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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Black Diamond Oasis Tent > Test Report by Michael Wheiler
BLACK DIAMOND OASIS TENT
By Michael Wheiler
Tent With Rainfly.
SKIP TO THE INITIAL REPORT: OCTOBER 7, 2008
SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT: JANUARY 6, 2009
SKIP TO THE LONG TERM REPORT: FEBRUARY 10, 2009
INITIAL REPORTManufacturer's General Description:
October 7, 2008
Tent Without Rainfly.
Product Specifications For the Oasis Per Black Diamond Unless Otherwise Noted:
Black Diamond warrants "for one year from purchase date and only to the original retail purchaser (Buyer) that our products are free from defects in material and workmanship. If Buyer discovers a covered defect, Buyer should deliver the Product to us at the address provided. We will replace such product free of charge. That is the extent of our liability under this Warranty and, upon the expiration of the applicable warranty period, all such liability shall terminate." Black Diamond, of course, does not warrant against normal wear and tear, unauthorized modifications or alterations, improper use, improper maintenance, accident, misuse, negligence, damage, or if the product is used for a purpose for which it was not intended.
The Oasis is part of Black Diamond's "Doublelight Tent" series. This series of tents is described by Black Diamond as the "lightest, strongest double-wall tents we make." The integrated vestibule is designed with a unique "side angle" to keep gear accessible but clear of the doorway. The Oasis has double doors on both the tent and integrated vestibule. The Oasis is a freestanding, three season tent that employs fast-pitch hubs and featherlight poles to ensure "a simple, speedy setup" and "unrivaled rigidity in high-wind situations." The Oasis was designed with a 360-degree-view mesh upper and a nylon ripstop lower perimeter for privacy. As such, the Oasis has "excellent ventilation without feeling too open to the prying eyes of others." For gram counters who want to save weight, the tent can be setup with only the fly, pole set and the optional fitted ground cloth.
Examination and Set Up:
The Oasis arrived via UPS in perfect condition. Inside the shipping box, I found the tent and accessories contained in a Marigold colored stuff sack with a draw cord closure.
There is a pocket on the exterior of the stuff sack which houses the stakes and guylines. (See photograph below). There are 10 aluminum stakes, three short guylines and one long guyline. The stakes are spiked shaped in appearance. According to Black Diamond, although this is a freestanding tent, the user must "always stake out the tent using all points provided. Staking out your tent must not be considered optional." I attached the short guylines to the rainfly on both sides and in the rear near the middle and toward the bottom of the fly. I cut the long guyline in half, melted the cut ends of the rope with a match, and attached the long guylines to the loops on each side near the front of the rainfly. If all the guylines and all the stake loops are used, 12 stakes will be needed. As such, two more stakes than are provided will be necessary to use all of the available stake-out points.
Tent In Stuff Sack.
Inside the stuff sack was the tent, the rainfly and the pole set. The pole set consists of two different colored poles which are also different diameters. The center pole is silver in color and is wider in diameter. The cross poles are black in color and narrower in diameter. The poles are connected by hubs. (See photograph below.) Each of the hubs has a round button on the bottom. When erecting the tent, the pole set should be placed on the tent with the round button facing the tent. Two "H" clips attached to the ridgeline of the tent connect with the round buttons to help secure the tent to the pole set. Plastic "J" clips attached to fabric which is sewn into the body of the tent are used to connect the rest of the tent to the pole set. The poles are housed in a side pocket inside the stuff sack.
Pole Set With Rear Hub Connector And "Button."
Pole Set With Front Hub Connector And "Button."
Black Diamond provided the following set up instructions with diagrams:
Following the written instructions, I found the Oasis was easy to setup despite a brisk wind. The Oasis is designed for the users to sleep with their heads near the doors. While laying in the tent, I discovered that the space between floor and the inner tent wall at other end is too short to comfortably sleep with my head at that end unless I was laying in the middle of the tent. The rear of the tent is also narrower in width than up near the door thus providing more shoulder space in the front of the tent.
