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Reader Reviews

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Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1

in Shelters - Double Wall Tents

Average Rating
4.38 / 5 (16 reviews)

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Matt Eckhart
( matte580 - M )
Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 on 03/19/2006 17:09:39 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

There were a few things I was looking for as far as a shelter is concerned. 
You probably aren't as picky as me but if I was going to spend the money, I
wanted my picky needs to be fulfilled.   I wanted a tent and not a
bivy because a vestibule is important to me.  I like having a place to put my pack and shoes.  The all
mesh tent body is great in nice weather when you don't want to get eaten up by
the bugs. I wanted a double walled tent so I would have more ventilation options
and so condensation isn't a problem.  The bathtub floor and steep slope of
the rainfly keeps me and my down bag dry in wet conditions.

The weight is 2 lbs 6 oz which is a little heavier then some bivy's but I get
a lot more flexibility with this tent.  In winter I drop more weight using
the fast fly setup making it weigh 1 lb 12oz.

There are a few things that could be improved:

  • A few inches longer would be nice to fit long sleeping bags since my
    marmot hydrogen bag fits a person up to 6'6.  I'm 6'3 and I just fit in
    this tent.   I don't understand why backpacks are offered in short,
    medium, and long torsos; sleeping bags have regular and long lengths, but as
    far as tents you get one size.

  • The pole setup is a modified A frame.  The best way I can explain it
    is sort of like a tri-pod with a longer leg extending the length of the tent
    body.  The poles are connected to a hub where they meet at.  There
    are two short poles that meet on top of the door and then a long center pole
    going down the length of the tent. The main thing I don't like is that there
    is sewn loops in the tent body for the long pole, and clips for the 2 short
    poles.  I wish there were all clips so during rain I could setup the tent
    using the fast fly option and then clip the tent up to the poles inside the
    rain fly.  Instead I have to thread the pole through the sewn loops
    getting the tent wet, then I'm finally able to drape the rain fly over. 

  • The vestibule is a little small, I wouldn't try cooking under it. Also you have to be careful with Velcro on the vestibule since the tent body is all mesh
    (except the floor of course). The little hooks on Velcro can grab a hold of
    that mesh pretty easy.

Edited by matte580 on 03/21/2006 23:54:35 MST.

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Debbie Melita
( debmonster )

Light, Ventilated and Spacious on 02/19/2007 10:32:57 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I was using a tarp for a while but the SL-1 has brought me back to a double wall tent. It's a great combination of light weight, spacious interior, amazing ventilation and excellent protection from the elements. I've used it in torrential rain, summer heat & humidity and late spring frost, and was comfortable each time. I've never once experienced a leak or had interior condensation form.

My only real complaint is that the vestibule is rather small and makes it a bit tough to get in & out of the tent, especially during rain when a small amount of water gets in (this is easily erased with a small camp towel). However, I was amazed at how much internal room there is when I am inside the tent. I have plenty of space to put my pack at my feet, and enough room on either side of me for my clothing stuff sack, magazine, etc.

I agree that setting the tent up in the rain could be improved by replacing the loops for the center pole with clips so that the tent could be set up under the fly to avoid getting wet. However, the tent goes up so quickly that it is usually only exposed for a minute or two before the fly is on.

The tent packs down to 5x12 using a compression sack and carrying the poles separately. Overall, I'm amazed at the combination of light weight and comfort!

Peter Sustr
( czechxpress - M )

SL1 tent on 02/21/2007 09:56:00 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I would have to agree. I've had the SL1 for about a year after being a die hard tarp only camper and have been completely satisfied. It is lightweight, packs down small and can be used in almost any condition. You can also use the Fast Fly setup that is just over a pound but, still gives you the 'under a tarp' feeling. It is durable, spacious and a great escape from the elements. Big Agnes is also a great local Colorado company that is quick with their customer service and just a great bunch of people to talk with as well.

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Kim Grant
( Kimberlymae )
Nearly perfect on 05/07/2007 14:46:50 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I am a 5'2" 130lb woman and am forced simply by my stature to keep my pack as light as possible.

Headroom: Excellent. I can sit upright with some extra head clearance.

Interior floor space: Excellent: ample enough for me, my bag & pad, and my pack. In a pinch, this tent sleeps me and my 5'9" 170 lb companion.

Vestibule: Nearly useless for using as sheltered space for my bag or cooking, let alone at the same time! Only serves as a covered place to put my shoes and to keep out the rain. On balance, vestibule size is not an important feature for me.

