Black Diamond Highlight Tent Series
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- This topic has 9 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 week, 6 days ago by dirtbag.
Mar 15, 2023 at 5:47 am #3775801
I am by no means a gear review expert and I beg you, if you are actually reading this, take it with a grain of salt AND a chaser! I am simply going to mention my initial thoughts about the Black Diamond Hilight tents.. Specifically the 3P, though I did get a chance to use the 2P version previously.. Which I did love and it worked perfectly for me but I wanted the 3P for all that extra room and space inside, especially when tent bound in gnarly wicked weather. I did use the optional vestibule with both the 2p and 3p, and I would 100% recommend the vestibule if you plan on using either version in any weather other then warm, nice or just plain frigid. In other words.. I personally would only use this tent in the worst of winter conditions in NY, NJ, PA area.. Ice cold frigid conditions with snow on the ground, this free standing tent would shine, no vestibule needed. Winter storm conditions, cold, wind and falling sleet/snow.. I would recommend using the vestibule, no question. It helps with dry entry and exit and adds massive extra interior space. So if you want the specs.. Go to Black Diamond website, I’m not gonna get into that, its easily found on the web and chances are, if you are reading this, maybe you already know and are just curious about some real world use in precarious situations, I know I was! Here is my situation and Information I can share best I can. The weather in Catskills was calling for 1 – 2 feet of snow, on top of existing 1- 1.5 feet already there. 5-8 inches of the existing 1.5 feet had fallen 2 nights before we were heading up, so there was plenty of snow to play in, no questioning that much. I was still curious how the tent would hold up in some winds and 1 – 2 feet of wet heavy snow, the temperatures hovering around 30°F for this storm approaching. Debating to bring my known and trusted bomber tent, Eldorado or this new Hilight tent. In actuality, the weights between the two wad neglegable as was the pack size, both relatively close.. Except the interior room.. The 3P Highlight took the lead, and the 2 ginormous HUGE side entry doors of the Highlight also made it an easier choice! Still skeptical from reading mixed reviews and no real insight of its Heavy snow and storm worthiness, I packed it for my own test. So getting to camp, it took a few minutes to pitch and guy it out, attatch the vestibule.. Its realivily easy and fast to do after you have done it a few times. The only time consuming thing for me was stomping the platform in a decent location, we were deep in a spruce forest, near the top of the mountain and I did not want to get “snow bombed” all night from the wet heavy snow dropping off the tall spruce trees, and I also was concerned of falling branches from all the weight of existing snow.. And coming wet snow, so I found a spot that was pretty much open and free of falling debris. Once the platform was stomped and tent pitched and guyed properly, the work began. I made paths all around my tent and also stomped a nice walkway to my bathroom area, and pre dug my “hole”. Spent much of the day digging all of this out and beating it with my snow shoes. The second day the snow started.. It showed consistently all day, nothing crazy, about maybe 4 – 6 inches of wet snow, so I was happy to live in my 3p tent with all that space. I was melting snow for water and cooking in the vestibule and I had room to sit up, lay any wich way I felt comfortable, kneel and change clothing without hitting the top or sides, stretch out at will.. Its a palace for me @ 5 foot 10 inches, 205 lbs, with a large neoair and all of my winter gear inside.. Trust me on that. Would I put 3 people in here? Heck NO, unless it was emergency.. 2 people could work ok, but extended time in there, alone is Kingdome!! Long story short, the tent can take a snow storm with wet heavy snow. The snow got heavier over night and I did keep whacking it off the sides and top until about 1 am.. But thats when it picked up and started really dumping, while I sleep sound and cozy nestled inside my home.. Another 2 feet of wet snow buried me!! The tent held up 100% fine with no concerns. Condensation was nill, I didn’t even notice if there was any or not, so I’m sure there was some, usual.. But of no worry or problems. I am posting some pictures to show the tent before and after. For me, this is solid proof it can withstand any snow load conditions I could possibly get into with it. It ended up snowing between 2 – 3 feet of WET HEAVY snow, and while I did not get to test its wind worthiness, the snow loading situation at those accumulations satisfied my needs. Also the size, yes I could spend a week in there riding nasty weather if I had to. The weight? Sure its heavier then others, but for storms like this, it fits the bill and can hold its own. I dont plan on using it for long distance hikes, 2 – 4 miles at most, so I can easily shoulder it knowing I am safe in there. I will also post my video trip report later this evening if you are interested in actually seeing live footage of this happening.. For now. Some before and after pictures of the Black Diamond Hilight 3P tent in Catskills Winter Snow storm..Mar 15, 2023 at 5:50 am #3775802Mar 15, 2023 at 5:57 am #3775803
