What’s a superlight solo tent?
What have you heard about the new Eureka Zeus Exo1 single wall Tent? I a big Sierra Design Meteor Light CD fan but need a very lightweight tent for a solo through-hike this summer. Thanks for your help! Lora Cochran Cody, Wyoming
The jury is still out on the new Zeus Exo 1 ($150) from Eureka, but it’s certainly a promising tent. In particular, Eureka has tried to solve what I’ve long regarded as one of the bugbears of single-wall tents: pitching the blasted things. Typically you have to crawl inside the collapsed tent, grope around to find the pole pockets for the pole ends, then bend the poles and find the opposite pole pockets. It can be a headache, to say the least. The Exo 1, on other hand, puts the frame outside the tent, and clips the tent shell to the frame via carabiner-like gated hooks. So, you just lay out the tent, arrange the frame overhead, and clip the shell to the frame. Very straightforward.
Otherwise, the Exos is a very light (three pounds) three-season shelter. It’s a single-wall design, but rather than using expensive waterproof/breathable fabric, it uses coated fabric for most of the shell, with some breathable material in the door and lots of venting to get out moisture. It should work pretty well, but you can expect some condensation build-up.
In short, I think it would work fine for your through-hike. But because you like Sierra Designs tents, you might consider that company’s Clip Flashlight ($189). It’s a true two-person tent, making it very room for one, something you may come to appreciate. (In particular, it’s six inches taller than the Exo 1). It’s also quite light, at about four pounds, so competitive with most ultra-light tents on the market. Finally, it’s double-wall design (canopy and fly) will ventilate better than any single-wall models out there. In fact, on warm, dry nights, you can just leave off the fly. The North Face’s Canyonlands ($179) also is a tent that’s proven popular with solo hikers. It weighs a bit less than four pounds, and has tremendous ventilation plus a big vestibule.