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's The One is a full-featured single wall tent that provides full rain and bug protection and weighs just seventeen ounces (tent only).
- 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
|2008 Gossamer Gear The One|
|Three-season, one-person, bug-proof, single-wall shelter with floor|
|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)|
|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)|
|15 x 5 in (38 x 5 cm)|
|Measured weight 18.9 oz (536 g), manufacturer specification 19 oz (539 g); includes tent, spinnaker stuff sack, Polycryo groundsheet|
|Measured weight 18.5 oz (524 g); includes tent, four 6-inch titanium stakes and two 6-inch Easton stakes|
|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
|Aluminum poles (6.2 oz/176 g, $24)|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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