Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Tent REVIEW

Score another winner for SMD – the Lunar Duo is a well-designed, roomy, lightweight, well-ventilated single-wall tent for two people.

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

With a protected area to weight ratio of 21 square feet per pound, the Lunar Duo offers significantly more space than its closest competitors, largely because it eliminates most of the tent poles. Its broad body provides lots of interior room for two people, and with vestibules closed and doors open, it provides 58 square feet of interior space for occupants and gear. Further, it is well ventilated and keeps condensation to a minimum under normal conditions. Overall, the Lunar Duo is a good choice for hikers wanting a lightweight roomy tent for two people, especially for base camping.

The Lunar Duo does not rate a "Highly Recommended" rating because it has a high profile that makes it less stable in moderate to high winds, the interior pockets are small, and the small top vents make the tent more prone to condensation when the doors and vestibules are zipped up. Also, the tent does not include stakes - most users will assume that it does.

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by Will Rietveld |

Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Tent REVIEW

Introduction

The Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo is not a larger version of the popular Lunar Solo; rather it’s an entirely new tent design. Its 44.3 ounce trail weight (including stakes) may seem a bit high for a single-wall silnylon two-person tent, so it’s important to point out at the beginning of this review that this is a BIG tent, with 58 square feet of protected area. If you’re looking for a really roomy two-person single wall tent, the Lunar Duo may fill the bill.

What’s Good

  • Very roomy shelter for two people
  • Very lightweight for the amount of protected area (58 ft2)
  • Two doors and two vestibules
  • Trekking pole support saves weight
  • Large vestibules
  • Easy entry
  • Top vents and abundant mesh provide good ventilation

What’s Not So Good

  • Small storage pockets
  • Does not set up well with taller fixed-length trekking poles
  • Stakes are not included
  • High vents are small

Specifications

  Year/Manufacturer/Model

2007 Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo

  Style

Three-season, two-person single-wall tent with floor, two doors, and two vestibules

  Fabrics

30d, 1.3 oz/yd2 (44 g/m22) silnylon canopy; no-see-um mesh doors and lower side vents; 70d, 2.3 oz/yd2 (78 g/m2) silnylon floor

  Poles and Stakes

Two curved aluminum poles at ends of ridge, requires two trekking poles or optional carbon fiber poles for support, stakes (six required) not included

  Floor Dimensions

Length 90 in (229 cm), width 54 in (137 cm), height 45 in (114 cm)

  Packed Size

14 in x 6 in (36 x 15 cm)

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

Measured weight 2 lb 11.1 oz (1.22 kg), manufacturer specification 2 lb 12 oz (1.25 kg)

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

Measured weight 2 lb 12.3 oz (1.26 kg); includes tent body, two aluminum spacer poles, and six Easton aluminum stakes

  Protected Area

58 ft2 (5.4 m2); floor area is 34 ft2 (3.16 m2), entry vestibules are 24 ft2 (2.23 m2)

  Floor Area/Trail Weight Ratio

12.27 ft2/lb

  Protected Area/Trail Weight Ratio

20.94 ft2/lb

   MSRP

$275

  Options

1.3 oz/yd2 (44 g/m2) ultralight silnylon floor (no charge), carbon fiber poles (1.8 oz/51 g, $25 each)

Performance

For those familiar with the Hilleberg Rajd tent, the new Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo has some striking similarities. Both have a broad ridgeline supported at the ends with trekking poles, which provides a lot of interior volume. But that’s where the similarity ends. The Lunar Duo has mesh side and interior end walls and two huge vestibules, which gives it much better ventilation and gear storage than the Rajd. The following photo gallery provides a tour of the tent’s design elements.

Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Tent REVIEW - 1
Views of the Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo. Both sides of the tent (top left) have a large vestibule entry. The top of the tent is 54 inches wide (top right), which provides a LOT of interior volume and headroom. The top view (bottom left) helps to put the tent’s proportions into perspective. With both vestibules tied open (bottom right), the tent’s mesh entry and large doors are visible.

Because of its larger footprint, the Lunar Duo requires more space than many two-person tents. Setup is fast and easy: spread the tent out on the ground, insert two curved aluminum poles into their sleeves at the ends of the ridgeline, stake out the four corners of the tent, raise the tent and insert the tip of a 45-inch trekking pole into a grommet at one side and stake out the vestibule, and repeat for the other side. Six stakes (not included) are required for a basic pitch. Because the tent has a broad profile, which gives it more wind resistance, I strongly recommend adding four guylines (loops provided) for a more secure pitch.

