Six Moon Designs Skyscape Trekker

I received an email this past Tuesday from Six Moon Designs stating that the Skyscape Trekker has shipped! So, I waited anxiously for its arrival. But wouldn’t you know it, the mail services shipped it to the wrong place! They did make up for it though, so rather than me holding the Trekker in my hands on Thursday, it was sitting on my doorstep Friday! So, all good.

Before I opened the box, I grabbed my camera. I wanted to share the unveiling with everyone. So, In the following video, you will witness everything from the unboxing to complete set-up…

So, just to hit on the specs again:

  • Tent body: 23.1 oz
  • Strut: 0.7 oz
  • Stuff Sack: 0.5 oz
  • Porch: 2.2 oz

Of course I still have to seam seal the tent, so the tent weight will go up slightly. I am figuring maybe another ounce at best, but I won’t know until I actually seam seal it…

The stuff sack supplied with the tent is rather large considering the size that the Trekker can actually pack down to. This is a good thing because I store my shelters on the outside of my packs (preferably in the front pockets) since I like to be able to set up my shelter before unpacking my pack. Here is a picture of the tent compressed inside it’s stuff sack in comparison to a 1L Nalgene bottle, my OES 8 x 10 sil tarp and my SMD Lunar Duo:The first thing that I noticed when setting up the tent is that it is pretty easy to lay the tent out and stake it down. However, on my first set-up I found that it is hard to get the tips of the trekking poles in the strut sleeves. It may be easier for me if I were to extend the poles after I put the tips in the sleeves. At least this way I wouldn’t be struggling with an extended pole inside the tent. But, I also think that it would be easier to do if the strut were made of a harder plastic, this way it would be more rigid and simply easier to insert the tips into. As well, with the provided strut, I am concerned at how they will do over time. The last thing I need is for the trekking pole tip to puncture through the top of the tent. At least with a hard plastic tip this would be much less likely to happen. (I may end up modding this…)

I am 5’10” and have found the tent to be plenty big enough for me and my needs. My 2.5 inch NeoAir fits great inside the tent and still allows me room to sit up inside the tent, on the pad without my head hitting the ceiling. As well, there is plenty of horizontal room at the sides, with the most room being nearer the head end. This is a well thought-out design in my opinion. When I am laying down on the pad, the most horizontal room available inside the tent is right next to my torso, or better put, in arms reach. This way I can keep things I may need access to right next to me (on both sides) in easy reach. Then at the head end I can put things that I may not need immediately, but would still like to have close at hand. This leaves the foot end for anything else.I do have some concerns about the way that the mesh is right up against the silnylon canopy at the head end. (You can see this in the video.) The 2 walls really are right against each other. This makes me wonder how the tent will do if moisture (condensation) collects on this part. Will the mesh actually keep the water from dripping down on my head? Also, with these 2 layers right on top of each other, I wonder if this will prolong this part of the tent from drying out…

The vestibules are not extremely huge, but there should be enough room to lean my pack up underneath (which I rarely do anyway ~ I typically hang mine) or to put my shoes under for the night.

The porch does allow considerably more room, but, as seen in my videos, I still have to work with it a little more to get it pitched better. The porch came with no instructions, only the actual porch and a single cord with a lock on each end. I believe that I will make 2 separate guylines for this using some of the Glowire that I recently received from Lawson Outdoor Equipment. (Once I get this figured out a little better, I will be sure to post some better pictures.) I did find the porch set-up to be very unstable, but that may be due to the fact that I didn’t have it set-up properly.So, I will see…

Also considering the porch, I don’t know how much I will actually use it. Considering this is a solo shelter, I don’t ever plan on carrying 4 trekking poles, nor do I plan on purchasing the optional poles that are offered. Two alternatives that I have is that if I hike with someone else that is carrying poles, but not using them for a shelter, then I could use those. Or, I could pitch my tent near some sort of foliage, such as a tree or a large bush in which I can simply guy the porch out too.

So, at this point I am pretty excited the Six Moon Designs Skyscape Trekker. Now I just need to seam seal it and get it out! So, until then…

Seam Sealing the Skyscape Trekker…

When I ordered my Skyscape Trekker from Six Moon Designs I opted not to have them seam seal it. I figured that I could save the money and do it myself. Up to this point I have seam sealed a few smaller items, and I felt confident that I could do the tent myself…

So, I grabbed a partially used tube of SilNet, a 30 cc syringe and a few latex gloves. I chose to use the SilNet because I have used it in the past and have been happy with the results, and then of course I still had some left over. However, when I started I did look at the tube and wonder if it would be enough to do the whole tent…

I also decided to seam seal the tent inside the house rather than outside. My reasoning for this is again based on my past experiences with using the SilNet inside. (Not to mention that our weather has been 100+ degrees, and finally today the humidity has slacked off some. It has been  super hot outside.) Also, by doing it inside I could leave it set up for a longer period of time. I had to work the next day and didn’t want to leave it set up outside with no one home…

So, of course I decided to do a little video on it as well…

As can be seen in the video, I ended up with not quite enough SilNet to get the job done. Like I said, I had previously used a small portion of the tube I used, however, I feel like if it were to have been a new tube, it would have been enough. So, I now need to order some more and finish the job. This is fine anyway, because I like to have some available for those other small jobs… Once I get the rest of it seam sealed though, then I will take it out for a water hose test!

