I love gear. Even more so, I love well made functional gear. I wouldn't necessarily say I'm a gear-head, but I do love the tools that make my life and lifestyle easier. During the last few months I've been able to camp with and photograph Big Sky International's Soul Tent. I had been searching for a well made, lightweight, freestanding tent for years. There are several lightweight tents available on the market, but very few are freestanding. Why do you need freestanding, you ask? I've camped in several places where the ground is either so hard it'll bend the stakes just trying to get them in, or it's too soft and the stakes end up being worthless. Thus, the need for a freestanding tent. And not just freestanding, but also lightweight. I'm already carrying 10 pounds of camera gear into the field, my backpacking gear needs to be as lightweight as possible. With the trend being on ultra lightweight gear I'd be stupid not to take advantage of its availability on the market. The lighter your pack, the further you'll go.
I stumbled upon Big Sky's website and thought the Soul Tent was a perfect fit for me. I only wanted a one person tent since most of my backpacking trips are solo. It was freestanding, incredibly lightweight, and seemingly well made. What's even better is you can customize your parts to be as lightweight as possible. Of course the price raises every ounce you lose, but for some serious hikers it is definitely worth shelling out a little more initially to save your back and knees in the long run. Big Sky sent me the midrange price and weight Soul Tent. It's about 2 pounds with everything: Stakes, poles, interior, fly. I've been able to use it on a few backpacking trips so far and I couldn't be happier. It's a great well made tent. It feels strong in winds, dry in rain and gives me the space I need for the little time I will be spending inside of it.
Overall, this is a great tent. It's well priced, considering its weight, and the materials are top notch. If you're in the market for a lightweight tent, freestanding or not, consider Big Sky International. They've got some good things going on.
It is extremely packable. I've never had a problem with it fitting into my pack.
Published: October 21, 2013