The Lunar Duo is fussy about trekking pole length; 45-47 inches seems to be the optimum length, and adjustable poles are easiest to adjust to the proper length . Taller fixed-length poles can be used if the poles are inserted first and the corners staked last, but the extra height throws the tent’s geometry offand the vestibules become limp. It’s also notable that the use of grommets to attach trekking poles requires poles with good tips; a pole with a worn-down tip could slip out and puncture the tent.

Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Tent REVIEW - 2
The Lunar Duo uses two curved aluminum struts (left) to create its rounded ridgeline and distribute tension on the canopy. They slip into a sleeve (right) at each end of the ridgeline. Although it’s convenient to leave the struts in their sleeves, they make the rolled tent about 24 inches long, which is not easy to pack.

Entry is through a zippered vestibule on each side, which shelters a vertical mesh wall with a large zippered door. One or both sides of the large (12 square feet each) vestibules can be tied open for better breezes and views in fair weather, or closed to provide extra sheltered space. The total protected area is a whopping 58 square feet, 34 square feet of floor space plus 24 square feet of vestibule space. This is a big tent! When the vestibules are closed, it’s very convenient to leave the interior mesh doors open and reach gear in the vestibules on each side. Because of the tent’s wide body, steep sidewalls, and generous headroom (45 inches), all of the interior space is usable, and its easy to reach into the vestibules from inside the tent.

Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Tent REVIEW - 3
The Lunar Duo is supported with trekking poles or optional carbon fiber poles (1.8 oz, $25 each). Both vestibules will tie completely open to provide good views and breezes in fair weather.

Although the body of the Lunar Duo resembles the Hilleberg Rajd, the Lunar Duo is a vast improvement in terms of ventilation. The side entry walls are solid mesh, there are mesh panels at both ends, and there are two high vents at the tops of the vestibules. Also, the vestibules have about a 6 inch gap at the bottom, which allows air to more freely circulate through the tent.

Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Tent REVIEW - 4
The Lunar Duo’s 54-inch wide x 90 inch long floor (top left) provides plenty of room for two people plus gear. The entry walls are mesh with a large zippered door. The end walls are also mesh at the bottom. The interior mesh storage pockets (top right) are in a convenient location, but they don’t hold very much and things fall out easily. The vestibules (bottom left) are zippered and easy to reach into from inside the tent. A high vent on each end of the ridgeline (bottom right) assists with ventilation.

Field Testing

I tested the Lunar Duo on several trips in late winter through early summer. On clear/calm/cold nights (down to freezing or below) the Lunar duo with the doors and vestibules closed consistently developed moderate condensation (or frost) inside, which is typical for a single wall tent. With the mesh doors open (bugs willing) and vestibules closed there was light or no condensation inside, depending on breezes. The steeper tent walls help to avoid brushing against them when they are wet, but there is usually some contact when there are two people inside (as shown in the photo). Larger top vents would help to reduce condensation when the tent is zipped up.

Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Tent REVIEW - 5
The Lunar Duo is prone to condensation inside on clear/calm/cool nights with the doors closed, like any other single wall tent. It helps a lot to leave the mesh doors open at night, if possible.

Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Tent REVIEW - 6
Environment inside the Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo. Left Graph: On a cloudy March night with a shower, I kept the mesh doors closed until 3 AM, then opened them. Moderate condensation formed on the inside tent walls with the doors closed (note that the air temperature hit the dew point temperature), then disappeared by morning when I opened the mesh doors. Right Graph: On a clear/calm/cool May night, I kept one door and vestibule completely open and the second door unzipped and its vestibule closed. In the morning I had moderate condensation inside the tent.

The Lunar Duo has a broader profile than many tents, so it is more affected by wind. Even in the moderate 10 to 15 mile per hour winds I experienced, the tent distorted significantly. For adequate wind stability (and to protect your investment), I strongly recommend using 6-inch Y-stakes or Easton tubular stakes, and attaching four guylines to the tent sides (ten stakes in all). However, the guylines are only attached to tent seams rather than poles. With its large surface area and lack of internal structure, the Lunar Duo is not going to be a particularly stable tent in high winds, in my opinion.

On the ergonomic side, my wife and I found the Lunar Duo to be fast and easy to set up, easy to enter and exit, and very roomy inside. The separate vestibule/entry on each side is very convenient for two people, and very versatile. In fair weather we could tie one side of the vestibule and the mesh entry door open to catch more breezes and views. And at night or in rainy weather we could zip the vestibules closed and leave the mesh doors open, which had the effect of incorporating the vestibules into the usable space inside the tent. While sitting inside the tent, we could easily reach things in the vestibules.

