Owner Review Black Diamond Lighthouse Tent
Name: Erin Callahan
Height: 5' 8"
Email address: mtpaws@...
City, State, Country: Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Date: 15 July 2005
Backpacking Background: My enthusiasm for the great outdoors
began as a child. Since my first experience with an external
frame backpack and the ability to get deep in the woods, time
has taken me far and created many memories. Some of the
most enjoyable trips have included backpacking to Mt. Whitney
and other state highpoints, trekking in the Himalayas, and
exploring the lush life of the southwestern deserts. In the future,
I hope to prepare myself for the Colorado and Pacific Coast
Trails, as well as continue to discover the little known places of
Black Diamond Lighthouse Tent (2004) MSRP: $369US
Weight with poles: 3lb 3oz (1.44kg)
Packaged weight & size: 3lb 12oz (1.71kg), 6x12in
Area: 30.8 sq. ft
Dimensions: 87x51x43in (221x130x109cm)
Number of poles: 3 DAC featherlites
Number of doors: 1
Vestibule type: clip-on
Excerpt from the site www.bdel.com:
"The largest of the Superlight tents, the Lighthouse is quite
roomy for two people, while still only weighing in at just over
three pounds. Built on the Bibler Eldorado footprint/Ahwahnee
canopy and using the innovative fabrics EPIC and SilNylon along
with strong and light DAC FeatherLite aluminum poles, this tent
is great for minimalist travelers who embrace the "light is right"
ideology. The Lighthouse boasts a full side-door opening with
screen netting, a ceiling that tops out at 43 inches and a small
back window for ventilation. The EPIC fabric canopy breathes
and repels water well while the SilNylon floor keeps the water
out. An exceptional tent if space and weight are your primary
* EPIC fabric, SilNylon and DAC Featherlite poles are the right
* Roomy for two and well-ventilated
* Best choice if space and weight are of primary importance"
Out of the box, the Lighthouse includes a storage bag, poles with
separate bag, stakes, seam sealer with applicator, and owner's
I purchased this tent specifically for a 5-day trip through the
Sierra Nevada mountain range of eastern California. I wanted to
pack "light and fast" and had researched many a tent before
deciding on this particular one. I tried shipping this tent to a CA
address, but since it is not CA certified to be fire retardant, the
manufacturer would not ship it. It will ship to UT though. I am
unsure whether other states have as strict fire laws as CA.
I also purchased the optional vestibule (MSRP: $139US), which
comes with a storage bag, 2 poles, stakes, seam sealer with
applicator, and owner's manual.
In my fury of a packing job, I neglected to seam seal the tent
before leaving on my initiation trip. The owner's manual advises
greatly on seam sealing the tent. However, to my great relief,
during our 5-day trip, where it stormed for several hours each
afternoon, the tent did not leak at all. Upon returning, I seam
sealed the tent for next time, just in case.
The Lighthouse weighs just over 3lbs, a remarkable
accomplishment for a 2-man tent, and fits easily in my backpack.
In fact, its so light, that when set up, I had to put my pack in it to
keep it from blowing away. I like the stuff-it-in feature: there is no
rolling up the tent, just stuff in into the sack and get on your way.
As for the morning dew, with a bright sun the tent will dry rather
quickly, though the floor does takes a bit longer. Hang in on your
pack as you hike to conserve time.
During these sudden alpine storms, I was greatly impressed by
the quickness and ease with which the tent could be set up. The
tent is set up from the inside and can be done single-handedly
in under a minute. Set a stopwatch, its fun! This helped greatly
in keeping us from quickly becoming drenched. Inside, Velcro
loops help to stabilize the poles. They hold very well, almost too
well in that it takes both hands to get them apart, but that's
I've only had to use the stakes one time, and that was because
of wind. There are extra guy line loops on the tent exterior for
extra stability, though it is not a feature I have used yet. These
loops are also reflective, making it easy to find camp at night.
As the manufacturer's website claims, the tent is roomy enough
for 2, though I have on several occasions fit 3 of us skinny
people as sardines in it. We slept comfortably with 3 packs and
wet boots contained in the vestibule.
The tent door encompasses an entire wall of the Lighthouse,
making ventilation seem as if you were in no tent at all. Choose
from the screen-door option, or close the wall up for a little more
seclusion. Ventilation is increased by the adjacent wall's small
window, which allows a gentle cross-breeze. The tent is tall
enough to allow one to sit straight up in, even to squat if one
prefers to spend time that way. This provides a roomy
environment in which to wait out those alpine storms.
Getting in and out of the tent is a snap. With the vestibule
attached, however, it is a little more difficult. The vestibule door
is quite small. I would have perhaps created a door on the
bigger side of the vestibule instead of on the front.
The floor has been durable to withstand backyard lawn, forest
floor, and even desert sand with poky elbows. My dog has even
paraded around inside without puncturing a single hole.
Cleaning is a snap: I wipe it down, inside and out, after each trip
with a wet rag in my living room. Since it sets up and dries so
quickly, cleaning can be done in no time.
The Black Diamond Lighthouse has accompanied me on single
and multi-day trips ranging from 3,000-14,000ft in elevation. It
has performed well in alpine, desert, and urban environments. I
do not intend to use it as a 4-season shelter. It's been in a
backpack and a dry bag. It's seen heat, rain, hail, wind and
beautiful clear skies. With its spacious interior, I never dread the
rainstorm that causes me to rush inside to hideout. I've been
able to set it up in howling winds and rain in less than 5
minutes. I've been able to pack lighter per person by fitting 3 of
us inside. The vestibule is worth the little extra weight and price
if you are expecting bad weather and do not want muddy boots in
the tent with you.
<sum> Quick set-up
<sum> Quick entrance/exit
<sum> Stuff-it-in and go (no rolling)
<sum> Well ventilated
<sum> Durable construction
<sum> Vestibule door is small
<sum> Poles and tent must be packed separately