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OWNER REVIEW - Black Diamond FirstLight Tent

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  • chadbrackelsberg
    Black Diamond First Light Tent Reviewer Information Name: Chad Brackelsberg Age: 32 Gender: Male Height: 6 1 (185cm) Weight: 160lbs (72.5kg) Email address:
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 11, 2005
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      Black Diamond First Light Tent


      Reviewer Information

      Name: Chad Brackelsberg
      Age: 32
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6'1" (185cm)
      Weight: 160lbs (72.5kg)
      Email address: chadbrackelsberg@...
      City, State, Country: Sandy, UT, USA
      Date: July 7, 2005
      Backpacking Background:
      I started backpacking in 1997 while living in Minnesota. From my
      first trip I was hooked. I have spent time backpacking in Minnesota,
      Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho,
      California, Arizona, Thailand, India, and Nepal. My trips have
      ranged from short mileage overnight trips to long mileage day trips
      to 30 days trips covering over 300 miles. I now reside in Utah
      where there is ample opportunity for fantastic mountain and desert
      backpacking as well as high mileage day trips. In Utah I spend all
      of my free time between backpacking, extended day hikes, backcountry
      skiing, alpine climbing, mountain biking and bike touring.


      Product Information

      Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment, LTD
      Year of manufacture: 2004
      URL: www.bdel.com
      Listed weight:
      Tent: 2lbs 11oz (1.21kg)
      Ground Cloth: 9.5oz (270g) (optional)
      Weight as delivered: 3 lbs 6oz (1.53kg) (tent, poles, 6 stakes, guy
      line, and 2 bags)
      Product description:
      The Firstlight tent is Black Diamond's lightest 2 person single
      wall tent. The tent is built with EPIC by Nextec® (canopy) and
      SilNylong (floor) fabrics. The tent is very light, the tent packs
      down to approximately 6 x 12 in (15 x 30 cm) and the poles and
      stakes are about 1.5x16in. (3.8 x 40.6 cm) The tent is small at 27.3
      sq ft and dimensions of 82 x 48 x 42 in (208 x 123 x 107 cm). The
      tent has a bathtub floor. The tent has 2 DAC Featherlight poles and
      a single door. The door zips down with a screen flap that opens for
      ventilation. The tent also has a vent opposite the door for
      ventilation. Inside the tent there are 2 medium sized gear pouches
      (1 on each side) and loops 2/3 of the way up each corner for hanging
      a light, stringing up a cloths line, or the like. Outside, the tent
      has guy loops mid way up each of the 4 corners as well as stake
      loops on each of the 4 corners. The Firstlight also has an
      optional vestibule and ground cloth which I have not tested. The
      tent ships in 2 small sacks (tent in one and 2 poles, 6 stakes, and
      guy lines in the other). The tent must be seam sealed prior to
      using. I also recommend at least 2 additional stakes to accommodate
      the guy lines.


      Field information

      The Firstlight is a new tent for Black Diamond in 2004. The tent
      was acquired in October 2004 and used during a 30 day bike tour
      through the South Island of New Zealand in November and October.
      Since that time the Firstlight has only been used on 2 overnight
      trips in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.

      The Firstlight has seen a variety of weather ranging from light
      snow, torrential rain, extreme wind, to bright and sunny days (which
      are few and far between in November in New Zealand). The tent has
      been used in temperatures ranging from 25F to 80F. The Firstlight
      has been used on hard rocky ground, sandy beaches, and grassy
      meadows ranging from sea level to over 9,000 feet.

      The Firstlight was acquired due to its light weight and price. At
      the time the price to weight ratio was one of the best on the
      market. The tent has mostly been used on a bike tour through the
      South Island of New Zealand. Although this is not a backpacking
      trip, the weather in New Zealand in November is a gear heads dream
      come true and will challenge even the best pieces of gear. The tent
      had to withstand rain, snow, wind and sunshine (sometime all in the
      same day). Since the cycle tour, the tent has been used on 2
      overnight trips in Utah's Wasatch Mountains. The perfect weather of
      the overnight trips was not much of a challenge for the Firstlight.

