Touring - Black Diamond Firstlight Tent
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04-26-08, 02:05 AM
For those of you interested in cutting some tent weight and reducing pack size, this is one of the lightest freestanding (4 rectangular corners) single-wall tent on the planet, and it's on sale at backcountry.com (http://www.backcountry.com/store/BLD0631/Black-Diamond-Firstlight-Tent-2-Person-3-Season.html) for $210 and free economy shipping. (Claimed 2 lbs 11 oz.) You can also use coupon code for 20% off ("2Q8-1-WZBCG") (without quotes and expires 04/29), but I believe the code only applies to full-priced items; so that 20% doesn't apply to the tent, but will apply to other full-priced items you buy. Click on the "Redemption Code?" link under Payment Methods to enter the coupon code. I got the code from this board (http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=406241).
This tent is really tight if you are around 6' or over. Read the reviews of it at backcountry and elsewhere. I once considered buying this tent, but decided to keep my current single-wall tent, and now have the TNF Vector. Also, single-wall tents aren't for everyone, especially when it pours heavily.
The reason I say "4 rectangular corners" is because some freestanding tents have the poles intersecting at the back close to the ground, which may not provide enough stability in moderate breezes without being staked down.
04-26-08, 08:36 AM
I have a Black Diamond 'Lighthouse' -very similar tent to the Firstlight- that gets used for summer bike touring. VERY lightweight and packable, innovative use of Epic, uncoated canopy fabric is a bit overwhelmed by heavy rain, but for drier touring and summer months this is a great choice.
I've used it quite a lot for bike touring and it is mos' excellent. The tent fits in a front pannier with lots of room to spare. Airy, dry, little to no condensation issues. For serious deluges I pitch a silnylon tarp over the entire tent. Using a supplemental tarp for heavy rain is a good way to optimize Epic fabric as a tent canopy IMO.
3 pounds and truly packs up very small. sleeps 2 people without issue.
04-26-08, 01:35 PM
I liked the Lighthouse too, and I had considered buying it a couple of years ago. I purchased a set Fibraplex carbon tent poles for my Integral Designs single-wall tent and it knocked off another half pound. With a set of carbon tent poles, it'll probably reduce the weight of the firstlight and lighthouse by 5 to 8 oz depending on the aluminum tent pole material, which would probably put the firstlight at just over 2 lbs- and that's a ridiculous weight for a true freestanding tent. We're looking at nearly bivy weight for a freestanding tent.
With carbon poles, they have to be handled carefully. I had one segment come apart at the end, but Fibraplex has a lifetime warranty to the original owner, and they replaced it quickly and all I spent was $4 in shipping. I'm not sure I would use carbon poles for super long trips or trips away from the USA.
04-26-08, 09:32 PM
speaking of lightweight tent deals,
silnylon single wall Golite tents currently on sale at www.sierratradingpost.com
golite Trig2 3 pounds 5 ounces, 140 bucks!
04-26-08, 10:05 PM
If a single wall tent is acceptable then I'd go with a Tarptent. Lightest, cheapest, and roomiest.
04-27-08, 12:10 AM
Henry Shire's Tarptents? www.tarptent.com
The Black Diamond tents are similar to the Double Rainbow Tarptent but made with Epic canopies and classic 'x' crossed poles for freestanding strength; and the Golite Trig is very similar to the Squall 2 but with a traditional coated nylon waterproof floor versus the silnylon floors of the Tarptents or the BD light tents.
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