As an avid camper, I oftentimes find myself on the trails at night. During these times, I bed down and get some sleep so that I can resume my trip in the morning. Until this past summer, I have always used a bivy pack to quickly bed down and get some rest.
It was during the summer that I realized exactly how much I didn't enjoy using the typical bivy pack; they are often too snug, typically can have zero visibility when you're in them, and they can be a bit uncomfortable to sleep in. With this in mind, I decided to do a little research and see what my options were; as a result, I discovered the Snugpak Ionosphere, which is a one-person tent.
- It's low-slung so wind won't disturb it.
- It's very hard to tear accidentally
- Strong construction
- It can get warm at night
- It can be hard to get into if you are larger
- It only comes in one color
Things to Consider Before Buying a One-Person Tent
A one-person tent isn't for everyone. Before you go out and purchase one of these, there are a few considerations that you should take into account. Firstly, the Snugpak Ionosphere is really designed for serious outdoors lovers. If you find that you only hit the wilderness trail once or twice a year, then this might not be for you.
This particular tent isn't inexpensive, so it's best to really consider the amount of usage that you'll get out of it before you take the plunge. The ideal customer for this product is someone who:
- Is experienced
- Is able to set up the tent quickly.
- Is a semi-regular camper.
Additionally, I wouldn't use this tent too much in the winter. It has a lot of great weatherproofing features, but when the temperature dips significantly, you might have a hard time keeping warm in the Snugpak Ionosphere. Finally, while this one-person tent is excellent for weathering the majority of storms, it can be a bit of a hassle to set up in one, especially if the ground is already soaked and difficult to stake into securely.
About the Sungpak Ionosphere
What makes this product so perfect is its unique sizing and form factor. Firstly, the Ionosphere is bigger than a bivy and smaller than a tent. This provides a unique sizing option for those like me who find bivys too constraining, but don't want to carry a full-sized tent on their camping expedition.
The Ionosphere is also colored in such a way that it is well-hidden in places like forests and plains for those that want to use it for combat training or drills, though it will stick out a bit in some environments. It can even be set up on the quick and is actually very easy to pitch, even in pitch darkness.
Features and Benefits
It's Easy to Deploy
One of the biggest complaints that I've had with some models of bivy is that they can be a bit complex to deploy in standard and low-light situations. The Snugpak Ionosphere is one of the easiest to deploy one-person tents on the market today. You simply take it out of its stuff sack, lay the netting, attach the foldable poles, stake the Ionosphere to the ground, and attach the fly. Here's an excellent video on how to set up this tent with relative ease.
It's Lightweight and Folds Easily into a Small Stuff Sack
When you are hitting the trail for a long period of time, no one wants a tent that will weigh down their rucksack or backpack. With this in mind, the Ionosphere is a very lightweight one-person tent that weighs about two pounds in totality.
This is because the frame poles of the Ionosphere are made of lightweight but strong aluminum and the stakes are made of a lightweight alloy as well. I've had much heavier bivys in the past, so it's nice to see that such a functional tent is so easy to carry.
It's Incredibly Sturdy
As I mentioned, the frame poles for this tent are made of aluminium. I really love the fact that these are made of such a sturdy material; there's simply no chance that a stiff wind is going to cause these to bend or detach when you're in the middle of inclement weather. As a result of this sturdiness, I wouldn't balk at taking this tent on a trip where I know that the weather will be choppy. All of the seams are taped and sealed so that it won't be damaged during transit to the trail.
The flysheet of the Ionosphere is made of a very lightweight 210t Polyester RipStop material that has 5000 millimeters of waterproof polyurethane coating. This material simply resists tears and incidental damage and stands up to excess moisture as well. The inner tent area is made of durable 190t nylon with a netting that is comprised of a proprietary 50D polyester No-See-Um-Mesh. This Snugpak Ionosphere review touches on the Ionosphere's durability.
It Will Withstand Most Inclement Weather
One of the most important aspects of a tent/bivy is its ability to withstand the harsher elements. In addition to its weatherproof coating that can be found on the fly, the remainder is designed to withstand the harshest of rainfall.
One feature that I thought was particularly useful was the Velcro that is present on the inner surface of the flysheet. While you can always stake your flysheet down fairly securely, you can directly attach the fly to the inner tent, which is perfect for those situations when the wind is rather stiff.
Additionally, the sealing on the seams also prevents moisture from getting inside the Ionosphere when you want to stay dry. The stakes, being made of a stronger alloy, also grip the soil firmly so that during a rainstorm, you can rest assured that you won't have a problem with one end of your tent not being secured.
Youtuber, the Opinionated Cheapskate, decided to test the tent in his backyard during a nasty rainstorm. He was pleasantly surprised at how well the Ionosphere performed:
Alternatives Worth Looking At
This tent is very similar to the Ionosphere. It has the overall same shaping, but the poles are more exposed on this product than they are on the Snugpak tent. It's a bit cheaper than the Ionosphere, but it actually comes in four colors: gray, light green, orange, and a more camo-friendly green.
I find that this is a more weekender-friendly one-person tent because of its significantly lower price point. You will be sacrificing durability, as this Winterial product isn't as tear-resistant as the Snugpak tent. That being said, this tent does come with three bundles of rope and 14 strong stakes.
The ALPS Mountaineering tent is another great alternative to the Ionosphere. It definitely has a different shaping that's a little higher than the Ionosphere, which I believe will make it a little more vulnerable to stiff winds.
That being said, it is constructed of strong materials, like a 75D 185T polyester flysheet that resists UV damage and stays taut when you are using the tent. I also liked the fact that the mesh is very breathable, which can amount to a more comfortable experience than the Ionosphere.