Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Review

I tested the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo tent and this is my verdict.

August 01, 2023
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The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo is a fantastic backpacking tent. It served me very well during my Appalachian Trail thru-hike and throughout the Rocky Mountains. If you’re looking for a solid, ultralight 1P backpacking tent without having to sell a kidney to afford it, then this is the tent I recommend.

Product Overview

Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo

smd lunar solo
Pros

✅ Lightweight fabric

✅ Inexpensive for a UL backpacking tent

✅ Extremely quick to set up

✅ Very spacious interior

Cons

❌ There are lighter tents on the market

❌ Not made from Dyneema, so not as tough

❌ Single-wall construction is prone to condensation build-up

❌ You must carry at least one trekking pole with you (or an optional tent pole)

KEY SPECS
  • Seasons: 3 Seasons but I’ve used it year-round
  • Capacity: 1 person (with room to spare)
  • Frame: Single 49" Pole (Not Included)
  • Stakes: 6 (Sold Separately)
  • Weight: 26 oz | 740g (Does not include stakes or poles)
  • Pack size: 11” x 4.5”
  • Floor size: 90” x 48” (26.25 square feet)
  • Vestibule: 8.5 ft² - .8 m²
  • Fabric: 20D-40D Silicone Coated Polyester
  • Closure type: Zipper

A couple of years ago, I was in the market for an ultralight 1-person (1P) backpacking tent. I asked many people in the backpacking field with extensive gear experience and tested their thoughts on the best choice. Their recommendations were surprising and ranged greatly from $600 tents to $50 tarps. Since there was not a single tent that everyone agreed on, I decided to do my research on a few different brands.

After about a week of reading reviews, checking web pages, and watching videos, I decided the best value for me. That’s why the Six Moon Designs (SMD) Lunar Solo is my first choice for a backpacking tent.

To see reviews on other ultralight tents, check out our Best Ultralight Tents post.


Performance Test Results

How We Tested:

The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo is a fantastic backpacking tent. It served me very well during my Appalachian Trail thru-hike and throughout the Rocky Mountains. Surprisingly, the tent does attract a lot of attention and generates many questions. More than a few times I showed off the tent to curious hikers who had never seen a tent designed like it. It still remains my tent of choice and I will use it during my Colorado Trail thru-hike this year.

Price

I consider the Lunar Solo a great value for its price ($260), but it does not come seam sealed. I can pay for that service with SMD or do it yourself. Having never seam sealed a tent before, I paid extra for them to take care of it. The tent does not come with a footprint or stakes, both of which are available on the SMD website under tent accessories. Personally, I prefer Paira Outdoor Products spiral-y stakes, which never failed during my 2,194.3-mile trek.

smd-lunar-solo-tent

I believe the Lunar Solo is worth its asking price of $260.

Weight

The Lunar Solo is a low-weight tent. Made with 20D silicone-coated polyester walls and a 40D floor, it weighs around 26 ounces. This alone makes it a very competitive choice as compared to much more expensive backpacking tents. Additionally, the tent packs down small and easily fits into a backpack.

See the photo with beer used for size comparison and my hydration. The fabric of the stuff sack did wear out and I had to replace it with a lightweight dry bag from another manufacturer. This was just a minor inconvenience, and in all actuality, I could have simply continued to put it in the front mesh pocket of my pack.

smd lunar solo tent packed size

A lightweight tent, the Lunar Solo weighs only about 26 ounces without stakes or poles.

Design

The Lunar Solo is a single-wall tent that features a pyramid-style design with a single trekking pole as the main support. SMD does sell an optional 2.3-ounce carbon fiber tent pole if hiking with trekking poles isn’t your thing. The floor area provides ample space for one person and gear to the point where it should be listed as a 1.5P tent. It’s spacious enough for all of your gear (which I had to do in a couple of rainstorms) or even your dog, unless you have a mastiff.

The tent's peak height allows for comfortable sitting and moving around. This was an important part of my decision-making. As a 6’1” guy, I wanted to be able to sit up in the tent without my head hitting the roof. The single-door design provides easy access to the tent, and the vestibule space offers room for gear storage.

Additionally, there is a mesh pocket for storage of those items you might need throughout the night, and a hook clip at the apex for hanging light or your sweaty, smelly socks you just walked 22 miles in.

smd lunar solo tent

A single trekking pole serves as the primary support for the single-wall Lunar Solo tent's pyramid design.

Weather Resistance

The Lunar Solo is designed to handle various weather conditions, just make sure you set it up in the correct direction during rain. Twice during my AT thru-hike, I failed to position the tent as recommended by SMD and rain did make it into the tent. In full disclosure, this was my mistake in not checking the weather report for the day and I paid the price for it.

It also has a bathtub-style floor that provides protection against ground moisture. However, you will want to use a ground sheet or footprint. I have used Polycryo sheets on trips and even an inexpensive shower curtain on the AT.

smd lunar solo close up feature

The tent's single-wall design leads to condensation buildup in certain conditions and, when possible, I recommend sleeping with both sides of the vestibule rolled up. Not only does this cut down on condensation, but you also get that great breeze we all know and love for a great night’s sleep.

If you have the vestibule down but decide you need more ventilation, the height can be adjusted without leaving the tent. The snap hook for the vestibule loops is attached to the front guy line with a prusik knot, allowing it to slide up and down the line. You can reach out, grasp the knot, and raise it to your desired height, giving you more airflow. This is a great feature to use during the rain to avoid the tent getting damp and muggy inside.

smd lunar solo close up feature

 I advise sleeping with both sides of the vestibule rolled up whenever possible to avoid condensation buildup.

Other Features

Setting up the Lunar Solo is relatively straightforward, and once you do it a few times, it should take no longer than two minutes. I recommend checking out Six Moon Design’s YouTube video on this subject to learn more about it. You have six main guy lines (two supplemental) to stake out and adjust using the tensioners.

Additionally, if you need to adjust the tension during the night due to the temperature cooling, you can do it right from inside the tent, as well. Simply open the door, loosen your trekking pole, and raise it until the lack is removed from the tent.

Also, use the optional head and foot tie-out points. I use some longer than normal cord on those for when I pitch my tent in the trees. I’ll tie the cords to branches above me, pulling out the head and foot. This creates even more interior living space and especially more headroom.

smd lunar solo close up feature

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Greg Morton photo

About Greg Morton

Greg Morton hiked the AT in 2022 and currently plans to finish the Colorado Trail in 2023.  Outside of backpacking, Greg enjoys fishing, hunting, cooking, and telling really bad dad jokes.

About Greenbelly

After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail.

Stoveless Backpacking Meals
  • 650-Calorie Fuel
  • No Cooking
  • No Cleaning