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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Black Diamond Oasis Tent > Test Report by Chuck Carnes

FullFull with FlyBlack Diamond
O A S I S   T E N T

Initial Report: October 7, 2008
Field Report: January 6, 2009
Long Term Report: February 12, 2009

Picture courtesy of Black Diamond                                                                                           Picture courtesy of Black Diamond
Biographical Information
Name: Chuck Carnes
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 175 lbs (79 kg)
E-mail Address: ctcarnes AT yahoo DOT com
City, State, Country: Greenville, South Carolina, USA
Backpacking Background
I love the outdoors – I’ve spent time camping in the outdoors since I was born, and have been actively hiking and backpacking since then. I consider myself a lightweight hiker, usually carrying 20 – 30 pounds (11-13 kg) for hikes up to a week in length. I hike at an easy pace, averaging 2 mph (3 kph). I am a one-man tent camper for now. I like to carry a single trekking pole when I hike to help relieve stress to my legs and knees. I like to get out on the trail as often as I can.

I N I T I A L    R E P O R T
October 7, 2008
Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment
Model: Oasis
Persons: 3
Season: 3
Color: Marigold and Grey
Floor Area: 42 sq ft (12 sq m)
Vestibule Area: 14 sq ft (4 sq m) 
Peak Height: 44 in (112 cm)
Year of manufacture: 2008

Listed Packaged Weight:  6 lb 2 oz (2.8 kg)
(tent body, poles, stakes, stuff sack, repair kit)
Listed Minimum Weight:  5 lb 11 oz (2.6 kg)
(tent body with poles)

Actual Weights of Separate Items: 

Tent Body and Fly: 4 lbs 1 oz (1.84 kg)
Tent Stuff Sack: 2 oz (57 g)
Pole(s): 20 oz (567 g)
Stakes: 0.5 oz (14 g) [per stake] x 10 stakes = 5.0 oz (140 g)
Repair Kit: 2.0 oz (57 g)

Actual Packaged Weight Total: 5 lbs 14 oz (2.66 kg)

Listed Packed Size:  8 in x 19 in (20 cm x 48 cm)
Actual Packed Size:  9 in x 25 in (22 cm x 64 cm)

MSRP: $329.95 USD

The Black Diamond Oasis Tent is a three-person, three season, freestanding tent. The DAC Featherlight poles are variable in diameter and incorporate a hub system to make this three-person tent fast and easy to pitch. The ridge as well as the side walls, clip directly to the pole that runs from front to back and the two poles that run side to side.. 

The Oasis has a mesh upper, from about half way up the wall, and a nylon ripstop lower. This gives plenty of viewing outside the tent but still gives some privacy. The Oasis has two doors that are unique in placement; this gives the user(s) separate doors to enter and exit from and room in the vestibule for gear.  The large 'D' style doors give plenty of room for entering and exiting. 

The Black Diamond Oasis Tent arrived in perfect condition and with all the parts. Since I knew that it was a free standing tent and that it had a group of poles that were connected together by shock cord and hubs, I figured it wouldn't take long to put the tent up. The first thing I noticed as I was pulling items from the stuff sack is that the poles have their own sleeve inside the stuff sack that separates the poles from the tent. On the outside of the stuff sack the stakes have their own pocket that is also shared with the repair kit. The repair kit includes swatches of tent fabric, extra guylines, instructions and a card on the DAC Featherlight poles. This is a nice feature that keeps from having to have extra stuff sacks for the poles and the stakes. 

I pulled the tent body from the sack and spread it out on the ground. I allowed the poles to snap together to make this one big skeletal frame. One thing that has to be made sure of is the 'buttons' on the pole hubs, at the intersection of the poles, are facing down. This allows the 'H' clips on the tent to attach to the 'buttons' on the hubs. I placed the pole ends into the respective grommets to form the frame. Lastly, went around and clipped the tent body to the poles and the 'H' clips to the hubs. All done in under two minutes. 

