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Topic: LightHeart owners & users, having an issue, appreciate input< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 5:25 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey all, I just upgraded my tentage to a LightHeart Solo, had it for a week and just been setting it up indoors to test and such. I'm having a slight issue and don't know if it's an actual "problem" or not, curious to hear from those who own or otherwise have experience with LH.

My issue is that the ridge pole "tilts" downward to the door side of the tent (or, you could say it tilts upward to the side of the tent opposite the door). It's not a severe tilt, but enough to notice with the naked eye (perhaps 5° angle?).

The cause of this is not the ridge pole itself because I reversed the ridge pole and yet it still was tilting to the same side of the tent. I have set the trekking pole on the side tilting downward to be a little taller, the result is that the fabric on that side is more taut but the tilt does not level out.

I'm not sure if this could affect the tent's performance or not, if it could be the source of a problem down the line or not. I have communicated with Marc and Judy at LH and they have been very nice about it, but between the three of us we just can't seem to pinpoint the issue.

The "easy" thing to do would be to return it for a new one, but I don't like to do that if I don't have to. On the other hand, I don't want to accept a "defective" product (if it is indeed defective) that I bought brand new.

The only specific potential problem I can anticipate is that when the fly is rolled up on the top ('star-gazing' mode), since the fly is only held up on top by tension I am wondering if the fly might slip off of the down-tilting side (I'm leaving it rolled up overnight to see if it slips down or not). I also am wondering if this tilt might be a potential source of other problems down the road that I just can't think of right now.

I'm trying to figure out if I should keep this tent or ask for a replacement, I can't seam-seal it or use it yet if I want to leave the return option open. At the same time I'm itching to get on the trail with it.

Have any of you had experience with the ridge pole not being level? Has that led to any actual performance issues for you? Any thoughts on whether my circumstance would end up with a problem down the road or not? Other insights and flashes of wisdom?

Otherwise it's a great tent, lots of room for one, packs down incredibly small, and the owners are a pleasure to do business with. Thanks in advance for your input.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 5:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Don't have the tent but I noticed you've set it up only "indoors"? Unless you're sticking nails in your floor (and I wouldn't be surprised at whatever a Gear Forum person were to do.... no judging here) perhaps it's just not tensioned as designed? With fabric structures it's all about the tension and final geometry.

If the weather permits maybe you could grab a light painters drop cloth to keep it clean for a possible return and set it up as you're going to use: out doors on dirt with tent stakes etc. You can stake right through the drop cloth sheet to get the tent setup "normally" as it were.

I've ised gallon water jugs before and most indoor substitutes I've thought of are compromises at best.

ETA: OTOH it's been my experience that other than the occasional laser leveled rice paddy the odds of getting a site that's dead level in all dimensions approaches zero, so some slight deviation from theoretical horizontal with a structural element doesn't strike me as a game changer.  

If there's a "back" pullout maybe tension it a bit to pull the back down and, conversely, the front beak up...

http://www.lightheartgear.com/index.p....s_id=15

I can't see on the photos but on, say, my BA tent there's adjustable straps down at the level of the tent stake loop: tension the back one away from the front of the tent and loosen the "front" one: that would shift the tension balance from front to back and tilt the ridge line away from the front.. As a thought.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 6:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Okay it sets up with trekking poles correct?: it's my experience my poles are hardly ever precisely the same length and were they of different lengths in your setup that would "tilt" the ridgepole one way or another.... which occurs to me would be a method to adjust the tilt: deliberating adjust the pole lengths to get the tilt the way you feel better about it. Shorten the back one and lengthen the front one. That fixed compression element (the pressure down through the fixed pole length) is more of a determinant of how that short top pole will incline than the tension elements at the end of the day absent a lot of lateral flex in one pole versus the other.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 6:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

OK, I lied a tiny bit. Setting it up outdoors voids the return policy, but yes setting it up indoors does not give you the true pitch, so I did pitch it on my large screened-in, roof-covered porch, on top of a thick tarp (more a painter's tarp, definitely not a BP tarp). Plenty of room to spread it out and guy out everything. I guyed out all the lines to various patio chair legs and such (heavy, stay in place). Still possible that the issue is the setup, but I've thought about that and have taken it down and set it back up more than once to see if that helps and it has not -- same tilt each time and always to the same side of the tent.

Good thoughts, but I'm ahead of you on that. Thanks for that input.

Of course the whole tent will be tilted if the campsite isn't level, and that's often the case, but what I'm describing is that the top of the tent is tilting relative to the tent itself and is, to my eye, obvious. I don't have to squint and cock my head and wonder if the top is tilted, I can just look at it and says "hey, it's tilted." And this is pitched on a level surface. Whether it looks tilted or not isn't my concern, I am wondering if there will be any performance issue, now or down the road.

And if I were pounding nails into my own floor, and if you were inclined to judge if I did, would you judge me in more or less favorable light?  :;):


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 6:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If I'm picturing this right, it sounds like the panels were either cut or sewn unevenly?

