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New Big Sky Soul - double wall freestanding tent...18 ounces
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Clint Warner
(kodipak) - MLife

Locale: Salt Lake City
New Big Sky Soul - double wall freestanding tent... 795 grams on 12/04/2012 20:10:24 MST Print View

Big Sky has a new shelter "Soul 1P" coming out that looks interesting.

Unlike many of the UL tents these days, this one is truly freestanding (no stakes necessary at all, not even for the vestibule) and it looks to have great headroom too.

Comes in various models made from different fabric specs:

$99 40D "heavy" 1kg model
$149 good (weight TBD)
$199 better (weight TBD)
$399 best (795 grams)

A real double wall tent with poles lighter than most 1P trekking pole tents. And, no trekking poles required.

My only question is how will it handle wind? Those poles have to be pretty gossamer (noodly) to achieve those weights, but the x frame wedge construction is well proven as being good architecture. Thoughts???

Edited by kodipak on 12/04/2012 22:23:29 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Interesting on 12/04/2012 20:24:40 MST Print View

This is interesting because I've been looking for a good tent for my parents (my mom doesn't much care for tarps). The $200 version might be just the ticket for them if there was a 2 man version.
Anybody have any comments on Big Sky's stuff? I'm not familiar with them as a company.

Clint Warner
(kodipak) - MLife

Locale: Salt Lake City
Big Sky on 12/04/2012 20:39:23 MST Print View

I know there was some time in the past where people were complaining they would pay and end up waiting for months before getting shipments with little to no response from Bob. It appears now that they won't charge you till it's ready to ship, so maybe things are better. Personally, I don't have any experience with them but will probably roll the dice on one myself. For that weight and a real tent, would be awesome for the summertime alpine climbs in the rocks where small footprint is everything and down on the sandstone in Moab where stakes and trekking pole tents are useless.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - F

Locale: Colorado
Interesting indeed on 12/04/2012 20:51:11 MST Print View

Not so much the offering, but the choice of fundraising venue. Big Sky have been around for a number of years, so they're not exactly new to this business. And their reputation for order fulfillment has been spotty.

As for Indiegogo, they're not exactly selective about whose campaigns they will back. Per the FAQ: "There is no limitation on who can use Indiegogo as long as you have a valid bank account."

Caveat emptor, I suggest.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: New Big Sky Soul - double wall freestanding tent...18 ounces on 12/04/2012 21:43:35 MST Print View

That 2013 availability could turn into a 2018 availability. Also, what is up with no flag #1 ; )

a b
Re: Re: New Big Sky Soul - double wall freestanding tent...18 ounces on 12/04/2012 21:51:41 MST Print View

Extremely small volume.
Just mocked up the measurements with tape.
Don't think i could change hiking clothes in there without seriously pushing on the walls.
Also, the small volume combined with the fly being almost touching the inner net tents would resrict airflow.. I think this tent would be a moisture trap in full storm mode.
Same thing happened to me in my GG One a couple of times and it is the reason i switched to a seperate tarp/bug bivy with lots of space in between them and a lot of airflow around the hem line as well as a beak that is generous enough to not admit light rain when left open.

That being said, i sure like that someone is trying a new free standing design.
Personally i would drop the "worlds lightest" mumbo jumbo and concentrate on a solid free standing tent with better airflow between the fly and inner.
If it turns out to be in the 2lb range or less.. great.

As for not needing stakes at all.. Well the picture they provide clearly shows pull outs on the side of the fly that need to be staked out to prevent the fly from touching the inner.

Edited by Ice-axe on 12/04/2012 21:57:04 MST.

dale stuart
(onetwolaugh) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: Re: Re: New Big Sky Soul - double wall freestanding tent...18 ounces on 12/04/2012 22:47:32 MST Print View

I see one big concern to me - how do you get in and out during rain without letting the weather into the tent and onto all your gear.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Hammocks! on 12/04/2012 23:47:15 MST Print View

It's not a Hennessy Hammock, so I'm not interested!

In all seriousness, I feel like there's two major problems. Perhaps the perspective of someone who never uses tents will be useful:

1. I see no airflow whatsoever. It also looks pretty small. Why double-wall when a peaked interior provides more headroom and only marginally less elbow room?