At this point I took measurements and noted some features of the tent before I put the rain fly on. I first noticed how small it seemed inside for it to be labeled as a three-person tent. I did some measuring and came up with the width being slightly smaller than what the web site states. Although the measurements I took were with the tent deployed. I am very curious to see if three people will be able to fit, or even sleep, in this tent comfortably. I included these dimensions, as see in 'Product Information', and a layout of two people occupying the tent on somewhat standard pads and bags. I found that even in this layout, the two heads and feet are still very close to the tent walls but plenty of room for gear beside and above each person. I found the head height to be very generous at 44 in. to 46 in. (112 cm. to 117 cm.) at most of the head space and then sloping steeply down to 30 in. (76 cm.) at the foot of the tent. 

Pocket 1 Pocket 2 Pocket 3

------------------------------------------------------- 3 Corner Pockets ---------------------------------------------------------

As seen in the pictures above, the Oasis has three very nice sized corner pockets. The pockets are made of mesh material and are conveniently located in the front three corners of the tent right at the opening of the doors. At the peak head height, there is a gear loop to hang things from which is also nice to have. The zippers in the two 'D' style doors are nice and big and open very smoothly. I found that not having the tent staked down made unzipping and zipping the doors a little difficult. When pulling the zipper across the bottom towards the corner and making the upward motion, the force on the zipper also lifts the corner of the tent which makes one have to use two hands. Otherwise if the tent is staked down, it's easy to use just one hand to open and close the doors.

Inner View   Pole Connector   Inner View 2
                                       View under Rain Fly                    Pole Connectors    View between Fly and Mesh Wall

After inspecting the tent, I decided to attach the fly. I unfolded it, shook it out and threw it over the tent. After getting the four corners buckled to the respective corner buckle, I noticed these little hook and loop fasteners on the outside of the tent. It was then that I realized I had the fly on inside out. I unbuckled, flipped the fly over and re-buckled. As you can see from the picture 'View under Rain Fly' and 'View between Fly and Mesh Wall' that there is substantial room between the fly and the mesh roof and walls. This will help with condensation and not letting the mesh wall touch the wet rain fly. Also along the front ridge pole area under the fly, there are 'Pole Connectors' which are hook and loop fasteners that hold the fly in place to the frame. They are accompanied by a pull tab to be able to unfasten them.  
Rear Vent  With Fly
Rear Vent in Fly                                                                        Front Vents in Fly

The Rain Fly has three vents, one at the back and two on the front. All three are high and should allow any heat build up to be able to escape through these vents. The vents are held open by a stiff plastic, bendable material that retains its arc shape even after unstuffing it. There are two guy-out loops, one on each side of the fly at the base of the fly and one in the center at the rear of the fly. There are no lines attached but some are provided and can be cut to one's desired length. The Oasis comes with ten stakes and with this many stakes and multiple guy out options, it seems as if it will hold up to very windy conditions.

Overall I am very pleased with the Black Diamond Oasis. Although I'm a little skeptical about whether three people could sleep in it comfortably I do believe it would be fine in a pinch. The floor seams are well sealed and it appears that the fly will provide great protection in harsh elements. I am looking forward to many nights in it possibly by myself but for sure with me and my kids.   

F I E L D    R E P O R T
January 6, 2009
The Black Diamond Oasis tent has been a great shelter for me and my son on our past two trips. We took it on a trip to Shining Rock Wilderness area. It was a two night trip where the elevation was around 5,000 ft (1,524 km) and the temperatures ranged from 30's F (1 C) at night to 60 F to 70 F (33 C to 38 C) during the day. This was a good trip that I could let my son carry half of the tent so I let him carry the rain fly and stakes. Before I decided to split the tent up I noticed how big the packed size was compared to the area it was supposed to fit in my pack. It was quit a large package at 9 in x 25 in (22 cm x 64 cm). It would have taken up most of the room in my pack. I understand that it is labeled as a three person tent but as I found out later, the true interior size is more for a two person. So basically I'm carrying the size of a three man tent for two people to sleep comfortably. But that is not an issue, it was just an observation. Later I would like to see about getting the packed size smaller by using some type of compression sack.