Tent And Frame.
Tent Clipped to Frame (Rearview).
Stake Loops, Side-release Buckles, and Tension Cords.
Tent With Right Vestibule Door Rolled Back And Secured With Toggle.
The Oasis has a number of excellent features. The bath tub style floor provides extra protection from wet weather. There are three "3D" mesh storage pockets near the front of the tent in each corner (see photograph below). The rainfly extends out over the front of the tent to create the vestibule with zippered doors on both sides. The vestibule doors can be opened and secured with a cord and plastic toggle (see above photograph). As mentioned above, the rainfly and inner tent can be pitched separately which allows greater versatility in use. The Oasis has two large hoop vents on each side of the fly in the front and one in the rear of the tent (see photographs above).
The Oasis appears to be very well constructed and once pitched it was solid and stable even in a fairly brisk southeast Idaho wind. I like the available interior space and the large "3D" storage pockets. I've never owned a tent with a "fast-pitch hub" pole system before but setup was easy even in a healthy breeze. Having spent some time inside a few tents during extended rain storms, I like the Marigold color of the Oasis because a bright interior is more appealing to me on gloomy days. Although the Oasis is designed as a three-season tent, it is touted as having "unrivaled rigidity in high wind situations" and it can be anchored very securely with multiple stake-out points and guy lines when necessary. I also like the door arrangement in the front with two "U" shaped doors on each side of the "V" shaped front. The Oasis is much heavier than my other backpacking tents but it also offers more room. That being said, after I pitched the tent in my yard, I laid down inside the tent without any gear and I am a bit concerned about three people comfortably sleeping inside the tent at the same time.
Field Testing Plans:
I will report on the durability of the Oasis, its ability to provide protection from the elements under wet and even snowy conditions, and how it handles the weather as the temperatures start to drop now that fall and winter are approaching. I will monitor and report on how good the ventilation is in the Oasis. I will also report on how comfortably the Oasis handles multiple users and gear. I have ordered the optional fitted ground cloth so I can experiment with using just the ground cloth, pole set and rainfly setup and will report on that configuration as well.
FIELD TEST REPORT
(January 6, 2009)
The Oasis At Hawley Creek
I used the Oasis three (3) times during my field testing. I first used the Oasis on October 15-16, 2008, when I spent the night at Hawley Creek near Leadore, Idaho (6,660 ft/2,030 m elevation). This was a solo car camping trip. I pitched the Oasis in the dark using my head lamp. See above photograph. Set-up was easy and although the ground was fairly hard due to the cold temperatures, the pegs went into the ground without bending. The temperature when I retired for the evening was 31 F/-0.55 C. There was no wind. The next morning I found ice crystals inside the fly but none on the mesh. I waited until later in the day to take down the Oasis and, by then, the fly was dry and ready for storage.
Pitched On The Edge Of Frozen Aldous Lake
I next used the Oasis on November 22-23, 2008 when I backpacked into Aldous Lake (8,300 ft/2,530 m elevation) near Kilgore, Idaho. This was a 3 mile/5 km round trip hike with 900 feet/274 m of elevation gain from the trail head to the lake. There was 4+ inches/10+ cm of snow on the ground at that time. In some places the snow was hard packed and in other places in was soft powder. Since this was a solo trip, in order to conserve weight (and to test an alternate set-up), I used only the poles, the footprint and the rain fly. I used my expedition size backpack (6,000 cubic inches/98 liters) and found that with the footprint, fly, and poles configuration, the Oasis fit nicely into my pack and allowed ample room for other gear.
