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Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Tent Review

Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Tent Review
Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Tent Review

Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo

Comfort
Ease of Setup
Weather Resistance
Durabilty
Weight
Packed Size

Spacious and Lightweight

The Lunar Solo also continues to be one of the best deals money can buy when it comes to ultralight 1-person tents shelters from "cottage" manufacturers. It's easy to set up, has great ventilation, and interior space for a single person and their gear.

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The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo is a single wall trekking pole tent that weighs 26 ounces (740 g). It is a six-sided shelter, shaped like a half pyramid, with a side door and vestibule area that’s good for gear storage or cooking in rainy weather. The single side door is made of mesh for maximum ventilation. The tent is designed to be set up using a single trekking pole, although a 49″ tent pole is also available for purchase. Seam sealing is required, but is also available for a nominal fee.

Specs at a Glance

  • Weight: 26 oz / 740 g
  • Type: Single wall, Trekking pole optional (49″)
  • Persons: 1
  • Doors: 1
  • Vestibules: 1
  • Minimum number of stakes to pitch: 6
  • Materials:
    • Canopy: 20D silpoly
    • Floor: 40D silipoly
    • Netting: 20D UL noseeum
  • Peak height: 48″
  • Inner Tent (living space) Dimensions: 90″ x 48″
  • Canopy Dimensions: 105″ x 79″

The Six Moons Lunar Solo was the first ultralight backpacking tent I ever bought, about 13 years ago. It’s gone through several design revisions and material changes since, but its key characteristics remain unchanged. It’s also a few ounces lighter weight, despite the fact that the internal volume and living space have increased in the intervening years. This is a review of the most recent version.

In fair weather, you can roll both doors back for maximum airflow
In fair weather, you can roll both doors back for maximum airflow.

The Lunar Solo is a tarp tent with a floating floor attached to its rain canopy with noseeum mesh. The floating floor makes it possible to set up on uneven surfaces and stealth tent sites, while a bathtub floor prevents rain from flooding the inside floor.  A single wall shelter, it has one mesh side which functions as a door and provides excellent ventilation in order to minimize any internal condensation. The other walls are solid fabric, without a separate inner tent.

The interior is quite roomy, with extra space along the side for gear storage
The interior is quite roomy, with extra space along the side for gear storage.

The pyramid shape of the Lunar Solo makes it quite wind worthy, while the hexagon shaped floor is designed for increased livability. You also have the option to lower the peak in really bad weather to give the tent a lower wind profile, something that’s possible because the floor is loosely connected to the walls by mesh. The hexagon shape makes it possible to store some gear on the side of the sleeping surface, which is often lacking in many one-person ultralight shelters with narrow, rectangular sleeping areas.

There is an air gap under the front vestibule to promote ventilation.
There is an air gap under the front vestibule to promote ventilation.

The vestibule is also somewhat untraditional, in that it doesn’t reach all the way to the ground, but has a gap at the bottom. This is to promote airflow in order to prevent internal condensation. It does require that you be conscious of wind direction on cool nights and that you pitch the vestibule away from the wind direction so that the breeze hits the rear of the tent instead. I can recall one particularly cold night when I didn’t heed this advice and I had to use my backpack as a bivy sack for warmth when cold wind blew into my tent.

The front pole is pitched at an angle so it doesn’t interfere with the interior space
The front pole is pitched at an angle so it doesn’t interfere with the interior space

The most important tip I can share when setting up any pyramid-like shelter like the Lunar Solo, is to keep the guylines as loose as possible when staking it out, only tightening them once the main pole has been set. This gives the shelter the ability to adapt to potentially uneven or slightly sloped terrain.

The pole is pitched at a slight angle so it doesn’t intrude into the living area. The top of your trekking pole fits into the tent peak, which also has a top vent (the Lunar Solo is Pacer Pole compatible, as shown.) The carbide tip of your pole fits into a grommet attached to the tent floor, providing a nice stable support that won’t slip at night. There’s a single guyline that runs from the peak to the ground and prevents the pole from falling. It’s really quite a strong setup.

A hook connects the door to a prussik know which is used to tension it down.
A hook connects the door to a prusik knot which slides up and down the guyline and is used to tension it.

There’s a zipper that connects the two half front doors, which you close above the front guyline. Each door has a small webbing loop at its base which you can connect to a prusik knot that travels along the front guyline. This lets you tension the doors down or up, or connect one to the guyline and not the other.

