Mountain Hardwear Stiletto 1

Some initial thoughts on the Mountain Hardwear Stiletto 1 tent I picked up a few weeks back.

I used the tent only recently on a wild camp in the Yorkshire Dales National Park – the weather was a real mixed bag. It was humid, air pressure was up and down, winds came and went along with rain of all types.

So, how did it perform?

It passed the test on first use. I do have some concerns with regards to this tent but this depends on your perspective and intended use – as with all gear.

Pitching the tent is not as difficult or fiddly as some reviews would have you believe in my opinion. I’ve pitched worst but this tent goes up in next to no time. Sure, one of the end poles requires a little force to insert the ends into the brass eyelets – but it’s certainly nothing to be worried about.

This inner tent is all mesh – great for airflow and keeping you cool inside and keeping the bugs out. But it’s not ideal when pitching in the rain as you need to with this shelter. But given how quickly you can pitch and then throw the flysheet over this doesn’t present itself as too much of a problem.

Besides, I always take a small sports towel for mopping up and water that sneaks it’s way into the tent. Even all nylon inners need a wipe from time to time even if it’s for soaking up condensation.

Of course, an all mesh inner is not ideal for use in colder temperatures.

The flysheet goes over easy enough and clips on quickly to fixtures attached to the brass eyelets where you slot the end of the tent poles.

However, once thrown over the fly can be a bit difficult to get taught in the right place – I suppose what I’m trying to say is – is the flysheet can be tightened over the inner with webbing and ladder locking but if you tighten one strap too much – the fly sheet then rises too high from the ground on the opposite side and so on.

But you’ll learn this with a practice pitch in the garden at home and it’s only something you have to be mindful of.

The stability of this tent is excellent – even without the numerous and well positioned guy attachments it’s pretty stable in a breeze. So, this is not the sort of tent that’s going to flap about and wake you in the night should the wind pick up speed.

Saying that – I do think the fly doesn’t quite reach the floor low enough. It’s just that inch or two too high and on my first night’s pitch I soon learned how this can be a problem. A little spindrift had sneaked in onto the inner mesh in places. This may in part be down to how my tent was positioned – side on into the wind – but nevertheless in the UK this is a design “fault” to be mindful of. Of course, in warmer climes this isn’t a problem and is in fact a benefit.

But given our mixed weather conditions on any given day? Well, that’s down to you and how you feel, really.

Inside the tent, the inner is surprisingly spacious on first glance but once you have your mattress and sleeping bag set up – you soon realise there’s not much room to maneuver. But the tent is high enough inside (I’m 5’11”) and the porch is big enough to accommodate your kit and for cooking.

The flysheet door and be unzipped and closed at both ends – handy for venting when cooking etc – but the inner door is shaped and positioned such that you can only enter it one way. ie, you can’t decide to lay your head at one end of the tent and then perhaps another night the other.

Having said that, the tent is designed with weight saving in mind to be used in such a way – given that one end of the tent is wider at the head and narrower at the foot.

At little over 1kg the tent packs down very small and overall is a good bit of kit. Even the line-loks and pegs are good! The pegs perhaps a bit of overkill, mind being X shaped – but they will do nicely towards my vast collection of pegs in the garage!

It’s doesn’t belong in the “excellent” category – there are better – especially given the RRP of £250 for this tent. But if it is going online for much less and with that in mind – it’s a bargain. So, whereas I would normally say this is a solid performer and rank it as ‘average’ – I’d be happy to say if it were picked up as a bargain then it’s an ‘excellent’ tent.

I personally prefer my Terra Nova Laser Competition for space and general comfort – even if it’s less stable in comparison – so you see, it can be a matter of perspective!

But this is a well thought out tent with all the best intentions in mind – it’s just not necessarily ideal for year round UK use – certainly not winter. Fine weather or just plain spring/summer use and this tent is spot on.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. GeoffC says:

    From the last picture, I take it the tent is not symmetrical about the main pole, i.e. the 'head end' is on the left and your feet are on the right when lying inside is that correct?. If so, the first comment is one I made about the TN Solar Elite: it's the wrong handedness for a right handed person. When lying inside and supporting yourself on your left forearm to do stuff with your right, the door is behind you!.

    The high cut is a common trait of USA tents, good in warm dry weather but not so good in the UK.

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  2. terrybnd says:

    Hi Geoff

    Yes, your guess is correct with regards to the symmetry of the tent. Not ideal is it.

    But I'm pretty ambidextrous so it's of no concern for me per se. For example, a left or right handed zip on a sleeping bag is no concern to me.

    It is true that the fly is cut high as per US tents. However, this fly can go quite low but making this adjustment alters how the fly sits comfortably on the tent.

    As a result, I see some points where the fly through friction may wear through. But I note that being mindful of winter conditions. So, again this emphasises how this tent is more suited to late spring through to early autumn camps.

    Just goes to show how much thought needs to go into a UK use tent eh?

    I like this tent but I still prefer the Laser Competition. The porch is bigger length-wise.

    And I know what you mean about the TN Solar Elite – it has the makings of being a great tent but some design quirks let it down for the money in my humble opinion.

    Terra Nova could do with making a “superlight” version of their Wild Country Sololite! Now that would could possibly make a fantastic all year round solo tent!

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  3. Martin Rye says:

    Laser Competition porch is stunning. Unlike a Akto one which is deep but cuts back at a sharp angle to nothing on its length. I hate high cut flysheets after the first Scarp 1 version had one and I felt the cold and rain can, and does get blown in. New Scarp has fixed that.

    Wild Country Sololite is fine for short folks like you. 6'2 folks like me could not sit up in it. But if had hight and lost weight it would be a must buy. On the tent in the post. Bargain and worth a go if cash is limited. Have you seen the Vango Apex 200 ?

    http://www.vango.co.uk/tents/apex-200.html

    Around £140.00 online and looked at one in a shop a few weeks back. This is a good light bargain backpacking tent. There are some good affordable tents out there.

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  4. terrybnd says:

    I agree on the porch aspect for the Laser Comp, Martin – especially compared to an Akto, or most other tents for that matter.

    Your 6'2″? Poor bugger 😉

    There certainly are some bargain backpacking tents about nowadays.

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  5. terrybnd says:

    Oh yeah – it's worth noting that the GoLite Eden 1 tent is almost identical to the Mountain Hardwear Stiletto 1.

    Except, it weighs a bit more and most the faults I have with the Stiletto, are resolved on the GoLite tent.

    Funny that eh?

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  6. Nice looking little tent there Terry, although it has got a rather stupid name. What has it got to do with pointy footwear? I took my new scarp1 out for a backpack this weekend. Damn thing is falling apart with the stitching failing. There will be a backpackingbongos rant when I get home this evening!

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  7. terrybnd says:

    Hi James,

    Maybe it's just one bad tent out of many good ones?

    God only knows how many trail shoes and boots I've bought over the years where the Gore liner has been easily breached through faulty stitching etc. It's likely the same scenario on your Scarp.

    I've read and heard good things about em – just not my cup of tea at the moment to own one.

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  8. Hi Terry,
    Nicely laid out blogsite you have here and great photos, well done. Will endeavor to check in from time to time.
    I am walking the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) in the States, you can view my blog here:
    http://www.keithfoskett.blogspot.com
    Happy adventuring
    Fozzie

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  9. terrybnd says:

    Thanks Keith.

    I'll check out your blog. Good luck!!

    Like

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