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Lightweight 1-person free-standing tent. Anyone own the LLBean Microlight FS 1?

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  • Lightweight 1-person free-standing tent. Anyone own the LLBean Microlight FS 1?

    Nowadays I mostly day-hike but in days of yore (late 70's) I used to backpack and once in awhile I get the urge to do it again. I've been looking at reasonably priced ultralight 1-person tents over the years. 'Reasonably priced' and 'ultralight' are a tough combo to find in a new 1-person tent.

    These tents piqued my interest (last year) but it appears I have waited too long because they are no longer available:
    • GoLite Imogene UL2 (GoLite is no more).
    • EMS Velocity 1 (Missing from EMS web-site so I assume it was discontinued).


    The 2-person EMS Velocity 2 is still available but exceeds my < 3 lbs goal. Anyone here own a Velocity 1? Comments and impressions? It seems to me its footbox is raked too much and effectively reduces the tent's usable length (see image below).


    EMS Velocity 1

    LLBean's Microlight FS 1 seems like a good blend of inexpensive and lightweight. It's about 6 ounces heavier than the competition (like the MSR Hubba NX) but significantly cheaper. It's also very similar to the Velocity 1 but its footbox has a (comparatively speaking) blunt end that maximizes the usability of the tent's 7'6" length. My concern is its peak height: 31". Whoa! That's short; can't sit up in that. Anyone here own a Microlight FS 1? Comments and impressions?


    LLBean Microlight FS 1

    PS
    Local retailer had an MSR Hubba NX and a Marmot EOS 1P. Hubba had tremendous volume but its floor length was just adequate for my 5'10" frame. Feet still touched the sloping roof/wall at the foot-end. EOS's sloped walls make you feel like you're in an envelope. However, lying flat, there was a touch more usable length than the Hubba.
    Looking for Views!

  • #2
    I haven't had any experience with the tents you listed, but I just thought I'd throw my comments out there about the REI Quarter Dome 1. I just picked one up about a month ago and have only been on 1 trip with it so far but I think it has a good combination of the features you're looking for

    I'm the same height as you at 5' 10" and I slept very comfortably in it, no real issues with my head/feet touching the walls. There was enough room for me to sit up in it but when I was changing my clothes I did hit the walls. It's not really big enough that I'd want to spend a lot of time hanging out in it say if it's pouring out or something. Enough room for comfortable sleeping, not quite enough room for comfortably sitting around and hanging out for long periods of time

    I weighed it myself and including the footprint (sold separately) it weighs 2 lb 14.2 oz. Subtract about 6 oz if you don't get the footprint. (My weight also doesn't include the supplied stuff sack since I packed mine in an ultralite compression sack)

    The only thing it's missing from your requirements is that it's not completely freestanding which was a big concern of mine initially. However, I came to the conclusion that I can't think of anywhere I would be taking it that I wouldn't be able to put stakes in the ground. It stands up by itself, you just have to stake out the 2 corners at the foot end to keep them stretched out to give you more foot room. It's pretty simple to set up once you've done it once or twice
    CL50 #506
    ADK 8/46

    I Should Go Hiking...

    Comment


    • Trail Boss
      Trail Boss commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks! I had overlooked the REI Quarter Dome 1. I did some research and I like what I see. REI is currently offering a 20% discount on full-price items and I have until May 25th to decide if this is my next.

  • #3
    My daughter and I both have a Eureka Solitaire. Its okay if you just need a shelter, but I wouldn't give it much more than that. Forget about sitting up in it. I pretty much crawl into mine feet first then squirm around until I'm comfy. Bigger packs would need to stay outside in a watertight plastic bag. I actually went with a 2-3 person MH Drifter for longer multiple night excursions that I want more comfort and room. Good luck with your search.

    Steve
    46/46 - #9464
    7/46 "W"
    NE115 - 53/115

    Comment


    • Trail Boss
      Trail Boss commented
      Editing a comment
      I looked at that one and, while the price is more than right, it is more of bivy-tent and I haven't convinced myself that I can deal with that (i.e. coffin-like sleeping). However, given how little I actually plan to backpack, this might be all I really need. I don't feel like spending major bucks for an item I may use once a year.

      BTW, I discovered the Canadian version uses aluminum instead of fiberglass poles. However, the stated total tent weight is the same.

