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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Black Diamond Oasis Tent > Test Report by Brett Haydin

BLACK DIAMOND OASIS TENT
TEST SERIES BY BRETT HAYDIN
LONG-TERM REPORT
February 09, 2009

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Brett Haydin
EMAIL: bhaydin AT hotmail DOT com
AGE: 35
LOCATION: Denver, Colorado, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 195 lb (88.50 kg)

I started backpacking in Wisconsin as a youth, being involved in the Boy Scouts programs. As a young adult, I worked at a summer camp leading backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking trips. I now generally take short weekend or day trips in rough, mountainous terrain, although I have extensive experience in the upper Midwest as well. I take one or two longer trips each year, where I typically carry about 40 lb (18 kg). I prefer to be prepared and comfortable, but I have taken lightweight trips as well.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment, AG

Oasis Tent


Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.bdel.com
MSRP: US $329.95
Listed Packaged Weight: 6 lb 2 oz (2.8 kg)
Includes tent body and rain fly, poles, stakes, stuff sack, repair kit
Measured Packaged Weight: 6 lb 3.9 oz (2.83 kg)
Measured Component Weights:
Tent Body: 2 lb 2.4 oz (0.98 kg)
Tent Fly: 2 lb 2.1 oz (0.97 kg)
Tent Stuff Sack: 1.9 oz (54 g)
Poles: 1 lb 3.1 oz (0.5 kg)
Stakes: 4.9 oz (139 g)
Repair Kit and spare guy lines: 1 oz (28 g)
Floor Area: 42 sq ft (12 sq m)
Vestibule Area: 14 sq ft (4 sq m)
Listed Packed Size: 8 in x 19 in (20 cm x 48 cm)
Actual Packed Size: 9 in x 24 in (22 cm x 61 cm)
Peak Height: 44 in (112 cm)
Season: 3
Persons: 3
Color: Marigold and Grey
Warranty: One year from purchase on defects in material or workmanship

Product Description:
The Black Diamond Oasis tent is a 3-person, 3-season free-standing tent that is advertised as the lightest and strongest double wall tent made by the manufacturer. The tent floor is constructed of grey PU (polyurethane) coated fabric that comes up a few inches off the ground to create a "bathtub" of protection. The tent also has a mesh upper that allows 360 degree views of the stars and sights, when the fly is off of course. The mid-portion of the tent is a constructed of rip-stop nylon to create some privacy. The tent fly is an orange PU / Silicone fabric that clips to each of the four side anchor points of the tent body and extends past the front of the tent to create a vestibule. The doors, and there are two of them, are D-shaped to provide enough room to comfortably enter and exit.

The tent poles are DAC Featherlite poles that are held together by two fast-pitch hubs designed to make the tent easy to set up. When fully laid out, the poles resemble a crude stick-figure person. Also included are ten lightweight y-shaped stakes, extra fabric (repair kit) as well as extra cordage for guy lines and to stake out the fly.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Oasis arrived in superb condition all packaged in the stuff sack with one hang tag attached to the draw string. This hang tag includes brief "instructions" for a number of tents in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese. This outlines just the general care guidelines for the tents and some product descriptions for several different tents. As I started to unpack the items, I noticed immediately that there is an exterior pocket designed to hold the tent stakes and repair kit. I was struck by the ingenuity, but it didn't stop there! When I opened the stuff sack, I found that there is an integrated pole sleeve inside. This seems like an excellent way to shave a few ounces or grams from the tent.

I removed the other components of the tent and noticed the exceptional quality of workmanship and materials. I looked closely for any defects and could fine none; not even one loose thread. The poles are all integrated into one piece, cleverly held together by a hub and shock-cord design. Included in the exterior stake pouch was a tag for the DAC Featherlite poles as well as visual instructions on setting up the Oasis tent. A quick glance at the instructions and it was evident that setting up this tent was going to be easy.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The instructions that are included in the tent are quite straightforward. They include written step-by-step directions complimented by visual depictions. There are also clear instructions on how to clean and maintain various aspects of the tent, including the zippers and poles. There are also recommended cleaning and lubricating products. I did notice that the website states that the rain fly and optional ground cloth (purchased separately) can be combined for an even lighter option.

The website has several videos, one which shows how to properly seam seal the tent. There is also a downloadable PDF of the Oasis set-up instructions.