Assessment

The Lunar Duo is overkill for one person, and just plain luxury for two. It’s a very roomy tent, with 58 square feet of protected area inside, which makes it ideal for two people who want more room. It would also be a good choice for a lightweight base camping tent because of its roominess. While it’s possible to find a two-person single wall tent that weighs about 12 ounces less, it would not have nearly as much protected area as the Lunar Duo.

Note that this review is based on the Lunar Duo with a standard (70 denier silnylon) floor, which weighs 4 ounces more than the lightweight (30 denier silnylon) floor. The standard floor is certainly recommended for more abrasive ground surfaces, and will undoubtedly last longer. However, a 30 denier silnylon floor is commonly used on many single wall tents, and holds up very well with reasonable care.

In addition to its large area/weight ratio, the Lunar Duo is also well ventilated, which is a necessity for a single wall tent. Except for enlarging the top vents to increase ventilation when the tent is completely zipped up, I don’t see any way that the Lunar Duo’s ventilation could be improved.

In our forums several readers have asked for a comparison of the Lunar Duo and the Tarptent Double Rainbow. By the numbers, the two tents appear to be similar in size, but based on my personal experience with both tents, I can say that the Lunar Duo is clearly a roomier tent. One factor that makes a big difference is the width of the tent body at the top - the Tarptent Double Rainbow measures 18 inches, while the Lunar Duo is 54 inches. That makes a huge difference in interior room. Also, while the floor width of the Double Rainbow is given at 54 inches (with the bathtub floor laid flat), I measured the actual width to be 48 inches. The Double Rainbow is in fact quite narrow for a two-person tent. In spite of the size difference, the weights of the two tents are identical (40.9 ounces with stakes and ultralight floor; weight of trekking poles is not included in the weight of the Lunar Duo) because of the weight of the Double Rainbow’s 12 foot long ridgepole. Bottom line, the Lunar Duo is a much roomier tent for the weight. However, the Double Rainbow costs $25 less, it does include stakes, and is more wind stable because of its curved profile. Both tents have good ventilation, but will develop heavy condensation inside on a clear/calm night with a large temperature drop.

Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Tent REVIEW - 7
Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo (left) and Tarptent Double Rainbow (right). The Lunar Duo’s ridgeline is 54 inches wide versus the Double Rainbow’s 18 inch ridgeline, making it a much roomier tent inside. The two tents weigh the same.

Because of the Lunar Duo’s jumbo size and large fabric panels, it is more susceptible to winds than many two-person tents, and requires extra staking for adequate wind stability. Four tieout loops are provided to attach guylines to the sides the tent, and I strongly recommend using them. Even with extra staking, the Lunar Duo would not do well in high winds, in my opinion.

What’s Unique

The Lunar Duo has a remarkable protected area to weight ratio, and is very well ventilated. It’s a good choice for a lightweight roomy two-person tent or a base camping tent.

Recommendations For Improvement

  • Provide stakes with the tent
  • Enlarge the high vents to increase ventilation when the tent is closed up
  • Make the interior storage pockets larger and more usable

Citation

"Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Tent REVIEW," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/six_moon_designs_lunar_duo_tent_review.html, 2007-08-29 01:00:00-06.

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Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Tent REVIEW
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Tent REVIEW on 08/28/2007 21:35:23 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Tent REVIEW

Thatcher Drew
(node1) - F
great for tall folks on 08/29/2007 08:28:50 MDT Print View

I've been using my double as single for some hikes. I'm tall and can sit up, stretch out, store gear inside. Good bug protection. Good ventellation. It is becoming my favorite "comfort item."

I'm not sure you can use fixed-length hiking poles. They fit in a pocket (But I haven't worked the problem).

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
Lunar Duo on 08/29/2007 10:11:51 MDT Print View

The manufacturer suggests a 115cm (45") pole length and I've discovered that anything over 118-120cm changes the pitch of the main lines and prohibits closing of the vestibule doors, which use those lines for support.

I ordered the 30 denier floor and lay a sheet of tyvek under that, as recommended. The silnylon/tyvek combo has a tendency to shift the floor as the two materials slip against each other. I'm considering adding tie outs on either side at the doors, so I can secure the floor. This could have the added benefit of making the zippers one handed. I also found that I need some lines of silcoat on the inside to stop my pad and gear from slipping. I may add that to the underside too and see if this helps keep the floor positioned.