The interior of the Lunar Solo is quite comfortable and spacious with plenty of headroom to sit up or change your clothing inside. Like all pyramid shelters, the head and foot ends slope down, but the floor is long enough (90″) that there’s little risk of internal condensation transfer. There are also additional guy out points halfway up the side walls that you can guy out with extra cordage to increase the interior space and anchor the tent down in high wind.

The Lunar Solo has a bathtub floor to prevent rain water from flooding the tent floor
The Lunar Solo has a bathtub floor to prevent rainwater from flooding the tent floor.

While the Lunar Solo has a bathtub floor, the height of the sidewalls can vary from flat, up to 6″ in height, depending on a subtle interplay of factors such as the height of the pole, the flatness of the ground that you pitch on, and the amount of tension exerted on the guylines. Getting the right combination of factors can be very hit or miss, so your best bet is to focus on good campsite selection to compensate for a less than perfect pitch. That means pitching the tent in a well-drained spot and over porous soil or forest duff in order to avoid pooling water if it rains.

Having used a dark green Lunar Solo and the gray one shown here, I far prefer the green colored shelter because it’s stealthier in forest and lets less light in through the fabric. But that’s just my personal preference.  The gray tent shown here was seam sealed by Six Moon Designs and I’d recommend having them do it instead of doing it yourself. They do a far better and cleaner job at it than I’ve ever done.

Comparable One-person Ultralight Tents and Mids

Make / ModelWeightTypeMaterialCost
Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo26 ozSingle WallSilpoly$200
Six Moon Designs Skyscape Trekker28 ozSingle WallSilpoly$255
Gossamer Gear The One22.4 ozSingle WallSilpoly$300
Lightheart Gear Solo27 ozSingle WallSilnylon$260
Lightheart Gear FireFly27.5 ozSingle WallSilpoly$275
HMG Ultimid 2 + Half Nest33.38 ozMid + NestDyneema DCF$1,110
MLD Solomid+Innernet20.5 ozMid + NestDyneema DCF$655
MLD Solomid+Innernet25 ozMid + NestPro Silnylon$410
Zpacks Plexamid14.8 ozSingle WallDyneema DCF$549

Recommendation

The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo is a 26 oz single-wall trekking pole tent that’s good for three season use. It’s simple to set up with a little practice and easy to anchor down in a stiff breeze, with extra guy-out points on the fly should you need them. Internal condensation is easy to keep under control, provided you practice good campsite selection and keep the vestibule partially open at night. But the thing I’ve always liked about the Lunar Solo is its spacious interior and headroom. The tent’s height and hexagon footprint provide plenty of space to sit up, change clothing, and store extra gear inside the tent when you want a little privacy or to grab some shuteye.  At $2o0, the Lunar Solo also continues to be one of the best deals money can buy when it comes to ultralight 1-person tents shelters from “cottage” manufacturers, especially when compared to those charging exorbitant prices for Dyneema DCF tents and tarps.

Disclosure: The author received a tent for this review.

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25 comments

  1. What are your thoughts on this compared to the Tarptent Notch?

    I just got home from an attempted 78 mile AT section hike from Standing Bear Farm to Sam’s Gap that got called off at 34 miles because of that big snow event that hit North Carolina early this month. We weren’t prepared for two feet of snow on the trail. My buddy had a brand new SMD Lunar Solo and I had my seasoned Notch.

    My observations in comparison were the Lunar Solo has a bit more useable room inside because of the interior shape, however, the Notch has two vestibules reachable from inside whereas the Solo only had one. The Solo has a smaller vestibule on the side opposite the entry that is only accessible from the outside. The silpoly material used on the SMD shelter seems lighter and wispier than the silnylon of the Notch contributing to the Solo’s slightly lighter weight. Both handled the wind, snow, and sleet we got quite well but we did bail on our hike before the heavy snow hit.

    Other than a broken zipper on the Solo which will be handled under warranty, both of us were quite pleased with our respective shelters. The current sale price does give the SMD Lunar Solo a tremendous bang for the buck.

    • The problem with the Notch is that the sleeping compartment is so narrow. It’s a great shelter and while you can store your gear in the vestibules, it’s just not as comfortable as the Lunar Solo. Of course, the Notch is much more weatherproof, no matter which direction you pitch it, but in they’e both 3 season tents.

      • I was really impressed with the interior room in the Lunar Solo. Since bugs weren’t an issue, I just left the doors unzipped in my Notch and could lay my hands on anything I needed in either vestibule.

