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Topic: Regarding the Black Diamond Firstlight tent, How does it do in the rain?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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uproar Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 9:23 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Greetings,
I have an opportunity to purchase a slightly used, good condition, Black Diamond Firstlight tent, the newer version with the NanoShield fabric, already seam sealed.  I've read some very mixed online reviews as to its performance in the rain, both light and heavy, as well as how it handles condensation.  Some reviewers declare that it does beautifully in the rain once it is seam sealed, with no leakage; others claim that one might as well be sleeping under the stars, and all seem quite sincere.  I would be using it as a one-person tent--I've used a Bibler I-tent for years, which is basically the same design, and am very impressed by the weight savings of the Firstlight, but I live in the Pacific Northwest and do not wish to get soaked in the first rainstorm.  Curious as to whether or not anyone out there has experience with the Firstlight and what they could tell me.  Thanks in advance!
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BCPete1 Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 10:31 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My wife & I pretty much use our Bibler Eldorado tent exclusively here in the Cdn Rockies (Jasper & west into BC mostly). We have used the Lighthouse tent from BD (earlier version of the tent you're talking about I believe). Let's just say there's no comparison. If we have an absolute perfect forecast then we might consider the Lighthouse, but when it starts raining (even just a bit) then we regret not bringing the Eldo.

I think we've used the Lighthouse just once in the past couple of years - and that was because a marmot destroyed our Eldo (last July), and it took 3 weeks to get our new Eldo in and seam sealed.

The newer tent versions from BD might be better, but if you're used to the I-Tent then I doubt they will live up to your quality expectations. Our Eldo (in a OR dry sack) only weighs 5.25lbs total. The sacrifices to shave weight by ditching our Eldo don't equal the quality hit we'd have to take to go down to one of the ligher BD tents. If you soloing in your I-Tent, then I'd stick with that - a one pound or so savings just isn't worth it IMO. It's hard to go from a Porsche to a Hyundai!


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BradMT Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 8:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

uproar, I just sold my old Firstlight after 7 years of use. Great tent that I used above timberline in heavy wind and occasionally heavy rain and snow. Stayed dry in it no matter the deluge. But bear in mind I'm in Montana. Our rains can be 1 - 6 hours normally in the summer and 6 hours of heavy rain is about the max I experienced in the Firstlight.

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rayestrella Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 8:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Isn't the newer models a different fabric? I have never used any of the BD mountain but have the Bibler with its Todd-Tex. You need answers from the folks with the NanoShield. I too have heard that it does great in snow but not that well in rain.

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vinovampire Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 8:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have the newer version of the Firstlight, but have never used it during an extended rain, since it's my winter tent. Using it during for 3-season camping has never crossed my mind, since I typically use tarps. Since tarp-type shelters allow for greater modification, space, and airflow, they seem like a better choice to me then the "tight," single-walled Firstlight. For climbers who need to setup on tiny ledges, I could see the summer-time appeal of the FL.

Overall, it's a nice tent to have if it fits your needs. That's my 2 cents. Hope it helps.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 9:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(rayestrella @ Nov. 28 2012, 6:25 pm)
QUOTE
I have never used any of the BD mountain .

Then why are you interjecting on this thread?

Usual self-aggrandizement?


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rayestrella Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 9:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No, is your tent NanoShield?

If not why did you answer? The usual (put whatever you want in here Mr. Happy)?

I could have said, "Yes I have a Bibler, which is owned by BD, yada, yada, yada" but did not. I explained my use and what I have heard about the NanoShield in rain.

The OP is in the PNW. It rains a lot there. He needs real answers about the tent he is looking at. Yours doesn't fit the bill any more than mine does Brad. At least I said so.

Go back to your happy life... ;-)


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 01 2012, 1:46 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We have a BD Guiding Light 4-person tent. It's basically a very large Firstlight. It has and is still serving us well for family backpacking. Since we live in Utah we have no super rain events in comparison to your probable venue. I'd stick with the Bibler...but. I sold my Bibler Eldorado at Second Tracks after twenty years of extended service. I upgraded to the Hilleberg Atko. Had a TNF Solo-12 which was very unsatisfactory mostly due to condensation. That was retired after one year. The Atko has no noticeable condensation, can get rained on to the max and holds up to high winds. I'd go Bibler if winter or high altitude is required for a quiver of one scenario. The Hilleberg Atko or Unna solo tents may cost more but the attention to detail and engineering design, with light weight is the total package. IMHO. There are a lot of good tents on the market. Good luck!
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 01 2012, 11:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thank you all for the helpful advice.  I went ahead and took the plunge and bought the Firstlight.  It's been a strategy of mine in the past to buy gently used, already seam-sealed single-wall tents, because I despise doing my own seam-sealing.  I live in Central Washington, where the rain isn't quite so legendary as it is in the coastal areas, and being a bit of a wimp, if I can expect torrential conditions on a particular weekender, I probably won't go at all.  So I think that the Firstlight should suit my needs most of the time.  My tent of choice over last summer was a BD Ahwahnee, again purchased slightly used and already seam-sealed (can't beat that!), which is a fantastic tent, but just a bit too heavy.  I have an old Sierra Designs Divine Lightning, which weighs only about a kilogram, but it's just a bit too cramped for comfort--the Firstlight seems like a perfect compromise.  Thanks again for the help!
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 01 2012, 12:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

QUOTE
...and being a bit of a wimp, if I can expect torrential conditions on a particular weekender, I probably won't go at all...
Well, I'm sort of a wimp myself, and, given the reputation of the fabric (esp. the older yellow Epic), that's probably a reasonable decision.

Here's what I do, however, (with the somewhat *important* caveat that the rains are not nearly as torrential here as in the PNW) - I have a couple of the old Epic-skinned Lighthouses, one of which I got on sale after they discontinued them, and a OneShot.

They're light and airy (I think), but if I suspect that I'll get more than just a small amount of rain, I take a poncho or tarp to make a vestibule (I have a "storebought" vestibule for the Lighthouse, but it's heavy.) and also use that as a makeshift "fly" over the tent if it looks like "heavy rain".

I've even done this with a mesh interior on other tents - the SD Lightning (old, old) particularly. Makes for a more flexible, though potentially too airy, depending on conditions, "fly".

But then I don't live in the PNW, and I don't really know what I'm talking about, do I?. :)
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2012, 12:02 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

So I received my Firstlight yesterday.  Very impressed with the weight and packability--3lbs., 2 oz. by my scale.  Setup in the living room was very easy--easier than my I-tent, which has Fibraplex poles that are just a teensy bit too long, which makes the pitch very difficult and extremely taut.  The fabric seems a bit insubstantial to me--hard to get a sense that it's really very waterproof, although it certainly looks "breathable"--I suppose I will find out.  The tent is seam-sealed, but I'm not really impressed with the job done--I might have to redo it myself, sometime during the months I have before I backpack again--not a task I enjoy.  All in all, I'm pleased with it so far, with some reservations.  I don't think I'm going to seek the worst possible weather conditions to try it out in.  Thanks for all the good advice!
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