Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter

Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tent REVIEW

Lightest bug-proof one-person shelter on the market.

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

For camping in areas and seasons where biting insects are a significant issue, the Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis is as light as you can get for a bug-proof one-person shelter. However, I have some issues with the roominess inside the shelter when pitched according to the instructions. The sidewalls are fairly flat, restricting headroom inside, and the canopy is low to the ground, restricting ventilation. A taller pitch seems to work better, but it would be nice to raise the edges a bit more to increase ventilation. Two other nitpicks: the Velcro closure at the front of the mesh skirt damages the mesh, and the Wild Oasis seems a bit pricey at $175 compared to the Gatewood Cape (which shares the same design) which is only $110.

In spite of a few quirks, I am giving it a Recommended rating because it works and it’s the lightest one-person bug-proof shelter to be found.

About This Rating

M Find other top product reviews »

Print Jump to Reader Comments

by Will Rietveld |

Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tent REVIEW - 1
Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis set up with its front beak extended using a second trekking pole.

Introduction

At 13 ounces, the Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis is the lightest bug-proof one-person shelter on the market. The design is based on the popular Gatewood Cape, with the same shape and protected area (35 square feet). However, it is not wearable as a poncho like the Gatewood, so the Wild Oasis is a single-purpose shelter. How does its utility and performance compare with the Gatewood Cape?

What’s Good

  • Bug proof shelter for one person
  • Very light weight, only 13 ounces
  • Trekking pole support
  • High protected area to weight ratio
  • Top vent for extra ventilation
  • Fast setup

What’s Not So Good

  • Mesh reduces ventilation
  • Velcro closure catches on the mesh and damages it
  • Expensive

Specifications

  Year/Manufacturer/Model

2007 Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis

  Style

Three-season, one-person, bug-proof, floorless, single-wall shelter

  Fabrics

30d, 1.3 oz/yd2 (44 g/m2) silnylon canopy; 0.7 oz/yd2 (24 g/m2) no-see-um mesh skirt

  Poles and Stakes

Requires one trekking pole or optional carbon fiber pole for support, plus six stakes (not included)

  Floor Dimensions

Length 105 in (267 cm), width 66 in (168 cm), height 45 in (114 cm)

  Packed Size

6 in x 5 in (15 x 13 cm)

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

Measured weight 13.1 oz (371 g), manufacturer specification 13 oz (369 g)

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

Measured weight 14.3 oz (405 g); includes shelter, extender loops, and six titanium stakes

  Protected Area

35 ft2 (3.25 m2)

  Protected Area/Trail Weight Ratio

39.3 ft2/lb

   MSRP

$175

  Options

Carbon fiber pole (1.8 oz/51 g, $25)

Performance

Although the design and dimensions of the Wild Oasis are the same as the Gatewood Cape, it’s a distinctly different shelter. It’s not a dual purpose product (rainwear and shelter) like the Gatewood; rather it’s designed to only serve as a shelter, providing bug-proof protection for one person. It has a high vent instead of a hood, and an 18-inch mesh skirt has been added around the perimeter to make it bug-proof.

The Wild Oasis is hexagon shaped, with six corners that are staked out with short (6-inch) extender loops. I followed Six Moon Designs’ setup instructions and obtained mixed results. The procedure is as follows: 1) set a trekking pole to 45 inches, 2) lay the shelter out flat on the ground in the desired position, 3) stake the two front outside corners, 4) stake the rear center, 5) insert the trekking pole tip into a grommet at the peak and raise the tent, 6) stake the front center, and 7) stake the two rear outside corners. That process produced the pitch shown below on the left.

Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tent REVIEW - 2
Following the manufacturer’s instructions yields a pitch shown at the far left. The shelter is 106 inches long and 72 inches wide, but the sidewalls are at a low angle and nearly touch the ground (center photo), which limits headroom and ventilation. Extending the front entry with a second trekking pole (right photo) helps to provide more protected area and ventilation.

Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tent REVIEW - 3
I personally prefer a taller pitch for the Wild Oasis, shown here with a 50 inch trekking pole. With a taller pole and extended entry (top left), the protected area measures 98 inches long and 60 inches wide, which leaves less floor space but more usable room due to the extra height. The canopy is lifted above the ground a little more (top right and bottom left), providing better ventilation. The top view (bottom right) shows the shelter’s shape.

However, going to a taller pitch requires a different setup procedure: in step three, stake the front outside corners loosely, then insert the trekking pole in the grommet and stand up the front of the shelter, then continue staking as outlined above.

Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tent REVIEW - 4
The shelter’s 18-inch mesh skirt extends inward (top right) so it can be overlapped with a ground sheet. The front opening in the mesh skirt is secured with two Velcro patches (top right), which catch on and damage the mesh. With the front of the shelter extended (bottom left), the mesh skirt still reaches the ground for bug protection. A tall pitch reduces the shelter length to 98 inches, but it is still ample for a taller person (I’m 6 feet tall) without touching the inside of the tent walls (bottom right).

Field Testing

I used the Wild Oasis on several backpacking trips in spring and early summer where bugs were a definite issue, and am pleased to report that it is definitely bug-proof. After swatting the mosquitoes already inside the tent with my hat, the shelter remained bug free the rest of the night. It helped to overlap the shelter’s mesh skirt with my groundsheet to seal the floor, and to use my boots to seal the front entry in the mesh. Protection like this is most appreciated when biting insects are an issue.

Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tent REVIEW - 5
The two Velcro patches used to close the front of the mesh skirt easily damage the fragile mesh, resulting in a collection of snags after several trips. A user solution to help mitigate the problem is to make sure the Velcro patches (hook and loop) are attached before stuffing the tent into its stuff sack. However, that’s only a partial solution; the mesh will still get damaged from using the closure. A better closure is needed.

Although I pitched the shelter with trekking poles ranging from 45 inches to 51.5 inches, I was never able to raise the sides of the shelter off the ground more than a few inches (see photos above). The mesh skirt is designed and sewn so that it extends inward from the canopy edge (rather than downward), so it lies on the ground where it can be overlapped with a groundsheet. With this design, the canopy can be raised only a small amount without raising the mesh above the ground too much, so variable height pitching is limited. It would be nice if the sides could be raised 6 inches or more to expose more of the mesh for increased ventilation when desired. I tried using longer (12-inch) extender loops on the tent corners, but that didn’t raise the canopy above the ground very much more, unless I propped up the guylines with sticks.

Using my tall pitch and extended entry technique, I found headroom and length to be adequate. There were times when the foot end of my sleeping bag got damp from brushing against the tent wall, and my head also brushed against a wet tent wall as well. Overall, the Wild Oasis provides a good deal of protected area for its low weight.

One thing I missed is the Gatewood’s zippered storage pocket. The shelter stuffs into the pocket for packing, and the pocket is used for storage in shelter mode. The Wild Oasis comes in a stuff sack instead, so there’s no interior pocket to stash eyeglasses and other fragile items overnight.

The Wild Oasis is certainly storm worthy, but it has definite limits because of its single trekking pole support. On one windy alpine evening at 12,500 feet, I staked the shelter to the ground to reduce breezes through the tent, and put rocks on the stakes for insurance. Its hexagonal shape handled a 20 mph wind just fine, but it flapped a lot. A really strong wind would be worrisome.

Summer showers and even extended rains were no problem for the Wild Oasis, if you don’t mind sitting out a storm in a confined space. It’s important that the perimeter mesh does not stick out beyond the edge of the canopy, because it will draw streams of water inside the shelter. The Wild Oasis is strictly a three-season shelter, and is not intended for use in snow at all. Although I did not have an opportunity to test it, this shelter would probably handle a light snow okay, but would probably sag a lot under the weight.

The tradeoff for bug protection is reduced ventilation and more condensation. Because its mesh skirt restricts ventilation, the Wild Oasis is more prone to condensation compared to tarp-like shelters I have tested. That said, the Wild Oasis is not a condensation chamber. The combination of its high vent and taking advantage of site conditions and available breezes allowed me to minimize condensation much of the time.

Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tent REVIEW - 6
A vent at the peak (bottom right) helps to exhaust moisture and reduce condensation.

Interior wall condensation is normal for a single wall tent, especially on clear, calm nights with a large temperature drop. With the perimeter mesh skirt sealed up to exclude bugs, the Wild Oasis is more prone to condensation because the mesh restricts ventilation. For more information on condensation in single wall tents and how to minimize it, see my article on Condensation in Single-walled Shelters: Contributing Factors and Tips for Reduction.

Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tent REVIEW - 7
With a taller pitch to maximize ventilation, the Wild Oasis (with the vestibule and mesh skirt closed) is prone to condensation (left), similar to tarptent-type single wall shelters. On this clear/calm/cool night, the shelter developed heavy condensation, starting at about 11 PM where the air temperature reached the dew point temperature (right). Note that the taller pitch causes the condensation to run down rather than drip inside.

Assessment

For me, the Wild Oasis is an ultralight seasonal shelter, to be used during the bug season in spring and early summer when mosquitoes are a significant issue. In some locations it’s bug season all the time, and the Wild Oasis is definitely a good ultralight bug-proof shelter for those areas. However, in other locations, like the Alaskan tundra, any floorless shelter, even one with the features of the Wild Oasis may not be adequate to exclude bugs.

