Slingfin Portal 2 – Anyone with experience with on trails?
Sep 4, 2020 at 8:04 am #3674682
I keep gravitating back to this tents design and weight/livability design. Any real world experience with it out there?
Thanks!Sep 4, 2020 at 11:33 am #3674712Link .BPL Member
@annapurnaSep 4, 2020 at 1:53 pm #3674733
I saw the Clever Hiker and Eldridge one. These member ones will help alot. Thank you. Search would be useful here.Sep 4, 2020 at 2:40 pm #3674735PedestrianBPL Member
“Search would be useful here.”
All of those “member” reviews show up on a quick Google search (maybe you’ve heard of that search engine? Works OK…..some might even say quite useful).
But a feature rich BPL search would be nice!Sep 4, 2020 at 3:20 pm #3674739John S.BPL Member
Happy Trials!Sep 4, 2020 at 3:46 pm #3674743rubmybelly!BPL Member
@sleepingLocale: The Cascades
The new search engine is in BPL Trac, it was slated for completion by Aug. 31, so it’s only a few days late. Most of the checklist has been completed, FWIW.Sep 4, 2020 at 3:50 pm #3674745
Nice. thanks for the update!Sep 4, 2020 at 3:51 pm #3674746
“Google search (maybe you’ve heard of that search engine? ”
Dont give me a chore to do, with opening new tabs and extra clicking. ;^)Sep 4, 2020 at 4:09 pm #3674748PedestrianBPL Member
“Dont give me a chore to do”
I do hear this a lot……to which my usual response is….”Here let me Google that for you”.
After the third time…..they even learn to do it themselves ;).Sep 4, 2020 at 8:57 pm #3674764
Lol. There is actually a web site called that where you type in a phrase and it makes an animation of you entering the search and the results it gives.Sep 4, 2020 at 9:30 pm #3674768jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
I think Durston’s two person tent is about six ounces lighter with similar storm worthiness and living space–altho I haven’t done a head to head comparison.
But the slingfin MAY be more robust. I wonder where the op is hiking? For three season use, it may be overkill?
That said, I value storm worthiness very highly.Sep 4, 2020 at 11:29 pm #3674787Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
This design is fairly common – hoops cross at the peak with a transverse strut on top to protect the doors.
Fly is 10D, not comparatively strong, and the first link revealed the HH to be 1200mm, or below par.
The kickstand vents using a second zip pull to open the top are not well protected.
The only feature I could find that would make it an all season tent are the DAC poles. But I’ve seen no evidence that they are any better than Eastons of similar weight.
So am wondering why the tent is said to be all season, as compared to others with similar design.Sep 5, 2020 at 9:33 am #3674807Dylan AtkinsonBPL Member
The all season claim might come from the additional features included in the design like the ability to use trekking poles as additional supports for snow loading, and the guy wire support system in the interior of the tent.
I purchased the Portal for my partner and I as a compromise (she wasn’t the biggest fan of floor-less mids) and to use it for double duty: bikepacking and backpacking. The poles break down quite short and it makes packing them on the bike easy.
What sets this tent apart, for me, is the attention to detail. I’m at the point where I will carry another 6oz for something well designed and for something more comfortable – my days of sleeping under a tiny tarp with no bug protection are over. Features I appreciate:
Door design – they overlap, giving you the ability to tie them back in a light rain and to stay dry when using the vestibule.
Pockets – there are a lot of them, and I first thought it was a useless feature, but I quickly grew to appreciate them. It’s a tight fit for two in the Portal but the pockets make it easy to store items and keep the tent clutter free
Interior guy lines – guy lines tension the poles from the inside, providing additional wind resistance. Used this one night whilst camping above tree line in the San Juans, really a neat design and very little added weight.
