Gear Review: Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Tent

Camping shelters are as diverse as the backpackers who carry them. From freestanding tents to trekking pole setups, from tarps to hammocks to plain old cowboy camps, there are endless ways to sleep in the backcountry. The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo tent, a single-walled shelter that uses a single trekking pole for support, offers hikers a happy middle ground between many of these options: a lightweight, roomy tent that doesn’t break the bank.

Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Technical Specifications

Materials: 20-40D silicone polyester
Weight: 26 oz. (stakes and footprint not included)
Floor space: 26 square feet
Peak height: 48 inches
MSRP: $200

Circumstances of Review

A good shelter holds up over time under a variety of conditions. I took this tent rim-to-rim at the Grand Canyon, slept in it at high elevation in New Mexico’s Pecos Wilderness, and brought it on an extended backcountry trip in northern California’s Redwoods National Park to make sure it got a thorough test.

Features

Floating floor

  • Bathtub floats above ground under no tension, increasing ventilation and reducing risk of punctures.

Floating canopy

  • Raised canopy maximizes ventilation and can be adjusted easily along guyline.

48″ Peak Height

  • 49–inch trekking pole center support provides four feet of vertical height at peak.
  • Peak vent, large mesh door and mesh lining around bathtub provide airflow.

Pros

Roomy

With 26 square feet of floor space and 48 inches of headroom, this tent is palatial for one person. A tall hiker should be able to stretch out comfortably in this tent with all their gear inside and sit up straight without brushing the ceiling. It’s also wide enough that those who hike with their dogs may find they can sleep comfortably with their best friends beside them in the Lunar Solo. The vestibule offers an additional 8.5 square feet of storage space for gear best left outside.

Adjustable Tie-Downs

Keeping a taut pitch can be a pain, especially when windy weather buffets your tent walls or rocky soil limits stake placement options. The adjustable tie-downs at each corner of the Lunar Solo mean you won’t have to move your stakes five times to achieve the proper tension.

Good Visibility

One common complaint about single-walled tents is that they lack visibility. The large mesh door of this tent solves that problem. With the vestibule open, it affords its occupant a great view of their campsite and the night sky from the snug warmth of the interior.

Fast, Simple Pitch

There’s a learning curve when it comes to pitching the Lunar Solo correctly. You may feel as though you need to get a Ph.D., 10 years of experience, and three character references to set it up properly the first few times; after a little practice, though, it’s a snap to pitch and take down compared to others in its class.

Cons

Needs More Pockets

Though this tent has more than adequate square footage, there’s only one small cargo pocket inside to store small items. I would like to see a few more pockets inside to keep track of the various easy-to-misplace items that I want on hand during the night.

No Dedicated Footprint

This is a nice tent, and a nice tent warrants a good, custom-cut footprint to protect it. Six Moon sells rectangular Tyvek and Polycro footprints in two sizes, but they’re not cut specifically to fit the irregular pentagon-shaped Lunar Solo. There’s also no way to stake the footprint down.

Zippers Can be Hard to Use

The Lunar Solo’s floating bathtub incorporates a fair amount of elastic. The resulting stretchiness makes it frustratingly difficult to work the zippers. Using two hands to unzip the door is a minor inconvenience, but one that I notice every time I try to get into this tent.

Condensation and Heat

The Lunar Solo’s waterproof single-wall design poses a familiar problem to any hiker who has worn a rain jacket: the walls succeed in keeping rain outside the tent, but they also trap humidity and heat inside. This results in condensation buildup overnight—and an uncomfortably warm interior during hot weather. Anticipating this, Six Moon built in features like the high vent and floating floor to provide added airflow and ventilation. Be that as it may, prospective buyers shouldn’t go into the purchase expecting a miracle tent that solves the heat/humidity issue outright. As is the case with most single-walled tents, I’m sorry to say that you’re still going to experience a certain amount of heat and moisture buildup overnight.

Overall Value

There are a handful of lighter one-man tents on the market, and there are heavier, more traditional ones that are cheaper, simpler, and more breathable. But for a solo hiker looking for an affordable tent that offers comfort without excess weight, the Lunar Solo is a very competitive option. I find this tent a little too hot and humid to continue using during the summer months but may use it again (after updating the footprint) for solo expeditions during the shoulder seasons when warmth and wind protection are more valuable features.

Shop the SMD Lunar Solo Here

Comparable Shelters

ZPacks Plexamid
Weight: 14.8 ounces
MSRP: $549

LightHeart Gear Solo
Weight: 27 ounces
MSRP: $260

Tarptent Aeon Li
Weight: 15.8 ounces
MSRP: $535

This item was donated for purpose of review

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