Because I departed late in the day, I had to hike to the lake and pitch the tent in dark using my headlamp. Even though this was the first time I used this configuration, set-up was easy and uncomplicated. I stomped out an area in the snow that I felt was long and wide enough for the foot print. I then laid out the foot print and attached the poles to the foot print. The fly was then fitted over the poles and staked out. Because of the depth of the snow, on the corners and on the vestibule, I used longer snow pegs. The foot print did not cover the vestibule area and left the area exposed to snow. I used the snow covered vestibule area in which to cook. I hung my candle lantern from the middle tent pole. See photograph below. The temperature when I retired was 16 F/-9 C. There was no wind. The next morning I found significant ice crystals had formed on the rain fly. I had to be careful not to touch the fly or I would get "snowed" on but generally speaking I had enough room with just me in the tent to move around without touching the fly. I was able to cook, change clothes and pack up my gear without experiencing too many snow showers.
A View From The Interior
I had to pack up the next morning before the tent had an opportunity to dry. As such, when I arrived home, I hung the fly and foot print out over a clothes line in my storage room to dry. I left the poles out to dry as well.
I next used the Oasis on Christmas Eve 2008. The weather forecast was for a severe winter storm including 4-6 inches/10-15 cm of snow and high winds (30-35 mph/48-51 km/h). My 82-year old mother-in-law was sleeping over to avoid having to travel to our home the next morning and we offered her our bed. My children are all older and have, for the last few years, elected to sleep in on Christmas Day. As such, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to test the ability of the Oasis to withstand a fairly descent winter storm. My wife has become accustomed to my sense of adventure ("stupidity" I think would be her word of choice) and simply shook her head in disbelief when I announced my intention to sleep out in the storm.
It was fairly windy and snowing slightly when I went out to pitch the tent. I used my backpack shovel to clear out an area on my back lawn big enough for the Oasis. Because it was dark, tent set-up was done by the light of my headlamp. Due to the wind, I had to place some heavy objects on the foot print and the main body of the tent to keep them in place while I inserted the poles and staked it all down. The windy conditions resulted in tent set-up taking longer than normal for me. As a result, the mesh on the main tent did get a little wet with the fresh snow falling on it. In light of the high winds, I used longer snow stakes on each of the corners and on the vestibule. I pitched the Oasis facing into the wind. The weather man did not disappoint me in his prediction. That night the high winds rattled the fly on the Oasis but it remained rock solid. Despite the raging storm, I slept soundly and comfortably all night. Overnight, we received about 5 in/13 cm of new snow which was blowing and drifting.
The Oasis After A Snow Storm
The next morning, both sides of the Oasis were bowed in toward the center with the weight of the new snow. I was sleeping in the center of the tent and neither side was touching my sleeping bag but if I had been blessed with the pleasure of having other "crazy" people sleeping in the tent with me, the other users would have had the sides of the tent pressing against their sleeping system. Nevertheless, the Oasis tent poles held fast and did not bend, bow or break. There were significant ice crystals inside on the fly and some snow had blown in through the front vent and had covered the mesh on the door but there was no snow on my sleeping bag. After brushing the snow off the exterior of the tent, my inspection revealed no damage to any of the tent fabric.
In fact, I so enjoyed my outing in the Oasis, I decided to sleep in it on Christmas night as well. Alright, the fact that my mother-in-law decided to stay another night had a little bit to do with my decision. The second night was much less windy and we experienced only a skiff of snow over night. Again, I slept very well in the Oasis. Because of the cold temperatures, I brought the tent into the house and draped it over our air hockey table for a few days to dry out. I left the poles out for the same amount of time to make sure all the moisture was gone out of the poles.
In summary, to date, I have used the Oasis in some mild to fairly extreme conditions. I have also used the full tent and one of the minimal configurations. The tent shows no sign of wear, tear or damage. I like the roomy nature of the tent. It gives me room to sit up, change clothes, and move around inside the tent without touching the walls. Despite being classified as a three-season tent, the Oasis handled a severe winter storm with flying colors. I was very impressed with how sturdy the tent was and its ability to withstand a fair snow load and significant winds. It is easy to pitch even in the dark and solo set-up is doable even in fairly windy conditions. On the flip side, the size of the tent is much larger and its weight is heavier than I would normally carry without at least one other person to share the load.