Also, like I said in the video, I found that if I squirt the SilNet in a zig-zag pattern it seems to cover the stitches more evenly than just running a straight line. I would only run a bead about 2 feet long at a time, this way I could take my time squirting it out of the syringe, and the SilNet would not begin to set-up before I smoothed it out. Then I simply used my finger (with the latex glove on) and slowly wiped down the seam. I tried not to go back and fix spots unless absolutely needed because by going back it would sometimes make it worse. I found that if there were spots that needed fixed, it worked better to use a little dab once it dries.

This is the biggest “project” that I have seam sealed, but now that I have done it, I don’t think that I will ever pay a company to do it for me again. It really is not that hard. The biggest part for me was having an appropriate place to seam seal it at…and of course enough seam sealer…

Update: 12-2-11

Check out this video courtesy of John Abela from Redwood Outdoors. I sent the tent to John so that he could give it a go-over and this is the video that he made of it:

Update: 1-6-12

I have now sold the Skyscape Trekker. Why might you ask? Well, it really all comes down to weight. I have been working on dropping my pack weight, and even at the scant 26 oz for the Trekker (after seam sealing) I was still able to save a considerable amount of weight by going with the 10.8 oz ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus tent.

After saying that, it may sound weird to hear me say that I will miss the Trekker though. Fact is, this was my first solo tent and simply due to this I kind of wish I could have afforded to keep it, however, the fact of the matter is that I would never have used it again since I will now have the Hexamid tent. (And the Hexamid with the cuben Solo Plus ground sheet was some serious $$$, especially compared to the $$$ for the Trekker).

Anyway, I would still not hesitate to recommend the Trekker to someone looking for a light weight, solo, fully enclosed shelter. So, here are some closing thoughts about this tent:

A few things that I really like about this tent:

It is super easy/fast to set up. Stake out the back 2 corners, then the single front corner and then I can crawl inside and position my trekking poles. It has been the easiest and fastest tent to set up that I have tried out.

Another thing I like about this tent is that I can use my trekking poles with it, so naturally this also saves a little weight. I also like that the poles are inside the tent. This will allow me to easily adjust any tension out of the silnylon walls enough to do me fine. As well, the poles inside will anchor the tent floor down which is another huge benefit to the whole system! (Plus it keeps your poles out of the weather which can over time damage your poles.)

I love the views that this tent offers when the walls are rolled up and the fact that I am completely protected from creepy crawlies…and the flying ones too.  The views are almost as good as sitting out in the open, with only a very minimal amount of view blocked at the foot of the tent.

It packs fairly small and is fairly lightweight. (Of course this also depends on the model that you get, the Scout being the heaviest/bulkiest, then the Trekker being slightly lighter/smaller as well as less expensive, and then the X being the lightest/smallest, but also the most $$$). I got this Trekker when the preorder sale was going on so at $175 I think it was a steal. Even at the listed price though I think it is well worth it.

A few things that are not the best…

The mesh over the head end literally sits against the outer wall near the apex. In my use, this has not been a problem, but it really comes down to how well condensation is controlled.

Some people have made issues about the quite low bathtub floor. I will admit that it is low, especially with the sides buttoned down for bad weather, however, so far in my experience the outer fly covers the perimeter well enough to prevent any water from splashing in. Saying this, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if the walls were another couple inches taller, but it didn’t h me the way it is either.

I was not a fan of the spreader bar that comes with the tent. It made me nervous (I was scared the tip of my trekking pole would break through it and then go right through the top of the tent) so I made another one of of some Pex tubing. Problem solved.

While the inside is spacious enough, I have found that with a 2.5″ sleeping pad with a 1/4″ pad on top and then my 15 F Marmot Helium on top of all that, my feet will almost hit the wall at the foot end. I have to shove my pad up towards the top until the edges of the pad hit the corners in the head end of the tent. There is still room above me, but since I use a rectangular pad, well it doesn’t fit perfectly into a triangular slot. So, long story short, I don’t hit the wall’s, but with my “winter” set up it almost does.

There is not a great deal of vestibule room. I would not feel comfy cooking in the vestibule (especially with alky stoves!). I can store my boots under the vestibule and then stand a pack up if need be, but other than that, that is it. The 2nd vestibule can only be accessed from outside the tent. There is no opening in the side wall to access this vestibule from inside the tent. (Unless of course you added one…)

If it is raining, it is quite easy for water to fall inside the tent when entering or exiting the tent from the vestibule door. This is probably my biggest hang up with the tent.

So…

It may look like there are a lot of negative’s about this tent, but in my opinion, there is hardly any. Most of these things I just wanted to point out because they have been mentioned, or brought to my attention. For me, these things were not a concern (except the last one) for me but I understand that they are for some.

