Macpac Macrolight Tent

By Justin Walker 30 April 2014
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The Macrolight is worth considering if you want a more spacious solo tent without copping a hefty weight penalty.

The two-person Macrolight is the newest tent in Macpac’s trekking range and one of the NZ brand’s few freestanding models; the Microlight and Minaret both require staking down, as does the three-person Citadel.

The Macrolight retains the excellent Multi-Pitch setup format of its siblings: the inner and outer pitch together. And setup is very quick: simply thread the two poles through the transverse sleeves and you’re done.

The caveat is that you will have to jiggle/work the poles through the end vent sections slowly as the stitching and curve is quite tight, causing the poles to snag slightly on the way through. Once the poles are threaded, the tent is effectively erect, with only the two vestibules requiring staking out.

The tent’s light weight (2.1kg in use) is due to a number of factors, including the use of 9mm DAC Featherlight NSL alloy poles (rather than the 9.6mm jobbies on the Microlight and Minaret), and also opting for a lightweight variant of the Torrentwear XP floor, with a hydrostatic-head (HH) rating of 5000mm, as opposed to the 10,000mm HH rating of the two aforementioned models.

It is worth noting, though, that this 5000mm HH rating still places the Macrolight’s floor at the upper end of tent floors on the market. In use, the floor stood up very well to the harsh Tassie terrain. 

Inside, the interior – at floor level – is great. Macpac claims a 2.8m2 floor space and that looks right to this tester; you could fit two standard Therm-a-Rest mattresses in without issue. The interior does get cramped, though, as it gains height.

The inverted wedge shape means the top of the tent is quite narrow, with room for only one adult to sit up at a time (roof height is excellent; I am 181cm and could sit up without banging my head).

This shape also causes another slight problem: when it is raining and you open the D-shaped doors, rain can fall in to the tent interior (and onto your sleeping gear), due to the vestibule following the shape/angle of the inner tent and its opening being quite close to the inner tent. It is not a deal-breaker but it does require pre-exit/entry preparation and some fast manoeuvring if it is raining.

The standout feature of the tent during testing was its moisture management. Acknowledging that there was only one occupant, the tent still impressed with its ability to control condensation – there wasn’t any during the whole trip. The inner is mostly material, with some mesh sections, plus there is the fore and aft vents and the two vestibules to aid airflow. .

The Macrolight is worth considering if you travel two-up with your partner/spouse, or you want a slightly more spacious solo tent without copping a hefty weight penalty. Its compact packed size is a bonus, but its best features are the robust construction, fast setup and impressive ventilation.

RRP $680