        If I didn’t already have the Notch, I’d buy that Lunar Solo in a minute. My hiking partner was interested in a Notch but the sale price at SMD was too tempting for him. I can understand.

  2. For solo use, i’ve been hanging in with my trusty BA Flycreek UL2, but it’s beginning to show it’s age (been patching some small holes in the floor). I think i’ll looking for its successor before long, so it’s good to see this review.

    At 6’1″, one issue for me is low-sloping sides which get too near my face and the sleeping bag’s foot end rubbing up against the tent wall and picking up condensation. It’s not clear if the inside length on the Lunar Solo will be long enough to obviate these problems.

    For just a few more ounces, the SMD Skyscape Trekker looks like a viable option; a little longer, with a second pole needed for set up. One point of confusion, though. The chart in the review indicates “single wall” for the Trekker, but the description on the SMD site says, “Hybrid Double Wall.” I watched a couple of set-up reviews, and it looks like a mesh inner wall with a waterproof fly/outer. There’s also a lower regular (non-sale) price indicated on the website than what’s in the chart. Any thoughts on that tent?

    So many sub-two-pound solo and close-to-two-pound 2P tents now! Hard to choose. I remember lugging a 9-pound-something Eureka back in the day.

    Oh, and i’m trying to picture this: “I can recall one particularly cold night when I didn’t heed this advice and I had to use my backpack as a bivy sack for warmth when cold wind blew into my tent.”

    Was that a 500-liter pack?

    • Ron lent me a trekker to try a few years ago and I didn’t really get to use it enough before I returned it. I’m pretty sure its not a double wall tent though.

    • The Skyscape has only one inner panel that is not mesh – the roof section that goes from peak down to the foot end. The rest is free hanging mesh and for the most part is essentially double wall although it is often very close or touching the “fly” material. It’s a good design and very weather worthy. Not much issue with condensation in most conditions and it’s much better than some in this regard. The interior is actually very spacious, vestibules are adequate but not huge (in a heavy or blowing rain a pack or boots will probably get a bit wet). The new sil-poly fabric he is using is very nice and gone are the days of humidity sagging and retensioning the lines. Tub floor is supposed to be taller as well but I have not seen photos of the new version that show this (it’s a welcome tweak to the design though). He still uses a good durable floor as well (30d or 40d fabric) which adds a lot of life compared to the extra thin floors on most of the UL traditional tents these days. I think it could use 2 or 3 more guy out points to maximize its weather resistance and versatility but as is the Skyscape can hold its own. When I had mine heavier snow and loads of fine windblown dust were the only real weaknesses but that is true of many shelters. There are a lot of good shelters to pick from right now which is great.

      • I agree with J Ramos – it’s a great tent. I use this as my winter setup in the Whites (Hammock in the Summer/Fall). My only gripe is the Sil-Nylon is so damn slippery! You WILL slide in this thing (stripe the floor with seam seal) and its a pain to roll/unroll with gloves on. Guyed out correct – it’s rock solid. The hybrid double wall is also welcome in the winter to keep the drips off of you.

        Best of luck to you!

      • Reply to SC below…

        Some reviewers of the tent were noting the slippery-ness of the floor. One offered this suggestion as a solution:

        https://jwbasecamp.com/Articles/Silnylon1/index.html

        Solve three problems with a single solution
        A Treatment for Silnylon Floors

      • That works, just be sure to use real “normal” mineral spirits, not the newer “green/enviro” type, and 100% silicone. That can be expensive if you don’t already have the stuff, and while ounce for ounce it is way cheaper, the $6 Permatex flowable windshield sealant is an odor-free fast curing silicone that you can get at any auto parts store and it’s fantastic…perfect consistency for normal seam sealing but also very easy to work into fabric weave for grip. I think it’s easier and saves some weight to just treat my pad rather than the tent floor (do it strategically), and bonus it doesn’t matter which tent I’m in if my pads go with me.

      • I have the 1st gen silnylon Trekker. The only time I had an issue was the first year in the Wind Rivers when it hailed/sleeted/rained for much of the first night. The single sided wall at the back collapsed enough to touch the foot of my down sleeping bag. Didn’t realize it until morning. Conditions weren’t improving enough to dry the bag so it was time to bail.

        The lesson was to re-tension, even in the middle of a night storm and guy that base out firmly. If in doubt, cover the foot of the sleeping bag with a rain jacket.