So, like I said, I will miss the tent, and even though I replaced it I still give it thumbs up, and like I said, I still recommend this tent to those looking…

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Thanks for reading.

10 Responses to Six Moon Designs Skyscape Trekker

  1. Mark Paulsen says:

    This is by far the most thorough review of the Six Moon design trekker tent. I actually have this lame tent that I bought last year for just two hiking trips, but it is not only heavy, but also it’s a pain to set up. This is definitely a lightweight solution and I’ll have to look up if the sell it somewhere around me and if not I’ll be going to Amazon for it.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Thanks Mark. As for where they sell it, other than from SMD themselves, I am not exactly sure. I know that there are some smaller shops that do sell SMD, but not many. Amazon though definitely does not sell it. If you like this tent though, I suggest to buy it straight from SMD…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  2. frederic says:

    hi stick
    hi have question ( excuse my english is very bad )
    That it is the width in the foot ?
    According to you what that is I are possible to put two mattresses of mommy ground, metterait two thermarest xtherm medium (168cm and according to me two small small-sized(short) person can sleep, that are of what you think of it!
    tank

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Frederic,

      Unfortunately, I have sold this tent and cannot remember dimensions right off the top of my head. However, I do remember that it was not wide enough for two 20″ pads to fit side by side anywhere except for at the middle, which is it’s widest point. (It tapers towards the feet so it is narrower.) I would not suggest putting 2 pads in this tent, and if it were to be shared, it had better be with another really tiny person and someone that you wouldn’t mind to snuggle up with!

      Hope this helps,

      ~Stick~

      Like

  3. 4 Bears says:

    Hi Stick,
    Do you any second impressions or test reports for the Skyscape yet, it would be nice to see an update.
    Thanks,
    4 Bears

    Like

    • Stick says:

      4Bears,

      I actually used it the night before last. Although, I do not have any long term results with it still, I am still very happy with it. I will say that when using all of my winter gear in it the extra room inside quickly gets used, but I can also say that it is not crowded. I also noticed that with me laying on a NeoAir with a 1/4″ pad on top and using my thick Marmot Helium, the foot of the bag will almost hit the top of the tent at the foot end. In the occasions that I would move my feet around it would actually hit the top and rub against it. This could be a problem is condensation is not dealt with accordingly.

      When I slept in it the other night the temps dropped to 23 F. I intentionally left both of the side vestibules closed, but I did leave the interior door opened and tied up so air could come through. There was pretty much no wind blowing so the air was still and did not circulate through. I quickly noticed ice forming inside the tent on the single wall section over the foot end. By morning the entire panel was iced over.

      I was more worried about the head end though since the mesh sits directly against the outer wall. But, since it was so cold, any condensation iced over so I had none dripping back down onto me. This will be more interesting in the warmer months…when the water will drip. However, in those times I will no doubt leave the side vestibules up unless rain threatens.

      Speaking of which, one little erk I have is that the tie downs are on the side panel that covers the head end. So, I cannot leave the foot end staked out and raise the head end. I would like to keep the head end raised so that the moisture from my breath will go straight out the tent through the mesh panel at the head end. But, I can tie an extra tie out on the foot panel for this I guess…

      Anyway, at this point, I do like the tent and am happy with it. Obviously, there are some things that are not super-great, and there are some things that are. But, this will be the case with any other tent out there… There are still some other designs I would like to try, but until then I am super happy being stuck with this Skyscape Trekker!

      Hope this helps some.

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • 4 Bears says:

      Thanks for report Stick, looking forward to the long term/ three days of rain report down the road.

      Like

  4. Brows says:

    Hi Stick
    I have a question about the homemade Trekker spreader bar from BPL. You mentioned that you cut the tubing 13 3/4″, but that it might be too short. I noticed in Doug’s picture that the homemade spreader bar appears to be about 16″ long. I wondered if you have a revised length for the tube. I have some Pex tubing have been practicing the bend. My method for bending is heating the Pex with a long handled barbeque lighter as I twirl the tube, and then eye balling a 45 degree bend by pushing on a flat surface and holding the bend until it is cool. I cut the tubing with a tool designed for sprinkler line.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Brows,

      When I measured mine I should have taken it out of the tent and laid the stock spreader bar next to the Pex tubing and then made the measurements/markings. But instead I rudely measured the spreader bar while the tent was set up. Then I marked the Pex tubing and made my cuts. However, after taking the 2 bars and setting them together, the middle of the bars are the same measurement, it is the length of the angled sides that are a hair shorter. But, with the Pex tubing, the trekking pole tip is less likely to slip out so I don’t find the length to be a problem.

      But the cool thing is that the Pex tubing is quite inexpensive. Just a couple of $$ for a 5′ section so I have plenty left over to make more if I need too.

      I can’t say how it will do over time though. I have still only used mine in the yard a few times. Since this came in I also got a hammock and I have been loving on it…so the Trekker has taken the back seat for a while…

      Hope this helps.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  5. Pingback: Seam Sealing the SMD Skyscape Trekker | Stick's Blog

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