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Six Moon Designs solo tents
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Adam G
(anonwums) - MLife
Six Moon Designs solo tents on 08/30/2013 20:24:12 MDT Print View

Dear all,

I'm looking for a new lightweight tent. I previously owned the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 but want to replace it after the poles broke on two consecutive trips with normal use. I'd prefer to save the weight and use my trekking poles, which haven't failed in the years I've used them.

Based on what I've read, I'm interested in Six Moon Designs. Not quite ready yet for a tarp. They have two solo tents:

Lunar Solo 23 oz, $200

Skyscape Trekker, 24 oz, $225

The Lunar Solo is a single walled shelter, but the Trekker apparently has a "hybrid double wall" design. I've never camped in a single walled shelter, but I've heard that some people have big problems with condensation. Others never seem to have any issues, so I'm unclear on where the truth lies.

Both have received positive reviews, but no one has compared them head to head. Is it worth the extra 1 oz and $25 to get the trekker? Is the hybrid wall just marketing or does it actually work? I don't really care about the price difference, but waking up soaking wet is not very pleasant.

Edited by anonwums on 08/30/2013 20:29:13 MDT.

Packman Pete
(packmanpete) - MLife

Locale: Rainy Portland
Trekker! on 08/31/2013 01:21:28 MDT Print View

I've owned the SMD gatewood cape(almost exactly like the lunar solo) and the trekker. The skyscape line is like a new generation in UL tents altogether. Where the lunar solo is finicky, the trekker is simple and elegant. The hybrid design is brilliant in my opinion. Four of the five sides can completely 'disappear' leaving wide open views with a floor and no bugs. Why do you think they are always sold out? :)

I would change two things and two things only-I wish both sides had zippered doors (easy access to the vestibule and rain fly) and I'm not a huge fan of the way the strut attaches to the trekking poles (seems too short and kinda tricky to insert).

All the SMD shelters I have seen are really nice, but this one hits the bullseye. It's easily worth the extra $25.

In my opinion, when it gets cold outside you could have a condensation issue in any tent. It only becomes a problem when you don't have enough air circulation to remove your warm breath. Just set up your tent to block the cool breezes but let the other side ventilate.

Edited by packmanpete on 08/31/2013 01:30:41 MDT.

Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
Trekker on 08/31/2013 07:08:42 MDT Print View

I have owned the SMD Scout. It was my first non freestanding shelter.
It is a fantastic tent holds up into strong winds, roomy and easy to set up.

Condensation can be a problem, every time I had mine out I had to wipe it off at day break. But never had enough issue to get anything wet.
I actually miss the set up sometimes because its a nice clean shelter.
If you go with the trekker carry a towel or bandana to wipe it off and pitch it as high as possible.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Six Moon Designs solo tents on 08/31/2013 07:24:09 MDT Print View

Food for thought. Current Lunar Solos are 30 oz, due to unexpected changes during manufacture. PU floor and heavier netting.
So selling for $150

Where do you do your camping?

Edited by kthompson on 08/31/2013 07:24:54 MDT.

Adam G
(anonwums) - MLife
Camping location on 08/31/2013 09:02:58 MDT Print View

I camp mostly in the mountains, e.g. Sierras, Rockies, up near Glacier NP. I've recently moved which means I'll likely be camping more in the high desert or in places like the Grand Canyon or Joshua Tree. I'm looking for a pretty versatile tent that will hand everything except winter camping in deep snow, e.g. something I could use on my fantasy goal of a thru hike of the PCT. I realize this is not ideal as one tent definitely does not satisfy all requirements, but I'm somewhat limited in my budget. The Skyscape X looks awesome, but just a bit too pricey for me.

K Magz
(lapedestrienne) - F

Locale: somewhere without screens
smd shelters on 09/01/2013 19:01:45 MDT Print View

I really like my lunar solo. I've had it since 2009 and it's been my only 1-person tent for the past 4 years.

As noted, the set-up is a little finicky. It took me a whole summer to feel really comfortable with it, and that included using it on a four-week trip. Also, it's footprint is pretty huge for a solo shelter, which can be annoying in some locales.

If you pitch smart, condensation is not an issue in most conditions. I've never woken up soaking wet, and I sleep under a down quilt. I've taken it out in mild winter conditions several times (some snow, night time temps well below freezing, but ground not fully frozen) and that seems to be the worst for condensation; you'll have ice crystals hanging over your face in the morning. But that is true in many tents, not just this one ;)

If I were to invest in a new 1P tent right now, the Trekker would be at the top of my list. The ventilation, views, and ease of set-up are considerable upgrades. I'm trying to convince my mum that she needs on to replace her Big Agnes.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Six Moon Designs solo tents on 09/01/2013 19:48:49 MDT Print View

Often overlooked is the Wild Oasis. I've owned mine for 5 years. I recently dusted it off and started using it again for some trips.

