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Lightwave Sigma S22 Tent | Review

A unique tent that claims to solve an age old problem for wild campers

Why We Chose The Lightwave Sigma S22 Tent: Innovative, sturdy, spacious.

In the conditions of the UK, a wet, condensation-drenched tent is usually accepted as a given. We know to never dare touch the inner mesh in case it’ll come into contact with the wet fly sheet, and we’ll steer well clear of any single skin designs. So, it felt a little bit like dancing with the devil when we agreed to try out the single skin Lightwave Sigma S22, even if it’s from a brand that claim that their fabric innovation has solved the condensation dilemma.

Did the brand new Sigma S22, out September 2019, surprise us or were our fears justified?

“You get a bit more space and headroom, it’s much quicker to pitch and more importantly, that single skin design makes it a few hundred grams lighter.”

This adds to an already fairly extensive range of trekking tents by Lightwave, and it’s the fourth in the Sigma collection, adding an extra porch to the previous S20 model. First introduced into Lightwave tents in 2016, Sigma’s main talking point is their unique X-Tex fabric. It’s a waterproof ripstop nylon featuring an activated carbon layer that supposedly draws moisture from the air, spreads it out over a large surface area and then transports it through the flysheet and into the atmosphere. Ultimately it should mean their single skin fabric should remain dry to the touch. If you look at feedback on their website and elsewhere online, it’s been doing the job for people.

This X-Tex fabric is used only where it’s really required, which is along the roof, on each of the porch doors and at each end. On the outer porch walls there’s your more commonly seen ripstop nylon, and then a nylon mesh on each side that separates the sleeping vestibule from the large porches on either side. The groundsheet is a bath-tub style 75 g/m2 50d nylon taffeta that’s PU coated for a 5000mm hydrostatic head with reinforced corners and taped seams.

The Sigma S22 has a freestanding design with two poles crossing and then a single small pole that props up the sides to add extra width. Photo: Chris Johnson
The single layer design makes it a few hundred grams lighter than a traditional two layer tent of a similar size. Photo: Chris Johnson
Two main poles slide through sleeves attached to the flysheet. Photo: Chris Johnson
X-Tec fabric is a ripstop nylon featuring an activated carbon layer that prevents condensation build up. Photo: Chris Johnson

Aside from the fabric, the 2-person Sigma S22 has a useful construction as well; a freestanding design with two poles (DAC 9.35mm featherlite) crossing and then a single small pole, aka ‘the brow pole’ (DAC 8.84mm), that props up the sides to add extra width. The two main poles slide through sleeves attached to the fly and the brow pole clips into two eyelets. Coupled with the multiple guylines and pegging points, this freestanding design makes it sturdy enough for four-season use.

You tend to expect tents that can be used through all four seasons to be on the heavy side, but at 1700g altogether it’s nothing too heavy by any means, especially when you consider the amount of room it affords.

Editor Will, what’s your verdict then?

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, Outdoors Magic Editor

“First of all, this does all the basics well. Pitching was easy, though you need to keep it flat in order to be able to slide the poles through the sleeves easily, and it was also simple to disassemble and pack away into the generously sized stuff sack. It’s spacious for two people plus their kit, the doors can all be fastened back neatly and there are useful interior pockets for organisation.

“You’re not really here to hear about the pockets though, are you? You want to know about that carbon activated single skin flysheet. Does it actually work? In short yes, it does. The longer answer is that it doesn’t work quite as well as I wanted it to, but it was still very good. I used the Sigma S22 on a day of high pressure in Essex (in a woods found at the end of a tubeline) and on a day of low pressure in the Brecon Beacons, and each time I did find that there was condensation on the X-Tex fabric BUT there wasn’t much – certainly not enough to cause any moisture to start to trickle or drip. With the mesh nylon running lengthways on either side, it’s only at the ends of the tent – which have steep sides – and on the high ceiling that you face contact with the single skin fabric and I found it easy to avoid, so, even if there is some moisture build up, it’s not going to cause you problems.

“One of my favourite tents of the last few years has been the Terra Nova Southern Cross 2, and this reminds me of that a lot. It’s simple to pitch, really sturdy and reliable, and can be shared comfortably with another person. Having used the Sigma S22 now however, I actually think I’ve found a better tent. With this, you get a bit more space and headroom, it’s much quicker to pitch and more importantly, that single skin design makes it a few hundred grams lighter. It’s also a tiny, tiny bit lower in price!”

A small packed size and 1700g weight is impressive for the amount of room on offer. Photo: Chris Johnson

Lightwave Sigma S22 Tent

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