One seriously efficient design for a gear-slim alpine vacation.
- Freestanding, single-wall design saves weight by eliminating the need for a fly separate from the canopy; ideal for trekking and climbing applications
- Breathable, abrasion-resistant, and highly packable NanoShield fabric features a Silicone NanoCell coating to protect against rain, snow, and wind
- Covered vents help prevent condensation from building up in your shelter; just position a vent in the direction of the prevailing winds for more circulation
- Three internal DAC Featherlite poles provide freestanding structure without a back-breaking weight penalty
- Four internal mesh pockets help keep your kit organized at night
- Optional footprint and vestibule sold separately
- Item #BLD1186
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
The Firstlight Tent is the alpine standard (if you couldn't already tell by the other reviewers). What sets this tent apart is it's ease of setup, and how light/small it is. I prefer to simply pack it in the base of my pack without using the stuff sack. This way there is no dead space in my pack, and it provides a nice squishy zone on the bottom portion of my alpine pack making it more comfy.
Always seam seal it immediately after you receive it.
Guy line it tightly
Wash it with Nikwax techwash
The perfect bivy tent
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
My boyfriend used this tent on a recent alpine climbing trip to Alaska and I am just spreading the word. He said the Firstlight packs down super light and isn't too bulky to carry up on a climb. They used it on a bivy ledge and said it fit perfectly and kept them warm against the elements outside. Width-wise he said it was very comfortable with two people. Length-wise, however, it's a bit short. He's 6'4" and said he felt a little scrunched, anybody 6'2" and up will likely have to bend their knees to fit. The internal pole system is fast and easy to set up.
The Firstlight hanging out on a bivy ledge on the Dragon's Spine!
What's more important?
The tent or the view from the tent?
Well...both, actually. But here's a view FROM the tent, as seen when pitched up on a hill away from the Albert 1r hut and overlooking Glacier du Tour towards Aiguille du Chardonett near Chamonix, France. I tell myself I don't like crowds, and I don't, but the real reason is I was too lazy to reserve a spot in the hut. I'm convinced this way is cooler...
As far as the tent goes, the thing is so light and packable that it literally falls into the "bivy" category, but allows you the luxury of sitting up, cooking inside, and storing all your gear if you're solo or your partner if your you're not. It's meant to be pitched up high, where most of the water you encounter will be in its solid phase and where things dry fast. I would imagine if you pitched it in a jungle, you'd be pretty miserable as i'm not confident it'd withstand constant and regular downpours. But that's not what it's for.
Some people complain about the internal poles, but I like them. I find it very fast and easy to set up. I can do it in under 5 minutes, even alone and in insane wind. Just do NOT miss the little pole-pockets. The ends of the poles seat in the four corners in little rivet hole things, surrounded by tougher canvas, and if you miss the rivets, and then the wind picks up enough to force the poles out of the canvas pockets, you might end up with a ripped tent. Not that big of deal though if you're aware of it.
The poles then sort of move by tension into the correct location, where you can velcro strap them down for security and stability.
I've had it withstand wind gusts I estimated to be around 50-60 mph. (Later confirmed by NOAA). It's amazingly solid for its weight.
Don't forget to unzip the top vent, especially if there's two of you. We forgot once at 13k and woke up to a winter wonderland INSIDE our tent. Looked awesome. Wasn't as awesome when it started snowing on our sleeping bags.
Great tent. Worth the coin, imho.
Great Alpine tent.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I have spend many nights in a Firstlight and consistently been impressed by its durability. This is a great tent for lighter alpine style climbing as it is light, minimalist and simplistic in design, and very easy to set up in high winds and storm. Designed to be set up from inside is a great feature when you need it. Spent a lot of time in this tent in the Andes and it has always held up against strongest winds I've ever felt.
I would recommend this tent for use in dryer environments or on snow as it is not the best in the rain. Even when new it will get pretty damp in the rain. In addition, as with almost all single wall tents the Firstlight will build up a pretty good amount of condensation on the inside when conditions are right. That being said, this tent will dry out as fast as any in good sun.
