight is my pack, but I'm going to work with the 3#, 3000 ci Nisqually until I get the rest of the gear sorted out.

So that's a little more about where i'm at now.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: My other gear on 01/04/2012 18:42:20 MST Print View

I would change my tent before changing my pack (if I liked my pack). A pack is the one item that is directly related to comfort. In other words, everything in your pack is dead weight, it is needed for camping. For all of those items, there is a trade-off between camp comfort and hiking comfort. Not so with a pack. The other thing is that a pack sits really close to your back and around your waist. This means that the weight of a pack is not the same as other items (there is very little torque involved with the weight of a pack -- the exception being straps and buckles on the very back). That is why, in general, I think losing pack weight won't lead to as much of a comfort gain as losing inside the pack weight (again, with the exception of straps and buckles on the outside, where the gain will be bigger than the stuff inside).

Long story short, if I were you, I would look to save weight by switching to a different tent. The big question is whether you want to do that now or later. If you wait, you could see big improvements in tent design (as tent makers tweak their Cuben designs). On the other hand, some of the tents available now might be discontinued in a while.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Options on 01/04/2012 19:43:52 MST Print View

Another option is a Zpacks Hexamid Solo or Hexamid Solo Plus at 9-12oz. Get a sewn in floor and you're set.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
SMD Skyscape X, Lightheart Cuben Solo, or .... on 01/05/2012 00:08:46 MST Print View

Ross mentioned that the Skyscape X has a shallow bathtub floor and may be a bit draftier than the Lightheart.

Can anybody tell me if the Skyscape X can be staked very close to the ground or is it more like a single wall tent that is designed to promote more ventilation.

I've no experience with hybrids, so I'm curious about whether they still rely on having significant air flow to prevent condensation.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Bathtub Floor for Wind Resistance in Double Walled Tent on 01/06/2012 17:46:03 MST Print View

I re-asked your question on a different thread (and got a response) but I'm also interested in this question from a general tent design perspective. I hope others will comment.

As I see it, one of the advantages of a double walled tent is that you can minimize the breezes that you experience while still keeping condensation to a minimum. One way this can be done is by having a big bathtub floor. To a certain extent, a bathtub floor is a bit of a misnomer at this point. One purpose of a bathtub floor is to reduce the chance that water will flow into the tent. But in this case, a big bathtub means a wind block for the first foot or so of the tent. So, this means that the material need only be wind resistant, not waterproof. A good example of this is the Big Agnes Fly Creek:
I don't own this tent, but it sure looks to me like there is significant wind blockage on the side of the tent, up to about a half meter or so. Meanwhile, there is enough ventilation above that to reduce condensation. The fly covers well below this point.

I see two benefits to this. The first is that wind inside the tent is kept to a minimum (if the fly is fully deployed). If the wind is coming in the side, it has to bend its way under the fly, then above the bathtub to the netting before it enters the tent. The other advantage is that most wind will simply flow above a sleeping occupant. There may be a little turbulence below this, but not much. Am I right in this assessment? Does this make sense in general for double walled tents? If so (or if not) is this a typical design decision for double walled tents, and do many tents incorporate this?

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
High sides on the inner tent... on 01/07/2012 01:14:12 MST Print View

I own both the Fly Creek (UL1) and the Copper Spur (UL2) and both have the same high side design on the inner tent/bug net. I find the sides work well for drafts which is what I was looking for. I initially bought the Fly Creek and liked the way it worked and then bought the Copper Spur for the few times I needed a two man shelter. Both tents trap warmth and resist cool breezes much better than the full mesh inner tents I have had. The only down side I have seen with this is that the tent is warmer inside and when the ground temp drops outside I get condensation on the floor. I don't recall ever having this happen in any of my other tents, but I can live with this issue as I like the additional protection the high sides provide.