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Black Diamond Fitzroy Review

Black Diamond Fitzroy
Price:   $800 List | $599.96 at Backcountry
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Pros:  Etremely strong, spacious, sweet bomber three-point self equalizing guy lines, tight flap-free pitch
Cons:  Bulky for a single wall tent, harder than average to set up, poor ventilation
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Black Diamond

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Fitzroy is an extremely strong, spacious two person or tightish three-person single wall expedition tent. Four quality Easton poles setup from the inside and cross seven times, while a waterproof breathable three-layer ePTFE membrane provides durable protection from the elements.

This model is likely the most bomber single wall tent we've tested and one of the stronger tents out there, period; its pole design and super tight pitch are hard to beat in even the fiercest storm. It does come at two small costs: (1) It's one of the most difficult tents to set up and takes the most practice to become proficient. (2) It's the heaviest single wall tent we've tested (7 lb. 1 oz without its optional vestibule). That said, it's still rather average overall compared with double walled options and weighs 1-2 pounds less than several other 4-pole models that offer comparable storm protection.

RELATED REVIEW: The Best Four Season Tents of 2017

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Type Weight (oz.) Weight (lb.)
Editors' Choice Award
Double Wall 113 oz. 7 lbs 1 oz
Top Pick Award
Double Wall 152 oz. 9 lb 8 oz
Top Pick Award
Single Wall 83 oz. 5 lb 3 oz
Single Wall 113 oz. 7 lb 1 oz
Single Wall 81 oz. 5 lb 1 oz
Single Wall 107 oz. 6 lb 15 oz
Double Wall Tunnel 97 oz. 6 lb 2 oz
Best Buy Award
Double Wall 136 oz. 8 lb 8 oz
Double Wall 157 oz. 9 lb 13 oz
Top Pick Award
Single Wall Tunnel 50 oz. 3 lb 5 oz
Single Wall Tunnel 81 oz. 5 lb 1 oz.
Single Wall 84 oz. 5 lb 4 oz / 6 lb 10 oz
Single Wall 48.2 oz. 3 lbs 4 oz
Single Wall 108 oz. 6 lb 12 oz
Double Wall Tunnel 85 oz. 5 lb 5 oz
Single Wall 54.9 oz. 3 lb 7 oz
Double Wall 71 oz. 4 lb 7 oz
Double Wall 134 oz. 8 lb 6 oz
Top Pick Award
Single Wall 53 oz. 3 lb. 5 oz
Single Wall 53 oz. 3 lb 5 oz.

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Ian Nicholson
Review Editor

Last Updated:
July 18, 2016

This photograph shows the optional hooped vestibule. This feature gives the user a sizable 9 square feet of space but costs an extra $170 and weighs 1 lbs 6 oz.
This photograph shows the optional hooped vestibule. This feature gives the user a sizable 9 square feet of space but costs an extra $170 and weighs 1 lbs 6 oz.

Performance Comparison

Ease of Setup

There are many advantages that this model offers, but ease of setup isn't one of them. Of all the single wall tents we've tested, this one is the hardest to pitch. It pitches from the inside with the ends of the poles being inserted into reinforced sections of the tent and slightly finicky plastic twist ties wrap around the poles to help keep them locked in place. Once the poles are set, they are extremely well supported by the walls, providing the foundation for the strength of the tent.

Setting this contender up can be a little cumbersome at first, but with a little repetition, it gets much easier. It's not that any part of the setup is necessarily harder than Black Diamond's other single wall tents, there is just twice as many poles to deal with.

This product  has a burly pole structure  but archaic pole clips. Tents that pitch from the outside are much easier and likely more reliable over the long-term.
This product has a burly pole structure, but archaic pole clips. Tents that pitch from the outside are much easier and likely more reliable over the long-term.