      Pitching the Firstlight is very simple, the 2 poles setup inside the
      tent by fitting into a metal snap in each corner. There are also 4
      hook and loop closures to keep the poles in place (one in each
      corner). My fear when pitching the tent was that with the light
      EPIC fabric it seemed like the poles could easily be punched through
      the tent walls if care was not taken on setup. With the light
      weight of the tent, the tent must be staked and guyed as even a
      light wind will send it flying.

      In heavy winds, the tent (even when guyed) flattened out, but it was
      still stable and sustained no damage even after several nights of
      heavy winds.

      In rain, the Firstlight did have some leakage around the metal snaps
      in each corner. This should have been able to be prevented by more
      careful seam sealing, but I have not been able to prove this theory.

      On cold nights, there was some condensation that formed in the tent
      when there were 2 people sleeping in it. I have not slept in the
      tent alone, but with less body heat in the tent, I do not think
      there would be a condensation problem. At all other times the tent
      seemed to have very good ventilation and stayed cool on warm nights.

      The Firstlight is a little bit short for my 6'1" frame, when lying
      on my back my feet would touch one end and my head the other. I
      sleep on my side so this was not a problem.

      With 2 people in the tent, there is very little gear storage space
      so if you want you gear inside, be prepared to pack it in around you.


      Summary

      The performance of the Firstlight was above average. I would highly
      recommend this tent for Ultralight backpacking in dry climates or
      when in any climate when weight is of essence and you are willing to
      take a change with dampness. I would not recommend this tent for
      extended mountain or alpine trips when rain is eminent.

      Positives
      • Light weight
      • Ease of setup
      • Small packing size

      Negatives
      • Small size
      • All seams needed to be seam sealed
    • chcoa
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 12, 2005
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        PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!

        Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner
        Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. Do not
        worry if nothing happens with it for several days. All our Editors
        are volunteers and your report will be subject to an official edit
        within fourteen days. If you have not had a response from an Edit
        Moderator via the Yahoo Groups list within this timeframe, please let
        me know directly at jdeben@....

        To assist in this process, if this is your first Owner Review we ask
        that you post only ONE Owner Review for edit at a time. Our
        experience is that it is more efficient for both the Editors and
        yourself, if you post your first review, have it edited, approved and
        uploaded before you post your second and subsequent reviews. This
        way we can work with you on addressing any standard BGT policy edits
        which you can incorporate into your second and subsequent reviews
        before submission.

        If you are new to BackpackGearTest.org, welcome to the community!
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        manner. Once these first two Owner Reviews have been approved and
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        start applying for Tests.

        You may receive edits or comments from other members of the group.
        These edits and comments, while not official, should be considered
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        Regards
        Jamie DeBenedetto
        Edit Administration Officer
      • colonelcorn76
        Hi Chad, Nice job here. My edits are below and once you ve had a chance to make the appropriate changes please repost this to the group with REPOST in the
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 13, 2005
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          Hi Chad,

          Nice job here. My edits are below and once you've had a chance to make
          the appropriate changes please repost this to the group with REPOST in
          the subject line. At the same time if you could post an HTML version
          to the Test\Owner Review section of BGT we should be able to wrap this
          up pretty quickly. If everything checks out, I'll be able to give you
          instructions on where & how to upload it to its permanent home at BGT.

          Thanks again for the nice job.

