Home / Gear Reviews / Six Moons Lunar Solo and Tarptent Squall 2

Six Moons Lunar Solo and Tarptent Squall 2

manufactured by:
Philip Werner
Version:
2008

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On January 15, 2008
Last modified:August 3, 2015

Summary:

In order to cut weight, the Lunar Solo can be set up with hiking poles, instead of carrying along a collapsible pole, saving you a few more ounces.

Well Ventilated Vestibule of a Tarptent Squall 2
Well Ventilated Vestibule of a Tarptent Squall 2

There are two main differences between a tarp tent and a conventional tent: rain flies and ventilation. Tarp tents, like tarps, (hence the name) are really just single walled tents. They don’t have rain flies and I’ve never been in a situation where the absence of a rain fly has mattered much — and I’ve slept through some MOBY storms in the White Mountains and the Catskills in tarp tents.

The second major difference is ventilation. Tarp tents are designed to eliminate the condensation that occurs on the inner wall of your tent, and this feature becomes even more important when it’s raining outside. At night, condensation from your body perspiration forms on the walls of your tent and drips onto your sleeping bag compromising its insulating properties. Tarp tents vent this internal condensation by allowing much more air to flow through the interior of the tent. For example, if you get a tarp tent from Six Moon Designs (Lunar Solo, shown below in Green) or the Tarptent (Squall 2, shown in Grey) you have the option of having a bathtub floor sewn into the tent to keep out crawling critters and bugs. The floor sort of floats under the tent, connected only by no-seeum netting along the sides and there is a lot better air flow as a result. Tarptents such as the Squall 2 also have excellent lengthwise ventilation through the (again optional) screened in front netting and a back window.

Six Moon Designs Ultralight Tent - Lunar Solo
Six Moon Designs Ultralight Tent – Lunar Solo
Tarptent Squall 2 Single Walled Tent
Tarptent Squall 2 Single Walled Tent

And finally, both of these tents have Vestibules, that when extended and lashed to the front guyline, hover about 1foot off the ground, again to ensure air flow through the tent.

I own both of these tents and just love them. Technically, you probably don’t need a footprint for them. However, I use a 4.5 oz. polycro footprint from when I pitch them on trips.

In order to cut weight, you can also set both of these tents up with a hiking poles, instead of carrying along a collapsible pole, saving you a few more ounces. The Squall 2 requires two poles and the Lunar Solo only requires 1. You can see my poles in the pictures above if you look closely.

And now the bottom line. The Lunar Solo only weighs an incredible 30.6 oz. and the Squall 2 weighs 35 oz – and this is with all of the options. Check these tents out. You’ll never look back.

Disclosure: The author owns these products and purchased them using their own funds.

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14 comments

  1. I just picked up a Lunar Solo Enhanced over the weekend…was seriously considering a tarp and a bug bivy, but I found a LSe for way cheap on a backpacking forum and had to go for it.

  2. What's the enhanced option provide you with? I've never heard of that.

  3. I think it's just a little longer and lighter than the previous model. The "enhanced" is the only one currently available on Six Moons site.

  4. The LSe now has the zippered vestible closure vs the velcro closure. I love mine when I'm soloing. I picked mine up also on a forum.

  5. Earlylite,

    Thanks for a great website and have a great trip on your upcoming 9 day hike. I have some gear qustions for you. I have a squall 2 and a contrail tarptent. I am wanting to get a 6 Moon Designs lunar solo now instead. I notice some of these posters mention forums where they found deals on gear. Do you know what forums those are? I would like to sell my squall 2 and contrail as well as look for good deals on other gear.

    I also am in the market for a new backpack. I have been using Golite gust backpacks (the fore runner to the pinnacle), and am looking at the starlite from 6 Moons Designs and the Mariposa Plus from Gossamer Gear. I have read your reviews of these and wonder if you have a favorite between the two. Thanks again for all the helpful info on your site.

    Evan Eisentrager

  6. My advice would be to not buy the six moons lunar solo to replace the squall 2. The lunar solo has some set up issues that result in condensation on your sleeping bag. These may have been fixed in the LSE but I can't say. I was hoping to bring my solo on the 100 mile wildernes hike, but opted for the Squall 2 to avoid this problem. If the reason you were considering the solo was to get a lighter tent, you may as well jump to a tarp instead.

    Regarding packs – I'd get the Mariposa Plus. It's just awesome with the new aluminum stay. The starlight is still a great pack, but the shoulder harness is not as robust and needs to be re-sewn periodically.

    As for the forums I would imagine they were referring to backpackinglight.com or whiteblaze.net. There are others too, but those are two of the biggies. Good luck – let me know how those work out for you or if you try something else.

  7. Evan Eisentrager

    Earlylite,

    Thanks for the quick reply. I thought I had heard something about condensation in the Lunar Solos. I otherwise like the design as it is roomier and affords more of a view than the Contrail when not closed up for rain. I find the Contrail is so low at the foot end that it is just above my quilt, and in sandy soil sometimes can't be pitched high enough. It is also difficult to sit up in the Contrail for me.

    I have a Golite tarp and bug net modeled on the Ray Jardine design, they don't sell that kind anymore, but i am looking for something lighter and simpler to set up. So yeah, I may go for the Mountain Laurel Designs tarp and bug bivy combination. I was planning on getting that eventually anyway, in addition to the Lunar Solo. Why are you taking the Squall 2 on your long hike instead of your MLD tarp and bug bivvy?

    Thanks again for the advice.

  8. That's a good question and one I've struggled over. In the end it comes down to rain. (Maine = rain) I had some rain splatter on my last outing with the MLD and I got a Montbell Breeze bivy sack (6.3 oz) to cover my sleeping bag to prevent it from getting wet, but I haven't tested it yet, and a 9 day test seemed too high risk. So, I decided to go with the squall 2 instead because I know that it performs superbly in torrential rain, and I took the additional step of seam sealing it yesterday. I still plan on using my MLD tarp/bivy the rest of the summer and fall, but I want still want to perfect my use of it before making such a big commitment.There are actually a whole range of different bivy, bug net, quilt, and tarp setup configurations want to test, but I haven't had much time to do it all lately.

  9. ..love my Double Rainbow!

  10. In regards to the statements about condensation in the lunar solo. I've been using mine for over a year now in all sorts of weather, from hot humid summer nights to all night downpours. I have yet to have a single drop of moisture inside. I'd have to say that the above statements are false.

  11. The pitching issues with the lunar solo and resulting condensation are well known. However, you need to be open to other peoples' experiences with the gear. We all have different skills levels, body sizes, we camp in different weather conditions, etc. Saying something is false is a bit harsh.

  12. I've used them both as well. I usually get more condensation with the luna solo than with the tarp tent, but seldom enough to be an issue. They're both very dry in normal rain, and have similar site selection issues. I usually carry the solo just because it's smaller and lighter, but if I were going to be socked in the tarp tent's size is a big plus. This spring I had the chance (somewhat involuntary) of using the solo under high winds and a gentle southern thunderstorm (over the hill from a tornado) and it survived with flying colors and a happy dry camper inside. (which wasn't the case for any of the other tents in the area).

  13. Just wondering what stops cold air blowing into these tents.There seems to be a
    lot of air flow could this be a problem. I would like to by one, my wife has complained about this with our dome tent and it has just a small panel for air flow.

    • You pick a sheltered campsite….seriously, going light requires a little bit more skill than going heavy where a double-walled tent will protect you from everything. More airflow is good if you dislike heavy condensation in other tents, but it’s a trade-off. Stick with what makes you comfortable.

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