Wenzel Outdoor Products has recently made a change in their product line, replacing their Starlite model with the Lone Elk Hiker/Biker tent. The tents in this range are lightweight, and compact for hiking or cycling. Will this transition in products show improvement?
Model #: 36418
Base: 6.5 ft. x 4 ft.
Center Height: 36 in. F / 24 in. R
Area: 23 sq. ft.
The new Lone Elk tent is one of the lightest tents in its pricepoint, and rivals other more expensive tents in features. In fact, at 1470g (3.25lbs), this tent is ideal for cyclocamping, s240’s, or weekend backpacking… as long as the weather is fair.
The tweaked design of the Lone Elk has increased weight by four ounces, but has also included an additional bit of length and width for added comfort. While these attributes are key, a tent needs to be durable too. Keep on reading, in order to see how it stood up to its predecessor.
Once again, this tent is not a self-standing structure. The two shockcorded fiberglass poles are easily guided through the tent supports and mount to the base with a pin and ring system. Three guy lines are used to allow the tent to stand. A complaint of the Starlite tent was that the guyline setup made entering the tent less than optimal for taller or larger users, this tent allows easy entrance without complications.
The tent itself comprises of three different materials, not including the mesh vents. The top part of the dome is a thin, grey nylon which does well at keeping heat in, and blocking wind. The seams are in places which are at optimal angles in the event of rainfall. The second material is a thicker batch of nylon, and lends itself to maintaining the support and tension of the tent. The tarp material used at the base of the tent is thin, but clearly waterproof. I still use a footprint under the tent to keep another layer between the ground and I; this may not be necessary depending on what kind of pad you use under your sleeping bag.
Inside the rear of the tent, there is a vent flap which can be zipped open or closed. The three nights that I spent in the tent for testing, I noticed with both the rear vent flap and front door vent (front only slightly open) open, condensation did accumulate, and took about two hours to evaporate after awakening. I attribute this to the nature of sleeping in a backpacking tent, not a flaw in design or architecture of the vents. The tent kept me considerably warm, and did everything else it was intended for.
This tent is 3lb4oz, and can be found for $20-25 online. It fits one person, and a backpack inside, and has a small vestibule-type overhang for a pack or shoes at the rear. It does not have a rain fly, therefore is solely meant for fair weather conditions. Tent setup takes ten minutes when done casually, and is quite sturdy with the design.
- Well Stitched
- Small Pack Size
- Lack of true Vestibule, Porch, or Rainfly.
- Tent Pole Length of 23″ makes them awkward, but not difficult to pack.
Once again, if you are not in the market for a $200 tent, this will do you well as long as you understand and accept its limitations. Since February, I have spent five nights in this tent provided to me by Wenzel since February, in weathers as cold as 20*F, and even bailed out on a sixth night that a thunderstorm sneak attacked me. As stated before, this is an ideal cyclocamping or backpacking tent for people who are already light in the wallet. The Lone Elk tent fills a very important role/genre in the area for people who are not yet willing to invest big money in camping gear, but still want to get their feet wet, figuratively… not literally.
4 / 5 Stars.