After a bit of a hiatus, Gossamer Gear's The One is back in action and in our opinion provides the best ultralight shelter available for a single person. It is made using the tried and true "tarp tent" design: a single wall a-frame tarp supported by dual trekking poles (or custom length carbon or aluminum poles sold separately), with an interior tent featuring mesh bug netting and a bathtub floor sewn in place. Think of it as a single person, SilNylon version of the Zpacks Duplex, our Editors' Choice winner as the best ultralight tent. It's a simple, roomy for one model, and with exquisite attention paid to every little detail. We also appreciate that its price tag isn't a budget buster. If you love to backpack solo and want to go light, we recommend The One for you!
Gossamer Gear The One ReviewPrice: $300 List Pros: Roomy, easy to setup, fully enclosed, affordable
Cons: A tad heavy to be considered ultralight for one, design not quite as wind stable as double vestibule options
Bottom line: The One is the best fully enclosed single person shelter that we have tested.
Shelter/ FastFly Weight (tarp and minimum guy lines or fly and poles): 1.32 lb (w/o poles)
Weight of Components: Total: 1 lb. 6 oz. ; tent: 1 lb. 5.1 oz. ; extra tie outs: 0.5 oz. ; stuff sack: 0.4 oz. ; optional aluminum poles: 5.7 oz.
Manufacturer: Gossamer Gear
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Ultralight Tents and Shelters of 2018
Our Analysis and Test Results
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 set up. It has a very similar design to the Zpacks Duplex and Six Moons Designs Haven Tarp, but since it is only designed for one person, it only has a single entrance point and vestibule. The other side of the tarp is a solid vertical wall made of SilNylon 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 The One slightly 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, 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 and retails for a low $389.
Included in a standard purchase is 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. Not included are the six mandatory stakes for proper setup (it won't stand without these stakeouts), and the four optional stakes for additional guy out points. The tent can be set up with two adjustable trekking poles, or Gossamer Gear sells the proper length poles in aluminum ($38.99) or carbon ($97). The tent comes factory seam taped so does not need to be seam sealed.
The One is a very livable tent that has 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 is afforded 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 wide inflatable air mattress. The high roof height makes it easy to sit up inside the tent as well.
We also loved the gigantic 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. We rated this as the second-best overall tent for livability, behind only the Zpacks Duplex, but the two are very similar despite being designed for different numbers of people. 9 out of 10 points.
At 1 lb. 6 oz. of included material, The One was nowhere near as light as the other solo shelter that we compared it against, the DCF fiber constructed Zpacks Hexamid Solo, which weighed in at only 11.5 ounces for a similar package.
That said, The One comes with a bathtub floor sewn in place, whereas the Hexamid Solo does not, and one must be added in modularly. 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," and so we only awarded 7 points. While gram counters may consider this tent a tad heavy, we would argue that weight efficient built-in bug protection and flooring is certainly worth its cost, especially if needed.
In general, we find the A-frame tarp tent design that this tent uses to be stable and resistant to wind and rain. However, two-person models we have tested such as the Six Moon Designs Haven Tarp and the Zpacks Duplex have double vestibules that contribute to wind resistance, whereas The One 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 to set 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. We think this tent does a solid job protecting from the weather and gave it 7 points.
Because the interior walls, floor, and bug netting are permanently sewn in place, there is no option with this tent to go modular and remove the aspects that are not needed when in dryer, less buggy climates. The One is also not free-standing, like the more adaptable and versatile Nemo Hornet Elite with its dedicated poles and double wall design, so needs six stake out points in 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 is designed for 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). Similar to the TarpTent MoTrail, and all tarp tents in general, adaptability is not a selling point here.
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 such as the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV2 Platinum, 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. The One is no exception and is about as quick as they come.
To set up, simply stake out all four corners with a little bit of slack, not totally taut. In a windstorm, this makes one person set up a breeze, cause 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, set up of this tent can be very quick and easy.
The One is an optimal choice for backpackers who want to lighten their shelter setup and most often travel solo and is the best choice for this purpose. It optimizes weight savings for those who carry adjustable trekking poles, but lightweight poles can be purchased for use on river trips, bike-packing, or for those who don't carry poles. It is ideally suited for buggy climates or when privacy is preferred, as there are lighter and cheaper options when no bug protection is needed.
This shelter retails for $300, making it relatively affordable in the context of ultralight shelters that include bug protection. Since we think it is the best solo shelter for this purpose, we think it presents good value.
Gossamer Gear's The One is the best single person lightweight shelter that we have tested, and as such wins our Top Pick Award. 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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Most recent review: May 31, 2018
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