Why We Chose The Jack Wolfskin Exolight 1 Tent Sturdy, practical, useful features, pitches all-in-one
The lightest tent in the Jack Wolfskin range, the Exolight I is a double-skinned solo shelter designed for backpacking and trekking. It’s a modified dome-type tent that employs a hubbed ‘exoskeleton’ pole set, with a flysheet and pre-attached inner so you can pitch it all-in-one. This makes it quick and easy to set up, while being pretty much freestanding too – you just need to peg out the porches for it to fully take shape. Once erected, it’s pretty stable and able to withstand fairly strong winds.
There’s only a single entrance, but it has a decent-sized porch plus a handy rear storage area with an unusual ‘hatch’ in the mesh inner that allows you to reach through and stash small items of kit, like muddy boots or trail shoes.
This all makes the tent more liveable than most solo backpacking tents or single-skin shelters, which are typically spartan affairs, which is essentially why we picked it for this year’s Outdoor 100.
Who Is The Jack Wolfskin Exolight 1 Tent For?
It’s for solo backpackers looking for a quick-pitching, double-wall shelter that feels sturdy and protective out there on the trail or in the hills. It would also be a great 1-person wild camping tent for overnighters, weekend adventures or even for longer, multi-day walks. If you’re tackling a classic long-distance path like the Pennine Way on your own (or with a friend but aren’t so keen to share a tent with them), this would be a solid choice.
It’s a three-season tent, so you’re looking at using this from spring through to autumn. Beyond that, the full mesh inner might feel a bit draughty, and we’d worry about the resilience of the hubbed pole set in full-on winter conditions.
The tent is reasonably roomy for one, with an internal footprint of 215 x 60cm. The end walls are also fairly steep, especially at the head of the tent, which means you ought to be able to lie out comfortably even if you’re well over 6 foot tall. The width isn’t class-leading by any stretch, by should still accommodate all but the chunkiest sleeping mats. Plus the 70cm deep porch gives you space to store your pack. Headroom at the apex of the tent is very generous, measuring 100cm, so there’s easily room to sit up.
The flysheet is 20D ripstop sil-nylon, coated on both sides and with taped seams. In terms of waterproofing, the Hydrostatic Head rating is 1,500mm, which isn’t the highest, but is comparable to other popular solo shelters like the MSR Hubba NX (1,200mm HH).
“It’s for solo backpackers looking for a quick-pitching, double-wall shelter that feels sturdy and protective.”
The inner is entirely made from 15D fine gauge mosquito mesh, with a bathtub groundsheet made of 40D sil-nylon (5,000mm HH). That’s reassuringly waterproof, so we wouldn’t be worried about seepage from wet ground, and the mesh keeps the tent weight down while ensuring excellent condensation control. Its only potential drawback is that in colder conditions, it might get a bit chilly.
Lastly, the hubbed poles are high-quality aluminium alloy DAC Featherlite NSL, in variable diameters. The tent is supplied with 9 lightweight pegs and 2 guylines.
It’s worth noting that the tent is also PFC-free, meaning it contains no harmful per-fluorinated compounds, which have been shown to be environmentally damaging.
In its stuff sack, the Exolight I measures 43 x 12cm, which is small enough to stash in most solo hiking packs. It weighs 1,435g (or 1,245g stripped down, losing the guylines and some of the pegs). That’s a good trail weight for a double-wall tent. Admittedly, you could find a lighter 1-person option by considering a trekking pole tent or a single-skin shelter, but that would mean compromising overall protection and stability.