Gossamer Gear The One Shelter REVIEW

The One optimizes light weight, roominess, features, convenience, and weather/bug protection in a seventeen ounce single wall tent.

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

The One really nails it on light weight, roominess, features, convenience, ventilation, and weather/bug protection. On those factors alone, it deserves our Highly Recommended rating. However, The One needs some refinement in the attachment of cords and fasteners, and the tent's cut could stand some tweaking to make it tighter. All of the cords are merely tied on, and the knots come loose. During the test period I had five occurrences of knots coming loose.

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by Will Rietveld |

Introduction

Gossamer is defined by Webster as "something light...floating in air," and Gossamer Gear adheres to that standard in all of their products. Their new (Spring 2008) The One one-person shelter, at seventeen ounces (tent only), breaks new ground by providing full weather and bug protection plus amenities like a zippered vestibule, large zippered entry door, and a floating bathtub floor. There are lots of reasons to love this tent, but it still needs some refinements.

Gossamer Gear The One Shelter REVIEW Review - 1
Gossamer Gear's The One is a full-featured single wall tent that provides full rain and bug protection and weighs just seventeen ounces (tent only).

What's Good

  • Ultralight, only 18.5 ounces for tent plus stakes
  • Reinforced construction
  • Utilizes trekking poles to save weight
  • Fast setup
  • Easy side entry
  • Floating bathtub floor
  • Good headroom
  • Ultralight groundsheet included
  • Full bug protection
  • Excellent ventilation

What's Not So Good

  • Tie-out cords come loose
  • Cut is not as tight as it could be
  • Dust sticks to spinnaker fabric

Specifications

  Year/Manufacturer/Model

2008 Gossamer Gear The One

  Style

Three-season, one-person, bug-proof, single-wall shelter with floor

  Fabrics

0.99 oz/yd2 (34 g/m2) spinnaker cloth; 0.7 oz/yd2 (24 g/m2) no-see-um mesh; reinforcements are 70d 2.2 oz/ yd2 (75 g/m2) urethane-coated ripstop nylon

  Poles and Stakes

Requires two trekking poles or optional aluminum poles for support, plus six stakes (not included)

  Dimensions

Floor length 84 in (213 cm), center width 34 in (86 cm), end width 26 in (66 cm), front height 47 in (119 cm), rear height 41 in (104 cm)

  Packed Size

15 x 5 in (38 x 5 cm)

  Total Weight
(as supplied by manufacturer with all included items)

Measured weight 18.9 oz (536 g), manufacturer specification 19 oz (539 g); includes tent, spinnaker stuff sack, Polycryo groundsheet

  Trail Weight
(includes minimum number of items needed to securely erect the tent)

Measured weight 18.5 oz (524 g); includes tent, four 6-inch titanium stakes and two 6-inch Easton stakes

  Protected Area

Floor area is 17.5 ft2 (1.6 m2), vestibule is 10.4 ft2 (1.0 m2), total 27.9 ft2 (2.6 m2)

  Protected Area/Trail Weight Ratio

24.1 ft2/lb

   MSRP

$275 US

  Options

Aluminum poles (6.2 oz/176 g, $24)

Performance

Ultralight shelters keep getting better and better, and Gossamer Gear's The One sets a new standard. It's ultralight at eighteen and a half ounces (tent and stakes) AND it has a full feature set - like a zippered front vestibule, large zippered side entry, and a floating bathtub floor. It's also very functional, providing convenient entry, adequate headroom, full rain protection for you and your gear, bug protection, and good ventilation to minimize condensation.

Gossamer Gear The One Shelter REVIEW Review - 2
Views of The One. The front of the tent (top left) has a zippered vestibule that protects 10.4 square feet. The rear (top right) is supported by an angled trekking pole and has a large high vent. The side profile (bottom left) and top view (bottom right) show the tent's shape and proportions. Note that the front of the tent is taller than the rear.

The One is constructed of 1 oz/yd2 high thread count spinnaker cloth, which is silicone impregnated. The floor is also spinnaker fabric. All stress points are reinforced with 2.2 oz/yd2 ripstop nylon. Overall, the design and construction display the wisdom that Gossamer Gear has gained from designing outdoor gear made of spinnaker fabric. A nice touch is the inclusion of a Polycryo groundsheet (1.5 ounces) with the tent.

