The SlingFin Portal is a highly-livable and lightweight two-person tent with a spacious dome-shaped design that’s ideal for three-season use. But what sets the Portal apart from other tents is its strength and ability to withstand high buffeting winds, with virtually no added weight. At 2 lbs 13 oz, that makes the Portal suitable for expedition use, a capability that most lightweight three-season tents can’t match.
Specs at a Glance
- People: 2
- Type: Semi-freestanding, requires a minimum of two stakes to set up
- Shape: Dome
- Internal pockets: 7
- Seam sealed: yes
- Weight: 2 lbs 13 oz
- Floor: 85″ x 51″ (head) x 42″ (foot)
- Peak height: 44″
- Floor: 20D Nylon Ripstop PE 1800mm
- Fly: 10D Nylon 66 Ripstop Sil/Sil
- Inner: 15D Nylon no-see-um mesh
- For complete specs visit the SlingFin Portal product page
The Portal’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 a cross pole that helps create near-vertical side walls and doors. There are two doors so each occupant has their own side entrance, a must-have in my book for any two-person, dome-style tent. The doors are D-shaped making them easy to enter and exit.
Each door 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.
A cross pole lays over the central pole hub, creating awnings that extend beyond the doors when the fly is deployed. This makes it possible to keep the vestibule doors open when it is raining, which is a super nice feature to help reduce internal condensation inside the tent.
The Portal is a quite livable tent, in addition to being a strong one. The interior wide is large enough to fit two 25″ wide tapered inflatable sleeping pads side by side pad and there are seven large internal mesh pockets so you can get your gear off the floor to create more interior room. This includes two pockets in the ceiling, two along the sides of the tent at the head and foot ends, and a tent-wide pocket over your feet. These pockets are great for storing glasses, cell phones, headlamps, wet shoes and socks, and other essential items.
When erected, the inner tent is quite strong. This “inner strength” is the hallmark of SlingFin’s lightweight tents, which incorporate a unique internal guyline system used to dampen the buffeting that leads to pole collapse in high winds. Since the internal guyline system weighs virtually nothing, there’s no weight overhead to it, which is rather ingenious. If you only camp in protected campsites, you won’t need it, but it’s ideal for camping in more exposed alpine zones and on winter ski tours. Here’s a video below, that explains how to deploy the internal guyline system, and one that explains how it was developed and tested on Mt Washington(home of the world’s worst weather), which is only a few miles from the area where I field-tested the Portal.
Trekking/Ski Pole Adapters
In addition to the internal guylines, you can augment the strength of the Portal’s ceiling cross-pole, particularly when snow loading is a concern. There are velcro “outrigger” straps at the ends of the cross pole that you can wrap around your trekking or ski pole handles or over your snow baskets to reinforce the inner tent ceiling. Again, there’s virtually no added weight required to use this capability.
The Portal’s rainfly attaches to the same corner grommets 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 really do need to carry at least 2 stakes if you want to stake out the side vestibules. I’d still recommend staking out the corners, but you don’t have to in a pinch.
The Portal’s side vestibules can be used in a wide variety of ways for gear storage and ventilation. The vestibule doors have dual, bi-directional zippers, so you can zip down the top zipper to create a transom effect or unzip them down the middle to roll back both doors or just one side at a time. There are also velcro patches sewn along the zipper sides, so you can unzip the door and prop it open with orange Kickstands (orange-covered fiberglass rods) to maintain more privacy without sacrificing airflow. The kickstands, are easy to lose though, so you’ll want to keep close track of them.
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 waterproof rain fly. It’s just another indicator that SlingFin designed this tent for long term use, which shows in the materials, redundancies, and features that they incorporated to make it.
Comparable Two-person, Lightweight Tents
|Make / Model||Person||Doors||Weight||Price|
|Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2||2P||2||2 lbs 3 oz||$399|
|Zpacks.com Duplex||2P||2||1 lb 3 oz||$599|
|MSR Hubba Hubba NX2||2P||2||3 lbs 8 oz||$450|
|Dan Durston/Drop X-Mid-1||1P||2||1 lb 12 oz||$200|
|Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo||1P||1||1 lb 10 oz||$230|
|NEMO Dragonfly||1P||1||2 lbs||$360|
|Tarptent Double Rainbow||2P||2||2 lbs 10 oz||$299|
|REI Quarter Dome SL1||1P||1||1 lb 15 oz||$299|
|Gossamer Gear "The One"||1P||1||1 lb 4 oz||$299|
|Slingfin Portal 2||2P||2||2 lbs 13 oz||$485|
The SlingFin Portal is a lightweight and well ventilated 2 person tent that weighs 2 lbs 13 oz (45 oz). While it isn’t the lightest weight, two-person tent you can buy, the Portal 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/ski 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 be right up your alley.
Disclosure: SlingFin loaned the author a tent for this review.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.
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