The Snugpak Ionosphere is an affordable, military-style bivy featuring an inner mesh shelter to keep out bugs. It also comes with a rainfly that keeps you dry in wet conditions. Undoubtedly, Snugpak has a huge reputation for its high-quality gear, with the Ionosphere following that tradition.
However, this particular product has some shortcomings which make it ill-suited for some activities.
The Snugpak Ionosphere is a single person bivy tent that weighs around 1.45kg when it is in its stuff sack. Its length is at 500mm and it is an ideal companion for the backpack of overnight trekkers.
The tent comprises of an inner tent and a flysheet. The flysheet is designed from PU coated polyester while the inner tent is designed from polyester mesh and nylon. There are also lightweight alloy poles, with the bathtub groundsheet made from PU coated nylon. All the seams of the tent are also sealed with tape. This ensures that the tent is robust and completely windproof and rainproof.
The bivy also comes with sixteen pegs and two poles which are easy and fast to erect. However, as it is with a lot of one-man tents, the inner part of the tent has to be put up first. This will be a very big disadvantage or annoyance when it’s raining.
The pegs are unusually shaped and they can be hard to get into stony surfaces, but they still remain very robust and light.
Once erected, its dimensions are 235 x 88 x 71 cm (length, width and height). This means that this tent is quite spacious and it will be able to house one person and their kit. Unfortunately, the room isn’t spacious or high enough for one to sit up while inside. Also, there is no porch, which means that your wet kit has to either stay outside or stay inside the tent with you. Condensation is also prevented with the tent’s effective ventilation system.
The Snugpak Ionosphere, when packed up, weighs around 3.4 pounds which isn’t really bad in the large scheme of things. However, it is quite telling that the poncho liner (1.3 pounds) and the poncho (1.4 pounds) weigh a total of only 2.7 lbs (note that ounces equal pounds). When you’re taking almost 200 pounds of necessary items, you want to make sure that you pack only essentials ahead of comfort items.
Setting up the Ionosphere is quite easy if you take out time to understand the equipment and all its parts. To do this, you’ll need close to 15 minutes to read and understand the instructions or directions. After reading and understanding the directions, I’m sure it won’t take up to five minutes to set up the tent when you get to the field. You should note that unless you’re extra careful, it is very difficult to set up this tent without making a lot of noise. The bottom of the tent and its rainfly, when held, makes a kind of noise that is comparable to holding a tarp.
Snugpak ensured that they designed this tent in a very simple yet efficient manner. It is so easy to set up this tent that you can even do it just by feel in pitch-black darkness! However, one big disadvantage of this tent is the stakes – they are aluminium and bright. Also, they’re quite noisy whenever you decide to put them in the ground.
When you want to break down the tent, it usually takes some time to properly stuff all the pieces back inside the stuff sack. If you actually have to leave in a hurry, you have either one of two options as regards disassembling this equipment. You can either decide to leave it or just take and drag it with you till you have the time or opportunity to correctly stow it.
The Snugpak Ionosphere is only available in the colour olive for the outer rainfly. It’s particularly ideal for wooded mountains and woodland regions. One big advantage is that the colour olive is a subdued one, so it’s a plus when outdoors. This colour allows the tent to be autonomous with its surroundings.
This gives it additional camouflage and it increases chances of it being undetectable while in the field. The original colour is also a perfect base to add more colours to the tent with the use of spray paint. A disadvantage is that the tent has a solid colour. This solid colour outlines the tent and will make it stand out as an unnatural aspect of a wooded area. This bivy would also stick out in the desert and the arctic.
It is advisable that the rainfly should have a pattern meant to break up the colour. Also, it should have several patterns and colours to select from which will accommodate users’ tastes and preferences.
- Green outer and black mesh inner, perfect for wild camping ventures.
- Single-point side entry.
- Lightweight, but robust, 210t ripstop flysheet with 5000mm waterproof PU coating.
- Lightweight 190t nylon 5000mm waterproof PU groundsheet.
- Lightweight 190t Polyester Mesh inner, with 50D “no-see-um” mesh mosquito net.
- Waterproof taped seams.
- Two DAC® Featherlite NSL® anodised aluminium poles, with press-fit connections.
- Supplied with 14 lightweight alloy cross-stakes, with two-spares.
- This tent is flame retardant.
The Snugpak Ionosphere comes with a large opening that users can climb in and out from. It can also be tied to show the front quarter of the inside, which can then be used to sit.
The large opening also ensures that setting up your sleeping kit inside the tent won’t be hard. However, you can become a little bit stuck in the tent when it’s raining because you cannot leave the door open and stand the risk of getting most of your kit and the inner part of the tent wet.
The Ionosphere is a three-season and low profile tent with its olive-green flysheet providing ideal camouflage for stealth camping or one-night stop-outs. This tent is not expensive and is generally rated as value for money.