  • #4
    I've got the Microlight FS1. It's a couple years old now (I have the red version, I think the current one is yellow) but the specs are the same I believe. Overall, I am/was happy with it. I rarely use it because I switched over to a hammock, but it still gets lots of use. I loan it to my friends who don't have lightweight gear. I'm 5'-7" and fit comfortably in it. My tent has probably seen 15-20 nights on trail. Like you said, a 31" peak height is short, but it never bothered me. I don't usually spend too much time in the tent, so that's not a deal breaker.

    Overall, I am happy with it. It's about as budget friendly lightweight as you can get. I wish the vestibule was a touch larger (or had one on the other side), but it's not small by any means. I generally take a contractors garbage bag and put my backpack in that. My Thermarest NeoAir fits perfectly inside the tent. I've been in it during some pretty good rains and never had a problem with it leaking. My buddy used it camping back in February when we went Winter camping. It worked well for that too, although we only got an inch of snow overnight. The really long zipper is awesome.

    Overall, I'd give it a 4.5 out of 5. Obviously, there are better tents out there, but you're going to pay for them. At this price point, I'm not sure the FS1 can be beat. LL Bean has great customer service too.

    In my group of friends that hike/camp, we have 3 of them. (Note: the boughs were there before we arrived.) This was a mud pit by the time we left, but the tents didn't leak at all.





    Comment


    • Trail Boss
      Trail Boss commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks. Yep, that 31" ceiling height is what makes me hesitate purchasing it. Other than that, it's all I need and has LLBean's lifetime warranty.

  • #5
    I did a bit of searching for such a tent a few years ago. I recall looking at the EMS Velocity 1 as a strong contender... but it was close to the end of season and they were all sold out. I don't recall a lot of the other tents mentioned in this thread but it seems manufacturers change tent names pretty regularly (even if the actual tent itself doesn't change much).

    On my short list was the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 which seemed like an excellent tent but was almost $100 more expensive than the EMS tent. As luck would have it I stumbled into a sporting goods store and found them on sale (end of season as I mentioned) for about 1/3 off - which brought it into the same price range - so I bought it immediately.

    https://www.bigagnes.com/Products/De.../copperspurul1

    I've used it a few times now with good success. I find it plenty roomy for my 5' 10" frame with room to cover my gear under the vestibule. Its kept me dry in one rainstorm and kept me bug free when I went camping earlier this spring in the midst of a Lake fly (midge) population explosion (they don't bite... but there were literally millions of flies in clouds). It was a little surreal and I was happy to have some bug free space to sleep in. I have noticed the bug mesh has worn a few small holes which is not surprising as its a really lightweight material... but the flies never found their way in (black flies might).

    Definitely happy with the tent so if you can find one marked down I'd go for it.

    Comment


    • Trail Boss
      Trail Boss commented
      Editing a comment
      That's the one that seems to get everything right ... except the price. Ouch! Lucky you found it heavily discounted!

  • #6
    I have a Eureka Spitfire 1 that I use on solo trips. For me (at 5'9") it's the perfect balance of lightweight and just big enough to be comfortable.




    I also have a Eureka Spitfire 2, which is billed as slightly bigger a 2-person tent, but only if you *really* like each other. Otherwise it's probably good for 1 larger person who doesn't mind the extra carry weight.

    SPECS:

    Eureka Spitfire 1
    Weight: 2lbs 12oz
    Center Height: 3'4"
    Retail Price: $139.90
    (I've seen them for under $110)
    http://store.eurekatent.com/Spitfire_1_Tent

    Eureka Spitfire 2
    Weight: 4lbs 3oz
    Center Height: 3'7"
    Retail Price: $179.90
    (I've seen them for under $135)
    http://store.eurekatent.com/Spitfire_2_Tent




    Comment


    • Trail Boss
      Trail Boss commented
      Editing a comment
      I researched this one as well and the lack of an adequate vestibule is what makes me hesitate. The price is right.

    • ndru
      ndru commented
      Editing a comment
      not sure what your needs are, but there is just enough space to stash your boots in the front (between the "!" on the screen and the "!" on the fly, where the plant is growing in the photo).

      that's all i really use a vestibule for anyway.

  • #7
    I had the REI Quarter Dome last year and was extremely disappointed. I used it 3 times and the tent flap tie points came unglued and it was a major pain going in and out that way. Lucky I bought it before they reversed their lifetime warranty and I got all my money back.

    Yesterday I bought the LL Bean Micro FS1 and I am very pleased so far. Much better construction than the REI model and a LIFETIME GUARANTEE!!!

    Plus I found an on line coupon for 20% off and only paid $171.94 including tax! The person at the counter was very pleased I found coupon that and she gladly gave the discount to me.

    I always buy from LL Bean whenever I can because of that guarantee.