Extra zippers on all doors – Slingfin realizes zippers break. They installed extras for when they fail.Sep 5, 2020 at 10:37 am #3674811
Thanks Dylan. That a great breakdown. Agree, its the apparent attn. to detail that might have me convinced.Sep 5, 2020 at 10:56 am #3674812
jscott, Im getting back into backpacking. I think I want to stick with a 2 wall design, no poles needed. Also trying to find one I can use Spring thru fall. Probably not realistic but Im trying to just have one tent, not buy a tent for various scenerios. Locations mostly AT sections, upper East, and, if I can get used to the elevation, West (Sierras, Yosemite, Glacier). Rae Lakes just kicked my ass due to elevation, coming from Cincinnati 300′ to Rae Lakes climb.Sep 7, 2020 at 7:42 am #3675060Paul SBPL Member
My wife and I just got a Portal 2P and took it out on a two night trip in the Cascades (WA state). For the last three years we have been using our Tarptent Stratosphere 2 almost exclusively. Compared to the SS2 it is less roomy for sure, both in terns of the floor area inside the tent, and the vestibules. But, it we did fit a large X-lite pad and a women’s x-lite pad with no problem. What we really like about the Portal tent are 1) its many storage pockets. 2) Each tie-out point on the rain fly has a loop and toggle underneath that connects firmly to the tent pole. This means that when you guy-out the tent you are guying out to the poles. Many tents on the market use velcro (yuch!) to attach the fly to the poles at the guy-out points, the Slingfin attachment is way more bomber. 3) The cross pole has two attachments that lock onto the handles of trekking poles. So, when the wind kicks up the ends of the cross pole are firmly braced by trekking poles. Strong! 4) the internal guylines also promise to make the tent more stable in the wind.
The 20D Portal floor and 10D rainfly..well, we know that it is not going to be puncture resistant. It’s lightweight gear that can take the wind and the rain, but not puncture and abrasion. We are o.k. with the trade-off.
Out stratospire 2 is certainly more palatial, and so is our X-mid 2, but sometimes the two-pole mid tents are a pain when they are all set up and then you realize that you have to move the tent to avoid a bump, root, etc.Sep 7, 2020 at 9:00 am #3675071
Paul, thanks for this review. Kind of nitty gritty details I was looking for.Sep 10, 2020 at 7:59 pm #3675640Michael HarveyBPL Member
I’ve owned the Portal since January and have had a chance to use it in several different settings in the Appalachians of Virginia and West Virginia. Although I’m from the west coast and grew up hiking in the Sierras and Cascades, I’ve been back east for 15 years so don’t get to get above the treeline. I’ve used the portal in buggy, clear conditions; hot and humid sustained downpours and storms; and moderately cold but dry conditions (~20 degree night-time lows.) I also spent the night in my backyard during a snowstorm to see what that was like.
As several others have commented, the fit and finish of the tent is superb. It’s sort of like the Arc’teryx of tents in that regard. Everything is carefully thought out and executed. I agree with others that this is not a 4-season tent in the traditional sense and wouldn’t deliberately take it out expecting heavy snow/weather, but it certainly feels more than solid enough for fringe season conditions or settled winter weather. The “outrigger” set up with trekking poles creates a very bomber pitch when everything is tensioned.
When I had the tent out in 90 degree heat with heavy thunderstorms, the breathability of the mesh interior and ability to get cross-ventilation flowing through the vestibule doors was welcome and impressive. For clear nights with bugs, the tent delivered wonderful stargazing. And the interior volume and headroom create an almost palatial space for one person and all their gear.
I have shared the tent with another 6′ friend and we fit fine (two standard 20″ wide pads work well) but it’s by no means luxurious for two people. Even though the foot end is tapered somewhat, I still had my buddy sleep with his head at that end, though, and he didn’t complain.
The tent pitches easily and can be pitched fly-first in order to keep the tent body dry. I had a chance to test this out for real on my most recent trip when the skies opened up on an exposed promontory right as I was starting to set up. Fortunately, I had literally watched the video on the Slingfin site showing how to do a fly-first pitch as I was heading out the door for the trip and was able to do it without any backyard practice first.
One other aspect of the tent to call out is that it has some level of flexibility/modularity. Slingfin also sells a bathtub floor for the portal that can be used with a fly-only pitch for trips where you know you won’t have bugs but want full weather protection. This floor comes with a separate webbing strap that runs parallel to the cross-pole and is attached to velcro outrigger pockets that are identical to those built into the tent body. What this means is that you can do a fly-only pitch and still use the trekking-pole outrigger set up to create a very sturdy pitch. (It’s hard to describe so you’ll have to have a look at Slingfin’s site to see what I’m describing. But it works very well.)