I would recommend the ground cloth if planning on using on anything else other than snow. Vestibule is great for cooking when you don't want to leave your bags, and also a great place to store boots/shoes, ect. Another great item I use with all my tents are the Mountain Hardwear Snow & Sand Tent Anchor (Item # MHW0178). I just leave them on the tent lines and they fit right in the stuff sack when I pack it up. The anchors work great if camping on snow.
All in all a great tent, but definitely minimalist. I have taken this tent on quick overnights in the desert, as well as expeditions in the high Andes, and Canadian Rockies. I've had great success with this tent and it will continue to serve as my go to tent for when weight matters.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I used and love this tent ...just don't get it to close to any sharp or abrasive rocks
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I've loved this light tent for 6 seasons of backpacking (spring, summer, fall) in the Rockies up until this past weekend. Sadly, "soggy bivouac," as used in the product description above, is what I endured through a long night of thunderstorm heavy downpours with hail and ~5 hours of rain. Either it's never rained this hard since I've been using the tent, and/or the fabric or waterproofing has degraded over time because up until this past trip, it's never leaked more than a few droplets. Beware! If it rains hard or for long, you and your gear WILL get wet--not just damp but WET-- like a cheapo dept. store tent. This one is now relegated to the junk pile, as I cannot justify the weight of even this light tent that does not protect me from rain. I suppose it still provides overpriced, overweight bug protection.
Great for what it is!
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
For trips in the mountains where weight is the primary concern and I know that it isn't going to rain this tent is the bees knees.
Like most other reviews point out- you will get wet in a downpour. But for alpine use it is solid, handles wind pretty well, is light and packs well.
For any trip where I anticipate some rain, or having to spend a lot of time sitting in the tent waiting out bad weather I generally use the Ahwahnee.
I really like this tent, it is roomy for one person, cozy for two people and light weight. I am 5'11, by myself I sleep diagonal and am fine with room. With two people my head touches one side and my feet touch the other. My buddy is 6'4 and his feet hang out the door, which is fine because I have the vestibule. Condensation is a pretty big issue, so I will open up the vent, leave the door open and just zip up the vestibule, no problems after that. I have only used the tent above treeline, and never in rain so I can't comment on how it would do in rain, though I would say that I wouldn't want to. On snow, the bottom will wet out a little bit at pressure points where you lay down. It seems to hold up pretty well in the wind, I dead man the tent tie outs and the vestibule tie outs and have never had any worries. The only thing I do not like about this tent is that it just feels flimsy to me as far as the fabric. I am very cautious with it setting it up and breaking it down and where and what I place it on or around. I guess that is the price you pay for the incredible lightness of this tent though. After all was said and done, I would most definitely buy this tent again and would also recommend it to others who are looking for a seriously light tent.
Firstlight at Firstlight on Mt Marcy
Awesome lightweight tent for ski touring. Packs light and small. Make sure you do some additional protection against wind.
good ascent tent
I spent one night in this tent by myself and I thought is was just right, but I would hate to have to try and fit 2 people plus gear in this thing. I love how lightweight and simple it is, but because it's so lightweight it is kinda flimsy, tearing and leaking are real issues. I would like to have this as my second tent when I go out by myself and space and weight are primary issues, but I wouldn't recommend this tent for normal situations for 2 people.
Has always kept me very comfortable in super cold weather in the snow. Never leaks, won't blow over even in very heavy winds.
Pretty much the best winter tent and about half as light as the competition. My only issue is that it's too short. I'm 6'3" and just barely fit.
Haven't tried it out of the snow but I've heard it leaks and gets condensation. I'd say it's not the right tool for that anyway, get a Tarptent for those trips.
Does the job well
I spent two months sleeping in this tent while hitchhiking through europe with a buddy.
For light weight, ease of setup and take-down, functionality, durability, and simplicity, this is the greatest tent i have ever had the pleasure of sleeping in. The tent took a beating (we pitched it everywhere from Irish mountaintops to Spanish parking garages) with nary a tear or loose thread. The zippers pulled snag free every time. The ventilation was effective - I never felt like I couldn't breathe in the tent, as I have in many single and double-walled tents. I have a hunch the bright interior played a role in keeping our morale up throughout the two months. By the end of the trip, I was questioning the value of houses: why not live in a tent for the rest of my life? I would live in no other tent but this one.
