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Reviews

LightHeart Solo - Standard

Hi Judy,
I wanted to share a little story with you. About a year ago, I purchased the Solo from you. It is a super tent. I have had it on 3 trips in the last year and it has performed perfectly. However, all of those trips happened to also have perfect weather. Last Saturday, I knew we had a chance for a big thunderstorm to roll in, so I set it up at home in anticipation of seeing how it would do. I waited all day and no storm, so I headed out to do some errands and while gone, a torrential downpour with 40 mph winds hit. The storm lasted about 30 minutes. It rained so hard, that I had had to stop driving because I couldn't see the road. I figured that when I returned home, the tent would be nowhere in sight. As it turns out, the tent was just as I had left it and the inside was perfectly dry. I am now 100% confident that this tent can handle any whether I will ever be in. My only recommendation to anyone that purchases the Solo, is to take the time to learn to pitch it correctly including how space the stakes for the "fly" properly, so that it stays taut. GREAT TENT!
Greg Brandt   08/23/2011 by Greg Brandt

 

LightHeart Solo - Wedge

I just finished a thru-hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and used this tent for the entirety of my trip. It is a great tent, and it held up wonderfully! No damages, rips or tears from use. The only thing that did happen, from personal error, is a mouse or other rodent chewed a small hole in the mesh of one of the walls. I used duct tape to patch it up, and it was fine.

The only thing I didnt like about the tent was that if I wanted to sleep in it with the fly rolled up, so I could see out of all the mesh walls and get maximum ventilation, I had a hard time keeping the fly up, without making the walls sag a bunch. So, therefore, I never did that--just kept the fly down, occasionally rolling up the side in front of the door for more ventillation. I think that the rest of the fly should have been made to roll up as easily as that panel in front of door by perhaps having the elastic loops on all 4 panels. 

Other than that, I loved this tent, and it kept me warm and dry, even in heavy downpours from Washington storms. I was very happy with this tent, and loved that it was so easy to set up and take down, and stuff inside its sack. It also has a great design. Many tents that are supported by trekking poles are designed poorly, and the poles are just in your way. That is not the case with Lightheart gear tents. 
Also, I loved the tyvek footprint that came with it--it lasted the entire trip as well, although it was quite dirty by the end so I think I will replace it with a new one. 
Also kept all the Yosemite mosquitos out as well :) 
Oh, and even though this is a Solo + tent, you can fit another person in here if needed, just cramped, and gear has to be outside. 
Great tent, loved it, would totally recommend this to others.

10/21/2013 by Jamie Haney

LightHeart Duo

I Love my Duo. Fully seam sealed, with stakes and extra silicone striping on the floor, mine weighs 2lbs 3 oz. It is plenty roomy for my husband and I to store all our gear inside with us. It has a real honest to goodness bathtub floor (which is a whole lot more than you can say for other ultralights). It doesn't have any poles to break (the curved pole in my other ultralight snapped while in the tent). I particularly enjoyed looking up at the stars through my own window/door on our last trip. It even packs up small enough to fit in the front of my Aarn pack. Plus, customer service is great and I received my tent lightening fast! Thanks, Cary

08/25/2011 by Cary Dwiggins

 

