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OWNER REVIEW - BLACK DIAMOND MEGA LIGHT TENT

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  • tennessee_treader
    OR MEGA LIGHT TENT BY JAMES WARBERG OR January 03, 2007 TESTER INFORMATION NAME: James Warberg EMAIL: jimwarberg@juno.com AGE: 46 LOCATION: Memphis, TN GENDER:
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 2, 2007
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      OR MEGA LIGHT TENT
      BY JAMES WARBERG
      OR
      January 03, 2007

      TESTER INFORMATION

      NAME: James Warberg
      EMAIL: jimwarberg@...
      AGE: 46
      LOCATION: Memphis, TN
      GENDER: m
      HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
      WEIGHT: 210 lb (95.30 kg)

      I have 11 years of backpacking experience. I typically make 3-5 trips
      per year. I like to hike the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in
      early spring and late fall. For summer hikes I like to find cooler
      (temperature-wise) destinations, mainly the North Cascades in
      Washington State. I have branched out this year by taking trips to
      Great Basin National Park in Nevada and Rocky Mountains National Park
      in Colorado. I carry a moderately heavy pack when hiking with my sons.
      When hiking with adults, though, I try and pack lightweight. I have
      hiked portions of the AT and PCT and I like to peak bag.


      PRODUCT INFORMATION


      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1">>

      Product Tested:...................Mega Light TENT
      COLOR..............................Sangria & Silver
      DIMENSIONS.....................L x W x H 86 x 86 x 57 inches (218
      x 218 x 145 centimeters)
      MATERIALS......................SilNylon
      WEIGHTS .........................TENT (W/Pole): 1.05 kilograms (2
      pounds 5 ounces)
      Manufacturer......................Black Diamond Equipment, LTD
      Year of Manufacture..........2005
      Manufacturer web site: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.bdel.com">>
      MSRP..................................$229.50 (US)

      Note: Product was returned to manufacturer for refund without
      recording actual weight and dimensions.

      BASIC OVERVIEW

      I bought this tent because I needed something that would hold 3-4
      people and yet be lightweight. The Mega Light Tent sleeps 3 adults
      fairly comfortably. I had need of a tent big enough for me and my
      sons, yet not overly heavy. After much internet searching, I decided
      on the Mega Light & optional floor combination offered by Black
      Diamond. I have logged six trips (15 nights) with this tent in all
      weather conditions and have found it to be a rugged performer in all
      but the last of the field tests.

      FIELD INFORMATION

      Test 1 (Smoky Mountains National Park -Tennessee/USA, Campsite 26,
      3/17/05 –– 3/19/05)
      I pitched the tent for two nights at campsite 26. Temperatures were in
      the 20's F (-6 C) and 30's F (4 C) with intermittent snow and strong
      winds at night (elevation 4,400 ft / 1341m). The tent slept me and MY
      two sons (ages 10 & 12) comfortably. For my first set-up; it went
      smoothly; about 20 minutes to get it ready. The tent utilizes eight
      stakes to anchor it and four to anchor the optional floor, which made
      it very stable when the winds picked up at night. I utilized the
      fiberglass center pole that installs in the center of the tent; there
      was enough room for me on one side of the tent and my two sons on the
      other. The pole option is a bit inconvenient, rather than the no-pole
      option I employed on Test 2. That said, the tent was roomy enough that
      we could play cards inside before going to sleep at night. The
      optional bathtub floor is nice to convert this shelter from a tarp to
      a tent; the floor snugs up nicely to the top to make a comfortable
      abode. The tent stayed reasonabley warm and had plenty of room. All in
      all an excellent light-weight tent for three. I did not have any
      problems with the zippers or tightening straps and the setup was
      obvious without instructions. We did not have rain this trip.

      Test 2 (Horseshoe Basin / Pasayten Wilderness / Washington State / USA
      , 7/18/05 –– 7/21/05)
      This was the "something different" test for this tent. Horseshoe Basin
      is at about 7000 ft (2134 m) elevation and in a semi-arid part of
      Washington State. The nights were warm and calm with no adverse
      weather. The tent slept me and my two sons nicely again side-by-side.
      We utilized a rope to hold the top up tight, rather than the center
      pole; the apex of the tent has a loop to attach a rope that holds the
      tent up, rather than the fiberglass pole inside the tent. This really
      opened up the sleeping area inside the tent. It was this trip that I
      tested the "what to do about the insects" feature of this tent. I did
      not buy the insect net with it, because I didn't want to carry the
      extra weight. I used insect repellent and a face net to protect
      against the mosquitoes and flies that got into the tent. What was
      interesting was that most of the insects stayed on the walls several
      feet above where we slept, so they weren't that big of a problem. The
      bug population was also kept at bay by just zipping the door up and
      tightening the floor up to the walls.

      Test 3 (Enchantment Lakes / Alpine Lakes Wilderness / Washington
      State/USA, 9/8/05 –– 9/10/05)
      I pitched the tent for two nights and gave this tent a good workout.
      Temperatures were, like the Smokies, in the 20's and 30's F (-6 to 4
      C) with intermittent snow and strong winds at night; the winds were
      stronger,I estimate 50+ mph (81 kph), and the snow was intense on the
      second night. I pitched the tent at Snow Lake the first night at
      elevation 5414 ft (1650 m). Instead of using the single tent pole, I
      used the rope loop on the top to pull it up tight to the trees at the
      campsite. Taking the pole out of the middle of the tent made it easy
      to sleep three adult men the first night. Lots of wind on night 1, but
      no precipitation. Once again the stake down design (and roped up top)
      did a great job of holding this tent securely in place and the inside
      was comfortable. The tent has no windows, but does have an air vent at
      the top. Temperatures were good in the tent and the night's sleep was
      good. Setup time was about 20 minutes. The second night was the real
      test for this tent; there was steady the steady estimated windspeed of
      40 to 50 mph (64 to 81 kph) with gusts that must have been 70-80 mph;
      the gust were so strong that some of the free standing tents around
      were trying to tip over with people in them! It was the worst storm
      that I have encountered since I have started hiking.The Megamid stood
      firm on the plot of ground we found near Perfection Lake in the Lower
      Enchantment Basin. It was this trip that I found a short-coming of
      this tent...you have to have soil to drive stakes into to set it up.
      The Enchantment Lakes Basin has a lot of places where you would have
      to set-up on solid rock; only a free-standing tent works in that
      circumstance. With a lack of trees at 7100 ft elevation (2134 m), I
      once again utilized the center pole to support the teepee design. We
      couldn't sleep three men side-by-side this time, because the pole in
      the middle of the tent hits where one of us had slept the night
      before. We were able to sleep two men side by side and one man
      crossways at the feet of the first two men. The second night brought
      four inches of snow along with the strong winds. The tent stood firm
      even with snow piling up on the outside. This tent has no rainfly; the
      tent walls were saturated with moisture but they did not dripping much
      water into the tent regardless. I was concerned that the no rainfly
      design would mean a lot of wetness inside, if it rained. My fear
      proved unfounded, as we stayed quite comfortable and dry until the
      storm broke. I do think that if one of us had to sleep in contact with
      the tent wall that the walls would have given up some water and gotten
      us wet. When packing up the tent during the break in the snow storm, I
      could not squeeze out much excess water from the saturated wall
      material and ended up carrying a couple extra pounds of water that was
      still in the tent material. I had to dry it out once I was back to
      civilization.

      Test 4 (Great Basin National Park, Nevada - Baker Lake Johnson Lake
      Loop/ 6/30/06 to 7/2/06)
      Conditions were dry and dusty; temperatures ranged from 35 to 75 F (2
      to 24 C). Elevations ranged from 8000 to 11295 ft (2438 to 3443 m). I
      Setup the tent in with the inside pole both nights. Trip was
      comfortable with results not differing from the first three tests.

      Test 5 (Upper Lena Lake / Olympic National Park / Washington State /
      USA, 7/31/06 - 8/2/06)
      Conditions were cool and damp (no rain, just fog, mist, and morning
      dew). Temperatures ranged from 30 to 55 F (-1 to 13 C). Elevations
      ranged from 900 to 4100 ft (274 to 1250 m). I setup the tent in with
      the pole both nights for my two sons and me. Trip was comfortable.

      Test 6 (North Inlet -Tonahutu Creek Loop / Rocky Mountains National
      Park / Colorado / USA, 8/27/06 - 9/1/06)
      Conditions varied from hot and dusty, to cold and rainy, to hot with a
      thunderstorm. Night-time temperatures were consistently around 30
      degrees F (-1 C), while day time temperatures ranged from 45 to 80
      degrees F (7 to 27 C). Elevations ranged from 8000 to 12300 ft (2438
      to 3749 m). This trip the tent (using the inside pole option) slept
      two adults comfortably; when sleeping two people there is a nice
      amount of space to store some things in the tent with you. It was this
      trip that the leak developed. The tent wall material began to separate
      near the seam at the apex of the tent. My hiking partner noticed that
      we were getting some water in the tent during the two periods of rain
      we had on this trip; just drips, but enough that it made me curious.
      On closer inspection, I could see the nylon fibers separating and that
      water could leak into the tent. I remedied the leak by strapping a
      plastic bag over the apex of the tent to divert the water below the hole.

      Test 6 Update (12/4/06) I have contacted both Black Diamond and REI
      (Recreational Equipment Inc.) by email about the leak. REI has a 100%
      lifetime guarantee on all items they sell and they responded within an
      hour of the email and told me that I could bring the tent back in
      without the original packaging, which I had thrown away, for a full
      refund or exchange; additionally, they offered to take back the
      undamaged floor and refund my purchase price on it. Black Diamond
      responded within two hours of my email and said that they would
      evaluate the damage to the tent and then decide either to repair it or
      send me a new tent, even though the tent was 6 months past its
      warrantee period. I decided to return the tent tand floor to REI for a
      refund; as they claimed, they refunded my money no questions asked. In
      the correspondence from Black Diamond, they assured me that customer
      satisfaction was their first concern and that they would resolve my
      problem, if REI did not take the tent back.


      THINGS I LIKE ABOUT THE TENT

      The positives of this tent are floor space, head room, and
      wind/weather durability. I love utilizing the no-pole option (holding
      the top up by rope); it offers an incredible amount of floor space.
      The tent did extremely well in the snowstorm I encountered; the steep
      pitch of the pyramid design let the thick wet snow slide off the tent
      with just a few taps on the material from the inside; we never had to
      get out of the tent to clear off the snow.

      The floor is a super option to purchase with this tent; it is
      completely waterproof, yet only weights ~1.5 lbs (680 g). When
      considering buying this tent, I emailed the manufacturer about how
      waterproof the floor was. Black Diamond responded within hours to my
      email and claimed that the floor is essentially impervious to water
      and mud. I believe it after the wet snow I got caught in on my trips
      to the Smoky Mountains and the Enchantment Lakes Basin areas. We were
      comfortably dry even with all the snow melting on and around the tent.
      I highly recommend buying the floor, if you purchase this tent.

      I also liked the breakdown time for the tent. Drop the pole and pull
      the stakes and stuff it in a bag in under 2 minutes. It is great with
      the optional floor, because once you pull the top off you have ready
      access to all of your gear, still on the floor, without the tent
      getting in the way.



      THINGS I DON'T LIKE ABOUT THE TENT

      The setup time of 20 minutes for the tent is too long, in my opinion.
      Part of the problem on setup is adjusting and readjusting the tent
      stakes. I had to keep setting and resetting them until the tent walls
      were taut.

      The tent material saturates with water when it encounters a good rain
      or snow and it is hard to squeeze all the water out while in the
      field. The tent needs time to air out in order to properly dry. This
      added several pounds to my pack weight when packing the tent after the
      snow storm on the Enchantment Lakes trip.

      The fiberglass pole option is not good when sleeping 3 or four adults;
      by being right in the middle of the floor you lose valuable space in
      the center of your tent; When setting up sleeping bags, I noticed that
      the pole forced the bags closer to the walls and the caused me to lose
      space in the middle of the tent that I wanted to use to store gear.

      I reluctantly add the bit about the material wearing out. I was
      disappointed, because I wanted to write an outstanding review of this
      tent. Instead, I am reluctantly noting a premature failure of the
      material.

      Lastly, I think my actions will speak louder than words. After
      returning the Mega Light tent, I purchased a Mountain Hardware Haven 3
      tent from REI. The Haven 3 has a bug net and weighs 5 lbs 8 oz (2.5
      kg). I would say that keeping the bugs out and a fear of premature
      material failure kept me from purchasing another Black Diamond tent.


      SIGNATURE

      James B Warberg, Jr.
      jimwarberg@...



      This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
      Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
    • 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 2 , Jan 2, 2007
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        PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!

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