Time for a quick bit of kit reviewing, part of the new improved blog-o-sphere of mine….
I bought the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo tent a few months ago and have only really used it in anger very recently. Its a bit of a departure for me as normally I either buy and use doubled walled tents….or tarps! The Lunar Solo is defintitely a tarp tent but with the bonus of an integral bug net.
The pitching of the Lunar Solo is just about the easiest I have come across. Peg out the back corners loosely, insert pole into receiving grommet in the fly, peg the remaining points, tighten the slack. Voila! I had the Lunar Solo up literally in about 2 minutes flat. Very very easy to pitch indeed. The ability to tighten the slack off with cinching guylines is very welcome as is the side panel tie out guylines which give the tent a much more rigid, tight and aesthetic shape. For the pole, the intention is that you use a trekking pole. Since I dont own any, I opted for a bit of DIY with some spare tent poles I had lying around. The optimum height for the pole is apparently 45inches so using a hacksaw, I cut a three section pole to size. I even had some left over so cut another section piece to allow me to pitch it slightly higher if required. This worked really well and the shelter felt nice and stable when pegged out.
The shelter doesnt come supplied with any pegs so I used Titanium nail pegs which proved to be very nice indeed, the first time I have occaision to use them in fact. The inner is about 224cm long and approx 91cm at its narroest point. The inner does have a small “triangular” side portion to the main sleeping rectangle and is useful for storing a few night-time odds and sods. The vestibule is cited on the Six Moons website as being 10 sq feet. As near as damn it thats the same size as the Akto vestibule. The main difference is that the Lunar Solo vestibule “wedge” does not come all the way to the floor and in fact leaves a gap of about a foot on the front of the tent. Needless to say that the fly can/does come all the way to the ground on the other 3 sides of the tent just in case you were wondering. This means that the shelter gets lots of ventilation but the downside is that windblown rain or snow could possibly intrude and so reduce the effective useful area of the vestibule for storage of non-bagged items.
So what did I think of it?
I used the tent on a sheltered site but in pretty relentless rain for one night and muggy but dry conditions on another. The rain did not intrude on me at all although there was little wind but the really nice thing about the tent was the almost complete absence of condensation on the underside of the fly. When I got up each morning I made a point of running my finger along the inner material and there was a hint of dampness but no more. I have to admit that had I been in my laser comp in the same conditions I would have caused rivulets to form if I had done the same to the fly. Mind you this is just as well because although the Lunar Solo has a large interior, the way the fly slopes down sharply from the apex/pole to the back of the tent means that unless you arent very careful you will probably end up brushing the inner once or twice in the night. To minimise the risk you have to “force” yourself to sleep close to the pole and thus under the highest clearance available. this is a minor niggle for me and the ventilation performance outweighs this.
I cant comment on its storm-worthiness as I had relatively mild conditions (ie heavy rain one night but little wind). Having said that, the way the guylines can be tightened down and the fact you can peg out the fly side panels gave the tent a reassuringly solid feel. I would guess that this tent could handle moderate wind and some snow loading and so would class it as a 3-season shelter. It would be interesting to test it under more challenging conditions and I hope to do this in the autumn.
light – 750grams (without pole)
lots of room in the inner and vestibule
well thought out and really easy to pitch
very good ventilation
the ability to draw back the vestibule fly “curtains” completely to allow unrestricted viewing from the inner
inner can be restrictive due to sloping fly thus reducing effective sleeping area
vestibule fly is high cut which reduces usefulness of vestibule area in poor weather conditions
I really like this tarp tent and I know I will use it on high altitude fair weather jaunts if only for that fantastic ability to have a full sided unrestricted view from the inner. Its really easy to pitch and I like its simplicity. Will it replace my Laser Competition as my favourite tent? No, my Laser Comp is a much better all year round tent that gives me poor weather capabilities, but in the right conditions I will happily reach for the Lunar Solo as an option