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Black Diamond Lighthouse

in Shelters - Single Wall Tents

Average Rating
4.38 / 5 (8 reviews)


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Kevin Sawchuk
( ksawchuk - M )

Locale:
Northern California
Black Diamond Lighthouse on 08/02/2005 19:52:54 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

For a comfortably sized 2 person tent the Lighthouse (with aftermarket CF poles) can't be bested. I love the large side entrance and top ventilation. It could have been a little lighter if they designed it with a foam spacer to hold open the top vents instead of an extra pole. I don't use it often but in wind, snow, and sleet the extra weight is justified by the extra protection.

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kevin davidson
( kdesign )

Locale:
Mythical State of Jefferson
Lighthouse Shines on 08/12/2005 14:44:02 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

A superb ultralight alpine tent.

A lot of useable acreage inside this tent makes for comfortable size for two (w/o the requirement for being vertically challenged)sitting and lying down, and light enough to be a palatial solo shelter. Huge door (one full side of tent),makes for fantastic views and ventilation.

Fast set-up of interior poles allows for quick retreats from the elements w/o getting wet and/or cold in the setup process. Very wind stable considering the near vertical fore and aft sidewalls.
4 stakes are enough to anchor this tent for under 20mph winds. Plenty of tie out potential for nasty blows.
Epic canopy fabric has outperformed Black Diamond's cautionary notes on using the tent in extended wet conditions. Condensation amounts have been low to nil in four season Western conditions, performing as well as double wall tents under same trip conditions. For big winds,I prefer the stock poles over the aftermarket (but lighter) carbon fiber poles.

Only minor niggles to design-- primarily the screen under door zip and tie arrangements. A second door instead of small back window would make the Lighthouse virtually perfect.

I give it a 4.8.

Edited by kdesign on 08/12/2005 14:49:07 MDT.

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Timothy Davis
( Davis2001r6 )

Locale:
Sunny!
My Favorite Tent on 09/06/2006 13:56:41 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I just love this tent. The thing is easy to set-up once you learn how. The poles go on the inside of the tent and attached with numerous strong velcro straps. It is very sturdy and hasn't budged in some heavy wind and rain I've experieced. I live in AZ which is primarily dry but does get some heavy wind with blowing sand. Never have a promlem with condensation even when it rained. With no vestibule it requires very minimal stakes, none really. It's lightweight, has tons of head room. For 1 person it's castle, I keep all my gear inside with me. For 2 people it would be a bit cramped with gear inside but if you had the vestibule that would fix that.

I also own a MSR Hubba Hubba and B.A Sarvis SL1+, but when I camp my Lighthouse is the one that ends up in my pack.

Timothy Davis
( Davis2001r6 )

Locale:
Sunny!
My Favorite Tent on 09/06/2006 13:57:45 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I just love this tent. The thing is easy to set-up once you learn how. The poles go on the inside of the tent and attached with numerous strong velcro straps. It is very sturdy and hasn't budged in some heavy wind and rain I've experieced. I live in AZ which is primarily dry but does get some heavy wind with blowing sand. Never have a promlem with condensation even when it rained. With no vestibule it requires very minimal stakes, none really. It's lightweight, has tons of head room. For 1 person it's castle, I keep all my gear inside with me. For 2 people it would be a bit cramped with gear inside but if you had the vestibule that would fix that.

I also own a MSR Hubba Hubba and B.A Sarvis SL1+, but when I camp my Lighthouse is the one that ends up in my pack.

Scott Smith
( mrmuddy - M )

Locale:
No Cal
Best tent I've owned on 12/29/2006 21:53:00 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I've owned 6 tents ..still have 4

This, by far, is the best ..

Light wieght .. easy to set up .. roomy...and.. Quality is A+

Brett Balmer
( backcountry )

Locale:
Northeast US
Great so far on 04/19/2007 12:59:01 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I read a lot of reviews regarding this tent and it seems to generate very divergent opinions that center around the “water resistant” Epic fabric. There seemed to be a group of folks that said the tent was fine in anything less than a monsoon, and others that swore it was raining in the tent after an hour of steady rain. Despite the potential negatives I was very drawn to the tent because of the layout, and relatively light weight. I was also interested in its ability to be sealed up under colder conditions. I live near the AT in Pennsylvania where our weather is very “East Coast” (read – humid and very rainy in the spring), so the claims that the tent leaked like a sieve definitely concerned me.

I decided to take plunge and purchased one two weeks ago. I performed thorough seam sealing job from the outside of the tent as recommended by the manufacturer. I also whipped up my own batch of thinned silicon to create friction lines on the bottom of the silnylon floor and to perform a thin thread-seal on the internal seams. One thing I also did was to coat the areas of the tent body where the Velcro pole tethers make contact. (Some folks had reported this to be an area of increased leakage)

Before a field trial I setup the tent in the yard, carefully staking out the corners to keep the sidewalls taught, and opening the small rear window in the tent. (My reasoning being that taught fabric would allow water to bead off the tent easier than loose fabric) I let the tent sit in the yard through a night where we had continuous rain totally 1”. The next morning I eagerly awoke to see the results of my testing. The outside fabric was covered in beaded water, but appeared to be “dry” in areas where beads did not lie. To my delight the tent was extremely dry on the inside, and I did not detect any condensation on the inside of the tent body. The poles did exhibit some condensation, but not enough to cause drips on the floor by any means. I was very encouraged by this and eagerly awaited a two night trip we had planned for the next week.

