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Black Diamond Firstlight Review


By: Cristina | Last updated February 26, 2018


PROS:
  • Ultralight, easy to pack
  • Impressively easy and quick to set up (around 5 minutes)
  • Really shines in alpine, snowy, windy conditions. Suited for winter use
  • Good value for the money
CONS:
  • Not too comfortable for 2 people
  • Not the best ventilation
  • Not 100% waterproof; only suited for snow and wind
SUMMARY:

The Black Diamond Firtslight tent is a bit of a controversial product. You have to really know how and when to use it to benefit from it at full capacity. While it may have been described as a 4 season/2 person tent, if you really want to get the best out of the Firstlight, you should use it for a single person and in dry conditions or snow and wind, but not heavy rain. It is a really good deal for alpine activities/use or freezing temperatures and while it may fall a bit short in comfort, it really shines when it comes to its ultralight weight. It is also really easy/quick to set up.


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The Black Diamond Firstlight tent is produced by Black Diamond Equipment, an American company. Black Diamond is based in Utah, was founded in 1957 and it mainly specializes in outdoor equipment, especially for skiing, climbing and other mountain activities. The company currently has offices on two more continents: Europe and Asia.

The Black Diamond Firstlight is a 4 seasons/2 person backpacking tent suited especially for climbers for whom weight and efficiency are the main concerns.

The Firstlight is an extremely ultralight camping tent, with a packed weight of 3 lb 5 oz. It is impressively easy to set up/take down and pack. You can install it basically anywhere, even in the most narrow spaces. While it is conceived as a 2 person tent, depending on your height and expectations, you might find it a bit crowded and small for two people. For one person plus camping gear though it proves to be more than sufficient.

Here are the main specifications of the Black Diamond Firstlight:

  • Floor dimensions: 48 X 82 inches
  • Minimum weight: 2 lb 13 oz
  • Average packed weight: 3 lb 5 oz
  • Packed size: 6 X 9 inches
  • 1 door
  • Single wall
  • NanoShield fabric and 2000 mm floor
  • DAC Featherlite aluminum poles

The tent has two interior mesh pockets in which you can store your things. The canopy is breathable and it is made of NanoShield. However, while on the official website it is claimed that the tent is waterproof, that isn’t completely true. The Firstlight does perform well in snow, wind (proved to be very stable) and low temperatures, but isn’t 100% waterproof, and can’t cope with heavy rain. It is tailored for alpine environments, with freezing temperatures and snow, but won’t behave that well in all seasons, as advertised. Also, unlike double wall tents, the single wall design doesn’t help that much when it comes to ventilation. You will experience condensation with the Firstlight. The best thing to do is to not seal it up completely, unless necessary.

Back on the bright side of the Firstlight, one of its biggest strengths is the ease of use. It is extremely easy to set up the tent from the inside and during bad weather. This free standing model can be installed in under 5 minutes and has 2 collapsible, curved DAC poles and Velcro strips. It has steep walls and it is very high, you can stand up in it. There is also the option to buy a vestibule for it separately, but we don’t find it to be much of a deal, as it will only increase your overall weight. If you are willing to carry the extra load, you might as well opt for a larger tent altogether.

As a conclusion, if you want to be able to really appreciate and enjoy the Black Diamond Firstlight, you have to know how to use it. While it may not be the most comfortable and roomy tent out there and it is not 100% waterproof, rather than just water resistant, you have to understand that it was first and foremost designed as a quick to set up, economical, efficient, easy to pack and carry piece of equipment. You can really rely on it when climbing mountains in winter, on snowy or windy conditions.

The Black Diamond Firstlight can be purchased from the official Black Diamond website for $369.95. If you also want to buy the vestibule, it will be an extra $149.95.

Phone: (800) 775 – 5552, Monday – Friday, from 98 am to 5 pm, Mountain Time

E-mail: bdmo@bdel.com

Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blackdiamondequipment

You can reach the Black Diamond support team by phone (during the aforementioned working days/hours) or e-mail. There is also a Product FAQs section on their website, with separate sections for Climbing, Skiing, Pieps, Hiking and Trekking. If you are from Europe, you have to email them at a different address: info@blackdiamond.eu

In case you are interested in buying any products from their website, their return policy is 60 days for a full refund, minus the shipping fees.


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