As we got to hiking, it had been raining in this area prior to this trip so the ground was pretty wet and soggy. I did not bring any type of ground cloth so I was concerned about the wetness seeping into the floor of the tent. Once we got to camp my son and I set the Oasis up and placed our pad and bag in the tent. This is when I truly realized that it would not sleep three people comfortably. This is not to say that three people would not fit, I just don't think they would be comfortable and not feel crammed, but that is just my opinion. There was just enough room for both of us to have a little space on each side of us to where we were not touching each other or touching the walls of the tent. The corner mesh pockets were great for us to put our small items and my son liked having his own little pocket for his stuff. It was really nice having two separate doors as we both felt like we had our own entrance, which we did and we didn't have to crawl over each other's stuff either.

I felt like the tent 'breathed' very well. As cold as it was we did not experience any condensation. I left the rear vent open and the front ones open as well. We did have frost on the tent both mornings but after the sun came out the frost quickly melted and dried up. The rain fly had plenty of room between it and the mesh tent body, so I didn't have to worry about any wicking action from the moist rain fly entering into the tent. My tightening of the guy lines before we turned in for bed help tremendously. My concern with the floor getting wet inside because of the wet ground was what I had expected. The area where our pads were placed is the only area that was wet to the touch, everywhere else was dry on the inside of the floor.

Our other trip was for a two night trip to a Camporee for my sons Boy Scout troop. It was in a huge field on private property so we didn't have to 'pack' it in, we just drove up to the site and unloaded, like a camping trip. The temperature then was around 40 F to 45 F (22 C to 25 C) at night with periods of rain during the night. We were set up much like our other trip but this time we actually got rained on at night. The rain fly did a wonderful job keeping the rain out. We both experienced some rain dripping into the front edge of the tent when we were opening the fly door to get in. It would drip from the edge of the vent opening down to the front edge of the inside of the tent. It wasn't that bad as I would just wipe it up with a towel. It was really nice to have such a big opening to sort of jump into to quickly get out of the rain. 

Overall, I have been very happy with the Black Diamond Oasis tent. It has performed as expected and it is a great little tent for me and my son. I will however see about getting the pack size down a little smaller on future trips.

L O N G   T E R M    R E P O R T
February 12, 2009
I have really enjoyed having the Black Diamond Oasis as my shelter for these past few months. I was able to take it on a two night weekend right before Christmas. My son and I took a short trip to Jones Gap where we took a short jaunt to the camp site. It was only about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in from the parking lot. We decided to stay at this campsite for both nights as we worked on some Boy Scout related items. The temperature for the weekend was around 30 F to 40 F (-1 C to 4 C) at night. We did not experience any rain on this trip or much wind. The elevation was 1,215 ft. (370 m) according to my altimeter on my watch.

Not much was different on this trip than it was on our previous trips with concern to the tent. Again, we split up the tent as he carried the fly and stakes and I carried the poles and tent body. I actually let him set the tent up himself and he did a great job at doing it and it seemed very easy for him. I truly like the way the poles are connected together with the shock cord. There is no worry about losing parts of the poles and it just makes it easy to be able to lay out the poles and they pretty much snap together to form the full tent frame.

It is a great size for both of us and we have plenty of room for our gear beside us inside the tent. I still feel like it would be very close quarters for three people but again, it's feasable in a pinch or an emergency.

I have been impressed with the quality of the fabrics, zippers and stitching. I have not seen any loose threads or unravels. The zippers have worked flawlessly and only a couple of times during the whole test series did the zipper catch on the fabric while un-zipping the fly door. The corner pockets have come in very handy to put small items in and they are very easy to reach even outside of the tent. They are just inside the door and it makes it easy just to reach inside the door to retrieve an item.

Overall the Black Diamond Oasis Tent has been one of my favorite tents that I have spent my nights sleeping in. It's a great size for two people and it has plenty of room for gear to the side or in the middle. I do not see myself using it as a three man tent because of the width not being wide enough for people and gear but it can certainly be used as such and the gear can be placed in the vestibule or outside. The condensation has been very minimal and I find the vents are placed very well for cross ventilation. This may not be the case for someone else but I found it to breathe very well. The ease of set up is what stands out for me and when I get to a site and ready to put up the tent, I want it to be quick and that is what I have found in the Oasis.
This concludes this test series
Thank you Black Diamond and for this opportunity.

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