Few pieces of gear elicit such passionate debate as ultralight shelters. From bivy bags to tarps to tents, there are more options than ever before to keep you dry and warm in the outdoors. After using a bivy and tarp combo for the past few years, I started to miss the comfort and luxury only a tent can provide.
Six Moon Designs is a small company based in Beaverton, Oregon, where it manufacturers its line of tents, tarps and packs. The Skyscape is actually a family of tents that share a design but are constructed with different materials. The $235 Trekker is the mid-range model made from silnylon, a standby in tent construction for decades.
A hybrid double/single-wall design, it has a single panel along the top and mesh sides beneath the canopy. Constructed as all one piece it shaves weight by not having a separate rain fly. The seams do not come sealed but you can ask Six Moon Designs to do it for you for an extra $30 if you’re expecting a lot of moisture. Unlike most day-glo tents on the market, the dark green exterior makes it perfect for stealth camping too.
The nicest part of the design is that the exterior can be rolled up and secured to create an almost entirely open mesh shelter that lets in the sights and sounds of nature while keeping out the bugs. This model I purchased has only a single door but the updated, current version has dual doors, a feature that makes it much less of a hassle to remember exactly which way you need to orient your pitch.
The pitch takes a bit of practice, too. The Skyscape design is not freestanding, so you won’t be able to pitch it indoors or on any hard surfaces unless you secure it with sandbags instead of tent stakes, which are not included. Also not included are tent poles, as it is designed to be supported by a pair of trekking poles. Six Moon Designs does offer a pair of aluminum poles for an extra $14 each or carbon fiber poles for $30 each.
Despite being only a solo tent the Skyscape is more than enough room for my 6 feet and 2 inches, plus a thick pad and sleeping bag. The 23 square feet of space in an elongated petagram leaves enough room for a duffel bag parked alongside me and more gear stashed above my head. My feet come awful close to touching the footwell but there are additional guy points on the exterior you can use to create some extra room. The best part is the 45 inch height, which is plenty enough to sit up inside, something many solo tents can’t offer.
There is enough space under the fly on each side to stash a pair of shoes or a small bag and keep them out of the rain, though on my older model with a single door it’s impossible to access the opposite vestibule from inside. The fly also doesn’t overhang the door, so if it’s raining hard you have to keep it shut.
Weighing in at 733 grams for the body and stuff sack plus 172 grams for the poles, the Skyscape Trekker is lighter than many tarp and bivy combos and offers far more comfort in the outdoors. It packs down to the size of a football and easily fits inside a Salsa Anything Cage bag (approximately 4 liters), though the poles need to be carried elsewhere.
With a price tag that’s very competitive with other high quality tents it seems like a steal.
- Price: $235. $265 with poles
- More info: sixmoondesigns.com
An earlier version of this post had an incorrect point of manufacturing. It is made in Asia.
This review originally appeared in Issue #37. Subscribe today so you don’t miss this kind of content.