The Big Sky:

I loved the classic novel of the same name about the ‘Mountain Men’ of the American West by A.B.Guthrie, and I love the tent! You can download the ebook here: https://archive.org/details/TheBigSky_epub but you will have to buy the ultralight tent. Their ‘Wisp’ model recently fell into my hands so I could have a closer look at it – and a play in the garden with Spot and grandson, Milo!

As it came into my hands it weighed 619 grams bare (including the short rear pole). I guess it is expected you will use a hiking pole or a bush pole for the other main support. In fact I found you could use a second (third) pole to create quite a satisfactory verandah, which gives you lots of room to spread out in hot, wet weather, for example – or maybe to sit and watch the fire in colder more inclement times. If it is seriously raining and blowing it will shut down into an impregnable watertight mode.

I added all the extra guys you could ever need. The tent comes with lots of extra tie-out points. It can be erected with just 8 shepherd’s hook pegs but can be secured against the “Roaring Forties’ with a total of 17, if you wish. With the added guys and the micro line locks it now weighs 650 grams (probably with a bit of grass and dirt from my boots still attached), and is as you can see a bit smaller than a large soft drink bottle.

It goes up very easily with no fiddling around adjusting things, and is immediately taut. Once it is up (if it is secured with all those extra guys), nothing is going to shift it. Of course it has an excellent bathtub floor big enough for your mattress, pack and lots of spreading out – and commodious insect netting.

Milo checks out the verandah – Yep, big enough for a boy or two!

Plenty of room to stretch out with all your gear – and a dog. There is a largish net pocket to stow your overnight necessities such as glasses, torch, hearing aids, ebook, etc. Above my head (below) you can see a loop of yellow spectra I would hang my torch from so i could see to cook, read etc.

There is even room for a couple of friends to come sit and visit.

Spot thinks it is swell anyway, and can’t wait to get away up the bush. Milo checks that it is all secure.

Plenty of tie-outs for the roughest weather.

It has two triangular vents at the peak which are held open with short light props secured with velcro – a top idea, which I will copy!

The short end pole slips into a hidden channel and is secured by a piece of webbing and velcro.

This will be an excellent one person hiking, fishing, hunting tent. It is intelligently thought out and extremely well-made. I would not hesitate to recommend it. I would mark two arrows with a texta, perhaps on the doorway so that I could set up my hiking pole exactly the right length (or break a bush stick) so that the tent just goes up: Snap! The tent is also available in cuben if you have a large wallet. In that material it only weighs 300 grams: http://bigskyproducts.com/big-sky-wisp-1p-trekking-pole-tent-lightest-weight.aspx

It is available in Melbourne from my favourite store: https://backpackinglight.com.au/ for A$359 (Nov 2017).

PS: ‘Big Sky’ is also a classic 1952 film starring Kirk Douglas – one of my favourites! There are five books altogether in Guthrie’s sequence (the Big Sky deals with the Mountain Men): next is The Way West, then Fair Land, Fair Land. Others in the series are: These Thousand Hills, Arfive and The Last Valley. ‘The Way West’ is available here: https://openlibrary.org/works/OL2944434W/The_way_west – an interesting resource.

 

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