I would first measure the tent seams.  Take the tent down (you don't want the seams under tension), take the ridge strut/pole out and measure the seam/ridge on the two flies from where it attaches to the body (mine attaches right where the velcro loops are) down to the other end (i.e. right along the zipper.)  Do the same along the body, from the same point to the floor.  Then measure the distance from the center seam to each of the velcro loops (on the inside.)

These measurements should be symmetrical but I'm guessing they're not.  I would email Judy your measurements and see what she thinks.

I really like Lightheart and I've spoken to and exchanged emails with Judy and my experience has been very good.  That said, we're still talking about a $250 tent which is no small thing.  I personally wouldn't accept a mis-cut/sewn product, at least without some adjustment to the price.  And I don't think you should feel bad about insisting on getting the product you paid for.  The standard Solo's are currently being made in China, so it's possible Judy has some recourse if any are made incorrectly.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 6:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

And HSF just see your second post...

Again, thought of that as well, as did LH when I talked to them. Currently have the "back" pole at 130cm as recommended and the "front" pole (tilted-down side) set at 132, attempting to compensate. The fabric is more taut on that side but the tilt doesn't level out.

Which leads me to wonder if there is a fabric panel one side of the tent that is longer/shorter than the matching panel on the other side.

Trekking poles themselves not measuring up is a good suggestion, they have always felt "even" when using them trekking and set to the same height, but I concede that is no test. I'll see if they are in fact the same height when on the same height setting.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 6:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

TF, I was typing at the same time you were, and I'm also wondering if the panels are uneven. Thanks.

TH had a sale over the holidays so snagged the Solo for only $199 (sale price was in standard colors only, I got the green fly with tan floor). But you're right, I deserve to get what I paid for. Marc and Judy have been so nice and responsive that I don't want to ask them to jump through hoops if I don't have to, but I shouldn't compromise on what I paid for either.

I will measure the panels themselves and let you know what I find, thanks.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 6:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

With any trekking pole setup I've used, I had to get a feel for what the structure is doing and adjust accordingly each time.  It got faster and more automatic as I got used to it.  I can't speak for that particular shelter, but I think it holds as a general rule.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 6:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Plan "B"? Quicky send it back for them to check out. Odds are they'll inspect to see if it's spec'd right and go from there....
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 8:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have not had any issues with my Lightheart Solo, but it requires a little more tweaking with my hiking poles than other tents. I have left the tent collapsed for the day while hiking and had no problems reinserting them afterwards and having a sound tent. Did the ridge pole get bent by any chance? The angle of the tubing could be off a little.

I set mine up outdoors on a sheet of tyvek the day I got it to make sure everything was in order.

I agree with what the others said about sending the tent back to Judy to let them check it out soon and if necessary, replace it. Good luck!
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 9:07 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi all, quick update. I measured the panels running up each side, best I could tell they are the same size. Measured my poles and when both set to 130cm they are the same height. I am going to set it up once more, hopefully today, to see if I can "tweak" it as others have noted is often needed for a good setup. If not I will send it back for a replacement. Thanks!

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 11:52 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

See what happens when you shorten the back pole some. That should shift the tilt to the back.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 12:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hmmm... is it possible that you didn't stake out the "diamond" symmetrically?  FWIW, I've barely had to tweak anything when setting up my Solo.  I think it's one of the easiest tarp/tarptents to set up.  But it really helps if the diamond or cross is nice and straight and symmetrical from the beginning, before I set my poles up inside.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 5:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I agree it's an easy setup. I looked at the symmetry of the floor diamond, and I could slide my patio furniture serving as stake points to adjust in case it did not look symmetrical.

HSF, I'll try shortening the back pole, see if that does anything.

Thanks all.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 8:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I adjust my poles "as needed" for a slightly similar shelter: an MLD Solomid. But it being floorless might throw off the comparison as without a floor the geometry is probably more flexible in terms of getting a taught pitch. That and the poles one together at the apex so there's no ridge line to deal with.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 30 2013, 12:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Update/conclusion on the situation with my LH Solo...

I have continued fiddling with it and decided last week to contact Judy and Marc once more. Judy was going to be in the Atlanta area and offered to come by to see the tent in person, which I accepted. She came by on Sat and looked at it, basically she feels that functionally it is fine. Same as when I look at it, from some angles she thought you couldn't even notice the "tilt" but other angles it was noticeable, but still what she considered normal. She raised the possibility that the panels could have been sewn to slightly different sizes. She also pointed out that I could put more tension in my poles -- not having pitched this kind of tent before I had my poles at 130mm as recommended, but the side panels weren't as taut as they could be.

Bottom line I decided this tent is fine and kept it, first round of seam sealer is applied and drying/curing now. How fortunate -- and nice -- for Judy to come see it in person.

Thanks again all for the input.


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