Perhaps you remember the name SlingFin? Founded by a couple of ex-Mountain Hardwear folks, they first popped up with a Kickstarter campaign for their unique Honey Badger backpack/pannier bag waaaaaay back in 2012. While that bag is still wrapping up development, they’ve been busy making tents.
Starting with expedition level shelters for base camp, they’ve also added a couple of smaller camping tents that use a unique WebTruss design that makes them modular to suit your needs. It also makes them able to be set up with the rainfly first, so you can crawl under and put the rest up without getting poured on.
Shown above is the SlingFin 2Lite, their smallest, lightest tent. Zip in to see why it might be the perfect option for bike packing…
First, a little background. SlingFin’s WebTruss system encloses the poles into a fabric sleeve to create the shape of the tent. Once this is up, you can attach any or all of the other parts to it easily. Just need shelter? Throw the rain fly over it. Or just hang the mesh walls to keep bugs out while enjoying the view and the breeze. Or use the standard tent shell for a little more protection.
While the expedition tents showcase that WebTruss system to the extreme, it’s the smaller tents that are going to actually sell in any volume. This one is the WindSaber and shows off several other unique SlingFin design features, too. Note the opening…no zipper.
A fabric tube is used instead, which lets you climb in easily and quietly, but also doubles as extra storage. Pull the tube out and just cinch the end shut and you’ve got a large compartment for gear without using up sleeping space.
The window works the same way, cinching shut.
They’ve also put in a ton of pockets all around the tent. There is still a traditional zipper tent door so you can get in and out a little quicker (and if you’re using the tube as storage).
The WebTruss stands on it’s own and the tent body clips to it.
The CrossBow 2 StormPak is the orange base and truss, which uses a waterproof lower section shaped like a bathtub with raised sides to keep water from getting in. The rainfly would lay over it so it wouldn’t collect water.
The mesh top is a new accessory that’s coming out soon and introduces a clever new ingress method. There’s a zipper, but they say zippers are one of the most common points of failure on tents. That, and they’re slow and noisy. So, the mesh upper is attached to bungie cords at the lower four corners. Just grab the bottom of it, lift up and climb in, then drop it and it closes back up. Super quick, super easy, super awesome.
It’s shown pulled up on the left, detail of attachment on the right.
Another unique feature is the ability to use trekking poles (aka Walking Sticks) to support the sides of the truss.
Everything is simplified on their tents, which brings us back to the 2Lite:
It minimizes things even more by losing the web truss and instead using just two poles. That means you’ll have to stake it to the ground to create tension and shape, but it weighs in at just 2lb 12oz (1,250g) and sleeps two. And that weight includes everything, including a rainfly.
Lightweight cord is used for stake and zipper loops.
What really makes it bike packable are the poles, though. They fold down to lengths of just ~8.5 inches, which means they easily fit into most handlebar roll bags…and the rest of the tent could probably be stuffed in there as well. Claimed packed size is just 13″ x 5″. Retail as shown is $338, and an optional
rain fly footprint adds $60 and 156g.