Set up is fast and easy, once you learn the technique. Gossamer Gear provides an excellent setup video on their website, as well as paper instructions with the tent. The tent requires trekking poles in the 125 to 130 centimeter range; taller fixed length poles can be used, but they will need to be angled outward. I advise practicing the setup at home, because the pitch will vary with the trekking poles used, and the tent can be a bit fussy to get it properly tensioned. While it is set up, be sure to seam seal it with diluted silicone to prevent the sewn seams from leaking.

When pitched, the front of the tent is approximately six inches taller than the rear, and the ridgeline (width of the tent) is twenty-four inches. Headroom inside the tent is approximately forty-seven inches in front and forty-one inches at the rear, depending on the length of trekking poles used. Its eighty-four inch floor length is adequate for a person over six feet tall, but a taller person is more likely to contact the end walls.

Gossamer Gear The One Shelter REVIEW Review - 3
Inside details. The floating floor (left) is spinnaker fabric. It adjusts for pitching height and provides adequate room for one person plus gear. A small mesh pocket (center) is provided to stash fragile or small items. Headroom at the ends of the tent is adequate when the tent is pitched high. A side entry and large zippered door (right) provide easy access.

Gossamer Gear The One Shelter REVIEW Review - 4
Outside details. The back of the tent (left) is secured with a trekking pole (or optional aluminum pole) angled outward. There are two ties to attach the tent body to the pole, plus an elastic cord to extend the rear vents. The side height (top right) can be adjusted from ground level to eight inches above the ground (increasing inside height and ventilation). Corner tie-outs (bottom right) are attached to the tent and the floating floor, and have enough adjustment to accommodate 125-130 centimeter trekking poles. A LineLoc fastener at each corner allows the tent to be tensioned without moving the stakes.

Field Testing

I tested The One on several backpacking trips in northern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado in late winter 2007 and spring 2008. I was very impressed with its user friendliness - it set up fairly quickly, didn't require much space, was very easy to enter and exit, was light and adequately roomy inside, and there was plenty of room for me and my gear.

While camping in the northern New Mexican badlands, I had the opportunity to test The One's wind stability. Since it is a side entry tent, it has a larger profile on all four sides, so wind gusts up to twenty miles per hour (measured with a Kestrel 4000 Pocket Weather Tracker) caused quite a bit of deflection. The tent was undamaged, but it flapped a lot and the spinnaker fabric is noisy in the wind. It helps to tighten the tent as much as possible to minimize the flapping. The tent's perimeter mesh is necessary for ventilation, but it's also a nemesis when camping in the dusty desert when the wind is blowing. On my windy trip, the tent collected a lot of dust inside, and the tent body acquired a coating of dust as well. Dust seems electro-statically attracted to silicone fabrics, and it is an issue with all silnylon and spinnaker fabric tents, though it easily washes off with plain water.

Gossamer Gear The One Shelter REVIEW Review - 5
One issue I had with The One shelter is tie-out cords coming loose, specifically the cords that tie the vestibule and entry doors (left), the elastic cord that attaches the twin vents to the rear guyline (center), and the corner attachments to the floating floor (shown in a previous photo). All of the cords are simply tied on, and they do not hold a knot very well, so they come loose, especially in the wind. Also, dust and fine sand readily attach to the silicone fabric (right), which is an issue with all silicone fabric shelters.

On my first use of the tent in the rain (a shower), it leaked a little from the ridgeline seam, even though I had seam sealed it. I seam sealed the tent a second time and found it totally waterproof in my next encounter with rain and light snow. Although I did not experience any wind-driven rain in my testing, my opinion is The One is quite storm-worthy, compared with other single wall tents. The sides and back have a skirt that extends the drip line out beyond the tent floor, and the front vestibule is low enough to prevent rain from blowing in, yet high enough to allow good ventilation.

While single wall shelters are notorious for condensation on the inside walls (see my article on Condensation in Single Wall Shelters), I found Gossamer Gear's The One to have the least amount of condensation of all the single wall tents I have tested. That does not mean it's condensation free, because the laws of physics still apply, and any single wall tent will develop condensation on the inside walls under the right conditions.