In the 30 days since my last report, I was only able to use the Oasis one additional time. This was, in part, due to my work schedule and, in part, due to poor weather conditions which limited travel on the weekends I could have been out using the Oasis. I last used the Oasis at Twin Bridges State Park near Ririe, Idaho (elevation 4,820 ft/1,469 m). This was a solo car camping trip. I pitched the Oasis in its complete form using both the mesh interior and the rain fly. Even though it was dark and cold and I had to use my headlamp, I had the Oasis up in a matter of minutes. When I pitched the Oasis, as is typical for this country, there was a slight breeze from the south. Given the slight breeze, I only staked out the vestibule/doors on the Oasis using snow stakes. Contemplating the cold temperature and the likelihood of condensation inside the tent, I pitched the Oasis to take advantage of the breeze and completely opened the vents in the front. However, as usual, during the night the breeze quit except for an occasional gust. In the morning, the mesh interior of the Oasis over my face was covered with frost. The outside of the tent also was covered with heavy frost. The temperature that morning was 17° F (-8° C). After making breakfast using the vestibule area as my kitchen, I brushed off the remaining frost, took down the tent, and packed it into the stuff sack. At home, I hung the tent up on a line in my storage room to dry.
In short, I have thoroughly enjoyed using this tent. The quality of the Oasis' construction is exactly what I have come to expect from Black Diamond. The company has made another quality product with this shelter. I experienced no problems with any of the materials used in the Oasis. It still looks new. The zippers all function properly and without hang-up. Set-up and take-down in the field is relatively quick and easy even in stormy weather. The design of the Oasis provides versatility in the method used to pitch the shelter (just the mesh interior tent, using the mesh interior tent with the rain fly, or using the rain fly with the optional footprint). This gives the user a number of set-up options depending upon the field conditions and the amount of weight the user wishes to carry. The Oasis has ample room for two medium sized users to stretch out comfortably and has enough room for three medium to small size people to be cozy in the tent. There is more than ample height in the center for a user to sit up.
The Oasis is designated by Black Diamond as a three-season tent. Despite this fact, I began testing the Oasis at the beginning of our winter season. In fact, winter came a bit early this year as a snow storm in mid-September kept me from attempting my first climb of the Grand Teton. Nevertheless, I actually slept in the Oasis 5 nights during the test period which included some seriously nasty winter weather and the Oasis handled all that a serious Idaho winter storm could throw at it--including nearly burying it in snow! Despite the extra snow load, the tent poles withstood the added weight and while the tent fabric bowed under the snow load, I was able to sleep comfortably in the Oasis without touching the sides. However, the tent walls were bowed enough that two users would have had the tent fabric on the side walls touching or very close to their sleeping bags. Again, I point out that the Oasis is not designed as a four-season shelter but, in a pinch, I think it is capable of handling a pretty significant winter storm.
I have experienced no moisture leaking into the tent. One night the snow blew through the mesh in front of the open vents and I found a little snow on the floor the next morning. Otherwise, the materials in the Oasis have demonstrated superb weather resistance. The mesh interior portion of the Oasis breaths well but is subject to condensation build up in cold temperatures. It has a unique design which sets it apart from other tents I own. Yet the Oasis' color scheme is environmentally friendly and, at the same time, creates a bright, warm atmosphere inside.
I really like the workmanship of the Oasis. It is the type of quality upon which Black Diamond has built its reputation. I like the diverse methods of using the Oasis. The rain fly/footprint option allowed me to use the Oasis on a solo backpack trip when I otherwise would not have carried the added weight. I also really like the unique shape of the Oasis.
I could not find anything to be critical about in the Oasis. I generally backpack solo or with one other individual. As such the size and weight of the Oasis would generally be a negative for me but given the optional rain fly/footprint option, I really can't complain.
This concludes my report on the Black Diamond Oasis tent. My thanks to Black Diamond and BackpackGearTest for giving me the opportunity to test the Oasis.
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