The EMS Velocity 1 is a lightweight, freestanding and affordable ($269 MSRP). I’ve been testing one for the past few weeks and think it’s an exceptional value, particularly if you plan on doing any backpacking where you need to camp on unprepared tent sites in the woods or other wilderness areas where unobstructed space is at a premium.
Total Weight: 40.0 ounces (2 pounds 8.0 ounces)
- Inner tent: 11.8 ounces
- Rain fly: 15.6 ounces
- Aluminum hub and spoke pole: 11.1 ounces
- Minimum number of stakes (4): 0.8 ounces
- Pole silnyon bag: 0.5 ounces
- Stake silnylon bag: 0.2 ounces
The Inner Mesh Tent
Weighing pounds 2 pound 8 ounces including tent stakes, it’s almost hard to believe that the Velocity 1 is a free-standing, double walled tent with an external fly. With one exoskeleton hub style pole (3 hubs), the inner tent pitches very quickly and has color coded tie-outs to make orienting the poles and inner easy. The ends of the pole snap into Jakes feet connectors at the corners and hooks suspend the mesh ridgeline to the pole, including spreader bars that ensure sufficient width is provided.
While this tent is technically freestanding in that it can be pitched without tent stakes, using them will result in a much tauter inner tent pitch, where internal condensation can occur if sleeping bag comes in contact with the sides of the bathtub floor. While it’s not strictly necessary to use stakes to anchor the for corners of the inner tent, doing so provides about an inch more side space to reduce condensation and helps prevent the floor from sliding on the ground at night. Being able to do either with little weight penalty is really the best of both worlds!
The inner tent itself has an enormous amount of mesh which provides excellent ventilation, even with the rain fly buttoned up tight all night. There are four handy pockets in the interior corners of the tent making it easy to store your glasses, cell phone, a book, or headlamp out of the way but in easy reach at night, in addition to a triangular gear loft which can be used to store extra stuff or dry wet gear at night. There are also interior abundant hang loops along the ridgeline for hanging still more gear and glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls on the single side mesh door.
While it is possible for me to sit up in the Velocity 1 in order to get dressed (36″ peak height), there is really only enough floor space for a sleeping bag and sleeping pad to fit into the tent with a few inches of clearance on each side. The actual width tapers from head to foot, starting at 36″ at the head end, narrowing to 29″ at the midpoint, and 24″ at the foot end of the inner tent. Despite this, I can easily sleep on my side or on my back without feeling claustrophobic. However lengthwise, I wouldn’t recommend this tent to anyone who’s more than 5’11” in height. It’s not long enough.
Pitching the rainfly is very straightforward as well, as long as you remember to orient the rainfly door with the single mesh door. The corners of the fly connect to the outside of the inner tent’s Jakes feet with clips, eliminating the need for corner stakes. The rain fly can be further secured to center pole in the space between the flu and the inner mesh using velcro strips for additional security; this would be a little awkward to do in pouring rain and howling wind, but is easy to accomplish by touch in more favorable weather.
In wet weather, the vestibule requires one stake to create a gear “garage” with ample space to store a large backpack and other gear. When fully deployed, the bottom edge of the rain fly does not touch the ground but is raised up a few inches greatly increasing air flow and reducing internal condensation. A second large airspace, whose primary purpose is additional ventilation, is also available at the rear of the fly which could be used for gear storage, but is not accessible from the inner tent. This and two large side vents located on the outside of the fly near the center pole hub, keep internal condensation to an absolute minimum on the Velocity 1, even in very heavy thunderstorms.
My only potential concern with the Velocity 1 is the durability of the plastic hardware used to connect the inner tent to the exoskeleton ridgeline pole, particularly along at the corners of the tent where it snaps into Jakes feet with a ball socket like connection. If any of the ball sockets were to crack in the field, I’m pretty confident that they could be repaired with super glue or duct tape, until I could get a replacement connector from EMS. The same holds for the plastic connectors where the inner tent hooks onto the center pole or pole hubs (which could be fixed with guy line) or the rainfly hooks on the Jakes feet, which could just as easily be secured with regular tent stakes.
The EMS Velocity Tent is an exceptionally light and versatile single person tent loaded with features that you’d normally expect to pay much more for (see Nemo Obi 1 Tent Review or MSR Carbon Reflex 1 Review). The fact that the Velocity 1 is freestanding is huge if you ever have to camp on tent platforms, open ledge, or snow, and distinguishes this tent from others that are available in the same hub and spoke configuration. If you add in its light weight, outstanding ventilation, interior storage and the fact that it has such a small footprint and can be pitched in heavily forested campsites, it’s clear what an outstanding value this tent is. With an MSRP of $259, the EMS Velocity 1 is a steal.
- Free-standing and very easy to pitch
- Can use the inner tent as a standalone mosquito shelter in lean-to’s
- Superb ventilation, even with the rain fly closed
- Large vestibule to store gear
- Interior gear loft and four convenient inner pockets
- High seam-taped floors
- Too short for people over 6′ in height
- Pitching in rain is likely to result in a wet inner tent
- Floor Area: 18 sq feet
- Vestibule Area: 9.25 feet
- Vestibule Door: Center Zipper
- Floor Coating: 1200 mm Silicone PU
- Rain Fly Coating: 1200 mm Silicone PU
- Seams: Taped
- Doors: 1
- Canopy Fabric: 33 Denier Cordura diamond ripstop
- Floor Fabric: 33 Denier Cordura diamond ripstop
- Rainfly Fabric: 33 Denier Cordura diamond ripstop
- Peak Height: 36 inches
- Width: Tapered, 36″ at head end, 29″ in middle, 24″ at foot end
- Freestanding: Yes
- Pole Frame: 1, external
- Pole Material: Dac Featherlite Aluminum
- Vestibule Poles 0
- Main Poles: 1 Hub assembly
- Sleeps: 1
Disclosure: Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) received a free Velocity 1 Tent from Eastern Mountain Sports for this review.
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