The trip was fairly typical of PA in the spring. You always have these mental pictures of sunny warm weather, but invariably April=40’s in the rain. (Despite that I plan at least one trip every year – call me a slow learner) In any case the first night we experienced no precipitation, but we did have frost. Our tent was setup in a patch of land between two waterfalls, and the air was obviously very moist because of this. We closed the front door and window entirely to keep the inside of the tent warm. We awoke to moderate condensation on the tent walls (you could feel it, but not see it on the fabric), but did not encounter any dripping or issues with it getting our gear wet. I think not having the tent ventilated and the very humid – near freezing temps exceeded Epic’s ability to pass all to water vapor.

The second night was continuous rain from 8:30pm to 7:30am. The rain was never a deluge, but it was pretty heavy at times and didn’t stop at any point through the night. Having read numerous stories about the water resistance of Epic breaking down after X hours I was very concerned that we were going to get wet. We slept with the rear window open and the from door partially opened (down to the point where the awning would stop rain from entering). The next morning yielded walls with moderate condensation with absolutely no leakage. I might have felt one or two drips of condensation from collected condensations on the poles, but it was extremely minimal. Some of the other double wall tents on the trip had much heavier, dripping condensation on their flys, although the occupants also stayed dry.

Overall I am very pleased with the tent to this point. The design is fantastic. The large door lets two people get in and out very easily, and sit side by side for morning cooking. Setup is pretty simple, but takes some practice to get the hang of it. The tent dries extremely quickly, and after a few shakes of the fabric most of the water is gone. I have since built a larger awning (3.5 oz) for the tent that is supported by a trekking pole, and attaches to the tent via the factory supplied loops beneath the awning. This provides a nice “porch” to stow gear and cook under conditions with light precipitation. It also lets you keep the front door open 75% of the way in the rain for even greater ventilation. I will report back more findings if I run into any leaking/extreme condensation problems. Based on my experiences I can only speculate that some of the poor reviews of the tent were derived from tents with a lesser “batch” of Epic, or that I haven’t experienced severe enough rain to this point.

Sean Walashek
( caraz )

Locale:
bay area
No Sir, I don't like it on 10/21/2008 20:32:08 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

I have owned it for a little over a year now and and on paper it looks perfect in practice its not. The most recent trip will probably be the last time I use it. There are cheaper, more effective, lighter options out now.
Pros:
Lightweight
nice color
Looks sexy when setup
can get a really taught pitch with 8 stakes
great headroom
Dries quickly (gets wet quickly too though)
Cons:

Fabrics water resistance deteriorates as rain increases. So in a light mist it will do fine and then as the rain gets harder it seems at a certain point it just starts falling through.

Because it is setup from the inside it is impossible to keep dirt and mud from getting in unless you change prior to setup in the rain, the time when you would want to setup quickly.

The poles don't run in accordance with the velro closures. You have to really pull the poles into place to get them to fit within the little annoying velcro straps and then there is a lot of tension on them.

The velcro closures are very difficult to use with gloves on so in the cold expect to have very numb fingers when it comes to setup or breakdown the tent.

When open the door falls to the ground as opposed to zipping to the side, if it has water on it it will fall into the tent, on the ground it gets muddy.

The cleaning insructions are very prohibitive, I cannot take out any stains caused by mud or dirt with just using warm water and a light hand. The nice color shows dirt very well.

Actually not as light when you consider other tents weigh under a pound more but include a vestibule or vestibules. To add a vestibule to this one costs $140 and adds a pound, bringing it to a 4lb 3oz (minimum) $500 tent that doesn't protect you in rain.

fabric is rather fragile, a pinecone fell from a tree I was camped under and with the taught pitch it effortlessly ripped the fabric.

It is not bug proof. There are two grommets located at the top of the tent that the 1/2 size awning pole passes through to be inside the tent. I find in wet weather especially bugs like to seek shelter in the crease of the awning and will find their way in through these holes. The nice maize color makes them easy to spot however as a little bonus. Its a real bummer to awake to a mosquito buzzing in your ear and find hours later he was helping himself to a meal on your face.

The final con is something all tents are guilty of and that is overstating its occupancy, two people can fit inside the then but it is not possible to use sleeping bags and 20" pads without each persons outer side coming into contact with the wall. On doublewall tents there is less of an issue however on a single wall any contact with the fabric inside will create a channel for water to wick through wetting the outside half of your bag even when there isn't rain.

In summary the attraction is there, I bought it, because it just looks so nice and sounds so great based on the glowing reviews and manufacture claims. I can say after using it however that my particular tent does not live up to these lofty claims. I have wanted to like it since I bought it. The times when I want a tent most are when it is raining and in the rain this tent doesn't keep me dry, doesn't keep the bugs out, doesn't have a vestibule, and only looks nice for the first couple trips in dry weather. If you overlook this review and buy this tent please write a review based on your honest long term expirience.

Betsy Cotton
( yaknandpakn )
Began great but deteriorated on 06/22/2009 16:00:36 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I bought the Hilight 1 1/2 (same fabric and poles) due to light weight and BD reputation. Set up took getting used to and could be a mess if you're wet/muddy because you have to get inside to get the poles placed properly. I have had no problem with condensation or leaking which is great, number one priority for a tent in my opinion.

But I have had a problem with the door zipper separating. Another review talked about the bend of the poles, velcro straps and the tension. This is creating a huge problem for me in that the zipper separates at the high tension points of the door. I've cleaned the zipper, tried undoing that velcro point, etc. but the zipper still separates. And with this tent being single wall and not having a vestibule, those gaps are entry points for bugs and rain thus rendering the tent to no longer functioning as a tent. I contacted BD about this and was told the only part of the tent not warrantied is the zipper. Very disappointing.

I keep wanting the tent to be great because I spent so much on it but it really isn't for that reason only, the zipper. Otherwise, I would love this tent.

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