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Big Sky Revolution 1.5 Bikepacking Tent Review

Big Sky Revolution 1.5 Tent Review

The Big Sky Revolution 1.5 Tent is a freestanding double-wall tent, designed for bikepacking with tent pole segments under 30 cm/12″, that weighs 3 lbs 1.6 oz. A lighter-weight backpacking version, weighing 2 lbs 11 oz is also available: the weight difference is due to the use of lighterweight tent poles. Bikepackers like tent poles which are short enough when collapsed to be stored in a central frame bag since storage space on a bike is so limited.

The Revolution 1.5 has three tent poles and uses a pole clip design for easy setup and take down. The inner tent attaches to the rainfly for one piece set up and take down keeping the interior dry even if it’s raining. With two doors and two vestibules, it’s a spacious option for one person and a somewhat snug option for two. Big Sky also makes 1-person Revolution 1 and two-person Revolution 2 models for people who want 1 and 2-person versions for backpacking. Note: the bikepacking or backpacking pole options are only available for the Revolution 1.5 at this time.

The Revolution 1.5 has 2 crossing poles and a roof pole.
The Revolution 1.5 has 2 crossing poles and a roof pole.

Big Sky was a well-regarded lightweight tent manufacturer before COVID struck and the company experienced severe supply chain issues. They’ve finally ironed out their inventory problems and have several well-designed and affordable tents that are well worth a look if you’re in the market for a lightweight double-wall tent. Check out our review of the Big Sky Chinook 1Plus which is a lightweight 4-season capable tent.

RELATED: 10 Best Freestanding Backpacking Tents

Specs at a glance

  • Type: Double Wall
  • Design: Freestanding
  • Mfg Weight: 3 lbs 1.6 oz
  • Actual Weight (measured): 3 lbs 1 oz
  • Occupants: 1-2
  • Poles: 3 (aluminum)
  • Minimum number of stakes to pitch: 0
  • Recommended number of stakes: 6
  • Interior pockets: 4
  • Stakes included: none.
  • Rain Fly: 15D rip-stop nylon that is coated on both sides with silicone for extra strength, 2000mm hydrostatic head
  • Floor: 15D silicone/PU coated rip-stop nylon, non-slip, 3000mm hydrostatic head
  • Interior: Mesh or Breathable Fabric inner available
  • Exterior Dimensions: 84″ long x 40/45″ tapered width x 39″ height
  • Interior Dimensions: 81″ long x 38/43″ tapered width x 38″ height (measured)
  • Seam-taped/Sealed: Yes

Freestanding Tent Design

The Revolution 1.5 is a double-wall, freestanding dome with three external tent poles and two vestibules. Freestanding tents are the holy grail among tents because they’re easy to set up on any surface including wooden platforms and rock ledge, although you still need to stake out the vestibule doors if you don’t want to keep them rolled back and open. If it’s very windy, it’s best to stake out the corners first and then insert the poles into the corner hardware.

The tips of the poles slot into aluminum hardware at the corners. Adjustable webbing lets you tension the tent
The tips of the poles slot into aluminum hardware at the corners. Adjustable webbing lets you tension the tent

When pitched, the rainfly hangs from the tent poles with clips, while the inner tent hangs from the inside of the rainfly with tiny buckles. While you can pack the fly and inner separately or separate them to dry them out, it’s convenient to keep them clipped together for fast setup. In any event, the design means that you can set up the Revolution 1.5 in the rain and keep the inner tent dry which is a big plus in wet climates.

The inner tent is suspended under the rain fly with dowels allowing both to be set up at the same time or separately
The inner tent is suspended under the rain fly with dowels allowing both to be set up at the same time or separately

The Revolution 1.5 has two doors and two vestibules which make it quite comfortable for one person and while it’s a tighter fit for two people, it is within the realm of possibility if you have tapered sleeping pads and a sense of humor. The door tiebacks are old school with fabric loops and dowels instead of the magnetic tiebacks found on newer ultralight tents and the vestibules are rather narrow, though wide enough to prop up your backpack inside.

The vestibule are fairly narrow but can fit mid-sized backpacks.
The vestibules are fairly narrow but can fit mid-sized backpacks.

There are two kickstand roof vents on the ceiling of the rainfly which are great for ventilating the tent when it’s too windy to keep the doors open and numerous reinforced guy out points on the rainfly for staking the tent out. We like that these extra guylines are included with the tent and pre-attached to the rainfly, but it’s disappointing that the tent does not come with any tent stakes, especially since Big Sky manufactures its own. Since you have to buy some if you don’t already own a set, we do recommend their 6″ Tube Steaks which are beefy round body aluminum stakes with good penetration and holding power in soil or clay. They also make even longer ones that can double as a poo trowel.

The tent has numerous stake out points to anchor the tent is windy conditions.
The tent has numerous stake-out points to anchor the tent in windy conditions.

The interior room is quite good with plenty of room above the feet and head, as long as you’re under 6’2″ in height. The side walls are vertical and there are deep mesh pockets in all four corners for gear storage as well as hang loops overhead. The inner doors are D-shaped and easy to get in and out of although you want to open the vestibule doors slowly if you get out in rain because there aren’t any gutters to divert water away from the zippered door openings.

There’s ample room at the head and foot ends if your under 6’ 2” in height.
There’s ample room at the head and foot ends if you’re under 6’ 2” in height.

The Revolution 1.5 has a silnylon rainfly for strength, a sil/PU floor, and has been factory steam-sealed/taped. I tested the mesh version of the inner but a breathable fabric inner tent is also available for use in cooler weather or windy/dustier conditions. When testing, I used the tent in very windy spring conditions and I was impressed by its stability and quiet when staked out, the lack of internal condensation even when pitched near standing water, and of course its spaciousness for one person. The green rainfly color also rocks for stealth camping and wilderness aesthetics.

Both vestibules can be rolled back in nice weather for enhanced ventilation and views.
Both vestibules can be rolled back in nice weather for enhanced ventilation and views.

Recommendation

The Big Sky Revelation 1.5 is a spacious freestanding 1-person double-wall tent that can also be used by two friendly companions in a pinch. The rainfly and inner tent can be erected together ensuring a dry inner tent even if it’s raining or separately, for instance, if you have a wet rainfly and a dry inner tent from the previous day. Since the Revolution 1.5 is made with conventional lightweight materials, it packs up much smaller than a Dyneema DCF tent, which is particularly nice when bikepacking, since packing space is at a premium. I think it’s a great value for bikepacking, especially when compared to other popular freestanding double-wall tents that do not have such an easy 2-step, fly-first pitch such as the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Bikepack Tent or the NEMO Dragonfly OSMO 2P Bikepack Tent.

Shop at Big Sky

 

Disclosure: Big Sky donated a tent for review.

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