LightHeart SoLong 6 - Standard

Basic data: I'm 6' 2", 200 pounds, size 13 wide feet.  On my first AT Thru attempt - 2012 - I used an ALPS Zephyr One - 3 pounds 14 oz with stakes and poles, but the tent was great. I never had to look much for a place to pitch it, all the way to Thomas Knob shelter, where my AT thru attempt ended. My only problem was that in a high wind situation, with cold temps, the fly would NOT come down to the ground to stop the wind from blowing through the tent. I actually had FOG blowing through my tent a couple of times. I had to pile leaves up on the upwind side to stop the wind several times. Too much ventilation for my taste. Never had a condensation problem, had to seam seal it again once.  As I had my foot up for 4-6 weeks, healing, I started looking at gear to reduce the weight on my back. I saw the SoLong 6 and contacted Judy Gross, asking about if the pictured fly on the website could go any lower and she stated she had a prototype that came down to the ground. After a day or so of dithering, I decided to buy it.  I LOVE this tent so far:   It's very large with plenty of space inside for my gear and me, unlike the ALPS. It is easy to set up after the initial learning curve of about 5 minutes. At the Post Office, it weighed in at 2 pounds, 0.5 ounces with the factory seam sealing. That's 1 lb 14 oz off my back so far. It takes 6 stakes, which I did NOT think about including.  The factory seam sealing worked very well, with 2 minor exceptions. I put the tent up expecting the typical FL thunderstorms to test it thoroughly. I did have one storm that dumped .5 inch of rain in 20 minutes, timed and measured. That's when I saw the two small drips after 15 minutes or so, one at a stakeout loop and one at a top vent seam. I followed the directions sent by Ms. Gross for making my own seam sealer and re-sealed all the seams. I haven't had a drop of rain come through since.  The awning keeps any rain drift and rain splatter out of the tent even when open. It has ample room to cook in if I need to. It also rolls up completely to have an open net tent with the rear fly rolled up as well.  The fly is able to get to the ground to keep any hard winds out, yet can be staked out far enough to provide ample ventilation.  The hard winds and heavy rains from the one t-storm were easily handled. The awning was up the entire time, which may have been dumb, but the wind didn't catch it.  The awning is able to to be folded together and be staked down like the fly to increase weather resistance.  The line locks are awesome! No more trying to tie off taut-line hitches in the cold and rain/sleet/snow.    The reflective cord is awesome. (OK - simple things for simple minds. I like it.) It really shows up at night with a small AAA light.  It packs down to about a third of the size of my ALPS and about the size of my hammock.  MINOR quibbles with this tent: NOTE: this particular tent was a 1st of its kind, production prototype - I had to take what Ms. Gross had made. I had NO input.  I don't really like the gold body color (Hey, I said they were MINOR quibbles) - I'm buying another before my next AT thru attempt with a forest green body and brown floor.  I had problems getting this one completely taut at first. I had input on how to set it up better from Persistent (from LightHeart gear) and have had no problems since.  I could pick my ALPS up and shake it out in the AM. This tent will require some thought to clean out the interior, as it's not free-standing.  The fly vestibule is tiny - at the rear of tent with no door through the screening to get to it. I'm not sure what I would use it for. I'm deeply grateful for the awning, which makes a HUGE vestibule. If I didn't have my pack inside with me, it would easily fit inside the awning side.  There is only one opening for this tent - the awning side. My next one will have an opening on the fly side as well. With an opening on the fly side, I could reach the smaller vestibule for whatever without having to exit the tent, walk around and unzip the fly. I could also unroll the fly in case of rain during the night without having to get out of bed, out of the tent and over to that side.  I also bought the LightHeart Gear adjustable poles at 8.5 ounces. These work really well.  The overhead vents are pretty small, but with the fly able to come out fairly far for ventilation, it may not be an issue. In the cool FL mornings; however, I get a LOT of condensation inside, despite the awning up and rear fly open. 100% humidity is going to make dew no matter what.  I keep catching my size 13 wide feet on the edge of the bathtub floor getting out. I need to learn!  The zipper pulls are small - I'm going to find more reflective cord and attach small loops to the zipper pulls. Pictures can be found at Whiteblaze,.net - gear reviews - shelters - SoLong 6 First Impressions.

