After a bit of a hiatus, Gossamer Gear's The One is back in action, and in our opinion, one of the most affordable single ultralight shelter options out there. Designed for one person, it is made using the tried and true "tarp tent" design: a single wall a-frame tarp supported by dual trekking poles. The interior tent features a mesh bug netting and a bathtub floor sewn in place. Made with SilNylon, it doesn't offer the best of the best for weather protection, but it'll keep you dry. It's a simple, roomy for one model, and with exquisite attention paid to every little detail. If you love to backpack solo and want to go light, without spending an arm and a leg, this is "The One" for you!
Updates to The One
A few small changes have been added to this lightweight, single person tarp tent that has held our Top Pick award for a few years now.
Read on to find out what has changed.
Our Analysis and Test Results
Updates to The One
Gossamer Gear has made a few minor changes to this lightweight, popular tent. The most noticeable update is the change in color. Second, Gossamer Gear now includes 14 stakes to the tent. Previously, these necessary accessories had to be purchased separately.
Below is a comparison of the new version on the left and the previous version on the right.
Listed below is a summary of the updates made to The One tent:
Color — The color has changed for the Fall 2018 season.
Stakes included — The One tent now comes with 14 stakes, which previously came separately.
Hands-on Review of The One
The One is a single person, fully enclosed shelter that is made of silnylon and relies on two adjustable trekking poles (or two custom length poles that can be purchased separately) for setting up. It is designed only for one person and has a single entrance point and vestibule. The other side of the tarp is a solid vertical wall and protected from above by a much lower profile beak style awning than the one that makes up the vestibule. This design saves a little weight but costs when it comes to wind resistance, necessitating orienting the tent optimally during setup. This tent has a bit of a cult following, and after a couple of years of being unavailable, it is now often sold out, so get yours while you can! If you like this style of tarp tent design but usually travel as a duo, check out The Two, which is also made of SilNylon but has double doors and vestibules.
What is Included, and What Isn't?
Included in a standard purchase are the single wall tent, four extra guy wires that are pre-cut with line locks in place for adding on to the sides in especially stormy weather, and a light silnylon stuff sack that easily fits the rolled-up tent. It also includes stakes and extra guy lines. The tent can be set up with two adjustable trekking poles, or Gossamer Gear sells the proper length poles in aluminum or carbon. The tent comes factory seam taped, so it does not need to be seam sealed.
This single-person tent is very comfortable with plenty of room and features to optimize comfort for a single person. The peak of its tarp is perfectly centered, affording equal, steep slope angles for the roof that ensure that there is room for both your head and feet to rest comfortably without touching the tent fabric.
It is fully enclosed on the inside with a mix of SilNylon walls and bug netting so that one has both privacy and total protection from buzzing mosquitos or crawling ticks. The bathtub floor is also made of SilNylon and is over seven feet long end to end, more than enough space for comfortably lying down, and is more than wide enough for a full inflatable air mattress. The high roof height makes it easy to sit up inside the tent as well.
We also love the large vestibule that has enough room to store a pack, shoes, and even to cook inside if need be due to the weather. The vestibule is composed of double flaps that zip together and can easily stand with one or both pulled back and attached to the tarp if the weather is good. There is a single storage pocket on the inside, as well as a clothesline already in place.
At 1 pound 6 ounces of included material, it was nowhere near as light as the other solo shelters made of tougher and lighter materials. That said, it comes with a bathtub floor sewn in place, which we love. Overall it is one of the lighter tents that we have tested, but carrying it alone will certainly put one over the weight threshold of "ultralight". While gram counters may consider this tent a tad heavy, we would argue that weight-efficient built-in bug protection and flooring are certainly worth its cost, especially if needed.
In general, we find the A-frame tarp tent design to be stable and resistant to wind and rain. Unfortunately, it doesn't do as well in the wind. It has a vestibule on one side and a vertical wall with a much smaller beak awning on the other. This vertical wall hinders performance in a strong wind, and one must be mindful of setting this tent up with wind direction in mind, so this wall is on the lee side, a bit of a knock when considering all-purpose weather resistance.
Another slight knock is that the tent is made entirely of SilNylon versus the lighter and more waterproof DCF fiber of some others. While its material is rated to 1200mm of static head, more than enough to keep you dry, SilNylon tends to stretch and sag a bit when wet, either from rain or from dew or condensation, necessitating a trip outside the tent to tighten up guy lines and stake out points with the included line locks in order to maintain its tautness. The trade-off is in price, and this tent costs half as much as a comparable DCF tent. Overall, it does the work that any good tent should in poor weather.
Because the interior walls, floor, and bug netting are permanently in place, there is no option with this tent to go modular and remove the aspects that are not needed when in arid, less buggy climates. It is also not free-standing, so it needs six stake out points in the ground soft enough to take them, or quite a few large and heavy rocks if the ground is too firm. Both of these affect its adaptability a bit.
Also worth noting is that the single vestibule design means that this tent should be adequately oriented to the wind, further limiting its adaptability. However, while it best suits only one person, there is no doubt it is roomy enough for two to spoon together in an emergency (although we wouldn't intentionally plan for this).
Ease of Set Up
Over the years, we have found that setting up tarp tents is not nearly as intuitive as a dedicated pole tent and requires a fair bit of practice.
However, once the learning phase is over, they can be set up very quickly and easily by just one person. This tent is no exception and is about as quick as they come. To set up, stake out all four corners with a little bit of slack. In a windstorm, this makes one person set up a breeze, because there is no longer any need to hold the tent in place. Insert the poles in the middle of each side, made easy on this version because they attach to grommets and have keepers on the outside of the tent. Next, stake out the vestibule and opposite side tensioner and finally make a quick pass around the whole tent optimizing tautness of the stakeout points. With practice, the setup of this tent can be rapid and easy.
This shelter has an affordable price tag in relation to other ultralight shelters that include bug protection. The solo hiker that is traveling to buggy places appreciated privacy and carries adjustable poles will find the most value in this tent. We think it's a great deal and one not to be missed.
Gossamer Gear's The One is one of the best single-person lightweight shelters that we have tested. It is a spacious, well-designed shelter that is very popular in the thru-hiking world and has withstood the tests of time. Its greatest attributes are its affordability, built-in bug protection, and its attention to detail in construction. If you want to lighten your backpacking load and often travel solo, this is the tent we recommend for you.
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