Black Diamond Skylight Tent – Review

Post by blogger | October 15, 2009      

Over past months, I’ve been stoked to have the opportunity to review one of the tents out of Black Diamond’s line. Skylight is comfortable in the summer, reasonable in rain/snow, but not quite 4-season.

The tent comes with one very cool feature in my opinion: the way the rainfly works. The fly is permanently attached to the tent and folds back for those nice summer nights when you’d never worry about weather. This makes for a very airy and comfortable sleeping environment while still being protected from bugs and dirt. Skylight is lightweight (4 lbs 2 oz), roomy for 2 people, reasonable for 3 people. (Black Diamond calls it a 2 to 3 person tent).


I've enjoyed using the Skylight tent in the summer and spring here in Colorado -- especially during a dumper sleet storm up high in Montezuma basin this spring. It worked.


At Montezuma last spring.

Fast forward to this past weekend. We’re headed for Montezuma again — out to harvest backcountry skiing powder — and what better way to test a tent than to get up in the snowy alpine and see how the rig holds up.

We stomped out our platform and made it level enough for sleeping up around 13,500 feet in Montezuma basin. The moon and stars were out and lighting our little campsite.


Skylight enjoying Montezuma Basin a few days ago, and so were the people inside.

After enjoying a sip of cocoa & ‘Beam, it was time for sleep — so into the tent with our carcasses to test out this single wall gem. Though really just a roomy 2-person tent, Skylight has a reasonable amount of room for three guys (although with our two balloon-like Exped pads there was little room for Jeff’s Thermarest). We all slept well save for the occasional wind burst that would send spindrift through the mesh door. This is the one thing missing from this tent, a small flap that can be zipped up to allow the tent to be made snow-proof. But really…who can complain about face shots as that is exactly what we headed for next!


Morning, preparing for backcountry skiing face shots.

Skylight for backcountry skiing.

Face shot preliminary.


Faceshot, Montezuma Basin, October 2009.

(Guest blogger Jordan White finished skiing all 54 Colorado 14ers in spring of 2009. He’s one of the WildSnow Denali 2010 crew, and works as a construction project manager out of Carbondale, Colorado. Check out his blog.)


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10 Responses to “Black Diamond Skylight Tent – Review”

  1. Nick October 15th, 2009 11:38 am

    Jordan – just curious, how do you think the Skylight fits taller folks? I have found that BD single-wall tens (e.g., Firstlight, Lighthouse, etc…), while light weight and awesome, really are cramped for anyone over 6′. I am 6’3″-4″ and really have trouble fully extending in them.

  2. Caleb October 15th, 2009 12:08 pm

    My 2 cents:

    I have slept in Jordan’s Skylight and own the Lighthouse. Personally, at 6’3″, I don’t have an issue with the length in my Lighthouse though the width is a little tight for 2 with winter gear. I think the Skylight solves the width issue among other short-comings of the Lighthouse.

    For the most part I have been pleased with my Lighthouse, but I have pined for a little more width, a better entryway, vestibule, and an occasional draft in the summer. I think the Skylight accomplishes all of this at the cost of only a pound.

    That said, if weight is not a concern, there are certainly many more options out there. For the weight these BD models do quite a good job though. I purchased my Lighthouse before the Skylight was available, I would have probably purchased the Skylight if I could do it over.

    I am guessing around 50 or 60 days in my Lighthouse so far, all seasons. Thorough seam sealing is a must.

  3. mooddude October 15th, 2009 1:11 pm

    I love my Skylight! I have no problem fitting and I am 6′ 4″. In fact, I spent a week with my friend who is 6′ 3″ on a Sierra Trans and had no problem with space! It is a great tent and the weight can’t be beat!

  4. Cory October 15th, 2009 1:35 pm

    We have the skylight and love it…especially for desert trips where it is more about keeping the bugs out than the heat in. Basically, it is 2/3 Bibler with some ammenities added.

    Just out of curiosity, has anyone tried Stephenson Tents? They’re the lightest of the 4 season and have been around since the 50’s. I wanted to buy one, but it was hard to argue when my girlfriend came home with the Skylight. So it goes.

  5. Jordan October 15th, 2009 3:05 pm

    As a 6’4″ dude the skylight is no problem at all. It is plenty long for me. As far as the width issue goes, I agree that it is better as a 2 man if you have lots of gear with you.

  6. Guy October 15th, 2009 5:49 pm

    Great review! For us folks in the soggy north-west, what’s the tent like in driving rain?

  7. Caleb October 15th, 2009 7:20 pm

    Honestly I haven’t experienced prolonged heavy rain in my Lighthouse. Plenty of snow, but not PNW type rain. I was really diligent when sealing mine up and have not had any issues. I have heard anecdotal accounts that it may not fair well in a down pour, but no hard evidence. A difficult thing to test in dry Colorado.

  8. Lou October 16th, 2009 5:51 am

    For downpour testing in Colorado, just set up on lawn and rig up a sprinkler that douses the tent. Works great, and if things get iffy you don’t loose a night of sleep.

  9. Mark W October 16th, 2009 11:21 am

    Pretty cool tent. Is that Epic fabric? Anyhow, the face shots are sick and all that. I’m stuck here wearing my new boots around the house. What a poor substitute for the real thing.

  10. kathy389 November 9th, 2009 7:12 am

    Great review!
    Thanks for the great reading. I will pass this on!

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