Footprint: PITA. Wish I'd gotten a tarp in lieu of.

Venting: Excelent. With all that mesh, it's hard to imagine a place where condensation could build up!

Weight: Excellent. At last check, I think it was the lightest one-person double-wall tent on the market.

Ease of putting up: Excellent. I've used easier, I can't say I have any complaints about this one.

Wind and rain protection: Excellent with the rain fly. I've used in autumn rains in Moab and the San Rafael Swell. NOT a winter tent. Tent is nearly 100% mesh, so it's more like a bivy with a mosquito protection dome. ;-)

Freestanding: Very good. The bath-tub bottom is a little bit too saggy for my preference as a freestanding tent, but not horrible. This shouldn't be a detraction from purchasing.

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Glenn Roberts
( garkjr )

Southwestern Ohio
Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 on 07/09/2007 11:01:30 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I got this tent to replace my MSR Hubba because the SL1 is half a pound lighter.

It's not quite as convenient to get into and out of as the Hubba, but that's the price you pay for the weight savings. Also, the outward slant of the floor under the vestibule opening can let a minor, but annoying, amount of water in if aren't careful getting in or out in the rain.

I like the tent's volume and floorplan a lot. By having a narrow foot and wider head, the floorspace is put where you really need it: where you store gear. The headroom is good, but not great; my head and shoulders do brush against the mesh ceiling and walls when I sit up. However, I also brushed the Hubba's walls, and the SL1 doesn't feel the least bit claustrophobic.

The all-mesh interior makes it incredibly comfortable on hot, humid, still August nights in the Ohio valley; it's about as close to sleeping under the stars as you can come - with the added bonus of no bugs.

The tent isn't fully free-standing; however, if it's not raining, it's free standing enough. The foot end doesn't fully deploy unless you stake it out; you can also use a hiking pole across the foot end to get a reasonable approximation of free-standing. In the rain, with the fly on, it really needs to be staked out.

Also, pitching it is a minor pain: it uses clips to attach part of the body to the poles, but uses 4 fabric loops for part of it. The first couple of times, it was really annoying to thread three of the loops and realize that I'd missed the first loop. Now that I'm used to the tent, it's no longer a problem.

The tent packs small, pitches easily, and lives comfortably - I'm not sure you can ask for much more at this weight.

Edited by garkjr on 12/29/2008 09:09:39 MST.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: MSR Hubba priced at: $246.95 - $329.99
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James Loy
( jimbluz - M )

Pacific NW
Seedhouse SL1 on 07/11/2007 11:16:01 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

Ok, gotta add my two cents here. I purchased my tent in 2005. Before I could spend the first night in my tent, the center pole loops tore away from the netting when I set it up (following the directions) in my yard. I returned the tent to Big Agnes and they replaced it with a new one. As for the second one, the center pole loop nearest the door separated from the tent the very first time I set it up. I returned this tent to Big Agnes as well, and they offered to either issue a refund or credit to me. I talked to them about sewing pole clips to the tent instead of the fragile loops and they said they could do that. I have not yet received the tent but am hopeful this will solve the problem. I give this tent a 2 for effort.

robert courson
( bertcourson )

lake michigan
I trust this tent. on 07/18/2007 05:42:26 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I have had my SL1 for two years now. It is a bit heavy and not quite totally free standing, but is still less than 3# and really doesn't need to be staked most of the time. I TRUST this tent in rain storms and REALLY like the screen (w/o tarp cover) for summer camping.
On over 20 nights of use this tent has shown no signs of wear and still is as good as the first night I used it.

Dave Cutherell
( dcutherell )

It's really stable on 07/20/2007 09:18:14 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I have had the SL1 for about a year now. I really like it's bug protection and it's stability. I don't like how many stakes (12) it needs. I don't use it much and have moved onto my Gossamer Gear Squall Classic.

Edited by dcutherell on 07/20/2007 09:20:52 MDT.

David Goodyear
( dmgoody )

stable tent on 08/12/2007 07:22:27 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I bought this tent before becoming a member of this site. When I read the review of the SL-1, I was worried about its stability and durability. I am not a tarp camper so the seedhouse seemed to be the best ultra light choice.
I just returned from a four day hike in the White Mountains. We were trapped for an extra day at the tent site at Liberty Springs by 16 Hours of rain and wind gusts up to 60 mph. I was dry and happy that I made this purchase. Wind that sounded like freight trains was barely noticeable as it was deflected over the tent by the low reaching rain fly. I made sure that the foot of the tent was pointed down the mountain as not to take the brunt of the wind from the side. There is nothing like waking up in the morning dry!!

