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Black Diamond’s definition of a winter tent.
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Mt. Logan Failure
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
We purchased the Squall and Stormtrack specifically for an attempt on Mt. Logan's East Ridge (Yukon, Canada - arctic, high winds and snow, high altitude). We wanted a lightweight double wall mountain tent and these seemed to fit the bill.
We only ended up using them for basecamp and advanced basecamp for a total of less than 2 weeks. We were very nervous to use them on the ridge proper (luckily the weather decided we wouldn't have to).
We were very disappointed with the durability. We had to patch multiple holes in each fly, some at friction areas over the tent poles, some from (careful) sweeping/shovelling around the tent, some spontaneous. In addition one of the tent poles tore through the end of the pole sleeve during normal setup. This was all basically snow camping at low elevation and low wind.
We also noted a few serious design problems. The front zipper in the top corner is very tight and high risk of tearing either the zipper or the tent (as mentioned in other reviews). Also, the fly tie downs do not pull the fly tight enough and at the bottom it ends up resting on the inner tent between the poles (especially if snowing), which then does not allow the inner tent to ventilate properly.
We also had a BD Tempest (single wall Toddtex) and it was bomber. Another team had a Mountain Hardward Trango, which was a bit heavier but stood up well and they had zero issues. On similar expeditions I have used TNF VE-25 and single wall Biblers with no problems. I have had lots of BD equipment and always been impressed. Sadly, I would never recommend these tents for any winter camping, high winds, or anywhere where durability is a must. Not a 4 season mountain tent as advertised.
We returned both tents - the good news is Backcountry.com took them back without any problem and gave us a full refund. I will definitely buy from these guys again!
Poor design and materials
- Gender: Male
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Taking time to research a product usually pays off in the end. During my search for an affordable, light weight, four-season tent I found the BD Squall. Everything looks great on paper but after using this tent for two seasons I am very disappointed. Based on my experience with this product, here are some things you may want to consider.
1) This is a very large tent. Great for base camp but extremely hard to place if space is limited.
2) Two seasons of moderate use have resulted in the seam tape on the fly flaking off and sticking to the poles and tent body.
3) Poor design of the front tent flap causes a major stress point on the zipper which has failed twice since the purchase.
4) Not designed to withstand heavy winds even when guy-wires are emplloyed from the fly mounts.
Despite all these misgivings I still stand by BD as a company. I notified them about the poor quality of the fly and they are sending me a new one free of charge. Turns out they have had a few issues with the coating used on their flies in the past.
Take home point, take time to think about what you want out of the tent. Do you really need a three person? Are you going to be placing the tent on wide open ground or have to find space nestled between obstructions? If you are looking for a technical tent, this one probably isn't for you.
Not built to last.
I recently took the Squall over to Kamchatka for a ski mountaineering expedition. Was sadly disappointed in the quality of its construction. Felt happy to get a month's use out of the thing. Luckily without it being blown to smitherines in a storm.
Is it just me or has BD dropped the ball in the last few years? Seems like they are over-engineering everything, having lost sight of the more important aspects of mountain equipment..
On a more positive note, i found the size about ideal for approach/ base camps for two people and heaps of gear. With a reasonable weight.
Definitely not worth 600 dollars. IMO
I only want one tent, for winter an summer...
I only want one tent, for winter an summer use, is this tent a too hot for summer? about 86 F. excess condensation?
You'd probably be pretty miserable in 86 F inside this tent. Depending on what kind of winter use you have in mind, you might not really find an option that does both. If your winter use is just on the snow/cold/rain...and not mountaineering, then I'd check out the Bibler Ahwahnee or something from Hilleberg (not sold here currently). Of course the Ahwahnee is a two person tent, so it might not work for you, but Hilleberg has several options that would be decent.
DoubleLight Series Technology: Black Diamond Stormtrack and Squall tents
Learn about the concept behind the Stormtrack and Squall tents from Black Diamonds DoubleLight Series. Nathan Kuder, BDs Softgoods Category Director, explains the design and intended use of these versatile and strong 4-season shelters.
Dimensions for those interested
what is the size of the inner tent Length...
what is the size of the inner tent Length & width?
From Black Diamond's diagrams it looks to be about 90" long and 80" wide (at the widest point). I'll upload the diagram, hopefully it helps. Maybe someone who owns the tent can bust out a tape measure and chime in.