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Decisions..decisions. BD firstlight or hilight?
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Gia Le
(giale123) - F
Decisions..decisions. BD firstlight or hilight? on 09/29/2012 10:53:35 MDT Print View

Hello! I am fairly new to this forum! But I am a 20 year old male nursing student. I have been winter(i hardly ever camp during the summer)camping, for the past 5 years of my life.
Over the years I have gone from two different solo tents, a TNF 2p tent, and a Snow Peak tarp set up.
Demoing these out I have come to realize that I need an upgrade. The other setups have been sold except for my old MSR hubba.
I was looking at these two 4 season tents made by Black Diamond. The firstlight and the hilight seem very nice! Single walled and very light.
I want to ask the forum if you guys have had any experience with either of the two. The hilight has a lot more ventilation, but is that much even needed? I camp in northern GA.
They aren't far apart from each other price wise, so I was wondering which one is best for the money!

I've looked at other four season tents and I will not ever pay more than 400 for a tent, at least until I win the lottery. So these two are my main picks. I would love any feedback! Thank you so much!

Richard Fischel
are you planning on using this solo on 09/29/2012 11:37:27 MDT Print View

and how tall are you. if you are using a long bag you will be up against both ends of the tent unless you sleep diagonally. unless you are setting up shop on some narrow ledge the big door on the hilight is really nice. just make sure you do a good job seam sealing. i have the lighthouse and am a big fan of the bd tents. i haven't had any leakage issues, but others might chime in.

Gia Le
(giale123) - F
thanks for the reply! on 09/29/2012 13:18:54 MDT Print View

I am actually only 5 5'! Small guy. Usually I don't have to worry about the sizes of a tent, which i guess makes me lucky. I figure since I don't take up a lot of space, and neither does my girlfriend, we could use the rest over space to put our gear, since we usually only pack 50L of gear total.

Yeah for some odd reason I heard these tents are not waterproof? But then some people own it and love it! I know the big door is very neat on the hilight. I am trying to figure out if the firstlight and hilight both have a screen mesh door under the fabric door. That way I can look out and not have bugs flying in.

Stephan Doyle
Re: Decisions..decisions. BD firstlight or hilight? on 09/29/2012 13:29:32 MDT Print View

The Firstlight and Hilight are basically the same tent. The only practical difference is the door: the Hilight's is bigger, but off to one side (one person will have to crawl over the other to exit).

These tents are made to withstand high winds, not necessarily big snow loads.

The fabric is not waterproof. It's highly breathable, and you can vent it easily. I have pushed water through the floor just by crawling around on my knees.

Gia Le
(giale123) - F
waterproof on 09/29/2012 13:58:25 MDT Print View

hey stephen, did you have the older models (yellow version) or the new versions with the nanoshield fabric? (wasabi color)

I do not want to get soaking wet if i happen to be in a rain storm.

Stephan Doyle
Re: waterproof on 09/29/2012 14:27:41 MDT Print View

I have the newer one, though I've ridden out storms in the old one as well.

You won't get soaked in a rain storm, but the walls of the tent will certainly be covered with condensation. You'll also get some spray on you and all your belongings.

Gia Le
(giale123) - F
cost on 09/29/2012 14:53:19 MDT Print View

Okay thank you! So between the two, what would you choose for the money. Obviously if its not waterproof I shouldn't really pay for the hilight don't you think?

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: cost on 09/29/2012 15:03:13 MDT Print View

Although it is going to be heavier, have you considered looking at the Integral Design Mountain offerings? Similar designs but you can get them made with eVent fabric. Fully waterproof with much better breathability ratings.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Decisions..decisions. BD firstlight or hilight? on 09/29/2012 16:28:29 MDT Print View

Honestly? Neither tent. I know you are only 5'5", but both of the BD tents are VERY short. Sleeping bags + gear need extra length in winter. I would go with a Stephenson Warmlite tent LONG before any BD tent. Both those BD tents are very minimal tents with serious "sufferage" component built in. They will keep you alive, but not happy. I find, "HAPPY" in winter camping is 50% of enjoyment.

PS. I take a Cloudburst 2 slightly modified(extended Flaps and added internal hoop + tarp.

Richard Fischel
the integral design tents are really nice, on 09/29/2012 17:33:08 MDT Print View

but they'd probably be out of op's price range, even pre-owned. as i said, others will chime in. listen to what they have to say and make your own decisions. don't let them tell you what you need. i'm 6'2", 200#'s and i've spent plenty of time in the lighthouse with another guy that's 6'2", 220#'s. the lighthouse is 4" longer than the hilight. is it cozy; sure, but it isn't so cramped that it's a problem. the key, as you and your girlfriend have mastered, is not to bring too much stuff. i have the optional vestibule, but seldom bring it. the lighthouse works for me. only you can decide what works for you.