TRYING IT OUT

I couldn't wait to start setting up the tent to see how it looked up close! As I stated earlier, the instructions were clear, so I went to work setting it up in my backyard. I unrolled the tent, setting the fly aside. The poles clipped easily into place. I have never used a tent with a hub system before, but it looked easy enough. Lining up the five anchor points of the tent with the five pole ends, I placed the pole ends in the grommets as instructed. Once all five pole ends were in place, I went to work attaching the H-Clips to the "buttons" on the bottom of the hub. There are a number of pole clips to attach and I was impressed that they are slightly twisted to allow easier attachment. This is just another example of the creative design of this tent. The tent is free-standing and I was able to move the tent around easily. Finally, I staked out each of the anchor points.

Pole Clip
Pole Clip

H Clip
H-Clip


With the tent body assembled, I was able to get a closer look at the tent shape and size. The D-shaped door was easy to operate and the zippers were smooth. Climbing into the tent, I noticed three generous pockets for gear in each of the three corners near the doors. Everyone gets their own! What I did notice was that the space seemed a little snug for three people. After taking some measurements of the interior, I dragged out three sleeping pads and a sleeping bag to see how much space there was in practice. From my assessment, I think I can fit three people in the tent, but it will be very cozy.

Interior
Interior with 3 sleeping pads

Moving on to the rain fly, I spread it out over the top of the tent. The fly attaches to the four side anchor points by a quick release buckle that has a cord to pull for tensioning. The fly also attaches to the poles by hook and loop attachments that hold it securely to the frame. I used the enclosed extra cordage to create loops that allowed me to anchor the fly from the side and the rear as well. With the extra guy line cordage that is enclosed, I should be able to keep this tent sturdy in windy conditions. There are three separate vents incorporated into the fly; two in the vestibule and one in the rear. The vents are held open by a firm but flexible material sewn into the fly. One vent seemed crooked, but with a little maneuvering, I was able to get it to shape like the other two. These vents should allow trapped heat and moisture to escape, but if the temperature drops, I might be a little concerned that too much heat could escape.

I experimented with the fly quite a bit once the tent was set up. I was able to "peel back" the fly to allow for excellent star gazing. It will be interesting to see how well this plays out in the field. One interesting feature on the vestibule door is that the normal elongated bead that I would normally expect is replaced with a spring-loaded slider that can be easily adjusted to secure the door when it is open.

vestibule clip
Neat clip for vestibule doors

Rear Vent
Rear vent

SUMMARY

I have to admit, I am very excited to get this tent into the woods and mountains. I have taken the liberty to purchase the optional ground cloth as I would with any tent I own. I really like the marigold color as well as the shape of the tent. I am a bit skeptical of the size, but my family includes two adults and one eight year-old child.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

JANUARY 5, 2009

Pike National Forest Colorado - Devil's Head - November 10 - 11, 2008
Elevation: 8,950 - 9,748 ft (2,728 - 2,971 m)
High temperature: 45 F (7 C)
Low Temperature: 25 F (-4 C)
Terrain: rocky and dry.
Weather Conditions: foggy turning to partly cloudy with some gusty winds at times.

Arapaho National Forest, Colorado - Warren Gulch to Chief Mountain Trail- November 23 -24, 2008
Elevation: 8,250 - 11,709 ft (2,515 - 3,569 m)
High temperature: 50 F (10 C)
Low Temperature: 30 F (-1 C)
Terrain: somewhat rocky but loose soil.
Weather Conditions: sunny with moderate winds.

Bandelier Wilderness, New Mexico - Yapahi Ruins Loop- December 27 - 29, 2008
Elevation: 5,900 - 7,500 ft (1,800 - 2,290 m)
High temperature: 55 F (10 C)
Low Temperature: 20 F (-6 C)
Terrain: hard packed dirt and with some rocks.
Weather Conditions: a little rain first day, but sunny and cool.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

On my first two trips with the Oasis, I traveled short distances of under 5 mi (8 km) to the campsite on solo trips with my only companion my dog, Flash. On the second of the two trips, I took both my dogs for company. Setting up the tent has proven to be a breeze! I can easily get the tent set up, staked out and the fly assembled in less than five minutes, perhaps even faster if I was racing the weather. In fact the first night was in the dark.

I have found the easiest way to set up the tent so far has been to place the rear pole ends in the grommets and then attach the hubs in both the rear and front of the tent. Then I place the front pole end in the grommet which hoists the tent upward. Finally, I put the two remaining pole ends in place and finish by attaching the plastic clips.

IMAGE 1
Oasis in the Pike National Forest
Attaching the fly has also gotten easier as I have begun to anticipate the hook and loop pole straps much better. I also make sure to fully loosen the cord that attaches to the buckles when I take the tent down. I found that this makes setting up the tent easier the next time.

