Jack Wolfskin Exolight 1 Tent | Review - Outdoors Magic

Outdoors Gear, Equipment, News, Reviews, Forums, Walking Routes and More at OutdoorsMagic.com



Jack Wolfskin Exolight 1 Tent | Review

A very liveable solo backpacking shelter with a sturdy build and plenty of practical features – including the ability to pitch all-in-one for fast set-up in wet weather

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.

Photo: Chris Johnson

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. 

Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson

The Exolight I is also very easy to pitch, thanks to the interconnected pole sections and the fact that both the flysheet and pre-attached inner simply clip to the pole frame. The ability to pitch all-in-one is also a very practical feature if you have to set it up in the rain.

There’s one porch and one main entrance at the side of the tent. Unusually, however, the other side also has a storage area – it’s a bit too small to really be considered a true porch or vestibule – that can be accessed via a zipped flap, or hatch, in the mesh inner. It’s a good place to keep your boots.

“A practical and liveable solo shelter for backpacking long-distance trails or wild camping in the hills.”

The inner also has a small internal storage pocket, and an attachment ring on the ceiling to hang a head torch or camp lantern. The full mesh construction of the inner means there is plenty of ventilation, though the main entrance in the flysheet can also be held open via clips to fasten it to the poles, giving you even more airflow (or the chance to admire the view in good weather).


This is a practical and liveable solo shelter for backpacking long-distance trails or wild camping in the hills. We particularly like the fact that it pitches all-in-one – a bonus that many won’t appreciate until they’ve had to set up an inner-pitching first tent in the pouring rain, before spending a soggy and uncomfortable night inside it. The somewhat unimpressive hydrostatic head rating of the flysheet might put some off, but we didn’t experience any problems, and in any case, remember that there is far more to tent design and weatherproofing than lab tests alone. The largely freestanding design means it’s pretty stable in three-season conditions too.

We wouldn’t describe the interior dimensions as particularly palatial – it does feel a bit narrow – but that is offset by the well-thought-out features, including that handy hatch that gives access to a secondary (small) storage area. It all helps to make the tent far more liveable than you might think when you first set it up. All in all, we’re impressed. 

Tester’s Verdict

Sarah Baynham, South Wales based outdoor photographer

“When I first pulled it out of the bag, I was very confused! I hadn’t used this type of one pole design before and it took me a little while to figure it out. Once I had, it was super easy. No having to push poles through etc., you just clip the pole onto the hooks and up it goes. Once I understood how to put it up I would say it takes under 5mins.”

Sarah setting up the Exolight on the Outdoor 100 Team Test weekend. Photo: Jamie Barnes

“In terms of space, I’m quite tall (5ft10) and had loads of leg and headroom. I’m usually always crouched down in my tent so was a nice change to be able to sit up straight. The porch area was surprisingly spacious and I was easily able to store all my belongings. If the ground had been too wet I could have easily fitted my bag at the bottom of the tent as there was plenty of room.

“As it was quite an upright design I wasn’t expecting it to deal well with high winds. Through the night it got well tested with a hail storm and periods of high winds. It handled the wind much better than I expected, and I didn’t feel like it was going to blow over at any point.

“The inside of the tent, including the porch, stayed nice and dry through the rain, with a bit of condensation build up on the fly but none that caused any bother to the inner mesh or sleeping area.”

Photo: Chris Johnson

Jack Wolfskin Exolight

Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.