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storm worthy

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer

I've used this tent several times now in all seasons and I've even tested it during a blizzard in Yosemite and gotten completely dumped on with 2+ feet of snow. I primarily used this tent for California 14k pursuits and winter camping. I have been pleased with its performance so far, holding up to 40+ mile-an-hour winds and shrugging off rain/snow. It really is a great tent for high altitude endeavors, which is what it was designed for. The only down side is the fabric seems somewhat fragile and I'm not sure this tent well hold up after repeated use. The 87" length is great for me at 6'4". I've never had any condensation problems. Just keep it well vented and do not use it at sea level and you should be good to go!

storm worthy

Big and light, but...

    This tent give you a LOT of space for the weight but there are definite tradeoffs. First of all the seams are not taped so you'll need to spend time seam sealing them before taking this anywhere. Second, there's no vestibule so you need to store everything inside in the event of rain and it's difficult to get in and out in the rain without getting everything soaked. Third, this is a single-wall shelter so if you camp in an area that doesn't have a lot of dry, breezy wind, there's a good chance you'll get some condensation on the inside. Fourth, my goodness it's an expensive tent!

    Not my Favorite Feeling

      I'm a huge Black Diamond fan. Most of their product is Top Of The Line in my opinion, and they make my favorite tent of all time to date (Mesa: I was surprised by this Lighthouse tent. I liked how it's stuffed, the poles are in a separate sack which attaches to the main stuff sack and acts as a little handle. It's smart, it's nice. That's about all good I can say about it. The setup is pretty simple, the poles fit into little button-type grommets inside the tent. Yes the whole setup is inside. When I was dismantling the tent it felt like if a pole were to slip out of my hand wit would expand fully and probably poke a hole through the tent (the model I was testing did have a hole in it already too, hmmmm). If it were raining, there would be water all over the place. There is no separate rain fly, great for keeping it light but not so great for keeping you dry. And the grommet that the top pole fits through leaves enough space around the pole that tiny bugs can fit through (I uploaded a photo showing this in detail). If I'm depending on "light is right" and going bare minimum I still want gear I can depend on, I felt this one was way to awkward to use and had potential, relatively easily, to fail terribly. Not my favorite feeling to have for the gear in my pack.

      Review Title

        I've been using the "epic" fabric tent from Black Diamond for three years. Its been used extensively throughout the Northern Rockies Beartooths, Bob Marshall, Madison Range, Absaroka's, etc). We put about 20 nights per year on the tent. The first year was great - it was durable, light and repelled water in all but the most extreme rain storms. In snow it worked very well and continues to do so as long as its cold enough. Fast forward to the second summer and the fabric began to lose its repellancy. I contacted Black Diamond to find out what I could do. They suggested off the shelf cleaning products designed for outdoor gear (can be found on this site). That worked for a while...but...Fast forward another year and the tent can't handle even a sprinkle of rain. Unfortunately, it seems the fabric has a limited life span. I can't recommend the tent unless you A. plan to use it in the arid desert (it would be great),'re comfortable with puddles of water in your tent, or're willing to fork out $300-$400 every couple of years for a new one. As for me? I'm going back to double wall tents (BD Mesa or MSR Huba will be my next tent hopefully) with the exception of the always reliable Bibler for colder climates. I won't appreciate the extra 1-2 pounds, but at least I'll sleep.

        One more note - Seams do not come sealed on this tent. Prepare to do maintenance every year.

        Like it!

          We already owned an Ahwahnee and really liked it. We wanted a tent that weighed less and packed down smaller. So, this tent was the perfect alternative. It's light and packs down to nothing. The set up is fairly easy, but we've had practice with the Ahwahnee. It has pretty good ventilation. My husband took it on a one week kayak camping trip and he was very pleased with it. We were able to use the sane ground cloth from the Ahwahnee so that saved us some money. BTW, the product shipped very quickly to us and we used the free shipping.

          What snow storm!

            Vary stable and roomy for a light weight tent. I think two would be vary comfortable as long as the liked each other, I use the space for my dog who deserves his own bed at the end of the days trail. It stood up will to a spring snow storm with lots of wind. In the morning the height inside is vary welcome and I think the extra volume helped it stay dryer then the other two smaller BD models my friends had on this trip.
            The only down side to this family of tents is getting the poles into the vary small snaps in the tent floor pockets.

            fabric degrades quickly only if you wash it?

              okay, I'm feeling kinda stupid now. I'm remembering that I did wash it, and I think a added a little bit of detergent. I just read that washing epic with detergent takes out the silicone. I guess you are just supposed to wash with water. So I don't know about the longevity of the fabric

              fabric degrades quickly

                I loved this tent the first year I had it. It was superlight, and I loved to zip down the door all the way in the morning and be able to look out at ground zero. When I first used it, rain would only come in if it was driven by a very strong wind. Moderate, even hard rain was fine, if a little came in (it usually didn't) I would wipe it off with a pack towel. It had some condensation, but it wasn't bad.

                After a couple years, about 3 months of use, the fabric had degraded to the point of dysfunction. A moderate rain would drench it. The last time I used it I was soaked. Our 2-night camp turned into a 1 nighter as we were too cold and wet.