I find the tent is roomy enough for me 5'6", but would be a little tight for persons over 6 feet. I unload my pack and place the items down the side - using my pack for a pad under my feet. There is enough room to sit up or lay stretched out. It is a bit awkward to enter and exit and the vestibule is small.

I would highly recommend this tent to anyone wanting to go light, but not yet ready for a tarp or a single wall tent.

I will give this tent a 4/5 because of the small vestibule.


Tim Reich
( timareich )

Western Oregon
I love the lightweight and small packing size... on 09/12/2007 06:04:07 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

After using a 6 lb Mountain Hardware tent for the past 4 years I decided it was time to go lighter, I'm a little slow. After quite a bit of research I decided on the Seedhouse SL 1. I recently used it for a week long trip and it seemed to fit the bill for me. I am about 6'1" tall and use a BA long sleeping bag. I fit just fine. My old tent seemed to have a condensation problem at times, this SL 1 actually did much better than I expected in that department. The SL 1 is the lightest, roomiest, free-standing, double wall tent I could find. OH, it did good in the wind and rain also...

Edited by timareich on 02/02/2008 14:39:21 MST.

Shahrin Bin Shariff
( zzmelayu )

In the shadow of Table Mountain
Still a bit too heavy for UL on 11/27/2007 15:25:58 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I bought the SL1 before joining BPL. It was marketed as the lightest tent in 2004-2005. Have used it over 20+ times solo. In retrospect, I should have bought the SL2. If it is mainly used for solo hikes, then it is still too heavy. However, the SL1 performed well in high winds and rain.

Dan M
( r4gl7q )

Nice lightweight SOLO tent on 01/01/2008 09:52:08 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I originally purchased the SL2, thinking I would want the extra room. However, after awhile I decided weight was more important and purchased the SL1. The SL1 is spacious enough. I can't add much more to the positive things people have already posted. I do set it up with just 9 tent pegs. The fragile mesh originally concerned me, but it's survived about a dozen overnight stays without damage.

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cat morris
( catt )

Love it! on 04/04/2008 20:10:04 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

My Seedhouse SL1 has excellent interior space. I have plenty of room at the sides and bottom for my stuff. Headroom is excellent. The vestibule is tiny; however, I can fit my pack and boots. Lately, I have been keeping my pack in the bottom of the tent. The lightweight and small compact carry size is the plus.

I have used this tent on Alaskan ridge hikes in wind and rainstorms with no problems. The tent is not free-standing and must be staked out to the max for maximum protection from gales and rain. Guylines must be re-tightened before bedtime. No condensation problems at all.

The lightweight netting is extremely delicate and snags
easily; however, it keeps out the tiniest bugs.

The only problem with the design is that in a torrential downpour it is virtually impossible to get in and out of the tent without some rain dripping inside. I keep my down bag away from the door & a tiny cloth handy.

I have found Big Agnes to have superior public relations in dealing with their products.

Robert Bryant
( KG4FAM )

don't like the doghouse door on 03/10/2009 16:01:48 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Everything but the doghouse door is awesome with this tent. I really like the huge floorspace. It is a mansion compared to other 1 person tents.

Richard Colfack
( richfax )

The Seedhouse SL1 is a Keeper on 08/03/2009 17:28:42 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I've used the Seedhouse SL1 for several years and within the last year it has made it across the JMT and around the TRT. I am pleased to say that I am very happy with this tent and don't regret purchasing it. I've hiked with friends that use comparable double wall tents, such as the MSR Hubba and the REI Quarter Dome T1, but those tents are nowhere as near as good as the SL1. Look no further if you want a rainproof, bugproof, fast setup, no fidgeting, compact, lightweight solo double-wall tent. I'm not sure why anyone would give this tent less than a 5.

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Laurence Beck
( beckla )

Southern California
Three years and going on 09/28/2009 20:27:34 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I purchased the Big Agnes SL1 three years ago and I have spent at least 30 nights in it. I am only 6 ft tall so the length is actually perfect for me. The real beauty of this tent is that it is light (42 oz including 7 stakes) and it is wide enough to keep all of your necessities in the tent without crowding yourself out. The vestibule is also big enough to cover your pack and boots in a rain storm. I have actually used it in the rain twice. One time it really poured all night though.

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