2. Why bring poles with you when the hiking poles you should probably already be using can make a shelter? I dig tents like the Nemo Meta 1P tent. Weighs 100g's more than this tent, but it looks a helluva lot roomier. I can stretch out in that thing!

I think trekking pole tents/tarps just make more sense.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
re on 12/05/2012 00:03:20 MST Print View

Carrying dedicated tent poles is so 1999.

Pyramid tents are still the lightest, and will be for a while.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
like it on 12/05/2012 20:26:55 MST Print View

I actually like the idea and the price on the value model. If I wasn't 6'5" I would consider it more.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
BS Soul on 12/05/2012 21:32:47 MST Print View

Another design that has never seen a real trek - OK for sunny CAL maybe.
Did not even rate Roger's usual response, and gives a bad name to what he calls 'pop-up' tents.
Ditto on the weight, rain and stake issues.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Free Standing on 12/05/2012 22:30:34 MST Print View

Looks like a great option for the tent platforms we've got out here in the northeast. Been very pleased with my 3P tent from Big Sky so far. Maybe have to give this one a try. My HMG Echo 1 might go back on the market.

Rob Daly
(rdaly) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
my opinion on 12/06/2012 06:01:32 MST Print View

I think it looks like a good design. I like the vestibule idea. Although with the entrance to the tent the way it is you'll be quite exposed to rain, etc. getting in & out. IMO, it needs to be longer and taller. It would certainly need to be staked in rough weather.

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
18 ounces? on 12/06/2012 12:48:06 MST Print View

What's with the 18 ounces in the thread title? Lightest version of tent appears to be 795 grams, which is more like 28 ounces. Might have interested me at 18 ounces, at 28 ounces not so much.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: 18 ounces? on 12/06/2012 12:57:00 MST Print View

Yeah it's probably more appealing to someone who doesn't always use hiking poles. If you're already carrying your poles for something else (like hiking) then you don't typically count those towards your shelter weight or volume. For example my tarp and inner tent combine to around 18 ounces. They can't pitch without poles (well i suppose you could pitch it without poles in the right location). So if I wasn't planning on using hiking poles, I'd have to carry some poles for it, pushing the weight up to around 28oz. The beauty of the BS tent here is that it's self standing. And as I mentioned earlier that's nice for situations I encounter, like sharing tent platforms where it's difficult to stake out a tarp on all sides.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
29.5 ounces on 03/04/2013 17:08:37 MST Print View

Just got mine and set it up in a spare bedroom. Quality of construction is top notch. I really like the color too - kind of a dark green.

Inner/Floor = 11.2 oz
Fly = 9.6 oz
Poles = 8.7 oz

Total = 29.5 oz.

It's definitely free standing. I can pick it up and move it. Looks like I have full floor space and head space w/out requiring a single stake. Stakes will be useful for pulling the fly off of the inner for better breathability.

Overall, very happy. This is the tent I've been waiting for.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Nice! on 03/04/2013 18:11:38 MST Print View

I too am a fan of easy setup, freestanding tents! Curious, how long was your wait time -- between putting in the order and then getting charged and receiving your tent? Got pics?

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Nice! on 03/04/2013 18:24:41 MST Print View

Hi Ben.

I placed my order on 2/22 (Friday night). Tent shipped on 2/25 (following Monday) and I received it today 3/4 (1 week later).

Prior to placing my order I had some questions about the options - particularly what the zipper options were all about (the #3 zipper option is for smaller zips - I opted for the normal more robust zippers). Bob responded quickly with answers to all my questions and instructions on how to go about ordering.

Here's a quick picture I snapped looking inside the tent with a full size x-therm pad. Note that nothing is staked out for this picture. I know it probably looks downright claustrophobic to some of you tarp users out there - but it's like a palace for me.

soul tent with pad

Here's another


Edited by 7sport on 03/04/2013 18:25:54 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Nice! on 03/04/2013 19:00:20 MST Print View

Thanks for the pics. Please show us some exterior pics when you have them. :)

Over the last few years, I've gone from Evolution 1P to Evolution 2P (I crave space) and finally to Mirage 2P (same big palace but even simpler set up). All are very well made. I appreciate having to pay just a small weight penalty for my palace -- but yours is crazy light. Enjoy!

