Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cordillera Blanca Gear Tests:
Black Diamond Firstlight Tent

Black Diamond Firstlight Tent below PirimideBlack Diamond Firstlight TentWhile in the Codillera Blanca of Peru, Andy and I used the 2lb 9oz Black Diamond Firstlight Tent for everything, and we were both amazed at how well is held up to the conditions we encountered. One morning was so windy that everything without a rock on it was blown off the ridge. Packs, helmets, pickets, and half-full water bottles all went for a ride. We were sure this ultralight tent would be ripped to shreds by the time we left camp, but it held strong.

Make sure to pitch the Firstlight with its back directly into the wind, as it folds like a kite when it gets a good shot from the side. Also, use the guy-line attachments to secure the tent and provide extra support to the poles instead of just staking it out from the corners. Each time we came back from the mountains we found another tiny hole in the floor, but we stayed in less-than-ideal moraine camps with lots of small, sharp rocks. My partner liked this tent so much he bought it from me when I left—even with the newly patched holes.

Three reasons why my next trip to the Andes will include this tent:
  • Ultralight
  • Takes up less space than a bivy sack
  • Small size allows it to be pitched about anywhere

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