Gear Review - Macpac Sololight Hiking Tent
The Macpac Sololight Hiking Tent is a tramper* and longer-term traveller’s best friend. Macpac have totally balanced the equation of weight, space, comfort and functionality.
I was in + around Queenstown for 26 days and took my tent out to Moke Lake, 12 Mile Delta, the Kepler Track, the Routeburn Track and the Caples Track and in a variety of weather conditions (warm mid-20 degree days, below 0 nights, wind and rain)…and the Sololight passed with flying colours (and speaking of colour, I love the citronelle yellow - very photogenic!)
*tramping = backpacking in New Zealand lingo
What I loved
LIGHTWEIGHT + SPACE-EFFICIENT…
When you are hiking alone, there is no option to divide what is typically communal gear up between backpacks (tent, cooking gear, food) and so the size and weight of what you take is a big consideration.
The Macpac Sololight Hiking Tent comes in at only 1.29 kilograms and when unpacked and squished down into the bottom of my pack, it takes up next to no space. There are just two small strut poles and one single ridge pole and a little bag of pegs.
BUT STILL LIVEABLE + COMFORTABLE
Yep, make no mistake, lightweight does not mean insufficient space!
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I could fit inside the tent (the length of the inner is 2.2 metres and my height is 1.63 metres). I had also been prepared to leave my pack outside with a rain-cover on it but there was no need; the annex had ample room to house all my belongings as well as to cook out of the wind and rain.
AND SUPER FUNCTIONAL!
Lightweight also does not mean you sacrifice functionality!
I really appreciated the little inner stash pocket to keep essentials at hand like my glasses and my head lamp. Plus, the design on it is SO CUTE. The tent fly door also has two slider zips so you can let in a little airflow whilst maintaining privacy.
YOUR HOME + SHELTER
Your tent is your home + shelter and so it should protect you from cold, wind and rain. The Sololight is a 2-season tent so I wouldn’t take it above the snow line; however, the temperatures did drop quite low to single-digits and the wind picked up both at Moke Lake and whilst on the Kepler Track and I was never worried about the robustness of the tent (I also have a very good sleeping mat and minus-temps-rated, down sleeping bag).
AND THEN, temperatures dropped below 0 on the Routeburn Track and it rained consistently throughout the night…and I still stayed warm + dry.
The tent also has a Multi-Pitch™ system which means you can set up the fly independent of the inner, to keep the inner dry if it is raining.
What I didn’t love as much
There is really only one thing I didn’t love as much about the Macpac Sololight Hiking Tent and it’s the fixture to hold back the tent fly door. The fixture is a little toggle on the bottom of the door and the ring is on the fly so you just hook the door up. Though it functions well, the placement of it means some of the door is still flapping about. I would prefer a design that allows you to roll up the door to keep it completely out of the way. (I hope my description makes sense).
I also love a tent door stuff pocket in the inner; again to keep the door out of the way.
But let’s admit that these two are just minor items on the wishlist :)
Overall, I am very pleased with the Sololight. I feel I put it through some thorough testing and came away quite attached to my little home and really look forward to taking it out back here in Australia.