First Looks: REI Flash Air 1 Tent
Apr 7, 2020 at 6:13 pm #3640187
The REI Flash Air 1 is a 1-person, hybrid-wall (single/double) tent that can be pitched with a single trekking pole and weighs 20 oz.
Hit us up with questions about it and we’ll do our best to answer them. Disclaimer: this just entered our review queue so we have limited experience with it.Apr 7, 2020 at 7:50 pm #3640205Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
Question number one has to be about that angled trekking-pole-to-frame-pole-clip-holder thingy. I’d probably trust it if the thingy alone weighed 20 oz, but how is it in real life?Apr 7, 2020 at 8:12 pm #3640212
Good pictures of the tent. It still seems like condensation would be bad. Aren’t these impressions contradictory?
wind resistance is excellent for a 20 oz tent.
Lack of structure means you can’t pull a lot of tension force into the guylines without disrupting the shape negatively.
Usually, structure and being able to tension panels is important for wind resistance.Apr 7, 2020 at 9:38 pm #3640230
The other thing is that the pole that attaches to the clip holder thingy–which is NOT a hiking pole in this instance, correct?–is pretty bendy. I agree with Todd that this seems like a weak point in the design, but then again…
I wonder if an option to just design this to have a hiking pole positioned at the top of the tent wouldn’t be stronger. You’d lose head space. Which is already tight.Apr 7, 2020 at 10:56 pm #3640240Rex SandersBPL Member
Thanks for the photos and first impressions. Plenty of questions, some similar to those already posted:
– What’s the fabric coating?
– What’s the hydraulic head rating for the floor and ceiling?
– How sturdy is that “2 ounce” DAC aluminum pole? A few of your photos show an unsettling curve.
– I’ve always been confused by REI’s “peak height” spec, since I don’t know if that’s inside the tent or outside. What’s the measured inside peak height?
– What’s the measured inside peak height when this tent is hunkered down for a storm?
– Closeups, description, and evaluation of the “nearly 90° hubbed roof pole” please. And what the heck does “nearly 90°” mean in this context?
– How much side-to-side headroom does the hub provide?
– How much head and toe vertical clearance lying down with pad and quilt? Is that foot pole a gimmick or useful?
– Can the vestibule hold a backpack and shoes? Could you put those inside without lying on them?
– How’s the venting and condensation under challenging conditions?
– Photos seem to show three stake out points at the foot and head, especially with the foot pole. Please clarify.
— RexApr 7, 2020 at 11:08 pm #3640249
I have to go to bed now. But all of the questions raised are MY questions too and I’ll do my best to answer some of them tomorrow!
I did clarify what I meant with respect to wind resistance above. Much more to learn about this shelter, for sure…it’s actually quite intriguing to me, and the more I think on it, the more I like the free-floating arch pole idea…Apr 8, 2020 at 3:49 pm #3640352JCHBPL Member
“ It still seems like condensation would be bad.”
For me, any single wall shelter that allows condensation to run down the walls into the bathtub floor is a fail.Apr 8, 2020 at 8:17 pm #3640411
“For me, any single wall shelter that allows condensation to run down the walls into the bathtub floor is a fail.”
Well, this a concern no doubt. However, as I mentioned in another thread on this tent, given a two or three night hike in summer with good weather forecast, where you might want a light shelter to make miles, I can see a place for this.
That same review by Chris begins with him being impressed by how well the tent handled condensation. (He tested it over two nights with different conditons.) He identifies this as one of his main concerns going in. It exceeded his expectations on the first night. The night that he had issues, conditions were about as bad as it gets for producing condensation.
Horses for courses as they say.Apr 8, 2020 at 9:18 pm #3640422
We’re uploading a video right now that shows setup and answers to the questions posed above. It should be online sometime later tonight.
@jscott I agree – condensation must have a place to go! I always appreciated this with the Stephenson tent designs. They had little mesh gutters that directed condensation off the sidewalls and then to the outside of the tent.
