This might make ultralight backpackers cringe, but I thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail with a tent weighing 4.5 pounds. Despite the heavy burden, I loved my Alps Mountaineering tent. It was quick and easy to set up and was extremely reliable in bad weather.
Upon finishing my hike, I decided it was finally time to make the switch to a single wall, ultralight tent. When I first began researching tents available on the market, I became slightly overwhelmed. With so many options out there, how could I know which one would be best for me?
After speaking with hikers and conducting hours of research, I ultimately decided on the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo. There were some key factors in making my decision, which I’ll gladly detail here.
Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Specs
- Capacity: 1+
- Weight: 26oz
- Price: $249.99
- Floor Dimensions: 90" L x 48" W
- Interior Height: 49"
- Packed size: 11" x 4.5"
Materials: Canopy - 20D Silicone Coated Nylon 3,000mm Rating; Floor - 40D Silicone Coated Polyester; #3 YKK zipper
What I Love About the Lunar Solo
Weight/ Size: Weighing in at 26 ounces, the Lunar Solo isn’t the lightest single wall tent you can find on the market, but 26 ounces is feather light compared to my previous tent. The tent packs down really small too and hardly takes up any space inside my backpack.
Roomy/ Cozy Factor: The inside of the Lunar Solo is very large and roomy; the same size one might expect from a two-person tent. The tub-style floor, long interior and high ceiling helps me feel right at home in the Lunar Solo. Thanks to its pyramid-style design, I can sit up in the middle of the tent with plenty of headroom to spare.
Budget Friendly: $250 for this tent is an absolute steal in my opinion. Six Moon Designs is trying to market toward the budget-conscious backpacker, and doing a terrific job at doing just that. Sure, you can easily spend $600+ on another ultralight tent, but the Lunar Solo has it all for an extremely fair price.
Easy Pitch: Setting up the Lunar Solo is an extremely simple and quick process. Like many other ultralight tents, a single trekking pole is used for structure. It took me a couple of practice pitches, but once I got the hang of it, pitching the Lunar Solo doesn’t take much thought or time at all.
Caught in an intense Rocky Mountain thunderstorm, I needed to set up this shelter as quickly as possible. Thankfully, the easy pitch process allowed me to be warm and dry in a matter of mere moments.
What I Didn’t Love
100% waterproof? I was able to test the Lunar Solo out in the rain, and overall I was satisfied with how it held up. For the most part I was kept dry, but I did notice the occasional rain drop seeping through and landing on my forehead while I was lying down. This was not the end of the world, but I don’t feel it is 100% waterproof. Would I trust it in an intense heavy downpour for hours and hours on end? Hard to say. That is still to be determined. This would be a perfect tent for thru-hiking the PCT or Arizona Trail, but the Appalachian Trail?
Condensation Build-up: Now, this might be the same scenario with every single-wall tent on the market, but I definitely noticed a ton of condensation build up on the walls practically every night I've used it. I have heard plenty of other hikers reference the same thing when using the Lunar Solo.
Just How Durable is the Lunar Solo? I haven’t had the privilege of embarking on a thru-hike with the Lunar Solo, so the durability and lifespan of this tent is to be determined, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t hold up nicely on a 2,000+ mile long thru-hike.
Good to Know
- Features an 8.5 square foot vestibule for gear and shoe storage
Vestibule can be rolled to the side to reveal the front mesh doors, giving you that ‘cowboy camping’ feel
- Does not include stakes and footprint, both can be purchased separately — I recommend pairing it with a Tyvek footprint to prevent water pooling on floor and to protect from rock punctures
Tent does not come seam sealed; you must either seam seal it yourself or pay an additional fee for Six Moon Designs to seam seal it for you
- Can be purchased in two color options: gray or dark green
- If you typically hike with a partner, check out the Lunar Duo, which provides similar functionality, but for two people.
Overall, after several trips with the Lunar Solo, I am definitely pleased with this tent, and would recommend it to almost everyone! This tent is perfect for those not looking to make a huge dent in their bank account, but who still desire a reliable, ultralight tent for backpacking trips of all lengths. The spacious pyramid-style design features a high ceiling and plenty of ventilation to keep you cool in the hotter summer months. I’m looking forward to using this tent for years to come … and reporting back on how it’s holding up after hundreds of more trail miles!
Max is a runner, hiker, and outdoor adventurer based in the Hudson Valley region of New York. In 2021, upon graduating college, Max pursued a long-time goal of his and thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. When not working, Max enjoys spending his free time running on local trails and exploring the mountains of the East Coast with friends and family. You can follow along with his adventures on his Instagram: @max_kiel_trail