                My New Oasis

                  Have used the tent for a five night backpacking trip so far in the high sierras. Upon rolling in to camp on night one, the skies began to cry and continued on for about an hour. I was forced to set the tent up in heavy rain. The set up worked great being that you set the tent up from the interior. Quick set up, about 5 minutes, including the vestibule. Setup will probably get quicker seeing as I had only done it once before. Minimal water got into the tent during setup, but I was being careful. After the rain stopped there were large puddles on the ground for about an hour. Because I used the ground cloth the water had gotten trapped between the tent bottom and the ground cloth. It stayed there for the remainder of the night. (Note: in my opinion the (accessory) fitted ground cloth is a little big being as it lets water puddle but is definitely necessary to help against punctures. You'll know what I'm talking about when you receive your tent. The silnylon floor is thin, very thin, but also seems to be durable in nature.) I slept with big puddles of water around my body and under my thermarest. No wetness ever seeped through... I was just blessed with a little extra cushion for the evening. The morning came, still puddles but no water had migrated through. The bottom is truly waterproof. Not a single drop of water or condensation came in through the walls of tent either. This was more reassuring after stepping outside to see the ground covered with due. This tent has great storm-proofness but is loud in the rain because it sets up so taught. The taughtness is a good thing though because this tent is very sturdy.

                  Cons: The tent is a tad on the tight side for two but then again Black Diamond was trying to shave weight, right? A great way to fix this problem is sleep head to toe. Then the tent becomes roomy.
                  Another semi con is the screen and door have two independent zippers. Adds a little weight. But its only kind of a con because if you only want to use one, the other can be rolled up at all times with the tie loops which are integrated at the bottom of the tent / zipper runs.

                  Note: When you get your tent, be sure to seem seal before using for the first time. You'll be sorry if you don't. Dust dirt, etc. will get everywhere and your seem sealer wont last as long. The best method I found for applying the seem sealer was to use the included syringe and then smooth over with your finger. Allow for several hours of time and a couple rolls of paper towels.

                  Tip: A lot of people have complained about the static of the fabric. I got concerned myself before buying this cause I didn't want a ton of dust sticking to the tent. I called Backcountry and the rep. recommended to rub dryer sheets over the interior / exterior surfaces of the tent. This worked like a charm. NO MORE STATIC. Try to use non scented or minimally scented sheets so the bears won't think your tent is candy. Another option to de-static the tent would be to buy the static spray. I'm sure that would also work great if not better.

                  Finally, the tent has three different stuff sacks, assuming you buy the vestibule. 1) Tent (ample space for the ground cloth as well) 2) poles and stakes 3) Vestibule. This is great for distributing your weight evenly over your pack.

                  All in all. Great tent, I'm very happy with it. It's pricey, but well worth it. When taking down be sure to leave zippers partially open to let the trapped air out.

                  I look forward to trying it this winter. My buddy has the ahwahnee which is 2" bigger in every dimension and is a 4 season tent, but it has the same exact floor plan and pole setup as the lighthouse. So I'll try this tent when I'm with him just in case I have to jump over into his tent. I gotta say, this tent is about a third the weight and way more compact in the stuff sack, about 3x more compact. In my opinion the only time the ahwahnee can be justified is in temps below 20F in the snow. Otherwise, its an overkill, go with the lighthouse.

                  Solid Tent for all seasons

                    I spent 14 hours in this tent in a driving Sierra rain storm at ~8,000'. Winds gusting to 50-60 mph, rain coming down in buckets and this tent was dry as could be inside.

                    In the winter, camped at ~9,800' on a cold cloudless night. A little snug for two, but sleeping sardine style helped a lot. Barely noticed the other person in the tent.

                    I'm pretty confident this tent will suit my needs in the high Sierra for some time to come - for all seasons.


                      Pretty roomy for an extremely light tent. I also don't understand why the seams couldn't have been sealed at the factory (a nuisance), but after completing this chore I didn't have a problem in the Colorado high country. Condensation is a bit of a issue (as with any single layer tent), but tolerable. Setup is more difficult than with most of my tents because the poles are on the inside. (The pretty young gal in the store who told me that this was an asset because you could be sheltered inside the tent while setting it up had obviously never tried it. You can't do it from the inside.) Setup in a wind is also challenging. All things considered, this is my favorite tent (because of the light weight) when significant rain is not in the forecast. (The odd shower is not a problem.) When it does rain, because the tent is so taut, it sounds like you are inside a drum, but the tautness is an asset if it is windy.

