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Alpkit tents: Soloist V Polestar

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 Tony the Blade 07 Nov 2022

I'm in the market for a fairly cheap, 3 season, lightweight 1-2 person tent.

Having done a fair amount of research I can't get past the Soloist or Polestar so thought I'd ask for your thoughts. I have a Banshee 200 and a Vango Blade.

Have you any experience of either, or both? 

In reply to Tony the Blade:

Interested

 leon 1 07 Nov 2022
In reply to Tony the Blade: I cant comment on the Polestar but had a Soloist and had to return it as its just way too small for anyone over 5-11" (me !) . Packs down small + lightweight and good value but so difficult to enter and exit and with a teeny tiny vestibule. Might be ok if you`re fairly small though and just wanted it for occasional use

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/gear/one_person_tents_and_hooped_bivvys-739433

Post edited at 11:18
In reply to leon 1:

Thanks for that, Leon. Most helpful link as well.

I'm 5' 10" and for an extra tenner I would go with the Soloist XL as it's 200mm longer.

Post edited at 11:50

Or maybe a return to the WC Zephyros 1 - I used to have this but it was nicked along with my van.

 Sans-Plan 07 Nov 2022
In reply to Tony the Blade:

How light is light?

In reply to Sans-Plan:

The Polestar is a smidge under 1kg - but you need to have 2 walking poles for it to work.

The Soloist is £20 cheaper and weighs 1.2kg

I would also consider a footprint, although both tent floors are 5,000 HH

 Paul Evans 07 Nov 2022
In reply to Tony the Blade:

I've got a zephyros 1 lite and really rate it. Briefly thought about a Polestar but decided to stick with what I have...

Paul

In reply to Tony the Blade:

I'm 5 foot 7 and find the soloist pretty tight. Not just the length but also when sitting up with the narrow, tapering roof, and not that easy for cooking in the porch and storing bag and boots. 

Great value for the price, and it stood up to a wet and windy night in the upper esk. But if I was buying again I would pay (considerably) more for something more roomy, or pay a little more and accept an extra 400g of weight.

 abr1966 07 Nov 2022
In reply to Tony the Blade:

Got a mate who backpacks a lot....he had a polestar but thought the build quality wasn't great and he had to get it repaired. I'm not sure about the durability....maybe it's because lots of Alpkit stuff I've had breaks pretty easily....the reviews might not confirm this view though.

If that type of weight is a deal breaker they are good value....lots of other stuff is pretty pricey. Always a balance to be struck! 

 Sans-Plan 07 Nov 2022
In reply to Tony the Blade:

Pretty light then, certainly at that price. I have seen a few Alpkits pitched at events and they have never looked that good to me, saggy outers touching inners etc, might have just been a bad pitch but seems to be a theme from the ones i have seen

I had a Vango blade, was without a doubt the worst tent i have ever owned, used it twice and sold it

In reply to Paul Evans:

Hmmm - I might have to revisit the idea of a Zephyros again. Thanks

In reply to mountain.martin:

I sat in an inner at Alpkit at the weekend and it felt quite roomy, however it didn't have the fly attached. I was thinking about the XL but might think again with what you have said - I don't want to be too cramped on a multi-day Autumnal walk.

Thanks

In reply to abr1966:

Hmmm, yes, the old buy cheap buy twice adage.

Thanks

In reply to Sans-Plan:

I quite like my Blade for the summer months, but wouldn't venture out if wind was predicted.

Thanks

 DaveHK 07 Nov 2022
In reply to Tony the Blade:

Inner/outer separation is really important on tents and its hard to see how that can be maintained on the polestar given size and configuration of some of the panels. Some of the reviews pick up on this. Personally I wouldn't touch it.

 Guy Hurst 07 Nov 2022
In reply to Tony the Blade:

I have a friend who's 5ft 10in and has used the soloist a lot. He really rates it, but says if and when he needs to replace it he'll buy the XL version.

Post edited at 19:04
 DaveHK 07 Nov 2022
In reply to Tony the Blade:

What's your budget and timescale? If you can stretch to £200-250 and aren't in a rush then check out Trekkertent, particularly the Stealth range.

I've had a Stealth 1.5 for about 5 years and it has been superb. Roomy for 1, light, fairly easy to pitch, reasonably robust, very rainproof, excellent moisture management and made in Scotland.

If you don't want to use walking poles you can get carbon poles for them. Mine is in the heavier material for durability and with the poles and pegs it's still under 1kg. Honestly can't praise it highly enough and I am a bit of a tent geek/perfectionist.

https://www.trekkertent.com/home/home/17-stealth-tent-15.html

Post edited at 19:13
In reply to DaveHK:

I'm still tempted by a Trekkertent but despite considering it quite seriously, I've still not bitten the bullet and ordered one. Did you go for a 40D or 20D fly Dave? And also mesh or solid inner? You're in Scotland aren't you? I guess both midge protection and strong winds/plenty of rain protection are serious considerations!