Gossamer Gear The One Shelter REVIEW Review - 6
Environment inside the Gossamer Gear The One shelter on a clear/calm/cold night. The air was dry initially, so added moisture vapor from my breathing did not raise the relative humidity to high levels, and the air temperature did not hit the dew point temperature, resulting in condensation. I had only light frost on the tent wall above my head.

Assessment

Ultralight backpackers looking for the lightest one-person tent may not need to look any further; the Gossamer Gear The One shelter weighs a mere seventeen ounces and provides most everything a hiker would wish for. It weighs a few ounces more than a shaped tarp or floorless shelter and delivers far more in the way of features, comfort, convenience, and protection.

On the negative side, the tent's geometry is fairly complex, and the cut is not as tight as it could be. For example, the back skirt and front vestibule are usually limp. The tent requires some fussing to get it pitched and tensioned properly (which helps reduce its noisiness in the wind). Another drawback is the tendency of many of the cords to come loose. In contrast to a tent from a major tent maker, the cords and fasteners are simply tied on, not sewn, and the knots come loose. Sewn on toggle and loop tie-backs on the vestibule and entry door would be more reliable than the ones pictured above. Finally, the spinnaker fabric shell is noisy, even in a light breeze, and the tent is on the expensive side because of the spinnaker fabric.

Compared to similar shelters on the market, the only single wall tent with a floor that's lighter is the sixteen ounce Six Moon Designs Refuge X two-person tent made of cuben fiber. However, the Refuge X doesn't have any vestibules and costs a hefty $400. The silnylon SMD Lunar Solo weighs twenty-three ounces, has more protected area, and costs $235. And the silnylon AntiGravityGear Tarptent weighs twenty ounces, has a lot more protected area, and costs $229 (but it has some condensation issues). The current Mountain Laurel Designs shelters are lighter, but they do not have a floor.

In spite of a few drawbacks, Gossamer Gear's The One is an ultralight backpacker's dream come true, making it possible to have the luxury of a full-featured solo tent while keeping weight to a minimum.

What's Unique

The One optimizes protected area, features, and convenience in an ultralight single wall tent.

Recommendations for Improvement

  • Redesign the cords and connectors so they do not come loose
  • Tweak the tent's cut so the geometry is absolutely solid


Citation

"Gossamer Gear The One Shelter REVIEW," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/gossamer_gear_the_one_shelter_review.html, 2008-06-17 00:05:00-06.

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Gossamer Gear The One Shelter REVIEW
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Gossamer Gear The One Shelter REVIEW on 06/17/2008 20:45:40 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Gossamer Gear The One Shelter REVIEW

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Sewing of front vestibule on 06/17/2008 21:05:04 MDT Print View

Hi Will

You suggested that the cut of the tent should be improved, and that the front vestibule particularly needed attention. My own opinion on this is that the front zipper has been sewn to the vestibule fabric at the wrong tension.

If you look at the first photo you can see that the zipper is taut while the fabric is slack. It is actually very tricky balancing the stretch in cases like this - I KNOW! It is usually better to make the zipper slack and put the load onto the fabric.

Otherwise I agree that a slight catenary cut on most seams would improve the stability of the design.

Cheers
Roger

Randy Brissey
(rbrissey) - M

Locale: Redondo Beach, CA
"The One" Insights on 06/17/2008 21:22:41 MDT Print View

I received one of the "The One" tents last week. It must have been one of the last ones since they are now out of stock.

I had been eagerly awaiting your review before setting up and seam-sealing it this weekend before I head out for the Tahoe-Rim-Trail on the first of july.

I agree about the rigging lines. I have gone through most of the lines and retied the knots and loops and am seriously thinking of replacing the lines with a different type before heading out for leg two of the summer ( a sort of JMT with a start at Horseshoe Meadows and meet the JMT at Crabtree, then north to Mammoth Lakes with a loop to Tuolumne and back over some of the passes east of the JMT.

My greatest worry about "the One" is wind. One year I got hit with 50-60 mph winds near the Minarets as a storm front approached. This summer I am taking a synthetic quilt just in case of a blowdown.

Thank you again for your insightful review! Randy

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: "The One" Insights on 06/17/2008 21:55:52 MDT Print View

I have been using "the one" since it was released. I have used the one on fewer trips than randy (maybe I can catch up this summer)... so far I haven't had any of the knots come out... though I did retie a few when I first received the shelter to change the lengths a bit.

