The lightweight Mountain Hardwear Sprite 1 Tent is a versatile 3-season tent built for both comfort and safety against even the harshest environments. As it’s designed for the solo backpacker, the tent’s weight and easily constructed build make the necessary activity of putting up shelter effortless after your challenging day outdoors. With abundant mesh material, the Sprite is able to provide a healthy dose of ventilation on days of good weather, not to mention a great view of the landscape. The Atlas aluminum 7001 poles provide a reliable frame, and are anodized for corrosion and dent-resistance. The Sprite is extremely watertight right off the shelf due to its thoughtful design, taping, and welding technology, leaving you to not have to worry about taping up any seams on your own.
The initial outing with my new Mountain Hardwear Sprite 1 Tent happened in the early Fall in Northern Arkansas. I found it extremely convenient when packing my pack to the brim with all of my necessary equipment. Its weight being minimal at best, allowed me the option to bring along some weightier, ancillary items on the trip as well. The package size was such that I was able to properly distribute my weight around it, while maintaining a good overall shape to my stuffed pack.
When I first assembled my Sprite 1, I found it to be a very easy process. The usage of only two poles, one longer for the main compartment and one roughly two feet long at the foot, really makes the Sprite a no-nonsense, practical shelter for the everyday backpacker. From start to finish, I’d say it took me nearly seven minutes in all to put together my tent. The slight obstacle that comes along with a non-freestanding tent was easily remedied with first staking in my tent all around and then connecting my two poles. The Atlas aluminum found in the poles themselves was evident upon bending them to reach the appropriate slots at the base of the tent, in which they gave seemingly the right amount of resistance to be certainly sturdy enough.
As I put the rain fly over the framework of my tent, I noticed the great clips fastened at the edges that are to clip on to the small loops found close to the stake holes. These clips come equipped with tightening buckles by which you can eliminate any excess, loose fabric that may propel the effect of the wind and ultimately disable your support structure to a point. These clips / buckles were absolutely essential when traveling through Chile, Patagonia on the famed Paine Circuit. With the winds reaching incredibly high speeds at all hours of day and night, I was very concerned as to how my tent was going to hold up to the sudden gusts that knocked people to the ground several different times. The best example to be given for the overall performance of the Sprite 1 against said wind would be the night spent in a barren valley where we had zero shelter from the forces of Patagonian nature and the wind reached its crescendo while we slept unsoundly, listening to the deafening howl of the wind outside. I am proud to announce that my tent not only made it through the night, but encountered no harm to any part of the structure throughout the entire trip.
I often use my tent to change clothing, and have found the head room given to the Sprite is very ample, with scraping my head on the top of the tent being at a minimum. The storage in the tent is also very accommodating, as I have a habit of storing a number of items next to me as I sleep. I have never run into the problem of not having enough space for my things, which would ultimately lead me to feel cramped and stifled. The two mesh utility pockets found inside also offer organizational options to the tent’s storage. The vestibule space that comes along with the Sprite 1 is not extravagant, but enough. I have space for my pack and my boots, plus room for me to be able to exit quickly and without hassle of removing a barricade of sorts.
When de-constructing my tent in the morning, I have become rather spoiled on the looped handles found on top of my stakes. This lets me pull up my stakes without much strain each time and also provides a good way to ensure my tent isn’t going anywhere.
Overall, I would say the Sprite 1 is the way to go in terms of solo backpacking in extreme, and not so extreme, conditions. Its versatility and strength make it a shelter that also packs peace of mind into its sack each time, leaving the backpacker to focus more on his surroundings and not his makes shift home.