By Matt Westby
There’s an old saying in football that a good referee is one you do not notice – and I apply the same principle to my tents.
I don’t want to spend much money, don’t want it to take up too much space or take long to put up, and I definitely don’t want it to weigh me down.
So when I found one that was only 1.5kg, 14 inches in length (when packed), would cost me less than £80 and took as little as eight minutes to pitch, all my camping dreams had come true in one compact bundle.
The Ferrino Lightent 1 was my godsend – a one-man tent comprising just two poles, an inner mosquito net with waterproof polyester floor, waterproof Ripstop polyester flysheet, a couple of fixed guy ropes and a few pegs. That’s it.
Not only can it be erected in about the same time as it takes to boil a pot of water on a camping stove, but it will fit comfortably inside most large backpacks and is light enough for the carrier to not notice the added weight.
It is also very easy to pack away thanks to a bag that is not only of ample size (I’ve never found myself struggling to fit my rolled-up tent into it) but can also be buckle-fastened shut and comes with a carry handle.
In a nutshell, it is everything anyone with a “travel light, travel fast” mantra could wish for.
Sadly, though, tents are so often about compromise, and the Lightent 1 is no different. For all its fleet-footed attributes you have to pay a price and in the case of this smallest of one-manners, it is space.
Once pitched and inside, it’s difficult to sit upright and a six-footer such as myself will find their head and toes touch the walls when fully outstretched. In addition, you’ll find it very difficult to store much more than a 65-litre backpack in there when you’re sleeping.
I can take all that, though. I know that is part and parcel of owning a super-lightweight tent.
Where the Lightent 1 does fall down, however, is in the fight against condensation. There are no end of gaps for air to get in but almost every time I have used it, whether the temperatures were warm or sub-zero, large amounts of water accumulated on the inside on the flysheet.
The problem is then exacerbated by the fact the flysheet lays over the inner tent – rather than the inner tent hanging from the flysheet – so the water is transferred instantly on to the walls of the sleeping compartment, and then on to you and your sleeping bag. I know other tents are susceptible to condensation but I’ve never been in one where the problem is quite as bad as the Lightent 1.
Another minor gripe, meanwhile, is that the colour is a bright, autumn red, which is not ideal if you’re wild camping and want to stay out of sight.
Super-light, compact, value for money and can be pitched in just eight minutes. Outstanding for cycle tourers or trekkers who want to keep weight and bulk to a minimum.
A lack of space inside means it’s not suitable for anyone carrying lots of kit on an expedition or those over 6ft 2in tall. It’s also susceptible to condensation building up overnight and dripping down into the sleeping compartment.
The Ferrino Lightent 1 has its flaws but they are more than outweighed by the positives. It is as easy to use and transport as non-pop-up tents come.
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