New Backpacking Tent: The SlingFin Portal 2
Updated: Jun 7, 2020
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I am not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the companies mentioned here. I am simply offering my own thoughts, opinions and experiences. Affiliate links used in this post will net me a small commission if you decide to purchase anything through them, and are of no additional cost to you.
Why I Chose This Tent
After selling off most of my backpacking gear during a difficult time, I am slowly rebuilding. I made the decision to switch from a hammock to a tent after issues with my back just made it too uncomfortable. But what ultralight tent to choose? I was looking pretty hard at the Zpacks Duplex. In fact I had it on my list, and was almost ready to pull the trigger on it when I came across an article on the SlingFin Portal. Voted both "strongest tent" and "one of the 3 best tents of 2019" by Backpacker Magazine and Outside Magazine respectively, I decided to take a closer look. Section Hiker also mentioned it as one of the "Best Four Season Tents of 2019-2020." I had some trips in mind that would almost certainly call for a strong tent capable of handling high winds and rain, and this tent seemed to be made for just that.
Size Weight & Key Features
The Portal is an ultralight 2 person 4 season tent. Weighing in at 2 lbs 13 oz, the Portal is not as light as the Duplex, but for me the trade-off would (hopefully) be the lack of condensation and the strength of this shelter. Other key features of the Portal are the ability to set it up fly first to save the tent from getting wet during setup in less than ideal weather and the vent sticks (?) that add the ability for extra air flow when the fly is in use (seen below).
Specs (from company website)
Trail Weight: 2 lbs 13 oz
Packaged Weight: 3 lbs 4 oz
Capacity: 2 person
Floor Area: 27.45 sq ft Interior Height: 44" Packed Size: 14" x 5"
Floor Dimensions: 85" x 51" (head) x 42" (foot)
Vestibule Area: 2 x 8.4 sq ft
Number of poles: 3
Number of doors: 2
As anyone knows who has shopped for ultralight gear , it is not cheap. Price was a key factor in my decision making process, with the Slingfin Portal coming in at $485 and the Footprint (or groundsheet) an additional $67 for a total of $552. The Zpacks Duplex is $599 plus $175 for the Groundsheet/Poncho combo (which looks pretty interesting) which brings the total to $774. So by going with the Portal I saved over $200 which I can now spend on other gear. Granted both of these tents would probably do well without a groundsheet, I just feel more comfortable with one than without one.
Another thing that swayed me toward the SlingFin Portal instead of the Zpacks Duplex was the amount of reviews I'd read on the Duplex that mentioned problems with condensation. Now I understand that condensation is likely to be an issue with a lot of these types of tents, but I was seeing it mentioned enough that it gave me pause. I live in Florida and am certainly familiar with wet conditions, and condensation is going to happen. Perhaps it would be a factor with the Portal as well? The Portal is less well known than the Duplex and that could account for the larger number of reviews mentioning the condensation issue. One day I would love to try the Duplex for myself to see how it performs, as it is an extremely popular tent and Zpacks has garnered much respect in the backpacking community. Plus they are local to me, which does kind of make me feel super bad that I didn't go with them first. But for now, I've decided on the Portal, and I'm excited to take it out on its first adventure.
Other Tents From Slingfin
SlingFin has several tents and accessories available, including the Crossbow 2 Ripstop Tent , the Slingfin 2-Lite Trek Tent , Slingfin WIndSaber 2 Person 4 Season Tent and the Slingfin 2-Lite 2 Person 3 Season Tent. Check them out for strength and lightweight durability from an employee-owned company that I know I will be watching with interest.
Follow Our Adventures With The Portal
Check out the video below to see my first time setting it up and first thoughts. SlingFin (as well as another viewer) was kind enough to comment on my Youtube video and let me know that I had made some mistakes with guying it out, for which I was thankful. Their communication in general has been very good as I did have some questions which I will address in a future video. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and click the notification bell to be alerted when new videos go live. Stay tuned for my first experience using the Portal, how it handled some pre-tornadic conditions here in Florida and my thoughts on the all-important condensation issue. Will there be one? Subscribe and find out!