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SlingFin Portal 1 Tent Review

SlingFin Portal 1 Tent Review

The SlingFin Portal 1 is a freestanding double-wall tent that’s a one-person version of their bomber Portal 2-person tent, which we first used several years ago and recommend highly. The freestanding Portal 1 tent is superbly made, and suitable for 3+ season camping with the ability to counter increased snow loads by combining tent poles and trekking poles for structural support. In addition to its technical features which are quite impressive, the Portal 1 is a spacious and very comfortable tent that’s made with superior materials for a long lifetime of use.

Specs at a Glance

  • Type: Double-wall
  • Structural: Freestanding
  • Capacity: 1 Person
  • Doors: 1
  • Trail Weight: 2lbs 8oz (1.13kg)
  • Floor Dimensions: 88″ x 35″ (head) x 28″ (foot) (224cm x 89cm/71cm)
  • Internal height: 41″
  • Max Pole Segment Length: 13.5″
  • Poles: 2
  • Interior Pockets: 7
  • Minimum number
  • Materials: Fly – 10D Nylon 66 Ripstop Sil/Sil 1200mm; Floor – 20D Nylon Ripstop PE 1800mm; Mesh – 15D Nylon no-see-um mesh.
  • For complete specs visit the SlingFin Portal 1 product page

Inner Tent

The three pole architecture provides strength and interior space
The three-pole architecture provides strength and interior space

The Portal 1’s inner tent is all mesh which is good for three-season use because it helps optimize airflow and condensation mitigation in warmer weather. The pole architecture is very simple, with long crossing poles connected to a central hub and an independent cross pole that helps create near-vertical side walls for better livability. The long poles slot into grommets in the corners, which benefits durability because there’s no proprietary Jake’s foot connector to break or replace. The cross pole is also colored orange, instead of the grey used by the long poles, to make it stand out against the ground so you don’t forget to pack it when you break camp.

The horizontal cross pole pulls the walls out so they're actually past vertical providing more interior room.
The horizontal cross pole pulls the walls out so they’re actually past vertical providing more interior room.

There is one D-shaped door that comes with two bi-directional zippers, so if you break one, you have a second pre-installed for use. Zippers are one of those things that do fail on tents, so this is a nice feature to ensure a long lifetime of use without having to replace it yourself.

The inner tent has a deep bathtub floor for moisture protection with 7 internal pockets so you can keep fragile items from getting crushed, like sunglasses or your smartphone. The pockets are large enough to hold clothing, like a damp shirt or hiking pants to keep them away from your dry clothing and bedding at night. There are also numerous plastic rings in the ceiling and corners that you can hang gear from, although they serve double duty as an internal guyline system to give the tent more stability in high winds when using external guylines with the fly (click for video demonstration). This is beyond my ability to test in the White Mountains (NH) where above-treeline camping is illegal.

Trekking pole tips can be used to augment the tents poles adding strength for heavier snow loads
Trekking pole tips can be used to augment the tents poles adding strength for heavier snow loads

The cross pole has a secondary function which is to allow the use of trekking poles to augment the tent’s aluminum poles when there is additional snow loading on the tent. The ends of the cross pole have plastic rings to hold pole tips or velcro straps to wrap around trekking pole shafts, depending on your preference. It’s a neat system that adds very little weight to the tent but greatly expands its range of utility in colder weather.

The vestibule provides excellent coverage for gear
The vestibule provides excellent coverage for gear

Rain Fly

The Portal’s rainfly attaches to the same corner stakes as the inner tent reducing the number of tent stakes you need to set it up in good weather. While the inner tent is technically freestanding, you need to carry at least 2 stakes if you want to stake out the front vestibule and the rear of the rainfly for better ventilation (sorry there’s no back door.) I’d still recommend staking out the corners, but you don’t have to in a pinch. 

The zipper is covered with a wide flap to prevent water from soaking you when opening the door in the rain
The zipper is covered with a wide flap to prevent water from soaking you when opening the door in the rain

It’s also worth noting that the Portal has a 2-sided silicone-impregnated flysheet instead of a PU coating for better durability. That process, which is also used by Hilleberg, results in a stronger and more durable rainfly. The same is true of the floor which is a 20D Nylon Ripstop coated with polyethylene (PE). Both are much more durable than PU-coated shelters and won’t rot away in your garage after a few years of use or storage. It’s just another indicator that SlingFin designed this tent for long-term use, which shows in the materials, redundancies, and features that they provide for it.

Both vestibule doors can be opened for optimal ventilation
Both vestibule doors can be opened for optimal ventilation


The SlingFin Portal 1 is a lightweight double-wall 1-person tent with a minimum trail weight of 2 lbs 8 oz (40 oz). While it isn’t the lightest weight, 1-person tent you can buy, the Portal 1 is certainly one of the strongest and most durable, making it an excellent option if you like to push the envelope in terms of terrain or seasons. The Portal’s internal guyline architecture makes it much more resilient in the face of high winds, while its trekking pole outrigger capability significantly expands its range of use in the colder months. If you’re the type of person who’s willing to carry a little extra weight in exchange for gear you can count on through thick and thin, then the SlingFin Portal Tent is going to float your boat better than the other one-person big brand tents available today.

Disclosure:  SlingFin donated a tent for review.

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  1. To be honest, this seems like an impressive upgrade from other similar tents, such as the Big Agnes Copper Spur. I like the tie out points around the tent and the extra capacity for snow loading. I wonder if wind resistance is increased with use of added poles? I would assume so.

    My only criticism is lack of through ventilation but you can’t have it all. Cheers for the review.

  2. I own the portal 2 and the spit wing tarp with the insert, vestibule and ground sheet. I used the portal 2 for over 800 miles on the PCT and it was great. I just used the split wing recently and I was not disappointed. The quality of the materials and the thought process of these tents is amazing. I would not be afraid to recommend any Split Wing tents.

  3. The thought of spending $500 on a tent makes me want to cry. But then again, the tent I was using for my recent bicycle trip leaked badly which did make me cry. In fact, I cut my travels short because everything got wet, and with a second day of rain (as well as a few other things going wrong) the leaking tent pushed my limits. The double cross poles with 13 inch sections are easier to pack into bike panniers, and definately makes set up easier. It also looks like a less claustophobic design than my current tent. So I guess I better start saving my money.

  4. For 3+ seasons, it should have at least a partial solid interior. 10D fly seems prone to tears and low hydrostatic heads. Good 1P room though. It’ll be interesting to see reports of long term usage.

  5. I’m not very good at math, but it would seem having a tapered floor and only one door, that under certain conditions by having to pitch the door on one side might be forcing your head to be downhill. Did I get that right?

  6. Based on the symmetrical roof and vertical sidewalls, that sounds like good pragmatic advice based on experience! For me though (an “active” sleeper a bit wide in the shoulders), 28″ sounded like a face in the fabric squeeze and I’m much more at ease with 34-36″. But it definitely looks like a quality product. Keep up the good work, you’ve created a great site!

  7. I’m with you on having more width. 28″ is in the foot so that’s not bad. Inners in popular 1P trekking pole tents are about 32″ (X-mid) or 36-28″, avg. 32″ (Dipole).

    Like Philip said, trading weight for stability here. Several reports of non-pyramid designs collapsing in high wind (above tree line & northern Europe). I don’t need this stability often, and like I said above that 10D fly makes me nervous, but this checks a lot of boxes.

  8. I saw an instagram post where you were using this in Alaska in some seemingly pretty gnarly winds. Can you add any experience in those conditions since the initial review? Thanks!

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