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Q:

Who makes the best three-season one-person condensation-free tent?

In your experienced opinion, who makes the best three-season, solo, CONDENSATION-FREE, tent? Michael Santa Fe, NM

The Lightpath 2     Photo: courtesy, Mountain Hardwear

The Lightpath 2

A:That is truly a “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin" question. Condensation in a tent is the product of so many factors—dew point, temperature, humidity, wind, your own bodily exhalations... The simple fact is that ANY tent can form condensation, depending on the conditions.

Ventilation is the key. You keep air moving through the tent, condensation ceases to be an issue. That means pitching a tent so that the foot end points into any prevailing wind there might be. It means leaving some doors/windows unzipped. It means, well, carrying a light towel to mop up a little interior dew.

So, let’s take a tent such as the Mountain Hardwear Lightpath 2 ($180). True, it is a two-person tent, but it is a SMALL two-person tent, so more room for you. Weighs about four pounds, which is not bad, and in my view fine for solo. The canopy is mostly mesh, so plenty of ventilation there. The fly offers full coverage, and even if you button it up completely, condensation will run down the slope of the tent wall and not really have much impact on you. In most conditions, you will not have a problem. I guarantee it.

Same for MSR’s Hubba ($250). It’s a true solo tent, so less interior volume, and frankly a higher opportunity for moisture. But it has great ventilation, and is very light (three pounds). Condensation CAN occur, but the odds are low. Same deal for REI’s Quarter Dome T1 ($200) a very light (2 pounds 12 ounces), well-ventilated solo tent.

I’ve even had good luck with Black Diamond’s Lighthouse ($430) a very light (just over three pounds) single-wall tent that, thanks to good materials and good ventilation, vents very well. Could condensation form? Heck yeah. I’d live with it, because I love the tent and usually it doesn’t. A friend of mine and I were in it in June on Mount Shuksan, tent sealed up in 30-degree weather, we both are heavy breathers, but there was no condensation.

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