Stephan Doyle
Re: cost on 09/29/2012 17:44:43 MDT Print View

It's an extra $20 between the two. Price isn't a factor between the Firstlight and Hilight.

Between those two, I chose the Firstlight because it is better for my purposes.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
BD Firstlight on 09/29/2012 18:08:28 MDT Print View

I'm 6'-0" and I have a Firstlight and I like it fine. I've spent 13 hours straight in the thing and didn't go stir crazy.

It's a little crowded but I sleep at a slight diagonal and tend to coil up anyway.

If money was no object I would own a Hilleberg or maybe a Stephenson's. But I paid way less than half the cost of those tents for mine. It's lighter and more simple, too.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: BD Firstlight on 09/29/2012 18:24:29 MDT Print View

I would like to try this one out. Similar weight, larger, more waterproof and a vestibule....

Could also add the additional fabric wall.

Katy Anderson
(KatyAnderson) - F
BD tents on 09/29/2012 19:29:29 MDT Print View

Have a Nanoshield FirstLight tent as well as one of the older Epic ones, and my friend has a HighLight, so I know these tents well.

They are not waterproof.

The tents are somewhat breathable, but you will have some condensation in anything but the driest weather.

The new Nanoshield fabric is fragile and will rip easily.

If this is primarily a two person tent get the Firstlight as it is wider at 48 inches, and the door can be reached without climbing over each other.

With two people on regular size pads (20x72) you will have almost no space for storage. I use my pack and extra clothes as part of my sleep system and place my shoes at the bottom edge of the sleeping pad.

Otherwise get the HighLight as it is only 42 inches, but after sleeping in your 26 inch Hubba the size will feels luxurious and the full opening of the side door is very nice.

The FirstLight has a full mesh door as well as a mesh window, whereas the Highlight has two mesh windows.

Compared to your Hubba these tents take up a very similar footprint, but are shorter, wider and lack a vestibule.

Rakesh Malik

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: BD Firstlight on 09/29/2012 20:58:49 MDT Print View

"I would like to try this one out. Similar weight, larger, more waterproof and a vestibule...."

That's one I've been eyeing as well (Nemo Quantum Elite to avoid confusion), but I haven't found many reviews of it. What Nemo gear I have seen has been well-made, and this one seems like it would be a good tent for alpine trips, something I'm hoping to do more of.

I don't suppose you've found any reviews of it, or had a chance to check one out in person yet?

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: BD Firstlight on 09/29/2012 21:16:07 MDT Print View

No I haven't seen any reviews. I have checked several websites that sell Nemo and the tent doesn't seem to be in stock. I may fire off a note on Monday.....

Richard Fischel
nemo makes a nice tent, but on 09/29/2012 21:30:40 MDT Print View

the measurements are given corner-to-corner, but the ends and sides aren't straight, they bow in, so the overall length/width isn't as much as you'd think. i've seen one set up un the wild. it was the first time he'd used it so couldn't comment on it.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: nemo makes a nice tent, but on 09/29/2012 21:33:17 MDT Print View

Definitely the older versions were a bit short. However, this tent has side guyouts that can increase the usable space.

Having said that, no one has seen this version in the wilds!

Gia Le
(giale123) - F
thank you for all the feedback! on 09/29/2012 21:37:12 MDT Print View

Thank you fellow friends for posting your feedback! It is peculiar that BD markets a four season tent that isn't even waterproof. I did do some research on the prices and they aren't that far apart. Yet I cannot go over the 300 dollar range, or i'll suffer eating ramon noodles ALL winter/spring semester haha. It seems a lot more people have the firstlight, so I think I will consider that. I will wait two more days just to see if I can get any more feedback about these tents. I especially want to know if the material/fabric is fragile. Definitely do not want to poke holes in my tent with the poles.

If anyone knows of any other 4 season tent with a single wall design for under 300 or, a tent with a "hybrid" design ( has to have a tub ), then please shoot me whats out there on the market!
I am so glad to hear all of this feedback!

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Nemo Quantum Elite on 09/29/2012 21:48:18 MDT Print View

Here is a view of the Nemo Quantum Elite. Not a review, but you can at least see it being (*cough* *cough*) set up! ;-)