One question that begs asking is: why not simply develop a detachable mesh skirt for the Gatewood Cape? Then one could have the Gatewood’s dual benefits of rainwear and shelter, plus bug protection when needed by adding the skirt. The challenge would be to devise a lightweight attachment system that is convenient and bug-proof. Velcro is not necessarily a good solution because it would add too much weight and it snags badly on the mesh. This concept is food for thought, and perhaps our readers can offer some design ideas.

What’s Unique

At 13 ounces, the Wild Oasis is the lightest bug-proof single person shelter on the market.

Recommendations For Improvement

  • Add an interior storage pocket that doubles as a stuff sack
  • Revise the design and instructions as needed to allow for a taller pitch that provides more headroom and exposes more of the mesh skirt for better ventilation
  • Design a Velcro-free closure for the front of the mesh skirt

Citation

"Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tent REVIEW," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/six_moon_designs_wild_oasis_tent_review.html, 2007-10-17 01:00:00-06.

Print

Reader Comments

You must login to post comments.

New Visitors: Create a new account
Username:
Password:
Remember my login info.

Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tent REVIEW
Display Avatars
Sort By:
Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tent REVIEW on 10/16/2007 20:06:16 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tent REVIEW

John Adams
(scsjohn) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Thanks Will on 10/16/2007 21:03:46 MDT Print View

Thanks for this insightful review of the SMD Wild Oasis. I have been trying to find more information about this light shelter but no one seems to have much experience. I realize it just came out this year but I thought others would post reviews about it.

Thank you!

Edited by scsjohn on 11/29/2007 10:49:24 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tent REVIEW on 10/17/2007 07:14:07 MDT Print View

No floorless shelter is bugproof as you will find if you take this to Arkansas in August. Bug resistant yes...

eric levine
(ericl) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado
oasis on 10/17/2007 10:21:32 MDT Print View

I've been using this "tent" since the summer began in Colorado and am pleased. I use one 48" pole, and though the walls do rattle in higher winds, if you shake the top of the pole the whole affair seems surprisingly stable. I'm a little shorter (5'9"+)than the reviewer, and I think I have a better fit. With my height, I can set up almost at the back without too much precip. from the low walls.

In Colorado, I found it works well in the bug season, which was my major reason for buying it over the cape.

One nice thing not mentioned is that in many conditions I've encountered here, esp. with the right setup, you can leave the front door open, which gives great views and stops most condensation.

Edited by ericl on 10/17/2007 10:22:37 MDT.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Video on 10/17/2007 10:42:33 MDT Print View

Hey Will, the review of the AGG tarptent was greatly enhanced by your short video clip. I am particularly interested in the WO and an interior video clip would be greatly appreciated here. This is not just a nice little extra but a major tool that would allow us to make more informed and intelligent purchasing decisions on mail-order gear that we have never seen before. Hopefully short video will be incorporated more frequently in future reviews.

scott Nelson
(nlsscott) - MLife

Locale: So. Calif.
Mesh Attachment Suggestion on 10/17/2007 19:26:20 MDT Print View

I liked the idea of a detachable mesh border and had an idea strike me on how to do it. I have never made this, but I throw it out there as food for thought. You could sew some 1/8 inch cord inside a doubled over edge of the mesh. You would sew a 2 inch flap inside the tarp. You then fold the fabric around the mesh and cord, and clamp a slit piece of small plastic tubing around it. If the inside diameter of the tubing was just a little bigger than 1/8 inch, I think it would hold the mesh in place. The tubing would need to have some flexibility to it, like vinyl tubing. I'm thinking you would not have to make this connection continuously around the tarp (but that would the the most bug proof). You could have 2-3 inch flaps every 12 inches or so, and at the corners to hold the mesh in place and reduce it sagging away from the tarp. The attachment doesn't need to be very strong, but silnylon is pretty slippery stuff, so maybe the flap should be Urethane coated fabric. -Scott

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Mesh Attachment Suggestion on 10/17/2007 19:57:27 MDT Print View

Scott said I liked the idea of a detachable mesh border and had an idea strike me on how to do it.

Click Here for a similar idea

Edited by jcolten on 10/17/2007 19:58:09 MDT.

tom rademacher
(tsrademacher) - F
SMD Oasis on 10/17/2007 20:07:00 MDT Print View

I used this tent for 24 days on the PCT this summer. I agree that the height of the mesh is the biggest issue. Wish I would have thought of the second pole design to raise it up. The side walls tend to sag with condensation and are just too low to keep from touching with your head or foot area. I do like it for the ease of use and light weight. Had no problem with bugs in calif. but the mesh does fold in nicely with my ground cover overlapping. Tom R.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
SMD Wild Oasis on 10/18/2007 00:09:54 MDT Print View

I wonder how hard it would be to modify the Wild Oasis to have an inbuilt tub floor, and several guy lines to make it hold up better in the wind? I doubt it would keep out Leeches very well in Tasmania for me, and it would need better wind resistance if its flapping at 20mph. I like the weight though and the broad design, its just a pity it doesnt seem to work that great in theory.

