Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Above average durability, average livability, sharp peak sheds snow well, compact footprint.
Cons: Poor ventilation, slower than average to setup, clunky metal zipper pulls, insufficient guy line, low quality stakes.
Best Uses: Alpine climbing, high altitude mountaineering.
The Black Diamond Eldorado is an expedition style two-person single wall tent. It uses a super tough three-layer ePTFE membrane with a durable face fabric that has proven to be more durable than many other polyurethane coated fabrics found in other single wall tents. Durability is the primary reason to opt for the Eldorado over other tents. Unfortunately, Black Diamond hasn’t updated this tent in ages and many of its features and even fabrics are no longer cutting edge. That is, other fabrics provide could provide the same amount of strength and durability for less weight.
Though proven on countless epic suffer fest climbing exploits around the world, the Eldorado ranks in the middle of the pack of the 24 tents we’ve tested. For alpine climbing, the Eldorado’s best application, our testers almost always reach for the Mountain Hardwear Direkt 2, which weighs roughly 1.5 lb. less, or the Nemo Tenshi, which has much better ventilation than the Eldorado.
Check out our Four Season Tent Review to compare all of the models tested. Also consider a floorless tent—our testers’ favorite type of shelter for 99% of fast and light trips—found in our Ultralight Tent Review.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Ease of Setup
The Eldorado pitches from the inside with archaic plastic twist ties. A host of other tents pitch from the outside with pole sleeves or clips that are much faster, easier, and arguably safer. This is why we give the tent 7 out of 10 points in this category. Other tents, like the Sierra Designs Convert 2 receive 9 points.
The pitch is super bomber and the tent’s fabric is very strong. The Eldorado offers expedition style protection. Its only drawback here is the lack of a third pole, which can greatly increase the capacity to handle heavy snow loads. The Mountain Hardwear EV 2, for example, is much stronger. But 99% of the time our testers prefer two pole tents because they are lighter and still very strong. The additional strength of a third pole is likely only necessary for ultra badass high altitude mountaineering where you leave a tent pitched at a higher camp, or would die if it weren’t there when you came down from a summit attempt.
There’s an average amount of space, but the ventilation is well below average. The Nemo Tenshi offers much better ventilation, which can greatly reduce condensation and the “it’s snowing on me” feeling when moisture vapor from your breath freezes and fall s back on you. We find that we sleep much better in tents with more air circulation. Those are also safer for cooking in.
This is the primary reason to choose the Eldorado. Unlike PU coated fabrics its three-layer construction is not prone to hydrolysis (chemical breakup of the coating). Delamination will likely happen eventually but we don’t know anyone that has experienced a problem with this. The Eldorado has proven the test of time. It’s ultra durable for a single wall tent.
The tent weighs a minimum of 4 lb. 8 oz. The Mountain Hardwear Direkt 2 weighs nearly half as much!!
Though the tent much be pitched in the same configuration every time its small footprint makes it possible to pitch it nearly anywhere.
We hope that BD updates the Bibler series sometime soon. When they do, the tents (including the Eldorado) will likely be phenomenally good.
High altitude mountaineering.
The tent is a good value if you’re going on an expedition and need something that’s super super durable, or just want something that’s really durable. When it comes to climbing our testers feel that low weight always the number one concern.
Great moderately light expedition style climbing tent if durability is your top priority.
— Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: August 22, 2013
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