    Comment


    • #8
      Originally posted by Samsbud View Post
      I had the REI Quarter Dome last year and was extremely disappointed. I used it 3 times and the tent flap tie points came unglued and it was a major pain going in and out that way. Lucky I bought it before they reversed their lifetime warranty and I got all my money back.

      Yesterday I bought the LL Bean Micro FS1 and I am very pleased so far. Much better construction than the REI model and a LIFETIME GUARANTEE!!!
      ...
      That's disappointing to learn about the tie-points. Perhaps it was a manufacturing defect in the first production run?

      You have the comparative experience I seek! How does the Microlight compare to the Quarter Dome in terms of usable interior space?

      By the specs, the Quarter Dome 1 has more interior volume than the Microlight 1. They have the same length (90") but the QD1 is 4" wider at the head (40" vs 36") and much wider at the foot (33" vs 19"). The QD1's peak-height is a full 6.5" higher inside than the ML1 (37.5" vs 31"). My concern is that I wouldn't be able to sit up and that is a "basic feature" I expect in a tent (not in bivy but certainly in a tent). How have you found the difference to be in practice?
      Looking for Views!

      Comment


      • cuterocky
        cuterocky commented
        Editing a comment
        I just pulled mine out of the closet and am kinda confused as to what would come unglued. All the tie points on my tent are sewed on. Is it possible it was the Quarter Dome T1 which is the older model? I think the current Quarter Dome 1 model only came out about a year ago

    • #9
      I concur that the QD1 has more space and, although I did set it up inside my home, I haven't spent a night in it so far. I'm average in height (5'7 & 7/8" tall, 148#s) and when I slid inside of it while it was set up, I can't quite remember if I sat up. Will say I don't remember being hunched up when I was in it though. Wish I could be of more help.

      With regaurd to cuterocky's comment, I greatly appreciate you looking at your tent and confirming that the tent flap tie points on your tent are sewed. I was shocked when I saw mine never were obviously right out of the box. I can only assume I happened to get a factory defect. The tent by the way was a 2013 version.

      Comment


      • #10
        Taras - I'll make you a smokin' deal on an Alps Mountaineering AL1. It's a little heavier than you would like at 3lbs10 ounces but, it would be dirt cheap and gets generally favorable reviews. I used it once but, prefer my Big Agnes Fly Creek II because it's roomier for the same (or less) weight. Heading north Saturday morn if you're interested!

        http://www.alpsmountaineering.com/al...tents/zephyr-1
        Limped thru the Northeast 115...

        Comment


        • #11
          Are you dead set on a tent? You could go much lighter with a sil tarp and tyvek sheet (my preference and weighs just over 1lb with a few MSR stakes and using a stick/trekking pole and rocks/trees for additional stakes). You can add a sea to summit bug net too when it is buggy. Not only lighter but doesn't give me a panic attack like some of the one person tents. You could also consider a bivvy or hammock/sil tarp. For me bivvy is same problem as one man tent and hammock can be tough trying to find a place to set up or if you are a stomach or side sleeper.

          Comment


          • #12
            If $259 falls within your "reasonably priced" category, I highly recommend the Tarptent Rainbow. It is freestanding if you set it up with trekking poles. A "hybrid" tent that has a double wall structure in the lower half, and a single wall in the upper half to save weight. Lots of mesh for good venting and minimal condensation. Weighs 2 lb. 2 oz (w/stakes), has a peak height of 43" and floor dimensions of 88" L x 40" W. Also is American made, if that makes any difference. Seam sealing is not included in the price, but it's relatively easy to do. I've used it on multi-day backpacking trips from NC to Maine and it's withstood many storms, while I stayed warm and dry inside. See more information at http://www.tarptent.com/rainbow.html
            We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

            Comment


            • silenthiker
              silenthiker commented
              Editing a comment
              I was looking at buying one of the tarptents before in a 2-3 person size. They seems to be some of the lightest on the market and well reviewed. Had I gone the tent direction, this would be it.

          • #13
            I've got a LL Microlight and it serves me well. I'm 6' and it's a bit small to sit up and change clothes, but it not a big deal. I've had it in the rain a couple of times and it's kept me dry. I really like the screening all the way around as it lets in the air, but keeps the bugs out.

            Comment


            • #14
              I've got a LL Microlight and it serves me well. I'm 6' and it's a bit small to sit up and change clothes, but it not a big deal. I've had it in the rain a couple of times and it's kept me dry. I really like the screening all the way around as it lets in the air, but keeps the bugs out.

              Comment

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