Big Sky International updates?
Feb 26, 2021 at 1:54 pm #3701593
It’s heavy lifting sorting out BSI products. Especially ‘recent’ reviews. Can anyone share their knowledge or experience? In particular their Revolution 1p DW.
A few things I’m not completely clear on are: Is the Mirage a SW or DW? Does Rev-G pertain to the poles? Is the Revolution exoskeleton (dry pitch) & the Evolution not? How good are they at DCF (or their version)? Any up-to-date info is appreciated.Feb 26, 2021 at 3:22 pm #3701604
I own a Big Sky 3p Revolution and a 1plus Chinook and have been happy with both. I recently ordered a 1p Revolution as a gift for a relative.
There was a recent thread on Big Sky tents here. I identified my tent as an Evolution in that thread, but that was a misstatement; it is actually a Revolution.
The larger Revolution sizes (1.5P and up) have a top cross strut to add structure whereas the 1P has only the 2 crossing poles. Otherwise, all sizes of the Revolution are similar in design and construction.
The Mirage is a “hybrid,” meaning single wall ceiling and double wall sides (i.e., netting inner with waterproof outer over the vestibule).
The Big Sky “Rev” numbers refer to minor design changes/improvements over time. The poles were apparently changes in Rev G-2, but there may or may not have been other tweaks.
You are correct regarding the difference between the Revolution and Evolution. In the Revolution, the outer shell is clipped to external poles and the interior hangs from the outer shell. In the Evolution, the poles attach to the interior and the fly stretches over the poles. The Revolution provides a dry setup and the exterior can be pitched by itself with the interior. The Evolution allows use of the inner by itself.
While Big Sky has offered DCF on some models in the past, I am not seeing any DCF options on their website at this time. I could be wrong, but I believe all of their current models are “SuprSil,” which is a silnylon variant.
I think of their current models this way:
Evolution: 3-season, double-wall, external fly (over poles)
Revolution: 3-season, double-wall, external poles (dry setup)
Chinook: 4-season-ish version of the Revolution (with 3 poles)
Mirage: 3-season hybrid (single-wall top, double-wall (attached mesh inner) sides)
Soul: 3-season, double-wall (full mesh inner), external fly, free-standing
Dimensions of equivalent sizes (1p, 2P, etc) are essentially the same across the product line, just different pole/fly configurations.Feb 26, 2021 at 5:30 pm #3701634Keith WBPL Member
I’m a fan of Big Sky International tents. Ken’s explanation is very good. I have an Evolution 1P from 2006… It has been excellent- more usable space for the weight than any other silnylon tent I know of. After 15 years, it is showing some wear, but still functional. BSI was very innovative 10-15 years ago and perfected some great designs, but not much is new lately. I looked really carefully at replacing my aging model with a new one of the same (hoping for weight improvement), or a Revolution, but I eventually decided on a trekking pole Tarpent Notch DCF which I have recently received but not yet used… saves 16 oz, but more cramped inside. Not sure which I will like better- I’ll probably still use my Evolution if I hike to “base camp” somewhere, as it is so spacious.Feb 26, 2021 at 6:08 pm #3701636
Agree with Keith. I really like the Big Sky tents for certain applications but the design seems to be “mature.” (And that may be a good thing!) I acquired my Revolution in 2009 and not much has changed since then. In fact, fabric choices are more limited now. I still use the Revolution for base camp trips when I appreciate the extra room and plan to leave it set up in one spot while we wander off for the day. I’m using a DCF Tarptent for most backpacking now, but I’m a little uncomfortable leaving it alone for the day, particularly in more populated areas.Feb 26, 2021 at 6:10 pm #3701637StumphgesBPL Member
I was just thinking of Big Sky today and wondered if they were considering switching to silpoly (sil/sil).
As someone who rarely uses trekking poles, Big Sky has always appealed to me, but saggy tents seem very 20th century.Feb 26, 2021 at 6:39 pm #3701641ShmedlapBPL Member
I had a Revolution 1 person DW nylon/winter version for a couple of years. The current version appears to be the same. Do you have a specific question/s?Feb 26, 2021 at 7:01 pm #3701646
13th – I’m in the market for a 1p & doing my homework. BSI’s Revolution got my attention. 37 oz is a bit heavier then I’d like, leaning Notch Li, but recognize advantages of a freestander. Also liked the dry pitch & higher HH compared to larger manufacturers relatively thin denier.Feb 27, 2021 at 6:15 am #3701683
Keith W – congrats on your new Notch Li. That’s been top of my list unless something knocks it off. Which inner did you go with?
Ken – Thanks for the comprehensive response. I did see a few BSI DCF tents once googled enough on a BSI site but couldn’t tell how current it is/was. Which TT are you using now?
Stumphges – it still surprises me we don’t see a LOT more sil poly.Feb 27, 2021 at 9:55 am #3701712
Steve – Regarding BSI DCF, BSI has 2 active websites: bigskyinternational.com and bigskyproducts.com. bigskyinternational.com is the newer site, bigskyproducts the older site. Seems like BSI never finished the switchover. The older site still shows “Cuban/Cubic/DSM” options but the newer site does not. In some of the Q&A on the newer site, BSI does say they plan to offer DCF versions of some tents “soon.” You might try emailing the company if you’re interested; I’ve always gotten a response when I’ve asked a question (though it may take a few days).