Edited by ben2world on 03/04/2013 19:04:22 MST.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Re: Nice! on 03/04/2013 19:05:40 MST Print View

Agreed. BS tents are top notch. I've got a Revolution 3P tent that I share with my wife and 2 large dogs. That is an excellent shelter. Very well designed and super simple to set up. Less than 4 pounds including stakes, stuff sacks, and the accompanying ground cloth.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
BS Soul on 03/04/2013 22:10:57 MST Print View

You've made your buy, now you have to lie in it, hah, hah.
Like any fin-shaped tent, FS or not, above timberline, in the wind, you will need four side-guys, two in front and two in back from the guy loops, one of which is clearly shown in your photo. If the stakes for the guys are well secured, you should be fine.
One possible niggle is a direct connection of the side-guys not just to the fly, but also to the poles underneath it. Some of the wedge domes don't have this, and that could be a problem. Velcro loops around the poles could be a fix, but don't know if I'd want to trust a little Velcro loop in a gale.
Can't tell from your photos how much rain cover you have over the door. One poster alluded to that issue, as Roger Caffin often does. Not being able to set up the tent in a downpour without getting the bathtub floor wet can be an arguable trade-off; but not having a dry entry and exit in a downpour can be a deal breaker.
Love the light emerald color on the fly. If only BSI sold its fabrics to MYOGers.
After you've used it in foul weather, you might have some good insights about this design to possibly share with us.

Dylan Fish

Locale: Moon
coolio. on 03/05/2013 03:38:55 MST Print View

That looks sweet! I love free standing tents. Though its a shame there is no room for your pack :/

Josh Thomas
(JtPeso) - M

Locale: Louisville, Ky
Re: Big Sky on 03/05/2013 06:39:21 MST Print View

Can't speak for that particular tent, but just wanted to speak to a recent interaction with Bob at BSI. I'm well aware of the past problems with fulfillment, but – and I can only speak from personal experience – he was quick to communicate and fulfillment was spot-on. I'd ordered a Revolution 1P, and had my tent within 4 days. Great tent, taboot! I'm with Ben, in that I don't mind a little weight penalty for ease at the end of a long, difficult day.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: BS Soul on 03/05/2013 06:58:32 MST Print View

There are 4 guy lines that you mention for staking in the wind (fly, inner, and ground sheet if used) as well as 2 more guy lines attached to the sides of the fly (can't see from picture). There are also several more attachment points around the fly for attaching additional guy lines if that became necessary. The tent comes with instructions for staking down in the wind and priority of which stakes to use in which order. Tent is designed to face foot-first into the wind (don't we all wish wind was that consistent in direction above treeline!).

There are attachment points to the inner tent, though they might be difficult to use with the fly on. I don't think that is what you were referring to anyway.

I couldn't see any direct attachment points for guy lines to the poles themselves. The fly has velcro straps to secure to the poles and there is a buckled closure around the poles where they cross. The inner hangs from the poles.

If using the ground sheet and/or a cross-cord (which I ordered) the inner can be installed after the outer. Or the outer can be used by itself with no inner. So you can protect the inner during setup if you desire. To be honest though, the tent is so fast to set up (inner first as that's the easiest) the inner isn't exposed for all that long. The most time consuming step for me was the 20 or so seconds to attach the pole sections together inside the house. I'm sure it took me less than 2 minutes to set up and perhaps even less than one - and that's for a tent I'd never handled before.

As for rain entering through the doorway, that's a legit concern. From directly overhead you should be fairly well protected and if there is wind and you have the tent properly oriented (toe in) to the wind that should help matters. But if there's a head wind, you'll get some rain in through the doorway. The vestibule area will get rained on, so probably best to pull any dry things into the tent before opening up the door. I'll have to give it a closer inspection tonight to see if the doorway overhangs the inner at all and by how much.

My pack fits in the vestibule. Or under my legs if using my short Neo-Air. But I've become so spoiled by the full length pad lately.

