New from Snugpak, the lightweight Ionosphere one-person tent is available either in Terrain Pattern camouflage or in Olive Green, writes Mike Gormley.
Recently introduced by Snugpak is their latest Terrain Pattern one-person tent, the Ionosphere, which is a light tent at just 1.5 kg and it packs down very small indeed. Snugpak’s new Terrain Pattern camo makes it very discreet indeed if you do not wish to stand out while getting a bit of rest.
This tent is a ‘pitch inner first’ set-up with the added advantage it can also be used as an ‘inner only’ anti-bug shelter while still maintaining all round visibility. The mesh fabric has 1600 holes per square inch so it would need to be a very small bug indeed to gain entry! It has just two anodised aluminium pre-shaped DAC poles that are colour coded to aid pitching. I must say I do like ‘pitch as one tents’ so when it is chucking it down it is quicker to get up and provide shelter, but this is a quick and easy one to get together and after a couple of pitchings, it should take no time at all to have your temporary home up and sorted. I have not tried this on a wet and windy night, but on a cold and breezy Dartmoor it was fine, even as a’ first time out of the pack’ pitch.
As a light single person tent there is a good amount of space inside and even enough to get a Snugpak RocketPak (i.e. small bergen) inside, so you are all contained overnight. If the need arises, there is space for two as an emergency shelter. The tent opening is basically a half side of the ‘porch’ section, which can be fastened open. This also has a separate anti-bug screen with separate tie-back. All this makes it perfectly possible to attend to the normal ‘camp admin’ such as prepping a meal and making a brew from the protection of the tent; so long as you pitch with the entrance on the leeward side you have a good area to work in.
The Ionosphere is well ventilated with quite a lot of space between inner and fly for air flow. In many ways this is good to help reduce inner condensation but on a cold windy night I feel it will be very draughty; you may need to find a sheltered spot to camp if the weather is not so good, but great for fair weather camps.
The tent outer offers very good protection against the wet with its 5000mm hydrostatic head PU-coated, taped seam material. If I am to be a bit picky, I will say the stuff bag really could do with being a bit larger. It is all well and good in a nice dry, warm hard floor environment to repack a tent, or other items, but out in the field it is another story all together. Snugpak are far from the only ones guilty of this. I wish they would all take heed and give the end user a thought on a cold, often wet camp site trying to stuff a tent in a bag only just big enough when its warm and dry.
The other item I would change are the pegs. Light and aluminium is good, but those spiky tops are really not hand-friendly when trying to get them out of the ground, having trodden them in on the evening before to stop the tent blowing away in the middle of the night. If I was to set off on a summer multi-night solo back packing trip, this tent would be a strong contender to come with me but I would change the pegs and stuff bag before I went.
The Ionosphere is probably about the same size and weight as a waterproof bivvy bag and I definitely know which I would rather spend my nights in.
Thanks to Gris for his help on this one. The jacket Gris is wearing is the Arrowhead in MultiCam. In case you were wondering, the sleeping bag in the tent is the suitably cosy Snugpak Softie Expansion 4 rated as ‘Comfort’ down to -15C.
[Images © Mike Gormley unless noted]