          Jim
          Edit Moderator

          --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "chadbrackelsberg"
          <chadbrackelsberg@y...> wrote:
          > Black Diamond First Light Tent

          ### Add "Owner Review" to the title please.

          > Height: 6'1" (185cm)
          > Weight: 160lbs (72.5kg)

          ### Space between the # and the unit abbreviations (e.g. 185 cm)

          > ranged from short mileage overnight trips to long mileage day trips
          > to 30 days trips covering over 300 miles. I now reside in Utah

          ### "30-day"

          > Tent: 2lbs 11oz (1.21kg)
          > Ground Cloth: 9.5oz (270g) (optional)
          > Weight as delivered: 3 lbs 6oz (1.53kg) (tent, poles, 6 stakes, guy
          > line, and 2 bags)

          ### space before unit abbreviations...also, what're the actual weights
          for tent & ground cloth? MSRP?

          > Product description:
          > The Firstlight tent is Black Diamond's lightest 2 person single
          > wall tent. The tent is built with EPIC by Nextec® (canopy) and
          > SilNylong (floor) fabrics. The tent is very light, the tent packs

          ### "SilNylon"

          > down to approximately 6 x 12 in (15 x 30 cm) and the poles and
          > stakes are about 1.5x16in. (3.8 x 40.6 cm) The tent is small at 27.3

          ### "1.5 x 16 in" and "cm)."

          > ventilation. Inside the tent there are 2 medium sized gear pouches
          > (1 on each side) and loops 2/3 of the way up each corner for hanging

          ### Got any measurements on "medium"?

          > a light, stringing up a cloths line, or the like. Outside, the tent

          ### "clothesline"

          > guy lines in the other). The tent must be seam sealed prior to
          > using. I also recommend at least 2 additional stakes to accommodate
          > the guy lines.
          >

          ### What did you use for sealing the seams? Did it work
          satisfactorily? Did BD ship the seam sealer with the tent or did you
          have to buy it separately?

          >
          > Field information
          >
          > The Firstlight is a new tent for Black Diamond in 2004. The tent

          ### "was a new"

          > are few and far between in November in New Zealand). The tent has
          > been used in temperatures ranging from 25F to 80F. The Firstlight

          ### Celcius conversion needed here.

          > has been used on hard rocky ground, sandy beaches, and grassy
          > meadows ranging from sea level to over 9,000 feet.

          ### Metric conversion needed here.

          >
          > The Firstlight was acquired due to its light weight and price. At

          ### Noted above, but you're missing the MSRP.

          > the time the price to weight ratio was one of the best on the
          > market. The tent has mostly been used on a bike tour through the
          > South Island of New Zealand. Although this is not a backpacking
          > trip, the weather in New Zealand in November is a gear heads dream

          ### "gearhead's dream"

          > In heavy winds, the tent (even when guyed) flattened out, but it was
          > still stable and sustained no damage even after several nights of
          > heavy winds.

          ### Any idea how "heavy" the winds were? How "flattened" was it --
          pancake type flat?

          >
          > In rain, the Firstlight did have some leakage around the metal snaps
          > in each corner. This should have been able to be prevented by more
          > careful seam sealing, but I have not been able to prove this theory.
          >

          ### You didn't try re-sealing the corners? Why not?

          > On cold nights, there was some condensation that formed in the tent
          > when there were 2 people sleeping in it. I have not slept in the
          > tent alone, but with less body heat in the tent, I do not think
          > there would be a condensation problem. At all other times the tent
          > seemed to have very good ventilation and stayed cool on warm nights.
          >

          ### What were the approximate temps of "cold" and "warm"? Freezing and
          summer?

          > The Firstlight is a little bit short for my 6'1" frame, when lying
          > on my back my feet would touch one end and my head the other. I
          > sleep on my side so this was not a problem.
          >

          ### How tall does is it inside? Can you sit up?

          > With 2 people in the tent, there is very little gear storage space
          > so if you want you gear inside, be prepared to pack it in around you.

          ### Please rephrase without the use of "you" to forestall projecting
          your experience on readers.

          > take a change with dampness. I would not recommend this tent for
          > extended mountain or alpine trips when rain is eminent.

          ### "imminent."

          >
          > Positives
          > • Light weight

          ### "Lightweight"
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