I would agree that the geometry could be firmed up a bit though I am not sure what to tweak to get that. I have had the one in winds up to 32mph (measured by a burton adc pro). I did have some side deflection, especially the rear corners, but I didn't find it severe... there was still plenty of room inside the shelter and I didn't have a sense that it was going to get a lot worse. I have seen significantly more deflection at those wind speeds in a number of other shelters such as tarptent's squall and the six moon designs europa.

One thing not mentioned in the review is that the aggressive slope of the sidewalls can take a bit of getting used to. The first time I used "the one" I found myself bumping into the walls repeatedly. I have to get use to the space inside. I am sure part of the problem is that the tallness in the center makes the shelter seem larger than it is. By the time I took my second trip I didn't have any problems moving around without hitting the walls and found that I had plenty of room... a palace compared to the spinnshelter in a locked down pitch.

I wouldn't call it a perfect solo shelter... but it's been very nice to use.

It has certainly generated a number of questions when I had pitched in near other backpackers.

--mark

Edited by verber on 06/17/2008 22:06:47 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Gossamer Gear The One Shelter REVIEW on 06/17/2008 22:21:01 MDT Print View

Nice balanced review Will.
I particularly like you photos, especially the aerial view, that helps a lot in understanding a tent geometry.
Thank you for pointing out the fiddly set up. There are a few that have complained about the Contrail and the Lunar Solo in this regard but I think that this one needs a bit more practice than either of those two.
The side entrance is very desirable except that not having an almost down to the ground beak (as with the Lunar Solo) I would expect some rain and a lot of wind to get in , enough on the wrong night to warrant a re-positioning of the tent.
But I don't have the tent, just looking at the design....
I find strange that the normally fussy Ben2world hasn't mentioned the floppy bits. Will have to wait till tomorrow for his insight.
Franco
"Its eighty-four inch floor length is adequate for a person (just) over six feet tall, but a taller person is more likely to contact the end walls."

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: Gossamer Gear The One Shelter REVIEW on 06/17/2008 23:08:02 MDT Print View

I've used this tent for 30+ nights now. The vestibule tension is actually fairly easy to adjust by changing the angle of the front ridge guyline via its lineloc. That, and by making slight adjustments to the position of the front corner stakes. I think the vestibule is pretty well done, as far as trekking pole-supported single-wall tents go.

As for achieving good tension on the rear panels, this can sometimes take a bit of practice, though I've yet to find it necessary to use the stabilizer pullouts at mid-panel, left and right. Will's photo of this part of the tent seems to indicate a somewhat high angle to the rear trekking pole. I find it useful to insure that the pole is pulled out via the bottom boot as far as possible, deepening the pole angle, both to tension the lower perimeter of the rear panels and to achieve a nice, taut bathtub floor.

The rear vent awning isn't especially taut, perhaps by design. I eliminated the loop in the rear guyline to which the bottom of the awning is tied, and instead tied the two directly together. This is fiddly to do, in terms of getting the right angle for the awning, and I don't recommend it, though it does reduce flapping in high wind somewhat.

One issue that might be addressed is the use of this particular type of #3 zip/slider combo for the large doorway track, which seems to have a fairly short service life, especially once grit accumulates in the system. It helps to close the door via both zippers, meeting in the middle, though I've yet to make it more than a couple of months' accumulated use without a zipper failure. (The sliders can be replaced fairly easily, but a worn zipper track will tend to wear out new sliders faster than the originals.)

A really nice design, by and large. Anyone else seize the opportunity to install a clothesline along the interior ridge?

Edited by blister-free on 06/17/2008 23:13:59 MDT.

Peter Surna
(PedroArvy) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne
Bought and returned The One on 06/17/2008 23:40:59 MDT Print View

I bought and returned The One. For what its worth I sleep under a 9x7 BMW tarp and bivy and I found this shelter:

- A little smaller than I would like, definitely much less room than a tarp and,
- Difficult to get taught as discussed. It was quite messy to pitch tight. In fact I never got it tight,
- Plus one of the knots came undone on me almost immediately which was a bit unnerving as it wasn’t obvious how to thread the components together.

A friend bought the Squall Classic at the same time and we set them up together. Although very different, I'd say it's much more to my liking. However, I'd take a tarp + bivy over either!

Edited by PedroArvy on 06/17/2008 23:42:38 MDT.