I haven't yet tested in moderate to high winds but agree with the reviewer's concerns and his suggestion to use the extra tie outs.


>michael

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Pole tips? on 08/29/2007 11:24:59 MDT Print View

I'm curious as to whether the sharp tips of the pole need to be exposed to fit through the grommets at the top, or whether there is a "pocket" that could securely hold covered tips (I always hike with the rubber tips on my poles, and since they're cheap poles, they're a pain to remove). Thanks for finally publishing a review of this extremely attractive potential future tent of mine!

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: Lunar Duo on 08/29/2007 11:59:03 MDT Print View

Michael, you might want to consider adding silcoat to your pad instead of the tent floor. That way you would be adding a minimal amount of weight to keep your pad from moving around.

Jim Nordby
(JimBob) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Lunar Duo in high winds on 08/29/2007 22:01:14 MDT Print View

I just got back from using a Lunar Duo in the Wind Rivers.
We had a nasty night at the unprotected end of a lake there,
with 30-40 MPH winds. I had both a Double Rainbow (no guys)
and Lunar Duo (added guys to windward side) and both did very
well in the wind. My $0.02...

donald buckner
(toomanyarrows)

Locale: Southeast U.S.
tent report on 08/30/2007 12:26:33 MDT Print View

Sorry for the off topic question, but what model NB shoes are those in the vestbule photo? I have a friend who owns a few stores, and I get a discount on this brand, so what model is considered a winner for UL backpacking?

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: tent report on 08/30/2007 12:29:29 MDT Print View

Pretty sure those are Will's NB 872s.

James Nelson
(bigmuddy) - F

Locale: Midwest
I don't see a weakness in this tent on 08/30/2007 13:22:06 MDT Print View

Not coming with stakes is hardly a weakness. This allows one to purchase the stakes one wants or needs.

Got this tent as soon as it hit the market. I've loved the solo tent. It has survived storms at treeline in the Whites and summer down pours in the Midwest. The tent is so nice I'm considering selling all my other two person tents.

donald buckner
(toomanyarrows)

Locale: Southeast U.S.
tent/shoes on 08/30/2007 16:25:39 MDT Print View

Thanks for the NB info. The tent looks like it is perfect for my wife and I. We do some base camp type car camping and even short hiking trips and this tent would be a nice luxury. Nice to hear it held up well in the wind, although the wind is normally not too bad in the southeast. I already have some MSR groundhog stakes so that sounds like a good combo. I really like the extra covered space for shoes,packs and other gear. When hunting there is usually a bow involved, so that would be a nice spot for it.

Terry G
(delvxe) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Condensation comment on 09/01/2007 16:14:44 MDT Print View

I just spent two nights in the Lunar Duo on a trip with my young daughter. I cannot imagine why you would want something more comfortable. Setup is easy as well even though you need a pretty big space.

The nights were nearly windless and as expected there was considerable condensation with the tent open on both sides, but no drips.

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Another satisfied Lunar Duo owner on 09/09/2007 10:40:49 MDT Print View

I can't say enough good things about this shelter. It goes up fast and has tons of space for two and our gear. We've had it on two mountain tops so far and we had moderate condensation (which we expected) but no drips and we just wiped it down before we started thrashing around.
If we stop backpacking long enough to write a proper review, I'll submit it.

BRIAN BOLIN
(OBOZ) - F

Locale: OVER YONDER'
LUNAR DUO on 09/28/2007 10:52:43 MDT Print View

I've done alot of research and this is definitely my next tent! :)

Andrew Richard
(fairweather8588) - F

Locale: The Desert
Lunar Duo as 3 person tent on 09/28/2007 11:47:22 MDT Print View

My friend and hiking partner Mike has this tent and uses it for his family... despite his son only being a year old this tent allows room for Him, his Wife, and their child with gear for all three. I think you could get lost as a solo sleeper. The amount of headroom is fantastic. I would love to own it myself, the pattern is very well thought out and the design lends itself to the "simplicity is elegance" thinking. Nice Job, Ron.

michael shimer
(mikesf) - F
This is a great tent on 09/28/2007 17:49:30 MDT Print View

Great tent. My first UL tent. I had used a Siera Designs Meteor Light CD in the past. This actually feels roomier inside.

I took mine to yosemite for a cold weekend (30s in the evening).

For the first night I set up the tent as it is in all the pictures - vestibule pitched out. this is great to avoid condensation because it lets air in depending on how low you can get them to the ground. However when the wind is whipping and it's cold you can fold the doors shut, on over the other. I guyed mine out with rocks. This made for a much more wind proof set up. The next two nights were much more cozy.