Edited by 7sport on 03/05/2013 07:03:03 MST.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
BS Soul on 03/05/2013 19:34:05 MST Print View

Thanks for all the details.
Agree that if the pitch is fast, DWR on the inner will keep water off the floor.
Snow Peak has a similar tent sold only in Japan that allows the floor to zip back away from the area exposed when the door is opened. Have no idea if it works.
Yours sounds like a pretty secure tent that will pitch fly first. Think I'll go check the BSI site. Thanks again.

Robert Guild
Re: New Big Sky Soul - double wall freestanding tent... 795 grams on 03/16/2013 17:55:34 MDT Print View

Does anyone know the packed size of this tent? I explore high desert terrains where I have to pack extra water so, while light weight is important, getting everything, including bag, tent, extra water, and food, in the pack is a huge issue for me. The length of folded poles can mean the difference between getting them in your pack or having to tie them to the outside.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: coolio. on 03/16/2013 18:06:38 MDT Print View

"there is no room for your pack"

I solved this problem by sleeping on my pack. Is that possible with your pack?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: New Big Sky Soul - double wall freestanding tent... 795 grams on 03/16/2013 18:14:06 MDT Print View

My own BS Mirage 2P packs down really small -- prolly just 1/3 of the size of my old BA Seedhouse 2 SL. Indeed, if I recall correctly, my Mirage 2P's tent sack is actually a respositioned HS Rainbow tarptent sack! NO direct experience with the BS Soul, but considering it's just 40% the weight of my Mirage 2P -- it likely boasts a significantly slimmer tent sack as well.

Separately, depending on your pack design -- have you considered attaching your tent to the outside of your pack? To me, that's where tents properly belong. It's the first thing you reach for to set up camp -- so being on the outside is nice. And when it's raining while you strike camp, you can first pack up and close up your backpack completely -- then put on your rain jacket, take down your tent and pack it to the outside of your pack. No more worries about opening a pack to expose it to the rain -- while jamming a wet, muddy tent in.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Re: New Big Sky Soul - double wall freestanding tent... 795 grams on 03/24/2013 12:07:42 MDT Print View

"Does anyone know the packed size of this tent?"

Here are some pictures to help you understand the size. Shown are the poles, fly, and inner rolled up and loosely compressed in a compression sack. I pack stakes separately. Normally I will add a ground sheet to the roll, but I didn't in this picture. The last pic shows a size comparison to an HMG Echo 1 shelter that I'll be selling to make way for the BS Soul. The tarp shelter includes the inner, tarp, and beak rolled and inserted into the HMG stuff sack. No poles inside the HMG sack as they are a bit too long.

with nalgene

with echo

with tape measure

John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
Looking for Input on Big Sky Soul 1P on 12/06/2014 19:49:54 MST Print View

I'm reactivating this subject. I'd like to hear if others have more info on this tent.

Nathan?'s the tent been?

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Non- sheltered Entrance on 12/07/2014 14:40:11 MST Print View

Dale Stuart is EXACTLY correct. This style of entrance lets in rain and snow as soon as it is opened.

I say this from owning an early 1980s Jansport "wedge" tent with the same type of opening. Yeeeeccchh!

BTW, Several times here on BPL I have railed against this entrance design as a "failed design" and even been taken to task for posting my own experience and opinion on design, I stand by my statement, The FACTS show it as a failed design. Period.

Edited by Danepacker on 12/07/2014 14:41:30 MST.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
New Big Sky Soul - double wall freestanding tent... 795 grams on 12/11/2014 19:36:06 MST Print View

There you go again Eric!
My modded One Planet Goondie, while not made for a gale force pitch, does not let vertical rain in when the door is almost completely open due to the cross support strut at top. And the solid inner version can be pitched without letting in water, as the DWR will resist rain for the very brief time it takes to pitch. The top net window vents on the inner are vertical, so do not allow much rain in during the pitch.

The real problem is that most of the mass market domes, cross pole or hubbed, or even tunnels for that matter, do not hang the inner so that it goes up with the outer when pitching. Since they all have that problem, I don't know why you just pick on the cross-pole domes.
Please be more indiscriminate. As Arlo Guthrie said, in America they don't discriminate, they'll get anybody.