That said, like any of these sort of ultralight hybrid or single-wall tents, they’re going to have a tough time managing condensation in difficult conditions (no wind, and a low pressure differential between the saturation and absolute vapor pressures inside the tent).Apr 8, 2020 at 9:20 pm #3640423Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
given a two or three night hike in summer with good weather forecast, where you might want a light shelter to make miles, I can see a place for this
I dunno. Good weather often means warm days and cloudless nights, which can make for some heavy condensation. I’m with JCH: designing a tent so that condensation runs down the wall onto the floor is a fail. Stupid light as Skurka would say.Apr 8, 2020 at 10:02 pm #3640425
Todd, yes I see your point. I just think I’d likely prefer this to a bivy in terms of condensation. Plenty of people think a bivy isn’t stupid light.Apr 8, 2020 at 11:00 pm #3640430
Setup video + my answers to the questions above are in the YouTube video:
Video embed included in the article update released tonight as well.Apr 8, 2020 at 11:05 pm #3640433
I kind of side with @jscott on the condensaton/bivy issue. I’ve used bivy sacks a LOT (MSR Pro Bivy right now). In fair-ish weather, especially for short trips, I really like bivy sacks. But if it’s raining or I want to hang out, read, write, etc., in fair weather where there’s lots of bugs, I’m down with a tent as well, and this one seems like a reasonable summer option.Apr 9, 2020 at 7:21 am #3640445Monte MastersonBPL Member
@septimiusLocale: Southern Indiana
I like the way the panel tieouts are sewn onto seams. The biggest question I would have about this tent is its waterproofness during sustained moderate to heavy rainfall.
REI has the tent priced fairly. If this were put out by Big Agnes, Sierra Designs, MSR or most of the other mainstream manufacturers it would be $350 or more. But for the very same money as the Flash 1 you could get the similarly designed SMD Skyscape Trekker. Yes, the Trekker is a half pound heavier, however, it is much much longer, has far more ventilation and is more durable with its 20d rainfly.
Can’t wait to see the field wind test video on the Flash 1. It might actually be pretty decent.Apr 9, 2020 at 7:55 am #3640449JCHBPL Member
Ryan – Nice video review…very thorough and answers a lot of questions. At around the 17:45 point, when discussing how wind will affect the tent structure, you push the tent toward the back wall and it appears that something lets go…there is a “pop” and the pitch gets quite loose. It looked to me like the lineloc on the door guy let loose. Is this correct? Might the guy lines benefit from up-sizing over stock?Apr 9, 2020 at 7:55 pm #3640643Rex SandersBPL Member
@ryan – Thanks for answering all my questions and more. Might be a good tent for people somewhat shorter than me. Looking forward to a comprehensive review in more challenging conditions.
— RexApr 9, 2020 at 9:04 pm #3640650
I like the way this tent can pitch in rain and do a decent job keeping the interior dry. And the stargazing/condensation relief feature of pulling back the fly from the top easily.
Ya gotta admit, this design is intriguing and even innovative. It’s affordable and LIGHT and given good weather, a fine shelter. It looks like it would bring someone through an unexpected bad night in summer in decent condition.Apr 11, 2020 at 2:25 pm #3640956
Pony up for a Tarptent Notch. You will be happy you did. Although 27 oz, that includes all guys, pegs, and the tent sack but it will be substantially better in the wind.
One question. There are tabs at the top of each peak. Can these be used to add an additional guyline that could pull tension away from the peak on each side? I wonder if that would solve the problem with the concerns about side to side wind.Apr 11, 2020 at 2:31 pm #3640958
Yes, I used the Peak guyline attachment points on my most recent wind test of the Flash Air 1 this week And it made a definite difference. I’ll be using this tent with a full set of 9 extra guylines in wind.
I wish the Notch had a bunch of guyline tie-out points (it only has two at the apex).Apr 11, 2020 at 7:48 pm #3640994
Hi Ryan, the current Notch has two guy line tie outs at the bottom of each side panel as well.Apr 11, 2020 at 8:02 pm #3640996
Oops. I think that may be a custom add, come to think of it.Apr 11, 2020 at 9:08 pm #3641007
What a thorough video. I can’t believe you addressed all questions, and then some!
I’m surprised you think this tent would be about as storm worthy as the Tarptent Aeon Li. I would have thought the Aeon would be better, with more supports and a fly that goes to the ground.Apr 11, 2020 at 9:14 pm #3641008
@johnnyh88 the Moment fly comes much closer to the ground than the Aeon. The vestibule edge-to-ground gap on Aeon is about 8 to 10 inches, vs. about 2 inches on the new Moment DW. If you shorten the pole to make the front fly edge go to the ground on the Aeon, it messes up the pitch quite a bit. There’s a few inches of leeway, but not that much.Apr 11, 2020 at 10:42 pm #3641012
Ryan, I was referring to the Flash Air 1 vs Aeon comment made in the video.Apr 11, 2020 at 10:47 pm #3641014
The Aeon has Pitchloc struts going for it, which is good. The Flash Air 1 will have to rely entirely on guylines. Neither tent has a fly edge that will go to the ground.
My gut tells me that they aren’t going to be *that* different, but we’ll have wait and see when I get the Flash Air 1 in the field in some decent wind.
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