I'm 5'11" and my buddy is 6'. We were able to sleep in the tent with our backpacks on rainy days (which there were a lot of). It was admittedly cramped, because our backpacks were huge, but cramped can equal cozy with the right mindset, and I think backpacking in general requires a certain psychological shift that makes you more open to discomfort in exchange for freedom/exploration/escape/whatever reason you are camping to begin with.
The tent leaks in heavy rains. We dealt with it, but some may not want to. Those who say this tent is meant for alpine-style summit assaults are correct-it's better at sheltering you from dry snow than rain. However, if you're not afraid of a few drips, this tent is great for extended backpacking trips. A waterproofing fabric treatment is something else you could look into, however do your research because chemicals in waterproofing treatments could theoretically compromise the integrity of the fabric.
Not my picture, but I though it was cool
Before the green
My favorite in the right conditions.
Try the carbon poles.
No Heavy rain.
On the Mass AT
FirstLight in Early Spring
This is THE Tent
For a climber or aspiring alpinist, the firstlight is the best tent on the market.
Regardless of what people may have said in previous reviews, the firstlight does NOT leak as much as they would have you think. I've used mine in the rain and each time have stayed completely dry. There was even a small stream of water running under the tent all night and still we stayed dry.
That said, in heavy rain this tent may not be the best choice because the fabric is only "water resistant" though Nano shield is considered "waterproof" by european standards. Nano shield may be less waterproof than other "waterproof" fabrics but it is much more breathable. This means you will have less condensation in the firstlight than a similarly designed single wall "waterproof" tent.
If you're coming from a super comfy backpacking tent you will have to adjust your mindset transitioning to the firstlight.
The firslight is not designed to be a comfortable tent to spend a week in. It is a lightweight assault style tent for people who value their legs on the hike in, more than having a roomy tent.
This tent represents the bare bones of what a tent should be and it has no added features you don't absolutely need.
It doesn't have a vestibule for your packs/boots because people who are trying to save weight (ie people buying this tent) usually have 2/3 length sleeping pads and they use their pack and boots to insulate their feet-- eliminating the need for a worthless vestibule. This also means you need a smaller pack which will also weigh less. Also, climbers in cold, windy conditions often cook in their tents anyway using a jetboil (not recommended), so why do we need that vestibule again?
The firstlight sets up completely from the inside. This means that in bad conditions it is possible to throw your tent on the ground, jump inside with your stuff and set it up protected from the elements. Is it easy to do this--No, can it be done if need be--Yes, how many other tents could you do that with? It also has a very tall profile meaning that snow will just slid down rather than collecting on top.
This tent has a narrow profile. This means you don't have to have a very big ledge to be able to get a goodnights sleep. It also means you will be more cosy with your partner and sleep warmer. For those who think this tent is two small, I once used this tent without sleeping bags during a bivy with two 6ft+ guys last winter and we were just fine. Was it comfortable--No, was it superlight-weight and what we needed--Yes.
The firslight excels a being light wight, easy to pitch, area efficient (small footprint), and exactly what you need in the mountains. What more could you ask for? There is a reason that the firslight is used on peaks around the world and is the first choice among the worlds best alpinists.
2 words seam seal. bd recommends it and after following their instructions this tent is dry as as a popcorn fart
Not designed for rainy weather, folks...
I just feel like a clarification is needed here: the BD "_____light" tents are NOT NOT NOT designed for extended periods of rain or, really, any rain at all. They are superlight, supercramped bivy tents for high altitude alpine climbs where the only precip you'll get is snow, usually quite dry snow.
BD clearly states that the EPIC fabric is water resistant, not water proof. Don't be pissed at BD because you got all excited to go "ultralight", found a 3 pound tent, and then got wet because you didn't do your homework. These tents work perfectly for the narrow usage range for which they were designed; all the big boys and girls use them on their horror show climbs in the great ranges around the world. But none of them would take these tents backpacking with even the slightest chance of rain.