Maybe I should just go for the Lunar Sole e?

Johnathan White
(johnatha1) - F

Locale: PNW
SMD Wild Oasis on 10/18/2007 11:36:47 MDT Print View

Will, great write-up as I have been dying to see how this shelter preformed since its debut. I have the Gatewood Cape and am simply not sold yet on the Oasis due to its price and flexibility.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
What's Not So Good Nitpicking? on 10/19/2007 09:55:41 MDT Print View

Will:

Excellent review -- and as always -- your photos really bring out the item in review!

I just have one criticism and I hope you will indulge me. I really think that folks who buy a tarp or a tarptent know to expect an increasing degree of airflow inhibition (which can be a good thing at times). To me, criticizing the netting for inhibiting airflow is like criticizing a hip belt for restricting airflow around the hip. Maybe it's valid, but it's also "obvious" and part of the nature of the item. In contrast, criticizing that the particular netting can get easily damaged (in an implied comparison with other nettings) is both valid and useful.

Folks who habitually sleep under the sky would view even a tarp as restricting airflow. Would that warrant a "not so good" black mark? And would that be a helpful criticism? Indeed, why pick on the netting? The silnylon inhibits airflow even more!

Anyway, my two cents.

Dave Heiss
(DaveHeiss) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Wild Oasis compared to Mirage on 10/29/2007 11:46:16 MDT Print View

Will,

Since you have seen both shelters, I'm curious if you could give me an idea of the Wild Oasis's usable length vs the new Big Sky Mirage tent that is projected to be available at the end of this year. I'm 6'2" / 180 lbs, and while the Wild Oasis is a smart design and looks like it would work for me (with the addition of a polycro or tyvek floor), I also feel the Mirage is going to be an outstanding tent. Not sure if I'd fit in it though.

The photo of you sitting up in the Mirage proves that headroom is generous, but my problem has always tended to be the laying down part. Do you recall what the Mirage dimensions were?

Readers: Yes, I am aware of Big Sky's reputation to-date, but I'm willing to proceed with all due caution if their Mirage tent is all that it appears it could be.

John Adams
(scsjohn) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Pictures and open mesh on 11/09/2007 20:22:34 MST Print View

It looks like when the pole is raised beyond the specified height and you stake it out that the mesh no longer is closed. Is that correct?

Were you able to close the mesh skirt after you staked the shelter higher?

If not,seems like that would defeat the purpose of having a shelter like this.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: SMD Wild Oasis on 06/01/2009 06:06:34 MDT Print View

> why not simply develop a detachable mesh skirt for the Gatewood Cape? Then one could have the Gatewood’s dual benefits of rainwear and shelter, plus bug protection when needed by adding the skirt. The challenge would be to devise a lightweight attachment system that is convenient and bug-proof. Velcro is not necessarily a good solution because it would add too much weight and it snags badly on the mesh. This concept is food for thought, and perhaps our readers can offer some design ideas.

An Idea I've had for this is to use the ziploc strip from the edges of bags. Better if it could be bought in a continuous roll (anyone?), but with a bit of time and patience, it could be glued to the mesh and tent and your mesh skirt could be ziplocked on when needed.

todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: Re: SMD Wild Oasis on 06/01/2009 06:38:30 MDT Print View

Roger,

I like the creative wheels turning! However, I feel most "attachment" solutions will have a much higher fiddle-factor, and very litle weight savings compared to the SMD Serenity.

A caveat for someone your height, though, is the Serenity would be too short :( But for shorter users I love the Serenity.

Todd

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: SMD Wild Oasis on 06/01/2009 17:32:09 MDT Print View

Todd, everything is too *&^& short for me, which is why I keep the creative wheels turning. :o)

Nathan Ventura
(nathanrainer) - F

Locale: East Coast
Its as a shelter on 09/22/2011 13:45:12 MDT Print View

I carried this tarp for the entire PCT this year, only set it up six or seven times in california, but just about every night in Oregon and washington. I had low expectations for this tarp when leaving, mostly due to my poor first attempt at setting it up in my back yard. It kept me dry, kept the mosquitos out (or in), and stood up to some wind. I did make good friends with the creepy crawlers. I usually set it up rather low, sometimes causing condensation, but usually there was a breeze and I was fine. Its a little cramped for the large footprint, and the trekking pole served as a self destruct button a few times when rolling around in my sleep. But to be honest all I wanted was a light weight shelter to protect me from the elements. It surely was light and I never got wet in it so I'm pretty satisfied.