Black Diamonds new Skylight
($430; www.bdel.com) is an exceedingly interesting tent. Most of it is a single-wall tent that uses Nextecs Epic fabric, an almost-waterproof breathable material that is cheaper than other fabrics used in single-walls, yet can hold up to all but the very worst rain. The front third is a mesh-and-fabric construction like regular tents, so you can roll back the fabric and watch the stars through the mesh. Very clever. Its also light (just over 4 pounds) and can sleep three, or two very comfortably.
Black Diamond Skylight Tent
Black Diamond Skylight
Here are two issues to consider. One, while it has a lot of mesh around the head of the tent, the Skylight is otherwise solid-body. So on a warm night you might not get much flow-through" venting. Not having used one in warm weather, I cannot tell you whether this really would be a problem. And for winter use, well, single-walls simply arent as warm as traditional canopy-and-fly tents, which can take advantage of a trapped air layer to add a little warmth. Again, under certain conditions that may not be an issue. As for snow, it will hold up as well as any other tentmeaning youll need to kick the snow off if its falling continuously.
The alternative is a traditional convertible" tent such as Marmots very fine Swallow ($360; www.marmot.com). But alas, the Swallow also weighs just over 7 pounds, which makes the Skylight even more appealing. In short, the Skylight offers a very attractive feature set with some very minor drawbacks. So overall, I think its a winner.
The votes are in: Check out the winners of Outside's 2006 Gear of the Year awards, including the Skylight.
Lead Photo: courtesy, REI
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside →