Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 lightweight tent

The general perception is that American lightweight shelters are all made of tissue and will shrivel like the Wicked Witch of the West with a drop of water or a slight breeze. But I’ve always had good results with the Big Agnes kit so I wasn’t that perturbed to start carrying the Seedhouse SL1 into the hills.

The pole is a T-shaped affair which threads into the inner via loops and clips, and it pitches inner first which gives you moveable supported structure to wander about with and find the best spot to pitch on. It’s quick enough to do that if it’s raining the inner is exposed for seconds not minutes, and the outer gets thrown over the inner and is attached instantly by three rucksack-style buckles which also give good tension adjustment. There’s also an option to pitch outer only if you have the proper footprint for the tent.
I pitched it as seen below quickly and by torchlight. The tent looked alright in the morning and I didn’t feel the need to tweak it for the photies in case I looked like an incompetent. Pitching under mild, self inflicted duress is a constant for me and it’s important for a tent to be simple to get it squared away properly first time.

There’s six guy lines (four long, two low shorties) which hold it well, it’s certainly capable of taking some of the wind which I have singularly failed to pitch it in since getting that Silva Tricorder. So I have no figures available. The pegs are X-section aluminium stakes, which bite well and there’s plenty of peg points.
Ventilation is good as the inner is mesh and there’s a good air gap round the outer, so it’s ideal for mild weather, and probably worth bearing in mind that in colder weather you might well need a little more insulation with you. The inner and outer sit far apart which is nice, less potential condensation dripping moments.

Living comfort is superb, plenty of room for all my gear inside, length is fine for me a six feet and I can sit cross legged at the door. The porch has enough room for cooking with the door open or closed, but it’s not big enough for a lot of gear storage, shoes and cooking gear/bottles are fine, you won’t get a rucksack in the porch though.
The door I like with it’s double zips and sideways opening, good options for venting cooking steam and night-time vapours. There’s a handy pocket above the door which I kept my torch in, and it adds no weight. A wee touch that the Lasercomp could do with.
And, being able to watch the stars lying on my back is such a treat in this tent

It’s a great wee tent, only a little heavier than a Lasercomp at 1077g and packs down well. Usability and pitching are a breeze, talking of which if I do get it out in the wind I’ll report back. I think with its shape it’ll shed snow as well…
If you want something different, with quirks that delight, and features and design that are equally as functional as what we excpect from European brands, then this is your boy, or girl.

17 thoughts on “Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 lightweight tent

  1. Don’t tell anybody but I acquired a Seedhouse SL2, last week. So little weight, I thought there were bits missing. There weren’t.

    Bings of room inside too. I like it a lot so far.

  2. Right. Just purchased an LC, partly on the strength of your incessant pluggin’ of it… and now you come up with this…

    By the way, will you ever get round to taking the Lightwave tent out for a review—as you promised some time ago… :-)

    I’m rather envious you managed to find a dry pitch. I’ve been trying for weeks and given up because of all the squishy-squashy I’ve come across on the tops. Must try again this week. Today’s wind seems to have dried things up nicely.

  3. It was dry-ish, the ground is so loaded with water it looks like any new rainfall us just running straight off. The Clyde has been brown with all the mud getting washed into it.

    The Comp is still my best pal :o)

    Lightwave review coming in a couple of weeks hopefully, I need another weather window for photies and they’re getting to be in short supply.

  4. I was wondering if you would ever get this review done. I must admit I don’t like mesh inners. Had one on a north Face tent. Condensation sprayed me when the wind shook the tent. I was impressed that pitching is fast and so the inner does not get that wet. On solid inners: are they worth the equivalent of a fleece or down vest when you consider your point..”in colder weather you might well need a little more insulation with you”..where say in a LC you would not with the solid inner and save weight? Good discussion the merit of inner tents. I have measured 3 to 4 degrees warmer in the inner compared to the porch, let alone outside. So is the SH SL1 only a good weather tent for the damp UK?

  5. The biggest difference to the Lasercomp is that lying in SL1 my head’s not in a corner!
    I’ll get it out in bad weather yet, I’ve tried, I really have.
    I should have mentioned the condensation thing in the review, when condensation drips from the outer it spreads out on the inner like it was microfibre and doesn’t really drip though. I don’t know if that’s by design though, I shall enquire.

  6. I know someone who used an SL2 during last year’s OMM which was, by all accounts, horrendous weather-wise. Him and his pal had a comfy, and dry, night. That’s good enough for me :o)

  7. That’s interesting, not an obvious choice, but it is a light tent and very good for two. A little extra packed weight=a better nights sleep and feeling fresher for day two?
    A lesson there for lightweight obsessives.

  8. I just got one of these on your recommendation, had it about a week without putting it up so decided this afternoon to give it a pitch in the garden. Within an hour, it’s gone from sunny to insanely heavy rain, and it doesn’t look like it’s moving one bit. Gonna go find a jacket and see how it seems inside, will report back asap!

  9. Good stuff. I haven’t managed to get mine into really bad weather yet, which is amazing considering how much we’ve had.
    I think it’ll be a good tent to sit out the rain in.

    Keep us posted!

  10. Hi Petesy, wondered if we could get involved in a little BA SL1 versus the Laser Comp style debauchery?

    I’ve already have an SL2 which I absolutely love to bits but I want to go lighter on solo trips where (at the moment) I’d have to take the full 1650g. I know that you’ve flirted with the SL1 over the laser comp on LFTO forum before so come on lad, lets have it! I have my own brain storm on this but I just can’t decide.

  11. I hope Bobinson reads this, he was in the SL1 and I was in the Lasercomp on the recent tents-blown-down trip.
    The front pole of the SL1 took a slight bend where I lost guy points and a carbon rod.
    Basically, both tents stuck a middle finger up at the wind and are still in fine fettle.
    Pitched tail into the wind the SL1 would have been unscathed.
    Down sides are few, the mesh inner is definitely cooler during winter and the porch is smaller than the Comp’s, that’s it. They’re both light, pack small and are a joy to spend the night in.
    The Comp is my favourite tent as is well known, even after using so many tents in the last year, but the SL lets you lie on your back and gaze up at the stars with that front door.
    Ach, you can’t lose.

  12. As PTC says I was in the SL 1 in high wind.
    Firstly I have always been scepticle about inner first pitching, the SL1 changed my mind.
    I pitched it and instantly loved the simplicity of it.
    Pitched into the wind I dont think there would of been much movement, but as was there was gaps all over the place.
    The porch is compact but then there is a fair bit of space around your upper boddy area at the door, so I had my pack etc there and used the porch for my boots and cooking in.
    I did not get sprayed by Condensation, as PTC said the water seems to splash the mesh and spread but not soak through.
    Inside tent temp is not much different from external temp so you do notice that a bit.
    As PTC will tell you I loved the SL1 and was gutted when it flattened.
    I think it needs to get oot again !

  13. Thanks for this guys. The SL2 has never let me down in pretty harsh weather and fairly high up too. Having never tried a TN tent I must admit to being tempted by the comp just for that reason.

    The simplicity of the pitch in a Seedhouse is a bonus but can’t work out if a Comp is as quiet or stable when its blowing a gale (and pitched correctly of course). I do like the format of being able to lie down in your bag and just lean out to make a brew in the Comp though. Bugger, I’m just making this worse!

  14. I just lay on my front in my bag in the SL1 to make a brew.
    Or on my back with the porch open looking at the moon !
    I have not used the Comp but the sideways porch on it looks like a winner !
    Hope this helps

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