Paul White  12/27/2012

 

 SoLong 6 

My husband and I had an Alps Zephyr tent we were going to use on our upcoming thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail. We decided after quite a few shakedowns, it was just too heavy. The tent was about 5lbs total including the footprint. It also wasn't that great with heavy rain which was unacceptable to us. I had been eyeing LightHeart for a while having seen so many fantastic reviews of Judy's work.  We finally decided to make the change and are SO HAPPY we did. So far, we LOVE the solong!! My husbands 6'5 frame fits great in it. We set it up in our bedroom with chairs first, as suggested, and put in our sleeping pads and such. We are leaving in mid February, so we have two sleeping pads for the start of our hike. We have 3/4 length zlites and womens neoair xlites. The zlites just barely fit the tent side by side, but they do fit. The neoairs fit no problem.  We figured out we can sit side by side (rather than facing each other) facing the longer sided tent wall. Sitting this way, we then have half the floor space length wise to use for playing games and hanging out. When laying down, we have just enough room for shoulder to shoulder, plenty for each of us on our sides and on stomachs with arms above our heads. If you share this with someone, you have to be comfortable cuddling and being very close. On my side, since I'm shorter than my husband at 5'8, there is room to spare above and below for gear.  We took our tent out for a one night trial. The tent sets up wonderfully. I was surprised at the ease of setting up the tent. For some reason I had it in my mind that a non freestanding tent would be more difficult, but the included instructions were very clear. After some trial and error, we were able to get the tent nice and taut. After doing it a couple of times now, I already feel comfortable setting up the tent quickly and well. We have Leki trekking poles and they worked great! It's so nice to be able to get multiple uses out of equipment when you're working on reducing pack weight. We were excited to ditch our heavy tent poles with the Alps tent and use our trekking poles in our LightHeart.  Although we have not used the tent enough to comment on durability or weather, I wanted to get this post out there for couple's who are looking for a tent to share, especially if one partner is particularly tall. There is not a lot of extra space with two people, so you do have to be comfortable being right next to the person you are traveling with. The awning really helps with this though. The usable space is increased as a result. While my husband and I were hanging out in the tent, I opened my side of the tent and hung out under the awning!!! What a great feature. My husband and I don't mind this, so it's great for us. We are also average sized people which matters as well. If both or one partner is overweight or bodybuilder make up, this tent probably wouldn't be a good option for two. If your average or thinner, then you should be okay with your partner. I can also see an adult and child doing well in this tent. For one person, this tent is a palace!  Oh, one more thing. I was worried with the trekking poles inside the tent that we could knock it over in our sleep. We banged against the poles multiple times while tired and putting in our gear and they didn't budge at all!!! The support system included with the tent is great and creates a lot of stability.  We are very happy with our choice for our upcoming thru-hike :)

Kristin Ingellis  12/03/2013

 

 

 

LightHeart SoLong 6 - Standard

A High Quality tent with a very intelligent design. In my opinion, the best tent currently available for tall fat people. I'm 6'6" 285 lbs and I sleep like a baby in this thing. This is the first solo/backpacking tent I've slept in comfortably that was not one I designed/built myself.

Adam Hughes  01/09/2014

LightHeart Duo - Wedge

This is a terrific tent! The fit and finish are equal or better than any major manufacturer's production tent. There are thoughtful fittings throughout: multi-use tiebacks and pockets. The stress areas are well reinforced and seem up to the task. Plus, I cleared out so much room and weight in my pack....I may finally be able to get into a ULA pack!  On a recent overnight at Ed Garvey shelter, my wife and I used the tent for the first time. I am 6'1" and 240# and use a neoair large pad. My wife is 5'4" and uses a neo air regular. We found the tent easy to set up, but would recommend taking a length of trip tease line for remote stake out. One corner of the tent had to be set over buried rock and the tent stake loop only allows for stake placement right at corner. I'm glad I went for the wedge option....we deployed one wedge our night out and the view from that side was really nice waking up to in the morning.  Inside, there is plenty of floor space....but me on my 2.5" pad and long bag just made it without touching the walls. I would describe available sleeping space more as "adequate", in the case of tall side-sleepers, than "spacious". Once set, the tent was very stable and was not affected by our restless sleep. We did not experience any condensation or sagging.  If I had trouble at any point, it was the spreader bar set up. The bar is held to the ceiling by 2 widely spread velcro straps...you have to get it just-so for it to stay properly in place. I prefer SMD's sleeve for ease of use.