My only real complaint is that I wish it were a bit lighter but as other reviewers have noted, this feels like a piece of gear that is designed to last a good long while. The livability and sense of security when hunkered down inside, along with the sense of spaciousness when pitched without the fly make this a really nice shelter to have out in a range of conditions.Sep 11, 2020 at 9:33 am #3675691
Thanks Michael. Very much appreciated, now and when future people want info. And not a drop of leakage in a torrent and minimal to no condensation? I dont mind a little more weight. I dont want to have a tent for every scenario, and will be using the Slingfin portal mainly as a luxury solo tent, just me and some room to spread out like a penthouse suite.Sep 12, 2020 at 8:15 pm #3675894Michael HarveyBPL Member
You have it exactly right: not a drop of leakage in a torrent and basically no condensation. And while the vestibules are more than adequate, I loved pulling all my gear into the tent with me and it really did feel like a penthouse!Sep 14, 2020 at 10:40 pm #3676144Christopher RBPL Member
I got one of the most recent run of Slingfin Portal 2s. I haven’t used it in the rain yet, but just got a message form slingfin that they have reports of the fly leaking. Anyone with this tent, from the most recent run test this thing in the rain? does it leak? Slingfin is willing to seam seal the fly for free. Is it worth getting done, or should I return the tent?Sep 15, 2020 at 4:11 pm #3676216Tim HBPL Member
Hey all, Tim from SlingFin here, thought I’d chime in with some more info. Basically, we’ve had 6 Portal flysheets (out of 500 in this production run) that had some water wick in through a couple of the double needle seams. Since sil/sil fabrics can’t be seam taped (tape doesn’t stick) the seams rely on the hydrophobic nature of the silicone to keep them waterproof. The reports we’ve heard were only after hours of sustained heavy rain, but we’ve also heard from people who have had their tents in heavy rain without issues. We went ahead and emailed everyone just to be safe, and seam sealed the rest of our remaining inventory ourselves. I’m still not sure what was different in this production run, since we’ve tested the fabric and it meets all our specs, but my current theory is that they were sewn on a particularly hot day, which meant that the needles didn’t cool down as quickly, leading to more friction-induced enlargement of the needle holes. Either way, seam sealing is a permanent fix. We’re working with a new non-wicking thread on the upcoming production run and it seems to be taking care of the problem. Hopefully that offers some clarification!
Edit- also have a few things to say about the intended use of the tent. We designed the tent as a primarily 3-season shelter that would allow you to extend your hiking season a little bit further into the shoulder season and mild winter conditions. I cringe a little bit when reviewers say it’s an “all-season” tent, since we didn’t design it to handle full-on winter conditions (mesh inner, hello!). Personally, I’ve used mine on spring Sierra ski tours with no issues, with some wind and snow loading, maybe 6-8 inches or so, and overnight temps in the teens. But if I’m expecting gusty, spindrift-inducing winds, and more than a foot of overnight snow, I’m going to bring a dedicated 4-season tent with beefier poles and a solid inner. So, yes, this is one of the strongest sub-3lb double-wall freestanding tents out there, but it’s still a sub-3 pound tent, and it relies on proper use of the trekking pole attachments, internal guylines, etc. to reach its full strength potential. Hopefully that helps dial in the intended use case a bit.Sep 15, 2020 at 5:39 pm #3676237
Thanks Tim, for the candid information. Dryness is my main primary requirement in a tent. Not wet, not cold, not hungry are paramount to a good time ;^) I just pre-ordered one for the hopeful December batch and am admittedly a bit cautious now. But just a bit. Still confident in my choice. If a proven remedy and seam sealing addresses the issue Im good. And providing candid, fact-based (non marketing-based) info like you have goes a long way to making me feel better. Kind of emphasizes how much thought, design and care you folks put into your product – like a heart and soul deal.Sep 15, 2020 at 5:52 pm #3676241Tim HBPL Member
I didn’t get into the tent business for the money, that’s for darn sure. All three of us at SlingFin are terrible at marketing, so candid communication is pretty much our only option ;)
I think the technical users we’re designing for respond better to straightforward communication anyway. I totally understand your caution, makes perfect sense. I think we’re pretty close to a solution now, though. Our CEO absconded with our only sample with the non-wicking thread for his Rogue River trip this week, but I’ll be doing some more rain testing on it when he gets home.Sep 21, 2020 at 10:32 pm #3677001Christopher RBPL Member
Just want to provide an update. I went ahead and sent my tent to slingfin to seam seal. The process was super easy. 0 hassle.
I want to emphasize I experienced no leaking in my fly, but seam sealing just to be safe.
Also Tim at Slingfin is the easiest person in the world to work with/buy from. Before I purchased my tent he answered ALL of my questions, and has been quick to respond after I got my tent with additional answers. This is in contrast to many other companies that are quick to answered questions to get a sale, bit fall off the face of the earth once a sale is completed. Tim has answered all my questions promptly, even at 10-11 at night. He probably should sleep more.
I have no doubt that should any issues ever arise on any of my Slingfin products, they will be taken care of quickly. My kind of company. Happy to support them.
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