Ya know? After posting this and looking at the pictures, one thing I can say I would recommend to Black Diamond about the vestibule is they should make the zipper operable 2 ways. So you have the option to unzip from the top down.. Because in that situation, I would of had no way to open the zipper from the bottom up. It did not occure to me at the time, as I used the huge side entry/exit to get out with no problem.. But if I was using the 2P version, it would present a serious situation there as there is no other was in or out having only 1 entry/exit!! So added bonus points for the 3p version.Mar 15, 2023 at 9:05 am #3775809
Edit spell check.. as there would be no other way in or out..having only 1 exit/entry on the 2p version..Mar 15, 2023 at 9:27 am #3775816HopearotieBPL Member
Thank you for always posting about your trips. As always, excellent information and insight. I love going on trips and I love gear but I’m so lazy about sharing what I know with others. I love that you take the time to share your finding with us. I also like that you aren’t a gear tester…I feel that gear testers have such a different perspective (in a good way) but I enjoying hearing from people that use the stuff and simply give others information based on their experience. I enjoy your videos and want to say thanks for being a great member of this community.Mar 15, 2023 at 10:24 am #3775823
Hopearotie.. thankyou very much. Yea, definitely not a “gear tester” but I will post my personal experience using certain gear, especially if its new for me. Figure if I could help even 1 or 2 people that may have an interest in said piece of backpacking/camping equipment.. well then its worth it. I know everyone has different opinions, perspectives and experiences, even different conditions, as I found all my searches for info on the Hilight tents, so I hope this answers any questions about snow loading on it. As for long term durability, time will tell. I have all intentions of keeping this tent for many many years and it will most definitely be my “go-to” winter shelter. I can also attest to Black Diamond customer service.. Top quality and they do stand by their gear.. thanks again for kind words, I do appreciate it very much!! We are all in this together here in these forums.. thats why it works so well!Mar 15, 2023 at 12:03 pm #3775825Jon SolomonBPL Member
Wow, I just really enjoyed reading that and looking at the photos. Thanks for taking the time to share that. I used to think that blue was a stupid color for winter until I realized (yeah, I’m slow) that it’s actually more visible than red in whiteout conditions.Mar 15, 2023 at 12:13 pm #3775826
Jon. No problem at all. Let me tell you how I feel about that blue. While inside.. it is soothing and comforting.. even in those conditions!! Yes it also is highly visible in winter conditions, which is what I kind of want!! I do not mind being hidden and stealth in 3 seasons, but during winter in the mountains.. during a storm with those conditions.. there is no one I want to hide from and god forbid an emergency.. it may help to be located!! I also think it just looks pretty nice standing out in all white surroundings. As far as red goes.. so I used 3mm Lawson Glowire, lime green color, for all my guylines. They too pop out nicely during the day, the color against the blue tent and white snow.. even without the snow.. they look good. I actually tried using the Red Lawson Glowire first, and it seemed to blend in with natural surroundings of leaves and duff.. so I switched it to the lime green. Not that any of that has much stock.. but just an observation I made.Mar 15, 2023 at 6:49 pm #3775892Eric BlancheBPL Member
@eblancheLocale: Northeast US
Great post and awesome pictures!
I agree that in winter or when you spend more time inside the tent, more space is invaluable. It’s easy to cramp up when you are stuck to one position, and then need to urgently go relieve oneself!
I am curious what your buddy was using? A mid? There is no reason to doubt your suggestion of ft of snow based on your friend in the background, haha!!Mar 15, 2023 at 6:56 pm #3775893
Thankyou!!! Glad you liked it. He was using a MLD Duomid. Yes.. the snow was DEEP!
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