SilNylon is very slippery - like everyone says - consider applying silcoat 'stripes' to your sleeping pad or the bottom of the tent. It makes a huge difference.

Mike

Gail Lusk
(AlohaTink) - F

Locale: In the Middle of No Where!
LOVE this tent on 01/31/2008 18:44:32 MST Print View

This tent is the best investment I have made out of all my gear!!!
I have used this tent on the JMT and both on the slopes of Haleakala and camping on the beach.

I am usually a Hammock Camper, but at times one must hug the ground.
This is the most comfortable tent I have used in a long time. It held up well in hail (pea size) and also heavy rain as well as wind.

It has to endure trade winds that are daily 15 - 20 mph almost anywhere here on Maui.
I have in stronger winds attached guy lines to the extra four loops.

I did find that it is a good idea to seal the seams around the top of where the spacer poles are inserted. Not due to leaks but to make it stronger. The Velcro sides are a bit sharp and I did not like the strain it was putting on the top of the sil-nylon.

I did not seal this whole tent and only did the one main seam where the black netting is.

Slept in: 23 days
Rain: 10 days
Winds average 15 mph: 12 days

My only suggestion is the grommets do not fit all the tips of your hiking poles. Once I switched to the Black Diamond ones I had no trouble.

I would love to see some kind of improvement on how the poles slip into the grommets. Maybe a small plastic cup instead.

Why I am making this suggestion is:
On returning to my campsite one day...I find someone must have ran into my guy line, knocking down the hiking pole.

I was set up by campers with small children. Well anyways, being helpful (I am sure they thought so) in placing back the pole into the grommet ... it missed its mark; and I now have a small hole in the netting and also a tiny hole in the top of the roof!! :S :(

For going solo it is a huge wonderful castle, now you just need to find the Prince or Princess to share it with you!:D

Larry Risch
(dayhiker) - F
Few other advantages of the Double Rainbow. on 09/18/2008 17:18:11 MDT Print View

Great review, I liked the comparison of space to the Double Rainbow.

I think you left somethings out:

It has the same weight only if you go with the lightweight floor option which isn't (as?) waterproof, and if you normally take trekking poles. The heavier floor adds 4 ozs., and two carbon fiber poles adds 3.6 ozs. (and how durable are these?). While I like the zippers over velcro, it doesn't have a porch setup.

Since I use the Double Rainbow as a solo and often don't take trekking poles, the weight saving is more important to me than space. So the other features would be a deciding factor for me. It would be nice to have both!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Few other advantages of the Double Rainbow. on 09/18/2008 20:33:05 MDT Print View

Nice review, although I agree with Larry that in some instances the options available with the DR outweigh the difference in width. The rain flys are lovely to sit under and cook in the rain, and we've even had a third person sleep under the rain porch in a pinch. The option of setting it up without trekking poles (adjustable or otherwise) is a bonus for solo use. The DR can also have a 'liner' added which makes it virtually a double-skinned tent, so you don't have to brush up against the condensation. Not saying one tent is 'better' than the other, just that you can't go on pure weight or floor space alone (and the newer DR comes with zippers).

Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
Double Rainbow Liner on 09/19/2008 06:19:05 MDT Print View

Ive never heard of the liner. Is it ok their site?

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Lunar Duo Tent REVIEW on 09/19/2008 08:48:40 MDT Print View

4 oz..........$ 30

http://www.tarptent.com/doublerainbowliner.html

Larry Risch
(dayhiker) - F
Nice comparison to Double Rainbow, but on 09/19/2008 23:20:06 MDT Print View

If you are like me and don't take trekking poles and would opt for the comparable heavier more waterproof floor in the Lunar Duo, then your talking about 8 oz. more weight, (and perhaps fragile carbon poles to hold it up) You also don't get a porch setup, great for views and venting even in the rain. Since I use the DR as a roomy solo tent, I don't need the extra space of the Lunar Duo, though it would be nice, and I do like the zippers, but not sure how to make them work with all the setup options of the Double Rainbow.

For two though, the porch setup is probably not that much of an option (at least not on both sides), since I doubt your gear would stay dry in the vestibule area, and the space inside is more critical.

Wallace Hunter
(jeepingetowah) - F

Locale: South Central
Video Review - Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo on 01/06/2011 08:03:24 MST Print View

I know that I posted this under the gear link, but if anyone is searching Google this thread comes up, and I hope that my review can help someone.

Video Review Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo