OR- Big Sky Summit Evolution Improved 1P 1D 1V Shelter- Ralph Ditton
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BIG SKY SUMMIT EVOLUTION IMPROVED 1P 1 D 1V SHELTER
OWNER REVIEW BY RALPH DITTON
DATE: 27th February, 2009
Summit Evolution 1P 1D 1V Shelter
Summit Evolution 1P 1D 1V Shelter
Name: Ralph Ditton
Height: 1. 76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight: 71 kg (156.5 lb)
Email: rdassetts at optusnet dot com dot au
City: Perth. Western Australia. Australia
My playgrounds are the Bibbulmun Track and the Coastal Plain Trail. I
aim to become a sectional end-to-end walker of the Bibbulmun Track. I am
nearly there as it is 964 km (603 mi) long. My pack weight including
food and water tends to hover around 18 kg (40 lb) but I am trying to
get lighter. My trips range from overnighters to five days duration.
Manufacturer: Big Sky Products - Jackson, Wyoming - USA
Manufacturers website: http://www.bigskyproducts.com/
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Made in: China.
Model:Summit Evolution Improved 1P 1D 1V Shelter
Colour: Granite Grey
Sleeping capacity: 1
Number of poles: 2
Pole choice: Aluminium or Carbon
Aluminium poles: 7075 - T9 Easton main tube 8.74 mm (0.344 in)
7075 - T9 Easton insert tube 7.07 mm
Tensile strength of aluminium pole: 67 Kg/mm² (96,000 PSI)
Rainfly fabric: 30 D Silnylon
Inner fabric: No-see-um mesh
Floor fabric: 30 D Silnylon
ShelterSavers ground sheet with webbing tie straps
Factory seamed sealed: yes
Zips: 2 YKK on the inner and 1 YKK on the fly.
MSRP: Shelter with aluminium poles only: US$249.95
Shelter with a set of carbon and aluminium poles: US$349.95
Carbon Poles only: US$100
ShelterSavers ground sheet without grommets: US$14.95
Shelter without accessories + carbon poles : 916 g (2 lb 0.3 oz)
Shelter without accessories + aluminium poles : 1. 05 kg (2 lb 4.9 oz)
Pole diameter: Aluminium 8.74 mm (0.344 in)
Carbon 7.42 mm (0.292 in)
Floor length and tapered width dimensions: 213 cm x 91 cm x 61 cm (84 in
x 36 in x 24 in)
ShelterSaver length and tapered width dimensions: 200 cm x 79 cm x 53
cm (79 in x 31 in x 21 in)
Peak height: 99 cm (39 in)
Floor area: 1.62 sq m (17.5 sq ft)
Vestibule area: 0.84 sq m (9 sq ft)
Packed size: 13 cm x 48 cm (5 in x 19 in)
Accessories: 2 Easton aluminium stakes and 6 Ti Stakes kit: 77g (2.7 oz)
4 reflective spectra guy lines with 4 Easton
aluminium stakes kit: 61 g (2.1 oz)
Weight of Rainfly: 342 g (12.06 oz)
Weight of Inner: 376 g (13.26 oz)
Weight of Aluminium poles: 338 g (11.92 oz)
Weight of Carbon poles: 216 g (7.61 oz)
Weight of repair sleeve: 8 g (0.28 oz)
Weight of stuff sack: 35 g (1.23 oz)
Weight of ShelterSaver ground sheet with webbing tie straps: 74 g (2.6 oz)
Weight of shelter without accessories + aluminium poles:1 kg 56 g (2.33 lb)
Weight of shelter without accessories + carbon poles : 934 g (2.05 lb)
Weight of shelter in my backpack with aluminium poles and the two above
stake and guy line kits: 1 kg 198 g (2.64 lb)
Length of tent poles fully extended: Aluminium 3m 615 mm (11 ft 10½ in)
Carbon 3m 630mm (11 ft 11 in)
Length of each pole section: Aluminium 445 mm (1 ft 5½ in)
Carbon 457 mm (1 ft 6 in)
Repair sleeve : 126 mm (5 in) long
Floor area inside inner: 213 cm (long) x 91 cm (head end) x 61 cm (foot
end) (84 in x 36 in x 24 in)
Inner door: 109 cm long x 80 cm high (43 in x 31.5 in)
Peak height inside inner: 1 m (39 in)
Pocket in inner at the head end: 55 cm long (base) x 19.5 cm high x 38.5
cm opening x 21 cm (21.6 in x 7.6 in x 15 in x 8.3 in)
Pocket in inner at foot end: 51 cm long (base) x 27 cm high x 35.5 cm
opening x 32 cm (20 in x 10.6 in x 14 in x 12.5 in)
Diameter of repair sleeve: 9 mm (3/8 in) inside
11 mm (7/16 in) outside
Diameter of tent poles: Aluminium 8 mm (6/16 in)
Carbon 7 mm (5/16 in)
Roughly measured for each vestibule area: 0.79 sq m (8½ sq ft)
Number of pole sections per tent pole: 9
Internal loops in Inner: 7
The Big Sky Summit Evolution Improved 1P 1D 1V shelter is a one person,
free-standing, one door, one vestibule shelter with an inner and a
rainfly. In fact, there is a de facto vestibule also on the non-door
side. Due to the cut of the rainfly (hereinafter known as "fly") there
is an excess of material that requires the fly to be stretched out and
pegged. This created the de facto vestibule which is the same in area as
the legitimate vestibule on the door side. To gain access and put items
in there, I have to lift the stake loop over the tent peg and lift the
fly up. When finished, I just slip the stake loop back over the tent
peg. There is no zippered access to it.
A) The fly.
The colour of the fly is Granite Grey and the material is silnylon, but
to me it looks like a very light olive green and I find that it is a
very pleasing colour. There are four plastic/nylon type material dog
clips that clip onto the respective loops on the inner. There is one on
each corner. Two at one end of the fly are attached to red strips of
material that are sewn to the edge of the fly. The other two clips at
the other end are attached to black strips. This is the colour coding to
match the fly to the inner as there are red and black strips on the
corners there also. There are four cord tie down points around the
perimeter of the fly. They are all halfway on each side The door entry
runs vertically from the base to the vent at the top. Underneath the
flap covering the zipper there are two small patches of hook and loop,
one at the bottom and the other about halfway. So when I go to open the
fly I have to break apart these two patches so that the fly can be
opened for me to get in and out of. The zipper pulls are yellow cord
with a reflective strip woven into them. There is one for the outside
and one for the inside of the tent. At the top of the fly there is a
vent that can be propped open by a little rod covered in silnylon that
has a foot of loop that marries up with a patch of hook on the other
edge of the vent. The vent can only be opened so far because there is a
strip of black ribbon that is attached to both sides of the vent. Along
the four outside edges where the poles go behind, there is a reflective
strip about halfway along. On the door side immediately above these
reflective strips there is a toggle which marries up with a loop on the
underside to keep the door open when rolled back. The fly is further
secured to the poles by way of a wrap around hook and loop system. They
are around halfway along the stand up sewn seams. The final piece de
resistance is the "Egyptian Eye" window sewn and seam sealed into the
fly. It is 24 cm long and at the highest point 10 cm (9.5 in x 4 in). At
certain spots along the seam I can see where the seam sealing brushwork
was a bit dodgy as it has intruded onto the window from between a half
and full brush width of 8 mm (0.3 in). The bottom edge is the one mostly
B) The inner.
The tub floor is made out of silnylon and is navy blue in colour. The
height of three of the sides are 17 cm (6.7 in) and the head end is 24
cm (9.4 in). From the four corners of the tub floor are two strips of
material that are joined to a piece of webbing that has a grommet and
elastic loop. The grommet hole is for the end of the tent pole to hook
into and the webbing is an anchor point for a tent peg. When stretched
out fully the straps form a triangle with the side of the tub floor
forming the vertical base. At the foot end, two of the straps are red
for the colour coding match up with the fly.
Stitched to the tub is a canopy made of no-see-um mesh. Attached to the
outside of the canopy along the seams that run diagonally form corner to
corner are the pole clips that hook onto the tent poles. There are
fourteen of them. At the very apex, instead of a pole clip there is a
loop and buckle. This is where the poles cross over. Just like on the
fly and in the same position, there are four reflector tabs that serve a
purpose when the inner is being used only.
The door is quite generous in size. It is 80 cm (31.5 in) high and 109
cm (43 in) long at the deepest part. The end that opens is gently
curved. The two door zippers have two reflective loops attached to them.
One for the inside and the other for the outside operations. Inside the
tent there are two pockets whose dimensions are mentioned above under
"Lengths". They are both on the door side of the canopy. There are seven
loops along the seams. Four of them are clustered in such a way that
they are anchor points for a gear loft. There is one loop that is at the
very apex of the canopy and the other two are located 40 cm (15.7 in)
above the tub line at the head end. To hold the rolled open door
together, there is a toggle and loop arrangement to facilitate this.
I contacted the manufacturer to find out the denier of the silnylon, the
weight of the fabric per square metre and tear strength. I was advised
that the nylon is 30 denier with silicone coating on both sides. The
manufacturer does not give out the exact weight of the fabric per square
metre expressed as g/m² (grams per square metre) nor tear strength.
However, the manufacturer advises that the material is light weight and
strong or stronger than similar fabric used in other shelters on the
market. In addition I asked if the floor has a very high puncture and
abrasion resistance. The response was that they use the strongest nylon
yard in their fabric for strength and abrasion resistance.
I have an original model of this tent and there are a number of
alterations and new features in the "Improved" version.
The differences are set out below:
Weight 392 g (13¾ oz)
342 g (12¼ oz)
Vent No strap across the base.
Strap across the base.
Window Larger. 26.5 cm x 12 cm (10.4 in
x 4.7 in) Smaller 24 cm x 10 cm (9.5 in x 4 in)
Weather flap over Opens to the left.
Opens to the right.
Stake out points No loops at halfway point at base
on Loops at halfway point at base on all four sides.
front and rear.
Tent pole set up Grommets at each corner for the
Clips at each corner that clip onto the inner.
pole tips to lock into.
Weight 464 g (1 lb 3/8 oz)
376 g (13¼ oz)
Tent pole set up Two pole sleeves.
Fourteen pole clips.
Pockets Two. One the same size as in the
Two. One the same as in the old version. The other pocket
new version. The other
is a very large is very much smaller. Both on the same side.
triangular pocket. On
My first trip with this tent was for two days and one night and took
place on the Bibbulmun Track around the Murray River campsite.
Temperatures during the hike ranged from 28 C to 33 C (82 F to 91 F).
Humidity I estimated was around 70% judging by the amount sweat on my
clothes. Elevations ranged from 143 m to 280 m (467 ft to 919 ft). The
Ultra Violet Index peaked at 9 which is very high. During the evening
when I went to bed around 8.30 pm I estimated the temperature to be
about 18 C (64 F). I had the tent door on the fly zippered closed and
the vent open. I did not leave the tent during the night, but when I got
up at 6 am I noticed that there was a light mist present. I checked
under the fly and sure enough, there was a very thin film of
condensation that left a track in it when I drew my finger through it.
When I was packing up the tent I gave the fly a good few flicks but did
not notice any moisture flying away from the fabric. I was impressed
with the two vestibules. I utilized both of them and the lifting up of
the tent peg loop over the tent peg to gain access to the gear did not
irritate my emotional well being. I had to go back and forth getting
stuff as the afternoon progressed. Yes, I could have left the vestibule
collapsed until I went to bed, but I liked the look of it fully pegged out.
There were a lot of flies and very small biting insects but they did not
gain access to the interior of the inner canopy although they buzzed and
crawled around on the outside of the no-see-um mesh. I had a very sound
My next trip was over the Easter break at Greens Island in the south
west of Western Australia. This was a four day, three night camp out. I
found a nice spot to pitch the tent just under a low hanging pine tree
branch. For the first two nights it rained but not heavily. Just a
steady patter on the tent fabric which was very soothing to listen to.
Temperatures overnight averaged around 10 - 12 C (50 - 54 F). I had the
vent open on all nights and no rain entered through it. Due to the high
humidity and relatively still nights I was very surprised to find that
there was no condensation inside on the fly, nor did the no-see-um mesh
feel damp. The window was not much help as it was fogged over from the
rain. On the morning when it did not rain overnight the window looked
opaque and I couldn't see too much through it. During the day little
ants tried to get inside the tent. All that they succeeded in doing was
to craw all over the fly. I sprayed the fly fabric with my personal
insect repellent which has the active ingredient of picaridin. It is
tropical strength at 14.25%. I sprayed the tent on all three days. No
damage was suffered by the fabric. When I got home, I washed the fly in
warm water only to clean off the spray and dirt that had adhered to it
after being wet. The rain beaded well on the fabric.
The next trip was to the Granite Monolith area south of Perth. This was
an overnighter. The overnight temperature from 7 pm to 6 pm when it was
dark ranged from a high of 18 C (64 F) to a low of 12 C (53 F). Relative
Humidity was stuck around 88% and it was very still with a clear sky.
What this meant was that there was condensation on the tent even before
I went to bed. Everyone's tent was wet before they got into theirs as we
all commented about it. Needless to say, condensation also formed on the
inside and where the inner touched against the fly it got wet. Some
moisture did fall onto my sleeping bag but did not affect the down due
to the waterproofing material of the sleeping bag. I did not have the
choice of a large area to pitch the tent as the ground was sloping and
had a lot of spiky short bushes. When I put my hand down on the ground
it got pricked by very tiny little spikes like the very fine hairs from
a blister bush. I swept the ground as best as I could. I did not carry a
ground sheet so the floor of the tent went directly onto the ground. M
sleeping bag and mat fitted very well inside the tent without either end
touching the ends. This prevented the inner being pushed au against the
fly and getting wet there. I placed my backpack in the de facto
vestibule and the pack touched against the fly and it got wet where it
touched. Moisture did not penetrate inside the pack. In the morning when
I was packing up I noticed that a little bush had managed to puncture
the floor, leaving a tiny pinprick of a hole. As the fly was very wet I
flicked as much water off it as I could when packing up. In the process
I got a good drenching also.
Summit Evolution 1P 1D 1V Shelter
Summit Evolution 1P shelter
Upon returning home I washed the tent in plain luke warm water to clean
it up as dirt had stuck to the floor.
After this trip I purchased the new ground sheet designed for this model
tent. It is called "ShelterSavers ground sheet" The model that I
purchased does not have any grommets to hook onto the pole tips. Mine
has coloured tapes which indicate which end they tie to. They match up
with the colour coding straps on the inner. The ground sheet is tapered
to match the base of the tent; wide at the head and narrow at the foot end.
ShelterSaver ground sheet
ShelterSaver ground sheet
The photo below shows the tie for the ground sheet. The red tie matches
the red strap so I have the ground sheet at the right end.
ties on ground sheet
ties on ground sheet
On my next outing to the Coastal Plain where elevations range from 20 m
to 80 m (65 ft to 197 ft) and the soil is very sandy. The trip lasted
three nights and it rained on the last night whilst I was inside the
tent. Overnight temperatures over the three nights ranged from a low of
0.3 C to a high of 10.8 C (32.5 F to 51.5 F). (Source. Bureau of
When I erected the tent, I noticed that the window had a patchy milky
look. I tried rubbing it with a cloth and tissues, all to no avail. It
would appear that the plastic of the window has been "bruised" in places
thereby causing the milky appearance. I have notified the manufacturer.
The plastic is very soft and pliable in my fingers, whereas on the old
version the plastic is stiffer and is still very clear.
window with milky look
window with milky look
The orange colour seen through the window is my sleeping bag.
I heard back from the manufacturer very quickly who asked that I send
the fly back to them so that they could examine the window and replace
it with a clear window.
After a few weeks the fly was returned with a new window. There is no
cloudiness at all in the new window. I was extremely pleased with the
turn around time and quick response to my problem. The only expense that
I suffered was the postage cost to America which came in around AU$10.
As this tent is a single person tent, there is not a lot of room left
inside after putting my sleeping mat and sleeping bag inside. I always
place a relatively full clothing stuff sack behind my pillow so that it
fills the gap between the end of my mat and the wall of the tent so that
the pillow does not end up on the floor of the tent during the night.
looking inside the tent
looking inside the tent
During the course over the three nights I only experienced a very thin
film of condensation on the underside of the fly for two of those
nights. The first night and the last night. The Dew Point got close to
the temperature on a few occasions. The first night the Dew Point was
0.2 C (32 F) and the temperature was 1.5 C (35 F) at 1 am. The closest
the Dew Point got on the second night was 2.7 C (37 F) when the
temperature was 5.1 C (41 F) at 10 pm. The final night was when it
rained. The Dew Point was 9 C (48 F) and the temperature was 10.7 C (51
F) at 6 am whilst the humidity was 94%.
The fly was very wet on the outside surface so I had to flick off as
much water as I could before packing the tent away. I packed the inner
away separately as I did not want to get it wet also.
rain on fly
rain on fly
Subsequent outings have been to my favourite retreat at Prickly Bark on
the Coastal Plain Trail where I love to go and chill out. There is a
three sided shelter at the campsite but I prefer the tent as it offers
protection from the flies, wasp and ticks that inhabit the area.
Yes, I have had condensation issues on cool, dew laden still nights, but
I have experienced this problem with other tents also, so it is not a
fault of the tent. This comes with camping in a tent because hot air
from a persons breath and body heat from the head and face will react
with the cool air inside a tent and start to warm up the interior
causing the condensation.
I have had this tent for over a year now and have used it extensively
during the year at various locations in Western Australia.
The performance has been excellent and I love the size of the vestibule
space on the door side and the de facto vestibule on the other side
which is created when the fly is pegged out. It is a good place to store
my backpack and boots so that they are out of the way as I don't use
them whilst in camp. I always have camp boots/shoes for around camp and
they live in the vestibule on the door side together with my cooking
gear, stove, fuel, pot and eating utensils.
I alternate between the carbon and aluminium poles just to give them
both equal usage.
Recently, I used the older version to see if I missed it and yes I did
as I love them both. What I would love to see is the larger pocket on
the older version incorporated in the newer version. I doubt that there
would be any weight gain. The larger pocket is great for placing a damp
shirt in the pocket to assist with drying during the night.
What type of pole assembly do I prefer? Pole sleeves or clips? On
balance, probably the clips. It is definitely much easier to erect and
pull down using the clips. With the pole sleeve, the pole tip is
scraping along the top of the pole sleeve when it reaches the top of the
tent and then starts to bend over to go down the other side. I have to
be careful that I do not punch or wear a hole through the sleeve and I
have to assist it in the latter stages of feeding it through the sleeve
as it can bunch up.
The follow up service by the manufacturer was excellent and this speaks
volumes about them caring for their product.
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