Review here

Justin Mckinney
(sierrajud) - M

Locale: California
single wall tents on 09/01/2013 20:33:28 MDT Print View

I've owned a six moons design single wall and a tarp tent contrail. There're really lite and easy to set up, but have gone back to the double wall tent because of condensation. If you have a down bag, it is a problem, a big problem.

John Coyle

Locale: NorCal
Six Moon Designs solo tents on 09/02/2013 01:10:54 MDT Print View

I have had a SMD Trekker for about a year now and use it mostly in the Sierra of Northern California and occasionally along the coast at point Reyes National Seashore. Under some conditions I get condensation, but really not that much, at least compared to my Tarptent Moment, which was a condensation factory.

If you are camping in an area with only light sprinkles and no sustained rain for days at a time, don't worry about the condensation in the Trekker. Just keep the sides rolled up when you can, and pitch it with a 2-3 three inch gap along the bottom and you shouldn't have a major issue with condensation. If you do get some condensation, just wipe it off with a handkerchief.

For example, this summer I had my Trekker at Snag Lake in Lassen National Park. Sprinkles woke me up at 1 a.m., so I got up, rolled all the sides down, and fully zipped it up. It remained that way for 5 hours. When I woke up in the morning, there was no condensation at all.

Under some conditions you will get condensation no matter what tent you have, but I have to say that condensation is not a big issue with the Trekker.

Incidentally, I made a piece out of small pvc tubing for the top piece that the poles fit into and I think it works better than the one that came with it.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Six Moon Designs solo tents on 09/03/2013 06:39:46 MDT Print View

I have put at least 300 miles in a Gatewood/Serenity net combination.
The two combined create a double wall tent that works very well in adverse conditions.

It always seemed to be rainy and or extremely windy when I've used mine and I have been quite happy with it in these conditions.

The more I set it up, the easier it was to pitch.

Most people will tell you they find it hard to pitch, but I found that I could pitch the combination in my sleep after a few days out. There are some tricks to simplify it.

Sorry I can't give any opinions on the newer solo shelters though.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: Re: Six Moon Designs solo tents on 09/03/2013 07:00:41 MDT Print View

+1 wild oasis I'm with Nick on this one

diego dean
CSUl1poles on 09/03/2013 07:59:57 MDT Print View

Id be interested in hearing more about the pole failure of the Copper Spur. I have that tent and find it to be a fairly robust.

Adam G
(anonwums) - MLife
Re: pole failure on 09/03/2013 19:14:45 MDT Print View

I was backpacking the JMT. It was day 4 or so, and I was setting up my tent just outside of Red's Meadow. I hadn't had any bad weather on the trail yet. I was setting it up as I normally do, and one of the poles snapped during setup. I used the repair kit and it held until I made it down to Whitney Portal.

I sent it back to Big Agnes, and they replaced the piece that broke. I thought nothing of it, and took the tent on my next car camping trip to Big Bend National Park. There, I pitched it and we actually had some wind. It was fine after the first night of wind. After the second night with no wind, I disassembled it and we had to move campgrounds. Upon reassembly, the pole snapped, this time in a different pole than the first location. I sent it back to Big Agnes and requested they replace the entire pole apparatus since I had two independent failures.

I always worried that the poles were under an incredible amount of tension when I set the tent up, certainly more than my two person backpacking tents I've used. It felt like I could snap at any moment when I was setting it up, but I figured they had tested it so this wasn't an issue.

Once the poles failed twice, I realized that I could save weight and reduce failure if I just abandoned free-standing tents and used my trekking poles, which have never broken despite several years of pretty intense abuse.

diego dean
poles on 09/04/2013 04:48:26 MDT Print View

Interesting. ..

I too, have always thought the poles seem like they are under alot of tension, at least more than any other tent I've set up. But so far so good and your pole failure is the first I've heard of snapping like that on a CS.

Im taking it on a week long trip in two weeks and a bit concerned now.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
pole snap on 09/04/2013 18:45:28 MDT Print View

Good quality poles, ALU alloy or carbon, won't snap under the conditions you describe.
There have been some critical posts recently of the quality of the DACs, and that may have more to do with the snaps than the materials used for the poles.

When companies cut corners by skimping on material quality, there is a tendency to generalize about the materials. Happens often on this site. A mistake, IMO.