 DaveHK 07 Nov 2022
In reply to TobyA:

> I'm still tempted by a Trekkertent but despite considering it quite seriously, I've still not bitten the bullet and ordered one. Did you go for a 40D or 20D fly Dave? And also mesh or solid inner? You're in Scotland aren't you? I guess both midge protection and strong winds/plenty of rain protection are serious considerations!

I went 40d but it's also available in Cuben Fibre(?) now. I got the mesh tent initially then ordered a solid one to use in the colder months. I also went for the 2nd door. It's not really a door but a large vent which makes a big difference to ventilation. It is a little fiddly to pitch but not massively so.

I'm in Inverness, if you wanted to see it at some point you'd be welcome to pop in should you ever be passing.

In reply to DaveHK:

Cheers Dave! Very kind offer. 

 Kalna_kaza 07 Nov 2022
In reply to Tony the Blade:

I have the soloist and find it quite tight (175cm tall) especially with a winter bag. The longer version has the same profile so anything other than a thin bag is going to be at risk of mopping up condensation in most conditions. The REALLY annoying thing is not having two way zips on the door so you invariably get wet arms or head plus dripping into the inner when opening the door in the morning - why do tent manufacturers do that?

It's cheap, light (but not ultralight), surprisingly stable in the wind and easy to get a taught pitch. But it's not a tent I enjoy using particularly, I accept the compromises for a night or two in the mountains but for campsites I always choose my MSR Elixir 2 for comfort.

 Paul Evans 08 Nov 2022
In reply to Tony the Blade:

If you can find a s/hand Zeph lite in good condition, you can buy the laser main pole and some ebay TI pegs to get to almost the weight of the cheaper laser (1.1 kg) for a fraction of the cost. I got my Zeph lite as ex-demo from WC and found the laser pole on offer, so quite a cheap option for a known quantity.

Have fun whatever you decide!

Paul

 ianstevens 08 Nov 2022
In reply to abr1966:

> Got a mate who backpacks a lot....he had a polestar but thought the build quality wasn't great and he had to get it repaired. I'm not sure about the durability....maybe it's because lots of Alpkit stuff I've had breaks pretty easily....the reviews might not confirm this view though.

> If that type of weight is a deal breaker they are good value....lots of other stuff is pretty pricey. Always a balance to be struck! 

I love Alpkit stuff, but this always seems to be the case - guess it's one way of keeping costs down whilst making ultralight kit. Worth adding that anything light tends to not be super-durable though...

 DaveHK 08 Nov 2022
In reply to ianstevens:

> I love Alpkit stuff, but this always seems to be the case - guess it's one way of keeping costs down whilst making ultralight kit. Worth adding that anything light tends to not be super-durable though...

I have quite a bit of their stuff but it's hit or miss. I've got a few things that are great, a few that are ok and a few that are pretty much useless.

 ianstevens 08 Nov 2022
In reply to DaveHK:

Yeah this is probably a better revision. Their UK made stuff is universally excellent, and their far east rebrands are somewhat variable in quality. 

In reply to DaveHK:

> I have quite a bit of their stuff but it's hit or miss. I've got a few things that are great, a few that are ok and a few that are pretty much useless.

Sadly I think Alpkit have spread themselves much too thinly these days, and also seem to be having QC/warehouse issues.

Tried to buy a wetsuit online, was sent a damaged one, then a replacement that was also damaged, then another replacement that was ok, but completely the wrong size. Gave up after that and got a refund.

To be fair customer service was excellent (and very apologetic).

 magma 08 Nov 2022
In reply to DaveHK:

nice to see the phoenix phreeranger design still going. mine needs replacing-would buy again but prob not at that price..

In reply to Tony the Blade:

Crikey - lots of comments and info to digest... Many thanks to all.

Someone has messaged me with another option, The Vango Heddon 100. A pole tent with great spec and under 1kg. Anyone have this tent and willing to share your thoughts?

In reply to Tony the Blade:

> Someone has messaged me with another option, The Vango Heddon 100. A pole tent with great spec and under 1kg. Anyone have this tent and willing to share your thoughts?

I don't have one but looked it up recently seeing some discussion about that model elsewhere. Vango's website say 1.6 kg total weight and 1.35 kg trail weight. It struck me as rather heavy for a tent with no poles! 

In reply to TobyA:

Good point.

Also I don't want to be burdened with poles on all overnight walks, I've never used them myself (Unless I'm working as an ML)

Hmmm - back to the Zephyros I think

 felt 08 Nov 2022
In reply to magma:

> nice to see the phoenix phreeranger design still going. mine needs replacing-would buy again but prob not at that price..

Have messaged you.

In reply to Tony the Blade:

Thank you to all contributers to this thread.

I just needed to discuss options and you helped the process.

I went for a Zephyros 1 in the end - it's a tent I know very well and like. I managed to get one for £90 so that's even better.

Cheers, TtB


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