Weather Resistance

This four season tent offers ROCK SOLD protection in even the worst of conditions. Weather and wind resistance is why you buy this absolutely bomber tent, no doubt. This tent has been used on many epic climbs all over the world and we found that its' DRUM TIGHT walls resist fierce gusts like a resilient boxing champion. As far as its strength in a storm, we think its just as tough as it gets. It's easily among the strongest tents in our review and there is a chance it might even be the strongest tent we've tested. It is even better in severe storms than our Editors' Choice the Hilleberg Jannu, Mountain Hardwear EV 2 or Black Diamond Eldorado and offers comparable strength to the Hilleberg Tarra or Mountain Hardwear Trango 2.
An interior shot of the slightly smaller  rear door of this product.
An interior shot of the slightly smaller, rear door of this product.


The Fitzroy is viable for three people (it's a little tight) or provides two with more than enough space for expedition or base camping use. For another $140 you can add a well-designed optional vestibule, but that does bring the price of the Fitzroy to almost $850. Overall, the Fitzroy, because of its above average amount of living space (36 square feet), is one of the most comfortable tents to be forced to log some time in. It doesn't offer quite as much headroom as some of the other options (like the Black Diamond Eldorado or Black Diamond Ahwahnee), but it's also 1-2 pounds lighter than most other options that are near as livable.


The main advantage here is the three-layer ePTFE membrane that's similar to those found on the world's best hardshell jackets. This construction type is used by many tents and is likely the most durable single wall tent fabric. The tent corners are heavily reinforced, too. We give this tent 10 out of 10 points for durability because it is super tough and is easily more durable than the Mountain Hardwear EV 2.
This product  has virtually no ventilation. The front awning (pictured here) unzips at the top to provide a small amount of airflow. Nearly all other single wall tents have better airflow and are less prone to condensation.
This product has virtually no ventilation. The front awning (pictured here) unzips at the top to provide a small amount of airflow. Nearly all other single wall tents have better airflow and are less prone to condensation.

Weight/Packed Size

The tent weighs as little as 68 oz. or 6 lb. 4 oz, but most folks will find a packed weight of around 7 lbs 1 oz. This is much heavier than other two-person single wall tents and also heavier than several ultra bomber double wall tents!! For example, the also rock solid, (but not quite as rock solid) Mountain Hardwear EV 2 weighs more than a pound less. The Mountain Hardwear Direkt 2 weighs less than half as much as the Fitzroy. And the double wall Hilleberg Jannu weighs the same and provides a lot more versatility and a touch more comfort. All that said, for the extra weight, the Fitzory is stronger and provides more weather protection than all of these models.

Adaptability and Moisture Management

The tent must be pitched the same way every time. It is a poor choice for warmer three season conditions and in low elevation backpacking trips (seasoned with some wet weather), it performed downright poorly. It is indeed a bomber tent; just don't buy it for its versatility, because other than the doors, this tent has virtually no ventilation. For lower elevation camping, we find that ventilation is more important than breathability; the Mountain Hardwear EV 3 offers much better ventilation. Ditto with basically all other two-person single wall tents. Largely due to this drawback, we found that the Fitzroy is more prone to condensation than other tents.

Best Application

This tent excels when used in high altitude mountaineering, base camps, and alpine climbing, often in burly stormy venues like the Alaska Range and the Karakoram. It's a fantastic winter camping tent and is good for most summertime alpine climbing in the lower 48, though it is a little overkill.

Value and the Bottom Line

At $800, the Fitzroy is one of the more expensive tents in our review; then you take into account that the vestibule is an additional $140 bringing the total to $940), means this is not a cheap tent. We feel the Mountain Hardwear EV 3 is a better value, but in the worst of storms or for hanging out with two people for weeks on end in a base camping situation, we'd prefer the Fitzroy. It isn't as lightweight nor as compact as several of the two and three pole single wall tents, which equates to it not being as good for more technical climbing with your tent on your back type routes. If weather protection and overall strength are your priorities while keeping weight, packed size, and livability as important factors, then the Fitzroy should be a strong consideration.

Other Versions

Black Diamond Firstlight
Black Diamond First Light
  • Single wall 2 person tent
  • 3 lbs 5 oz
  • Excellent alpine climbing and snow camping tent
  • $370

Black Diamond Ahwahnee
Black Diamond Ahwahnee
  • Slightly larger version of the FirstLight
  • Similar 2 pole, easy setup design
  • Comfortable for 2 people with greater head room
  • $760
Ian Nicholson, Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: July 18, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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