I was initially worried about the vents and how that would affect the performance if it was windy or if the temperatures dropped. I must admit, they are performing well. I have not noticed any problems with condensation so far. The only time I noticed any was one morning there was an accumulation of frost on the inside of the fly. I was glad I had the fly on that night to help stay warm! Even with the vents, my dogs and I were comfortable. The fly dried off rather quickly in the morning sun before heading off for a short day hike.

On my trip to New Mexico I was accompanied by my sister and there was ample room for both of us. One thing we noticed was that the gear pockets are only attached at three points. We found this out when we were looking for my sisters contact lens case, which she thought she placed in the pocket. I think it slipped behind the pocket and then throughout the night it slipped underneath her sleeping pad as we shifted throughout the night.

So far, I have only encountered one small spell of rain. I did not notice any leaks either from the fly or the tent floor. The rain ceased before we went to sleep so I couldn't listen to the pitter patter of the raindrops.

I have found that the included stakes are great for holding in place in the compact and rocky soils in my favorite camping spots. They hold so well that I have to grab my multi-tool pliers to pull out a couple of them! I didn't want to yank them out by the cordage that the fly is attached to for fear of cutting the lines which I have done with other tents.

Originally, I thought that the integrated sleeves in the stuff sack were a novel idea. For storage at home, this still is the case. But it makes it difficult to distribute gear as I found out with my sister. She carried the poles, but they constantly shifted around without anything to secure them. I tied them with a piece of extra nylon cord that I had which works, but I will have to find a better solution for the future.

Another great feature I had overlooked at the initial reporting stage is several reflective tabs on the exterior of the tent. There is one on each of the vestibule openings as well as another on the rear vent. This makes the tent easy to find when returning from a midnight bathroom break!

SUMMARY

Things I like so far:


  • Easy and quick set up
  • Plenty of headroom
  • Excellent stargazing
  • Plenty of room for two and gear


Things I would improve:

  • Stakes are difficult to pull out in tough conditions with bare hands
  • Could use a pole sleeve that is separate from storage sack


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

White River National Forest Colorado: Booth Falls Trail - February 7-8, 2009
Elevation: 8,500 - 9,600 ft (2,590 - 2,971 m)
High temperature: 45 F (7 C)
Low Temperature: 15 F (-9 C)
Terrain: snow covered, alpine forest
Weather Conditions: beautiful sunshine and warm for the season.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Oasis has continued to perform quite well through the long term testing period. During this time, I was able to use the tent on a winter trip outside of Vail, Colorado. The temperatures were quite warm for the time of year, and with winter sleeping bags, my partner and I were comfortable overnight. I use a synthetic bag rated to 0 F (-18 C) and had absolutely no problems.

I was also impressed with the ventilation. While there was some condensation on the interior of the fly, the tent wall showed no problems whatsoever. It was not especially windy at all, so I couldn't tell if there were any breezes coming through the vents. The fly, in my opinion, is just awesome.

The fly's vestibule is spacious enough to store gear for two. On this latest trip were both able to store our gear in the vestibule overnight. There was a chance of snow overnight which didn't materialize, so we stored our gear where the snow would not cover it up. I found there was still enough room to get out of the tent as needed.

IMAGE 1
Torn fabric on storage sack


The tent itself has held up exceptionally so far. However, the storage sack has started to rip at the closure. This happened as we were pulling the cord to close the storage sack. Actually, only one of us was pulling the cord but who needs to place blame? All other seams on the fly, zippers and tent body are in perfect shape. The photo above shows the top portion of the storage sack where the fabric has torn.

I chose to carry the whole tent myself on the last trip and it fit easily inside my pack, listed at 5,187 cu in (85 L). While I noted earlier that the storage would be better suited with a separate pole sleeve, it was convenient for me to carry the tent this way.

SUMMARY

I am extremely impressed with the high quality of craftsmanship of this tent. I have successfully used this tent in a variety of settings and seasons, including a mild winter overnight. The advertised 3-person configuration is a little tight, but it does sleep three. I continue to be impressed with how easy the Oasis is to set up.

The stakes are very solid and once in the ground hold very well. My only remaining concern is that the stakes were hard for me to pull out is rocky ground. This is one awesome three-season tent!

CONTINUED USE

I plan to use this tent as my primary tent from spring through fall for years to come. It has plenty of room for my family of three and is well constructed. I will likely replace the stakes as I have found some that are just as solid, except that each has a loop of cord making it easy to pull out.

I want to thank Black Diamond and BackpackGearTest for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this test series.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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