Standing out for its 100% 30-D polyester construction, the Black Diamond Distance Adaptor Tent is bomber in big winds and light rainstorms. When oriented correctly, it uses the natural wind as a form of airflow to keep the space ventilated. However, if winds don't exist or you find yourself pointing the wrong way, ventilation becomes limited, especially when the mesh window needs to be zipped up in stormy weather. As a result, it's a good choice for the winter months, but we'd stay away from the heat of summer.Set up with two poles on the exterior, it offers just enough room for two people to sleep shoulder to shoulder. There isn't a ton of lateral room, so be prepared to be against the fabric if you're not close with your sleeping partner. While it's not the most 'liveable', it's a good solution for those seeking a warm single-walled tent that is compatible with their ski or trekking poles. Add to that its lower price, and you may have found your next ultralight tent.
Black Diamond Distance Adaptor Tent Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Affordable, great wind protection, fabric offers great water protection, simple set-up, warm for cold weather
Cons: Loud in wind, poor ventilation, mesh vent can let water inside, condensation problems
Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Black Diamond Distance Adaptor is a single-walled fully enclosed tent with lack-luster airflow but good weather protection. The pitch is high enough to sit up in, but space is a little small for two people and their gear to live. It offers no vestibule, and to set it up, you must carry a set of poles that are compatible with its adaptor kit. We do love its affordable price tag, though.
The Distance Adaptor is built as a single wall tent with no vestibule and one door that is erected with the use of two poles on the outside of the tent. While it does provide enough room to snuggle down with somebody that you know pretty well, the space inside is tight laterally. We found ourselves against the sides of the fabric. If trying to fit your gear and all the rest in the tent, its best at your head or your feet, but it lacks comfort and space with two people. Since there is only one door, you need to crawl over the other person at night to get out. We do appreciate, however, that most people, just around 6" can sit up without their head touching the top of the fabric.
On nights when it's super cold, and you need to zip up the mesh window (its the main point of ventilation), condensation inside the tent becomes a problem. While there is a vent at the top of the tent and towards the feet, if there isn't a good breeze and you haven't oriented your tent correctly (with the steep wall towards the wind), airflow is an issue. We woke a few times with a soaked sleeping bag.
We do love the mesh window that offers a good view, and the fully enclosed set-up. While it isn't the most comfortable living space, you can certainly bed down comfortably without worrying about creepy crawlies or weather when it storms. It's also got a few great pockets inside for organizational purposes.
It comes complete and trail-ready! Stakes, tent, and adaptor kit that fits a set of poles are all you need to get on the trail. When weighing all these components (without the stakes), it comes in just under two pounds.
The 30D polyester used in its construction offers a more rigid pitch to increase the tautness of the tent so it doesn't sag, but it is a little heavier than SilNylon or Dyneema. The packing size is also large. You can't fit the adaptor kit inside of the stuff sack, so you end up carrying two bags. While this is still pretty darn light for a tent, it's a heavier option in the ultralight world.
With a 30D polyester nylon construction, this tent is quite durable and abrasion-resistant. The polyester fabric is not as stretchy as other Nylon fabrics out there, supposedly ensuring that the tent stay pitched and maintains its shape. This theory is validated with our experience.
On a camping mission, we set this tent up as a basecamp tent for two days. During these days, winds were incredibly high. After being beaten by the wind, we were surprised at how well it maintained its shape; it wasn't until a stake became unpegged that it lost it. That night, it was hard to sleep. The thicker material is loud, especially when flapping in the wind. While it doesn't stretch as much as a Nylon tent, there is a little give. Also, the material on the lower angle of the pitch has no guy lines or attachment points to help prevent this flapping, which we think would be a good addition if Black Diamond decides to revamp this tent.
The rain wasn't an issue when it came from right above, however, one night where we had it set up in the wrong direction, the rain actually came in sideways through the large open vent at the top of the tent. Given the small space, our only option was to get out and change the aspect it was pointing towards. Aside from that, the fabric doesn't stretch much (just a little in the rain) while being 100% waterproof (minus the vents). Just make sure you set it up in the right direction (steep side to the wind).
The adaptor addition of this series allows you to use most tent poles to set it up. To do that, you must be able to stake it down or attach large rocks to the guy lines. The adaptor kit itself is just a shelled-out plastic handle with a piece of Velcro around it. While this is a great idea, it doesn't work with all the poles, especially those that don't fit the shape.
Nor does it work well with a fixed-length pole that is the wrong size. The handle has a specific shape that works best with other black diamond poles, but not some other brands. One of our testers experienced this issue before looking at it closely while out on a camping trip. Be sure to look at the pictures to see if your trekking poles are the right shape before buying this tent.
Black Diamond also does not have any modular components that we are aware of, nor are there ways to really slim down on its weight or bulk. The only solution is to own a pair of BD Zpoles that are compatible with the pole on top, which omit having to bring the adaptor kit. With its super warm design and polyester construction, it's an option for winter camping with the ability to easily be set up on snow or open glaciers.
As tent experts who have set-up tents a bunch of times, this took us about five minutes to figure out.
To begin, stake down all four sides. Then, adjust your poles to about 125 cm (or a little higher). Clip the adaptor pole into the top of the tent, then insert the adaptors into the pole itself. From there, attach your poles first to the webbing loops on the bottom (near the door). Adjust the height of the pole until the fabric material around the door is taut. Finally, adjust all your guy points. With some practice, you can pitch your tent in under five minutes on your own. Stormy weather isn't helpful, but it's not frustratingly impossible, either.
The price point isn't so bad on this fully-enclosed single-wall tent. It's light enough to do good work in the backcountry while offering all the kinds of protection you need. If you're a duo, you might find it tight, but if you want to find a reason to snuggle, there's value right here! In general, we'd say this is a great deal despite our critical caveats. It's a good protective and stable tent at a lower cost.
The Black Diamond Distance Adaptor is one of the only single wall tents that use polyester in its construction. It comes at a great price while offering the protection you'd want on cold, stormy nights. While its ventilation is questionable (when you need to zip up the window), it stands out as warm, easy to use, and adaptable. Use it for any adventure where you might carry a set of poles, as it needs them to stand up tall.
— Amber King