Bob Coslick   10/30/2011

 

LightHeart Solo - Standard

Hi Judy,

I wanted to share a little story with you. About a year ago, I purchased the Solo from you. It is a super tent. I have had it on 3 trips in the last year and it has performed perfectly. However, all of those trips happened to also have perfect weather. Last Saturday, I knew we had a chance for a big thunderstorm to roll in, so I set it up at home in anticipation of seeing how it would do. I waited all day and no storm, so I headed out to do some errands and while gone, a torrential downpour with 40 mph winds hit. The storm lasted about 30 minutes. It rained so hard, that I had had to stop driving because I couldn't see the road. I figured that when I returned home, the tent would be nowhere in sight. As it turns out, the tent was just as I had left it and the inside was perfectly dry. I am now 100% confident that this tent can handle any whether I will ever be in. My only recommendation to anyone that purchases the Solo, is to take the time to learn to pitch it correctly including how space the stakes for the "fly" properly, so that it stays taut. GREAT TENT!

Greg Brandt   08/23/2011

 

LightHeart Solo - Wedge

I just finished a thru-hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and used this tent for the entirety of my trip. It is a great tent, and it held up wonderfully! No damages, rips or tears from use. The only thing that did happen, from personal error, is a mouse or other rodent chewed a small hole in the mesh of one of the walls. I used duct tape to patch it up, and it was fine.  The only thing I didnt like about the tent was that if I wanted to sleep in it with the fly rolled up, so I could see out of all the mesh walls and get maximum ventilation, I had a hard time keeping the fly up, without making the walls sag a bunch. So, therefore, I never did that--just kept the fly down, occasionally rolling up the side in front of the door for more ventillation. I think that the rest of the fly should have been made to roll up as easily as that panel in front of door by perhaps having the elastic loops on all 4 panels.  Other than that, I loved this tent, and it kept me warm and dry, even in heavy downpours from Washington storms. I was very happy with this tent, and loved that it was so easy to set up and take down, and stuff inside its sack. It also has a great design. Many tents that are supported by trekking poles are designed poorly, and the poles are just in your way. That is not the case with Lightheart gear tents.  Also, I loved the tyvek footprint that came with it--it lasted the entire trip as well, although it was quite dirty by the end so I think I will replace it with a new one.  Also kept all the Yosemite mosquitos out as well :)  Oh, and even though this is a Solo + tent, you can fit another person in here if needed, just cramped, and gear has to be outside.  Great tent, loved it, would totally recommend this to others.

10/21/2013

 

LightHeart SoLong 6 - custom 

Awesome tent!! So far I have used the Solong 6 twice by myself and once with my 11yr-old son. I am 6'1" 295# and I have plenty of room to stretch out. Even with my son inside we had plenty of room to sleep through a night of strong NC rainstorms. After seam-sealing, the tent was dry despite the poor conditions. Even after the seams were sealed it is still showing under 27oz on my scale! The ridge pole is solid and easy to use after practicing a few times. I changed the velcro slightly and now leave the ridgepole attached to the tent even when putting away to save time. I used dyneema line with micro line locks on the 4 corners and the main fly tie outs, and dyneema line alone on the additional tie outs. This tent was very solid just using 6 stakes. I would be even better in an exposed location with the additional guy outs used.

Robert Voorhees  08/26/2011

LightHeart SoLong 6 - custom 

Received my SoLong 6 in mid July, 2012. I'm 6'-6", this no doubt is the tent for me! In selecting this tent I was trying to do a balanced job of going lightweight, without being a gram-weenie, or spending too much. So Long 6 has contributed to my base weight (tent, pack, bag) of under 5 pounds. Thank you LightHeart!

Clint Mays  08/13/2012

 

Rain Wrap

I brought the rain wrap along on a recent AT section hike, and got the opportunity to use it during a sudden torrential downpour. It passed with flying colors. It took only seconds to get it on, and my shorts stayed bone-dry underneath. This product beats rain pants hands down! It is extremely light weight, compact and easy to use, and exceeded my expectations in every way.

Eva Blinder 07/02/2013