        For 28z and $225, the Trekker is much more cost effective than any DCF tent. By the time you add a real floor for the same functionality you can save about 10z. It’ll cost $200+ for that 10z. The Trekker has also held up well in high winds and that bathtub floor worked perfectly on a rather ill-chosen site.

        Spot on with the slickness!! Combined with the Neo Xlite, it made for interesting/frustrating first use, particularly with the slightest pitch to the ground. Striping the pad with silicone certainly helps.

    • About the pricing, are you maybe seeing the price of the similar “Scout” version of the Skyscape? The Skyscape Scout is made with heavier polyester fabric but otherwise is the same shelter. The Skyscape Trekker uses “better” materials. I think with his change to lightweight sil-poly there is no reason to look at the Scout except for the exceptionally low price point (which is amazing really).

  3. I feel that SMD provides solid lightweight products at very reasonable prices. Especially when considering the current holiday sale. I have had the Deschutes tarp with Serenity net inner for the last year and a half. A 24oz modular system that can be used tarp only, net only or combine for double wall set up for under $300 has provided a lot of versatility for the investment. Thanks again for another thorough review.

  4. My favorite perk of the Lunar Solo is its ability to be pitched on all kinds of ground slope and irregularity. On mild nights with some dew expected, I stake a corner of a door to a trekking pole – with a clove hitch – to create an awning. And, if there are sticks and/or trees around, you can do the same with both door sides, while using your other trekking pole for the tent anchor. It’s that floating floor, that beats any other similar tent.

  5. Not bad but IMHO the Tarptent Notch is a better design. More head room, better ventilation.

    And then there is the option of the Notch Lithium of Dynema – IF you have the “disposable income” for it.

  6. Best “1 person” tent I have found yet for 1 person and a dog (65 lb standard poodle). He can tuck in beside me. Very roomy.

  7. My Lunar Solo is now over 10 years old with 200+ nights of use and is still performing great. I do use a piece of house wrap under the floor for added protection and have treated the floor with silicon so I don’t slip slide away. Very happy with the Lunar Solo – only issue for me is that I can’t use when acompanied by my 80 lb pooch (BA Copper Spur 2p for those trips). Merry Christmas to all.

  8. I’ve used a Solo for several years and kept it since switching to a hammock, it’s small size and small investment makes it a reasonable hold for friends and non-hammock trips!

  9. just purchased the lunar solo in green w/seam sealing, just to let section hiker readers know if you go to six moon designs and sign up for the newsletter you’ll get 10% off your first purchase, so got the tent and seam sealed with free shipping for $207! (,i did end up going through section hiker to make the purchase :-) but think you need to go to six moon site directly initially to sign up for the newsletter, hoping it won’t take them long to seam seal it and ship!, can’t wait to try it out!

  10. Phillip, how deep is the vestibule in standard setup? I really like the tent other than the porch seems a bit on the short side for me to squeeze in, pull off my rain jacket and zip the fly. With a loaded pack sitting in the vestibule.

    I like the Notch a lot, but I’m not a fan of sleeping in a cramped space. I can do it for a few nights, but not a thru hike. Give me some elbow room. I wish the Notch had one smaller vestibule, a 3-4 in wider floor, and a larger main vestibule. I’m happy to have a smaller storage area for a larger floor space. Hear me, Henry ;-)

    But for now the Protrail worls. I may make some mods for convenience. Dan’s mid and the Lunar Solo are great values. I like the silpoly, too. I am so over fabric sag! I got to thinking – a Protrail in DCF would be compelling for those that use one pole and like simpler, reliable setup for good stormworthiness (AT hikers are getting pounded with big storms nearly every day this year! The Aeon Li is the answer for me. Who knows if I’ll ever win the Aeon lottery. I should get my bot clone to hack into line next time….. Just kidding, Henry! You have a good problem but hiker season has started. If I pulled up to the AT with a pickup load of Aeon Li tents, I would sell out in a day. Hiking days on end with a wet tent gets really old and really mold.

  11. If Shakedry works on rain jackets, wouldn’t tents benefit from the same material? Running jackets of shakedry weigh 4 ounces, versus 10-12 ounces for Goretex flavored jackets. A shakedry tent I think would be around the weight of silpoly. It would costs much less than DCF!

  12. hi Philip,
    wher can I buy this six moons solo for 160.00 on sale now .as shown above? thanks philip

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