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SlingFin Hardshell Review

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SlingFin Hardshell Review (SlingFin HardShell)
SlingFin HardShell
Credit: SlingFin
Price:  $1,675 List
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Manufacturer:   SlingFin
By Chris McNamara and Max Neale  ⋅  Jul 13, 2013

Our Analysis

The SlingFin HardShell tent is the equivalent of Air Force One for mountain climbers and polar explorers. Its innovative design and premium materials make the tent reasonably lightweight (12 lb. 4 oz. with carbon poles), easy to setup, and castle strong. It's like a portable luxury suite for the world's most heinous conditions.

SlingFin more or less identified the drawbacks to existing top-tier dome tents and addressed them all. Down to the last little plastic clip. We suspect that the HardShell is the best 3-4 person four-season dome tent on the planet.

The key advantage it offers over other tents is its WebTruss pole structure that allows you pitch the poles first, then add the fly, then the inner tent. This enables fast and easy setup by one person even in high winds. You can also use just the WebTruss and fly, no inner tent, for a lighter yet ultra bomber floorless shelter for fast and light expeditions. The WebTruss is the tent's best attribute but every minor detail, from the snow skirt to the door design, to SlingFin's own proprietary plastic pole clip make the tent a clear standout from the competition.

OutdoorGearLab is in the process of testing the tent. Check back here for a detailed Hands-On review in the future. If you have lots of cash to push the performance envelope, and want to spring on this shelter now, you won't be disappointed. However, the HardShell is not very convenient to purchase because it's only available from select online retailers and from the manufacturer.

4 season tent - slingfin hardshell in wind tunnel testing. 58 mph. note that only...
SlingFin HardShell in wind tunnel testing. 58 mph. Note that only the ground level tieouts are used!! Employing the upper level tieouts significantly increases strength.
Credit: SlingFin
4 season tent - slingfin designers contributed to the clip at left, still used on...
SlingFin designers contributed to the clip at left, still used on the MH Trango series, and improved upon it with the new, reverse gate clip at right, used on SlingFin tents. Small details like these make SlingFin products shine.
Credit: Max Neale

4 season tent - inside slingfin's previous headquarters in berkely, ca. the...
Inside SlingFin's previous headquarters in Berkely, CA. The Hardshell tent is in the front right.
Credit: Max Neale

Martin Zemitis, the HardShell's designer, describes building a custom tent for the first and only time someone slept on top of Everest.

Chris McNamara and Max Neale