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
One Review on 06/18/2008 10:57:30 MDT Print View

A bit more on the "size of the backpacker" issue would be appreciated, Will. I am 6'3" and fit nicely in the Rainbow but am always looking for a lighter alternative but haven't found one with its combination of roominess and height. I sleep in the MB line of bags in the long size. Would you say that this would make the One a non-starter for someone my size in the bags I use?

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: One Review on 06/18/2008 11:22:33 MDT Print View

Both SMD Refuge tents are lighter than the Rainbow and have more space, including greater length (8 inches!!) Great tents and truely for two people.
S.

Joshua Huckabee
(powervalve) - F
spinnaker fabric on The One on 06/18/2008 11:58:02 MDT Print View

Great review.

It should be mentioned (obviously to anyone with much experience with spinnaker) that the spinnaker fabric gets quieter with use. One way to accelerate this it to put it in the dryer with no heat and a couple of tennis balls.

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
The One - hiker length on 06/18/2008 16:10:04 MDT Print View

Hi Mitchell. I would say that your 6'3" height is at the limit. You would have to push the foot of your sleeping bag against one end to maximize headroom at the other. That would give you 9+ inches beyond your head. The slope of The One is not as steep as the Rainbow, so you are more likely to brush against the canopy. Sleeping diagonally would help. You can probably adapt to this tent, but extra length for tall hikers is not one of its attributes. Best, Will.

Edited by WilliWabbit on 06/18/2008 16:10:37 MDT.

Jim Cowdery
(james.cowdery) - MLife

Locale: Central Florida
Lunar Solo on 06/18/2008 20:06:20 MDT Print View

I just replaced my Squall with a Lunar Solo. I get up during the night and the side opening is easier to exit. How does this tent compare to the Lunar Solo?

Edward Silva
(pcmodem)
Seam Sealing on 06/20/2008 16:50:40 MDT Print View

Any particular locations that you recommend giving a double-dose of seam sealant?

Am presuming that spinnaker would use the same seam sealant as silnylon?

As always, Will's reviews are a pleasure to read and with great photos.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Seam Sealing on 06/20/2008 18:33:16 MDT Print View

I called up gossamer gear about seam sealing the squall classic and they (he) confirmed it was okay to use the method I like best, which is the method advised at tarptent.com which is mixing GE Silicone II caulk with mineral spirits, which I like best as the sealant is more liguid and permeates the fabric better and the seal stays more permanent, which I did do on the squall classic to deep satisfaction.

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Seam Sealing The One on 06/22/2008 13:50:13 MDT Print View

I would say that the top ridgeline seam is the most important. That's where I had a little leakage after seam sealing it once, so I sealed it again to make sure. Also the lower seam on the sides and back has mesh sewn into the seam, so its important to seam seal that one well. Otherwise, the mesh will draw water in through the seam.

Also, be sure to paint some silicone stripes on the floor to prevent your sleeping pad from sliding on the slippery fabric when you camp on an incline.

For seam sealing silicone impregnated fabrics, read Jay Ham's article on this website: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/make_your_own_gear_sealing_silnylon_seams.html

Randy Brissey
(rbrissey) - M

Locale: Redondo Beach, CA
First Set-Up and Seam Sealing on 06/22/2008 14:26:16 MDT Print View

The One is my third iteration in lightweight single wall shelters (and I am glad I bought it!)

The One has two traits that will endear itself for me. Because it is spinnaker fabric I notice that in the time I set it up this morning and seam sealed it the fabric stretch is virtually nonexistent. I did not need to reset the lines. One corner line did unknot itself though.

The most important point about The One is that it has a "logical set-up". Every time that I either moved a peg or changed the length of a line I knew what to do to adjust the other lines. The other two tents that I had before always appeared to be a trial and error experiment in frustration.

A couple points for version 1.1 would be these simple changes.........

The two loops for the optional poles need to be sewn as they are for the front pole. Both of mine have an extra half twist in them.

and

The little "pocket" in the front for the pole needs to be a fraction taller (3-5mm). I do use the optional poles and the tips stick through the grommet further than trekking poles do.

All in all a fantastic taut little gem........a 9.5 out of 10, Randy

PS I contacted GG about having Easton make some carbon fiber poles for The One as an option. They would look to be about half of the weight for the same diameter.