The new Luxe Outdoor Sil Habitat is a 2 person lightweight tent offering space and comfort in a limited weight, at a reasonable price.
We have recently received the Sil Habitat Tent, evolution of the Luxe Outdoor Habitat tent reviewed some months ago. We are really satisfied with the previous version of the Habitat, and in fact it's the tent that we carry around in our travel rucksacks during our backpacking trips, so we were eager to test also this new development.
The new Luxe Outdoor Sil Habitat, managed to raise even more the level reached by the Habitat, creating an even more spacious tent with a slightly lighter weight. The new Sil Habitat won't replace our beloved Habitat mainly because of the colour (while it is available also in a more natural Green army colour, we have received the Purple one as a testing sample), but we are sure it will make happy many new customers: taller users in particular will be eager to know that it was redesigned in particular to offer them more room and comfort while camping.
There is no suggested price in the Luxe Outdoor official website, but searching for retailers online we could find it from 170€ in Indonesia, to 210€ in France, 160£ in UK and up to 450$ from Chinese retailers.
Luxe Outdoor Sil Habitat Specifications and content
Specifications as published in the official page of the Luxe Outdoor Sil Habitat:
- Colors available: Purple and Army
- 2 Persons
- 3 Seasons
- Size: 210cm x 135cm (82.7 x 53.1 in)
- Internal Height: 112cm (44.1 in)
- Weight: 2.08 kg (4lb 9oz)
- 2 Hood vents
- 2 Entrances
- 2 Vestibules (up to 70cm - 27.5 in)
- Rainfly: 40D/230T nylon ristop fabric with siliconized treatment of both sides. Water Column 2500mm
- Inner tent: Mesh
- Floor: 68D Polyester Taffeta PU 5000mm
- Yunan Alloy Main pole with two 3 way connectors and separated Ridge pole
- 8 x Alloy Y stake
- 2 x Reflective guy ropes
- Internal mesh pockets
- Extra footprint
- Quick-up clips
- Silicon tube for seam sealing
- Price range: 200-250$
Company suggest to seam seal the seams, and corners where needed, from the interior of the rainfly.
We first verified the pure geometrical and objective characteristics: the tent dimension specified by the company are 210cm x 135cm (82.7 x 53.1 in) and 2.08 kg (4lb 9oz).
Our instruments measured a surface of about 210cm x 131cm (82.7 x 51.6 in), but considering that the tent was not staked, the real measure would probably be some percent higher.
The weight on our scale, still including labels and all cases and bags, was about 2.02 kg (4lb 7 oz) for the tent only and 2.31kg (5lb 1oz) including extra foot print and silicon tube: this means a slighly lower weight than the official one of 2.08kg (4lb 9oz). That's about 1 kilo each to carry while hiking.
While the data might not say much to non tent freak, that's quite a lot of space and comfort for a lightweight tent.
What we liked
According to our opinion the core asset of the Luxe Outdoor Sil Habitat is to be able to provide space and comfort in a reduce weight, at a more affordable price than its competitors. We couldn't renounce to its feature of being free standing, and the two entrances are so handy for our needs. The height of the tent is a "Real Height", in the sense that not only in the center the tent is tall enough to sit, but even on the sides since the lateral walls are almost vertical, so that 2 people can comfortably move and dress up at the same time. The vestibules are big enough to store huge rucksacks (mine is 90L), and the abundant floor surface not only fits two people, but there is some extra space for valuable belogings.
The extra footprint gives a bigger flexibility to the tent, that can be also used as a selfstanding sun shelter with the outer fly only. The footprint can be added in the normal setup to give extra protection to the floor, or it can be left at home to minimize the weight. And the good news is that it's included in the standard price and package, it doesn't have to be bought separately like for some competing companies.
The first time we have tested the tent was in Indonesia during rainy season, for a 3 days festival in the nature with over 200 people camping. The second night a massive storm hit the camp field, with strong wind, heavy rain and plenty of lightnings. Many tents were damaged, some completely broken, other were flooded and their owners had to seek shelter somewhere else or to even leave the event. We were a little bit worried being the first time we were using the Sil Habitat, but it endured without any consequences the bad weather and kept us dry at night. To be sincere we had a couple of drops entering from the seams, but that's our responsability, since we didn't seam seal the seams with the provided silicon before using the tent (So if you are expecting extended rain, you better seam seal the seams, it's an operation that needs to be done only once). Also we didn't find any condenstaion dripping in the tent.
What we didn't like
We are not sure if we can say that we like or not the Silicon treated rainfly: for sure it's light and effective, but it's quite complicated to fold and handle. But that's totally subjective, and the feeling might improve with time. We personally suggest to put the rainfly inside the inner tent when packing and after to roll or fold them togheter, since the inner tent offer a better grip than the silicon.
At night our Purple tent was quite visible if lighted by a flashlight, not for the colour itself, but for the reflective paint applied on some ropes and spots: while this feature is positively advertised by the company and might be welcome by some customers, we do personally prefer to stay invisible, since sometimes we do free camping also in hidden or semi-urban areas while we hitchhike, and prefer to stay not visible.
This is the third tent we own from Luxe Outdoor, and we have always been positevely impressed by the ratio quality-price. This time we were a little bit surprised and suspicious at first. In fact looking at the rainfly through the sun, the nylon ristop fabric was so thin that in some points it looked like it was pierced. But later we tested the biggest of this apparent holes, and no water at all came through, so we were reassured the silicon, while transparent, was doing its job of keeping the water out.
The only real flaw we have found on our item were 2 of the fabric loops used to keep the entrance door open, that were broken: it's a 1 minute fix if you have a sewing kit, but we would still not expect even the smallest problem on a product from a quality company as Luxe Outdoor. To their defense we have to say that the tent we received to test was most probably already used for exhibition in the showroom.
Setting up the Luxe Outdoor Sil Habitat
The set up takes only a few minutes, and it's quite easy also for non experienced users. The main poles is extending automatically with its elasting connections and has to be inserted in the 4 grommets of the inner tent.
The mesh can be fixed with the quick-up clips to the main poles and the the top grommet connected to the crossing pole put on top of the main structure (Note on the photo below the almost vertical lateral walls providing space to seat also on the sides).
Then the rainfly has to be connected to the outer fly grommets, 6 in total: 2 at the top center for the ridge pole and 4 at the base for the main poles.
At this point the tent is ready and selfstanding, but it can be pitched to the ground to give extra stability. If no strong wind is expected, the two pegs at the entrances would be enough to maximize the usable space of the vestibule and to limit the movement of the tent.
We have shooted a short video with all the details needed to set up the tent, plus our personal opinion on the field. Please don't mind my accent and sweat :)
Luxe Outdoor Sil Habitat Vs Competitor lightweight 2 people tent
Comparing the physical characteristics only of the Sil Habitat with some competitors, the MRS Hubba Hubba NX is given at 1.72kg (3 lb 13 oz) packed, so about 14% lighter, but it's also 12cm (4.7 in) shorter at the peak, has a floor surface of 2.7 m2 instead of the 2.83 m2 and costs almost double the money (399.95$).
Compared to the Tarptent Scarp 2, the most similar we could find from this company, they have a comparable floor surface 218 cm x 132 m (86 x 52 in) Vs 210 cm x 135 cm (82.7 x 53.1 in) and height 114 cm (44.9 in) Vs 112 cm (44.1), but the Tarptent has a high peak with lower walls, while the Luxe Outdoor keeps a quite constant height also at the walls. The Tarpent Scarp 2, including the optional pole set to make it freestanding, weights 2.2kg (60 oz), so slightly heavier than the Sil Habitat, and once again the competitor comes at an higher price, 369$ for the tent plus the pole set has to be bought separately.
Luxe Outdoor Sil Habitat Vs Habitat
Since we own and have used quite a lot the Luxe Outdoor Habitat, we have seen several differences between the two systers of the series.
Summarizing we can say that The Sil Habitat houses a bigger volume in a smaller weight, but has a less effective ventilation: let's see the details.
The Sil Habitat has a siliconed outer fly versus the PU coating of the Habitat. It was our first tent treated with silicon, and we were a little bit disoriented at the beginning, since it is a very slippery material to handle, but with better performances. With the Silicon version, you will have to invest 20 minutes of your time to seam seal the interior seams of the outer fly.
The Sil habitat weightet on our scale 2.02 kg (4lb 7oz), while the Habitat 2.13 kg (4.11). Not only the Sil habitat is 10% lighter than it precessor, but it's also 2cm taller (0.8 in), 5cm longer (2 in) and 10cm (4 in) wider.
The structure of the poles is really similar, with the only difference being the Ridge pole, separated on the Sil Habitat, while it was connected to the main structure in the Habitat. While setting up the Luxe Outdoor Sil Habitat Tent, the ridge pole has to be put on top of the main pole and then connected to the grommets of the inner tent.
After testing the Sil Habitat, we understood that we wrongly labeled a feature as a flaw in our previous review of the Habitat, and namely the grommet connecting the inner tent and the ridge pole, is passing on purpose through only one layer of material instead of two, for ease of removal probably, so sorry for that inaccuracy.
The only real disadvantage we have found on the Silicon version compared to the standard one is the ventilation. While the older version is featuring 2 operable vents, the new version has 2 hood vents that is not possible to close or open wider, limiting the control and effectiveness of the air flow. We have to specify that we have tested the Habitat in Europe and the Sil Habitat in Indonesia, at the tropics during rainy season, with a quite different and more extreme climate to deal with.
Our comment might be biased, since we own ourself a Luxe Outdoor tent as our backpacking tent, but we sincerely think the ratio space-comfort-weight price offered by the Sil Habitat is one of the best in the market for its category. The price is definetely affordable for people used to invest in quality camping equipement, while it might look unaccessible to travellers on a very low budget.
This is thought a quality product intended to last for many years to come, making it a great choice for extended trips in the natural environment or short excursions alike: an economical investement that will be quicly rewarded.
Disclaimer: While we have received a sample of the Luxe Outdoor Sil Habitat tent to write this review, what we expressed is our honest opinion describing not only advantages but also imperfetions.