I’m embarrassed to admit how may Tarptents I own. Currently using StratoSpire Li for 2-person trips, ProTrail Li or Notch Li for solo trips.Feb 27, 2021 at 10:17 am #3701718
Ken Ross – looks like you’re a TT habitual offender. Solid endorsement. Thanks.Feb 28, 2021 at 6:27 pm #3701935Keith WBPL Member
Steve- I ended up with both inners for the Notch Li. I was juggling both in my mind and decided on ordering the mesh. They accidentally shipped me the partial solid by mistake! Rather than return it, I bought the mesh as well. I figured that the first thing that wears out on a tent is the floor, and this way I have two floors- so the tent may last twice as long. I’ll use the solid in shoulder season and switch to the mesh in summer for better views.
Regarding sagging of the silnylon of my BSI Evolution- I have never had a problem. I think it is because two opposing forces keep the fly tight even when wet. The arced poles create an upward force, and the rainfly attaches to stakes with elastic shock cord loops– they seem to take up any slack, so the fly stays taught.Feb 28, 2021 at 11:20 pm #3701967
I emailed BSI about availability of the Mirage line.
” Mirage (non DCF) tents available April/May, DCF versions later (summer?)”
The Mirage line’s construction looks very promising to me, especially the DCF. I would be ecstatic if a camo or green one was offered.
The criss cross pole design and the way the poles are on the outside is especially appealing, strong support and allows a dry rain setup.
Flat HatMar 1, 2021 at 7:44 am #3701997
Flat Hat – Thanks for the info. I traded messages with Philip at Section Hiker about this last week – & he traded emails with BSI owner (Bob) about the Mirage. We were trying to determine if it is a single wall (or not). Appears it’s a hybrid: “double wall sides, single wall ceiling (translation: single wall w vestibules(?)). I’m looking for a DW – otherwise, yeah – I really like the cross pole design. Thanks again.Mar 1, 2021 at 8:03 pm #3702184
You’re welcome, Steve, it was BSI Bob who was kind enough to respond to my inquiry. I also checked out the Chinook and Revolution specs, I just was drawn to the Mirage’s lighter weight.
I’m 6’3, 180lbs, size 15 feet. Side sleeper using a 3″ inflatable pad and blow up pillow, so tent interior comfort is high on my list. Call me a baby or call me soft – hey, I’ll be 64 next month and I like to do my suffering on the trail, not at night trying to sleep :)
FlathatMar 2, 2021 at 7:08 am #3702230
Flathat – I suppose with size 15 feet side sleeping is almost a requirement. :)Mar 2, 2021 at 9:21 am #3702254
My feet are actually a dinky size 14 but I wear a 15 trail shoe.Mar 2, 2021 at 2:12 pm #3702307Dan DurstonBPL Member
@dandydanLocale: Canadian Rockies
Big Sky tents seem great – they make some of the few freestanding tents that naturally pitch fly first. Never owned one but seriously considered it a few times.
I think they’d be quite a bit more popular if they didn’t get off to a rough start, and because of continuing information issues (e.g. I’ve never gotten a response from their customer service and they have their gear spread across two websites- a new site (bigskyinternational.com) but also some stuff at the archaic bigskyproducts.com). Hence the need for threads like this.Mar 2, 2021 at 4:07 pm #3702325
Thanks Dan. Frustrating seeing such potential squandered (however I have no direct knowledge of their business model or supply chain).
SteveMar 3, 2021 at 12:44 pm #3702478
My only try at contacting Big Sky customer service was last week – I got quick response to my questions.Mar 3, 2021 at 1:14 pm #3702480Daryl and DarylBPL Member
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
I’ve owned a 2 person revolution for several years. I have nothing but positive things to say.
Still a mystery to me how they waterproof the fly. No seam tape. No seam sealing required. But no leaks in the years I’ve owned it.
Another item. The short pole that supports the vestibules crosses over two of the longer corner to corner poles. Feels much stronger than the short pole on my similar MSR tent. It only crosses over a single pole and feels very bouncy in wind.
I would buy this same tent again.Jul 8, 2021 at 2:13 am #3721318J CBPL Member
I have a a Revolution 2P, bought after much research, and I love it. Beats any mainstream tent design hands down. Lightweight, spacious, freestanding, incredibly easy to set up. I like it so much that I now want to buy a Mirage 2P.
However, the best products in the world are doing nobody any good unless they are available to be sold. The Mirage and almost all their other tents have been showing as out of stock for months now and I can’t get a response to my queries.
It’s a real shame that arguably the best backpacking tents in the world are so let down by whatever challenges are not being overcome on the admin side of things. I have no doubt they could be doing Tarptent or Zpacks level business if they sorted stuff out.Aug 8, 2021 at 11:31 am #3724220Christoph BlankBPL Member
I completely forgot about this thread, but when I asked, someone mentioned the sealing as not being that good: https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/big-sky-chinook-1p-vs-hilleberg-akto/
I’ve got a Chinook 2P but yet have to experience that kind of weather. According to my research back then, the general consensus was quite positive.
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