The Black Diamond Fitzroy is an extremely strong and 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 ToddTex ePTFE membrane provides durable protection from the elements. This model is without question the most bomber single wall tent we've tested and one of the stronger tents out there, period. Its pole design and tight pitch are hard to beat in even the fiercest storm. It does come at two small costs: it's one of the most challenging tents to set up and takes the most practice to become proficient at pitching, and it's the heaviest single wall tent we've tested (7 lb. 1 oz without its optional vestibule that's sold separately). That said, it's still somewhat average overall compared with double walled options and weighs 1-2 pounds less than several other 4-pole models that have comparable storm protection.
Black Diamond Fitzroy Review
Cons: Bulky for a single wall tent, low ceiling height considering the floor space and weight, harder than average to set up, so-so ventilation, expensive, no vestibule
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Black Diamond Fitzroy is about as burly of a 4 season model as you can get. It was the most storm resistant single wall model handling both wind and internal and external moisture better than any other non-double walled model. Its ToddTex ePTFE fabric, while slightly heavier, wicked moisture and condensation noticeably better and its 4-pole design is as strong as any model we tested. But you can't have that much strength and weather protection without some downsides. This is the most expensive and heaviest single wall tent in our review. However, it is still lighter than its closest double wall competitors, The North Face Mountain 25, and the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2.
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 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 it's strength in a storm, we think it's simply 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 ever tested.
It is even better in severe storms than our Editors' Choice winner, the Hilleberg Jannu, or other popular single wall models like the Mountain Hardwear EV 2 or Black Diamond Eldorado. It has comparable strength to the Hilleberg Tarra, The North Face Mountain 25, and the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2.
Ease of Setup
There are many advantages that this model offers, but ease of setup isn't one of them. Of all the 4 season tents we've tested, this one is the hardest to pitch. To set it up, it pitches from the inside and the ends of the poles are inserted into reinforced sections. You'll find somewhat hard to use plastic twist ties, which wrap around the poles, locking them in place. Once the poles are in place, they are 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 it's easy to get the hang of after some pratice. It's not that any part of the setup is necessarily harder than any other interiorly pitched single wall tent, it's just that there are twice as many poles to handle.
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 $164 you can add a well-designed hooped vestibule, but that does bring the price of the Fitzroy to a bit over $1000. Overall, the Fitzroy, because of its above average amount of living space (36 square feet), in some ways is one of the most comfortable tents to be forced to log some time in. It does have a roomier interior, but has barely enough headroom and offers slightly less room to sit-up in as the Mountain 25 and Trango 2.
The main advantage here is the three-layer ePTFE membrane that's similar to those found on the world's best hardshell jackets. This type of construction is used in many tents and is likely the most durable single wall tent fabric. The tent corners are heavily reinforced, too. We gave 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.
The tent weighs 6 lb. 4 oz for just the tent and the poles, but most folks will find a packed weight of around 7 lbs 1 oz. This is heavier than any other two-person single wall model and heavier than several double wall options. So while the Fitzroy is a little heavier, it also has top-notch storm resistance and above-average livability. For example, the Mountain Hardwear EV 2 two pounds less, but offers less interior space, isn't quite as storm-worthy, and its fabric doesn't handle condensation nearly as well. While the MSR Advance Pro is half the weight of the Fitzroy, it's not designed for the same thing.
The MSR Advance Pro is a bivy tent and designed to be as lightweight and compact as possible, where the Fitzroy blurs the line of what most people typically buy a single wall tent for. It will perform well for extended expeditions but is still lightweight enough to be considered for modest mountaineering adventures in the lower-48. This tent was similar in weight to the double wall Hilleberg Jannu, which provides a little more versatility, but the Fitzroy is still stronger and has better wind resistance in the most extreme conditions.
Adaptability and Versatility
The Fitzroy is not a particularly versatile or adaptable tent. It works great for any trip where its extreme weather protection will be appreciated, but it's a bit overkill for even more modest summer-time mountaineering adventures or 3-season backpacking trips. Both of its doors have full-sized mesh windows, which is great for bug protection but doesn't work that well in the rain without the vestibule because there is not enough awning to leave the door partially unzipped in the rain or snow without it getting into the tent. The ToddTex ePTFE fabric handles moisture and condensation as well as any single wall fabric we tested.
This tent offers respectable versatility across 4-season applications but in reality is not a great option for 3-season backpacking trips but could be used for such on occasion. It's best for 4-season trips where its top-tear strength, respectable weight, and pleasant interior space will be appreciated. It's bomber enough for any expedition use and coupled with its quasi-spacious interior, we'd take this tent up Denali or on 8000m peaks in the Himalaya without question. It's still light enough for mountaineering in the lower-48 and southern Canada but is a little overkill if that's all you intend to do with it. It's a fantastic winter camping tent particularly if you splurge for the vestibule which will make it even more comfortable.
At $850, the Fitzroy is one of the more expensive tents in our review; then you take into account that the vestibule is not included and is an additional $164, bringing the total to $1,014. While more expensive than some of its closest competition (The North Face Mountain 25 - $590 or the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 - $650) it is also over a pound lighter and more compact than either of them without giving up anything for strength or weather resistance. The Hilleberg Jannu is similar in price to the Fitzroy when you include its vestibule and may be more versatile but isn't quite as bomber or as spacious. Its closest single wall competition is the Mountain Hardwear EV2 ($700) which also isn't quite as sturdy but is two pounds lighter and more compact.
The Fitzroy is designed to be one of the most storm-worthy shelters available and in fierce windstorms, there are few shelters we'd rather be in. Its ToddTex fabric was the most breathable fabric among single wall tents, helping make this tent slightly more versatile than others. It's the most spacious single wall model in our review, but also the heaviest. You do get a lot for the weight though, and it's excellent for any number of expeditions.
— Ian Nicholson