                      Call me crazy, but having the poles on the inside, and having set this tent up dozens of times, I've never found a way to set it up any way *other* than from the inside! I guess you could lean in from the outside to fix everything into place, but if you just set the poles up before you roll the tent out, then jump into the tent and pull the poles in after you, setting them into their grommets (do this with both poles before starting in on the velcro fasteners), you can easily set it up from within the shelter of the tent. Granted, the door'll be open while you're getting the poles bent into place, but seeing as how you have to insert them into grommets in the farthest corners of the tent, I can't see how you could manage to set this tent up without getting inside. If you've got a trick to this, let me know; I enjoy being able to set it up from inside, but I wouldn't mind knowing how to set it up from outside! Sounds like a pretty good magic trick! ;)

                      Not good for the desert or the rain

                        I was surprised that I had to seal the tent seams myself (for the price it should be factory seam taped), but I followed the directions to the letter. There were no leaks during 4 or 5 nights of rain in Patagonia the month after I got the tent.
                        The following month the zipper malfunctioned after the wind in Utah blew that red sand into the tent. I called Black Diamond and was told that the zippers are not covered by a warranty and that they should be cleaned after every trip. To prevent the problem I had, I would have had to clean them during my trip. Black Diamond gave me the phone number of Rainy Pass
                        Repair, who replaced the zipper pulls with some sturdier ones for about $75.
                        The next time I used the tent about 5 months later it rained for 2 days. The tent leaked at the top seams, and I had to borrow a tarp to cover the tent. I wrote a letter to Black Diamond about the zippers and leaking seams and received no response.
                        I called Rainy Pass Repair about taping the seams, but they said they can't do it if the seams have had seam sealer on them. If you really want one of these tents because of its light weight and want to avoid problems, you should send it to Rainy Pass before you use it or put seam sealer on it and have them tape the seams and replace those flimsy zipper pulls. It will probably cost you about $150, but it will be lighter and a lot less trouble than carrying zipper cleaner to clean the zippers if the wind blows and a tarp to cover the tent if it rains. Rainy Pass Repair's phone number is (800) RIP-STOP.
                        Don't expect Black Diamond to stand behind this product.

                        Might work great in the desert

                          The only good thing I can say is it's light- but when you're tent-bound, and soaked, that's little comfort. Took the Lighthouse climbing (based on BD's website implying it's being used at altitude) and it became a sponge after one wet night at basecamp. Higher up, it was plagued with copious condensation when even partially zipped up. If you ever have to set it up in a hurry (i.e. stormy condtions), there's a good chance you'll rip the floor/ walls with the poles. Considering the price, lack of a vestibule, and the time wasted sealing seams, I feel this was the worst tent purchase I've ever made.

                          Did you try setting it up somewhere other than a creekbed? Or guiding the poles into the grommets by hand? And how many people did you have in there to get your 'copious condensation?' My girlfriend may not breathe quite as much vapor out as I do, but I'm a big nasty mouth-breather, and I've had the thing zipped up completely in a day-long downpour with only occasional breaks outside to do my business, with no wind to speak of, and no condensation problems arose at all. I guess products may vary, but this sounds completely out of character for this tent, both from my own experiences and those of others I know who own/have used it.

                          Good lightweight tent

                            I got this tent a couple of years ago when it first came out and have really enjoyed camping with it. Living in Utah we don't get a great deal of rain, but on the occasions when I've been tent bound for up to eight hours during a rainstorm, I didn't have any problems with the tent leaking. Water was even flowing under the tent and still no problem. The tent is rather small for 2 adults plus gear, so the vestibule is a nice addition. The main drawback I can see is the price, at $300+ it's rather hard to swallow.

                            My biggest concern about buying a tent...

                            My biggest concern about buying a tent right now is condensation. The sleeping bag I have is a down bag and is not too good with water. I've seen mixed reviews about people having problems with water leaking through or not? Does that depend on how much ventilation each person is allowing the tent to have, or is this just a random phenomenon that each person has to deal with?

                            Best Answer

                            This tent is not going to keep you dry in a rainstorm. Cold and snowy, yup, light drizzle, sure, down pour, no way. You need a bibler for a single wall or go with an ultralight double wall, then they ventilate better, keeping you and your down dry from the rain or condensation.

                            This tent is not going to keep you dry in a rainstorm. Cold and snowy, yup, light drizzle, sure, down pour, no way. You need a bibler for a single wall or go with an ultralight double wall, then they ventilate better, keeping you and your down dry from the rain or condensation.

                            I've had this tent for 3 years now, and living in Seattle, it's seen quite a few rainstorms up in the Cascades. I've slept through nights that left the trail near my camp a boggy mess 3 inches deep in mud and left mud spatters 2 feet up the sides of the tent, and it hasn't leaked one bit. I seam-sealed it well when i first bought it, and I refresh the seam-sealer and spray on a DWR renewer annually, and it stays dry as a bone inside. I always sleep with my girlfriend, and even with our combined breath output, we've only ever experienced the mildest condensation - not enough to cause drips, just enough to be noticeable - even with the windows zipped up tight in a lashing rain. I know that user experience varies, but if you take care of this tent, and don't set it up in an area likely to turn into a pond when heavy rains come, you should be just fine. I've slept in both down and synthetic bags, and while synthetic are always better for me (I sweat like a bastard every night, at home or on the trail--just my body chemistry), I've only ever dampened my bags from the inside out while in this tent, never the other way around.

                            How come your sale price is the same as...

                            How come your sale price is the same as the B.D. website retail price? just wondering?

                            When one buys this tent, are the vestibule...

                            When one buys this tent, are the vestibule and poles part of the purchase price?