First Impressions Excellent
Monday, 20 July 2015 | Ian
I bought a Sil-Habitat just last week, as an alternative to the Habitat that was out of stock. Its now been used for its first sneaky wild camp single nighter, so here are my first impressions. I was a little concerned about the cut of the fly sheet, as the ends are highly curved leaving the inner exposed, but I needn't have worried as the inner at this point is well sealed.
The tent is extremely easy to pitch - inner only, outer only or both together, its only a work of minutes. The main pole pops together as one unit and are easily seated over either inner or footprint, and the cross pole quickly added.
The inner is well thought out, and offers excellent space, plenty for two on a backpacking trip, and much more than usual on lightweight tents. There are useful pockets and hanging points, and the mesh is plenty fine enough for midges.
The outer quickly slips over the inner, or can be pitched separately with the included footprint. The 2 porches are big enough for storing a full sized pack each side, whilst having space to get in or out or cook with the door open. The fabric feels ridiculously light, but it does feel strong.
Poles and pegs are of a high quality.
Weight wise, its coming in exactly as per the spec, but it feels really light for the amount of tent you get.
Stability wise, I'd say 3 season is fair, though as it lacks many guy points it may flex in strong wind.
If I were to alter anything in the design, it would be to make the flysheet door zips 2-way, so it can be vented from the top, as there are no other vents in the outer, and for UK use I'd reduce that curve in the end of the flysheet. I also found the door ties a little fiddly to use. These are not enough to drop it a star rating, maybe call it 4 1/2!
What really sold me on this tent was the flexibility, as I can use it as a mesh inner only under a tarp on mozzie-ridden canoe trips, or just take the outer and footprint as an alternative to only a bivi bag or a tarp. Here the curved cut of the ends may allow some wind-driven rain to get under. There are lots of little features which prove its been well thought out - reflective bits, clever guyline adjusters, a proper strap for securing it when rolled. It even fits easily into its bag for a change!
Most importantly, it feels like a thing of quality, much more so than on other well known brands at this price point - it feels as well made as tents of twice the price.
Pros: Quality, weight, fabrics, internal space, flexibility of use of either outer or inner on their own, freestanding design, little details
Cons: Curved ends of flysheet potentially allowing wind driven rain under, lack of guy points, would prefer 2-way zips.
If I have any changes of opinion through further usage, I'll let you know.
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