Read the fine print folks, lest you broadcast your foolishness across the web...
A tent has a clear primary jobkeeping you dry. The Firstlight fails miserably at this job. BD describes the fabric as water resistant which is an overstatement. In an extended light rain or even a short downpour, the fabric wets out and wicks moisture inside. Because its a small tent, your sleeping bag, cloths and lots of other things you care about will be in contact with the wet tent walls and soon your entire kit is soaked.
Ive used the tent for around 30 nights. Most of those were dry, but on a recent trip in the Bob Marshal, we got rain every evening. And did we get wet! We kept a pack towel in the tent to dry the walls and our gear. On our last night, I started keeping track of the amount of water wrung from the pack towel. We soaked up more than a cup of water in a single night.
I had expected a little condensation from a single wall tent and we certainly got that, too. But I also expected the tent to protect us from rain. It does not. Even after painstakingly sealing the seams, big droplets from on the poles and drip on your face. The water pours down the poles and pools in little puddles in the corners (which ironically are waterproof). I might even get passed the wet pole thing, however, if the walls didnt get soaked, but they do.
I also am disappointed in durability and construction. The minimalist brows of the door and rear vent are supported by flexible wire. The ends of the wires are cushioned by little plastic caps, but the wire poked through one of those and wore a hole in the fabric sleeve and now sticks out.
I gave the tent a half star because it is really lightweight and easy to set up. But if it cant keep you dry, whats the point?
This tent is nothing more than a very small mosquito net or a very expensive backyard play tent
I'm trying to decide between the BD...
I'm trying to decide between the BD Firstlight and the MH Direkt 2. It's just me so size isn't a problem but weight is....the lighter the better. I'm not sure the 5 oz saved by going with the Direkt 2 justifies that decision so I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the two compared. The BD is less expensive and just a bit heavier. It's strictly for winter use...short solo backcountry ski tours (so the rain issue isn't a factor). Any thoughts on one versus the other? This will be replacing my Chouinard Pyramid. Thanks!
My recommendation would be the Direkt 2. The weight difference isn't much, but it is made out of better materials that make it waterproof, more durable under a snow load, and generally stronger. The fabric is also not as stretchy, so you will be able to get a tighter pitch in high wind situations. Overall, they are very similar tents, but the Direkt 2 is basically a newer, improved version of the Firstlight.
I've spent a lot of time in both tents. The Direkt 2 condensates more during the winter. Both are durable, easy to set up a, light, and packable.
The Direkt does feel slightly longer, I'm 6'2" and have to sleep diagonal in the BD.
The mesh door in the BD is nice to keep ventilation going and reduce the water vapor.
So if you're smaller than 6' go with the BD. Both tents do need to be seam sealed! The best Biebler style tent I've used is the Black diamond Eldorado, Better materials and longer. Basically all the same tents until you look at Dollars to onces
Even though I like Black Diamond gear I ended up going with the Direkt 2 (I like MH gear, too). Haven't tried it out yet...will report on it when I try it out. Thanks for your help!
You'll be stoked with it!
How does this tent hold up in the wind....
How does this tent hold up in the wind. Like 40 mph? How many stakes are needed?
Hi...Used all the pegs and guy line and it can take wind of 60 mph like a rock
Awesome, looks like a sick tent. Definitely saving up for it
I left my tent outside for two days in sustained 40 mph winds staked out only at the corners and watched the foot end constantly bow in significantly, then back out. The tent held and the poles were fine. That was 4 years ago, the tent is in it's 7th year.
what is better this or the hilight?think...
what is better this or the hilight?think bivy ledges, big storms, and rain storms etc...
The firstlight would be my choice. Slightly smaller foot print and cheaper too.
It is a very strong tent. it is a great tent for winds and snow. for the rain...you need to know it is not totally rain proof
I'm 6'4" tall. Is there anyway I would...
I'm 6'4" tall. Is there anyway I would be able to sleep comfortably in this tent with anothe person or is it too small?
You really just aren't going to fit very well, possibly if you bought the vestibule and slept with your feet out the door. This tent has sidewalls that slant quite a bit to shed wind, and is only 82" long. By comparison, most tents for regular people are 84", and tents for tall guys like us are 88"+. If you're looking for a burly ultralight single wall that will work for you, check out the Megalight. If you want a freestanding Bibler with a similar design (but some extra weight added) get the Eldorado (its burlier too).
You'd be touching both ends and it wouldn't be too comfortable. Another consideration is that this tent, as with most other single walls, will have more condensation after a night than a similar double wall tent resulting in more moisture on your sleeping bag - head and toe at your height.
Barely. I'm 6' 3" and I've used it on several long winter trips. My head and feet both bulge out.
That said, it held up to 80 mph winds and had very little condensation. I love this guy but either I need to shrink or he needs to grow!
It might help to take along the bottom half of a kitchen garbage bag to put over the foot of your sleeping bag. That seems to keep the sleeping bag dry for me but i am only 5'-11". Then, use the garbage bag to pack out your waste on the last day.
I hope it's help
Is this the same fabric at the 07...
Is this the same fabric at the 07 edition?
Nope...believe that one was made of Epic fabric and this is made of Nanoshield - which is supposedly supposed to be a bit more waterproof. Either way though, its really not designed to take on a lot of rain. Great in sub-freezing temperatures though.
Does any one know of a similar tent in...
Does any one know of a similar tent in weight (under 5lbs)that will be water proof and a bit more roomy. my climbing partner and I currently use the tnf mountain 25 and we like it its just very heavy.
black diamond ahwhanee
I have a BD Bibler Eldorado tent. 5lbs 3oz, 4 season and single wall. I have used for mountainering with two people. Adding the vestibule allows your to store gear outside.
I used this summer in Peru on Huascaran. Had to deal with 60mph winds and came through without a hitch.
MSR Dragontail gives you a hoop design and 45 square feet of space for 4lbs 12oz. It's absolutely huge on the interior, although it won't breathe as well as a single wall laminate...
The BD Tempest is just under seven pounds, so a little heavy, but you get 57 square feet to work with, which is pretty nice as well.
BD Guding Light. 4 person tent @ 6lbs. I use it as a two man tent and bring all gear inside.
NEMO tenshi, BD el dorado, Mountain hardware EV2/EV3
MSR Carbon Reflex 2P. 3 lbs 6 oz packed. Can also be setup as rainfly and footprint only at 2 lbs 3 oz. Has 2 doors and 2 vestibules as well.
Hilleberg SOULO. Da BOMB. Go with fly only.
What is the average packed size of this...
What is the average packed size of this tent? is it small enough to fit into a fifty ltr. pack with other gear?
Depends on what kind of other gear. But for most 2-4 maybe even 5 day backpacking trips, you should be just fine. Packs down to the size of a large loaf of bread. I've found that using a compression sack and packing the poles separate is the most space efficient. Hope this helps!
Packed Size : 15 x 23 cm, 6 x 9 in...it is small
I purchase last years Black Diamond HighLite...
I purchase last years Black Diamond HighLite II and will not use it until July. Should I be concerned with the other reviews stating the rain comes right through the single wall fabric? Can I apply a waterproofing agent?If so, whick type? Thanks.
Yeah, you might want to be concerned with that. One review, and I would tend to call it a fluke. A few reviews, and there's probably something going on with the fabric. The silicone coating is going to make it near impossible to get anything to stick and stay reliably as far as spray on waterproofings go. If you bought it from Backcountry, you can definitely return it. If you bought it from somewhere else, give them a call and find out what they're willing to do for you. Might also want to call BD's customer service to see what they have to say about last year's model. Customer service's # is: 801-278-5533 Warranty info is: 801-365-5555.
The rain does not "come right through" I have had the black diamond tents with "epic" material and they are very water resistant. I have been through 4-5 hour rain storms with a few tiny drops of water at most.
you will get more water inside from condensation build-up. If you have the newer BD tents with Nanoshield fabric, they are supposed to be more "waterproof", but I haven't personally used one yet. Just make sure you seamseal your tent before you go, and you will be fine.