If you’re looking for a one-person tent, you’ve likely stumbled across ALPS Mountaineering’s Lynx 1 model. It’s one of the most popular tents on Amazon and is also sold in outdoors stores like REI and Cabela’s.
But, is it really the best one-person tent available right now? In this article, I’ll answer this question. I’ll give you a detailed review of the Lynx 1, as well as show you what makes a great tent, and outline some of the Lynx’s competitors.
Table of Contents
What Makes A Great 1-Person Tent?
Before picking up the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1, we must review what makes a desirable tent. There are a few facets you want to explore and identify before picking up a tent.
First of all, make sure you identify how many people you’re bringing. We’ll talk more about tent size later, but remember that this is a one-person tent. There’s no way you’re fitting two people in this tent unless you both really like to cuddle.
Don’t even think about bringing four people in this tent!
Since you’re looking at a one-person tent, you’re likely going backpacking. If you’re planning on car camping with one person, well…you can just sleep in your car.
As a backpacking tent, you want this tent to be as lightweight as possible. The Lynx model definitely ticks this box, but there are a handful of other lightweight tents on the market as well. Whichever you go with, make sure you check out the tent’s weight before purchasing.
Determine what kind of weather you’re camping in, and find a tent that fits your purpose.
It’s a general rule of thumb that the lighter, more affordable tents have less weather protection. You should decide what level of rain & cold protection suits your needs, while also fitting in your budget.
You want a tent that’s not too expensive, but not too thin. Get one that’s “just right.”
Great! Now that we’ve outlined what makes a fantastic 1-person tent let’s find out if ALPS Mountaineering’s Lynx 1 meets these criteria.
The Case For The Lynx 1
Before roasting this tent’s flaws, I’ll evaluate its pros to determine if it’s a tent built for pros.
To start, here’s a 360 tour of the tent. You can see how spacious and usable it is:
Let’s start with the design of the Lynx. This is one aspect that I’m a massive fan of. It’s got a dome-style layout, accomplished by crossing two aluminum poles through the center.
This two-pole design means many things. First, it saves on weight by cutting down the number of poles needed. This tent weighs 4 lbs. 1 oz. but can be cut down to 3 lbs. 5 oz. without the rainfly.
Next, it makes it so that this is a free-standing design. Free-standing tents are outstanding because you can set them up on any kind of terrain. They don’t require guylines to prop the frame up, so all you have to do is pop the tent open, lay down, and go to sleep.
Although their setup is easy, free-standing tents don’t fare well in the high wind since they’re…you know…standing free. If you’re inside, there’s no problem, since your weight holds the tent down, but it’s at risk of flying away if you walk away. Thankfully, ALPS includes some guylines with the tent in case you want to stake it down.
The tent is designed well, but what about its construction?
The poles are constructed with 7000 series aluminum. This is a high-grade aluminum alloy that’s one of the strongest on the market. The Lynx’s cross-pole design requires strong poles, and these do not disappoint.
The zippers are large #8 sized, meaning you won’t have trouble fumbling with these in the cold.
The walls are a mix of mesh and fabric, with about half of the tent being mesh. This allows you to have tons of ventilation, but the full-strength rainfly means you can still be shielded from the elements.
Speaking of, ALPS made sure that you’ll stay dry in this tent. The floor seams and fly seams come factory-sealed. The floor is coated with a 2000mm HH coating to keep you dry, while the fly is rated up to 1500mm HH. Overall, excellent weather protection, especially when you consider the price.
The tent design is acceptable, but is it comfortable to sleep in? My answer is a resounding yes.
ALPS made sure to add little perks to make your sleep experience relaxing. Even though this tent is on the smaller side, they put a sweet gear loft and side pocket so that you can store your things within arm’s reach.
Also, there’s a vestibule. Vestibules are often found on larger tents, so it’s rare to find one on a 1-person tent. Sure, the vestibule isn’t large enough to fit a whole person, but it’s still handy to have.
The Lynx’s vestibule area comes from the rainfly and adds 32” of space to the entrance of your tent. This is a great way to add extra space to your cabin without adding much space. With this tent, you can put your gear outside and have even more legroom to stretch your legs in.
Lastly, ALPS went above and beyond to make sure that this tent is the whole package.
It packs up neatly into its bag, with packed dimensions of about 6” x 18”. This is an easily-to-carry tent whether you use the carrying case or pack it into your backpack yourself.
Like I said, setup is easy. The pole-clip technique is so easy a caveman could do it. Check out this video to see how easy:
Of course, this article would be remiss if we didn’t talk price. I believe this tent is hands down the best bang-for-the-buck you can get. Quality craftsmanship of this level is rare at such a price point.
And, it comes with a lifetime warranty. ALPS has highly responsive customer service, and they’ll make sure any defect is fixed in a jiffy.
The Case Against The Lynx 1
At this point, you might be thinking, “Wow, what an epic tent!”
I sure think it is. But, it’s not without its flaws.
Most notable is the Lynx’s lack of space. It is definitely not big enough for more than one person. Unless you’re built like a twig and enjoy being smushed up against your fellow camper, you might want to opt into a more spacious tent.
Thankfully, ALPS makes bigger Lynx models (described further down this article).
Like most tents, this tent is designed for three seasons only. Its mesh walls are made to be breathable, to keep heat and humidity out. That makes it great for summer, but not optimal in winter.
Despite that, it can still be fit for winter camping if you have a thick sleeping bag or bivy.
Another small flaw is that the Lynx’s floor is not the best. In my research, I found a handful of people who got tears or rips from the ground.
This can be prevented by clearing your camping area before pitching the tent and making sure you don’t set it up on any sharp or jagged rocks.
Lynx knows this flaw and offers an inexpensive Floor Saver as well. If you can afford to add the weight of the floor saver, it’s well worth picking up in my opinion.
Lynx 1 vs. Other 1-Person Tents
If you browse the internet enough, you’ll find that there are a bunch of other 1-person tents out there, especially on Amazon.
Now, I’ll put the Lynx 1 head-to-head with other 1-person tents on the market.
Snugpak – Ionosphere
First up is the Snugpak Ionosphere. This is a widely used 1-person tent that’s known for its reliability.
Compared to the Lynx, the #1 difference is that it’s bivy-style. This kind of design is superb for one-person tents since it takes up so little space, and is so lightweight. It’s slightly lighter than the Lynx and offers similar weather protection.
But, because it’s bivy-style, the Ionosphere has its flaws. It’s shorter than the Lynx, harder to set up, not free-standing, and has no vestibule. If you’re okay with those weaknesses then the Ionosphere is an excellent choice.
Overall – this tent ties the Lynx for my favorite 1-person tent. Their prices are similar, so it’s up to you if you prefer tent-style vs. bivy-style.
ALPS Mountaineering – Zephyr 1
ALPS offers another 1-person tent in the Zephyr collection.
The Zephyr and Lynx share ALPS’s easy-to-setup free-standing two-pole design. It’s also got a vestibule, although it’s smaller than the Lynx’s. And, the tents’ interiors are about the same size.
The differences between the two come down mostly to design. The Zephyr was made for hotter climates and is constructed wholly of mesh.
This could be a pro or con depending on where you’re camping. I’ve found the Lynx to be a better choice since it’s more versatile.
Combine that with the Zephyr’s higher price tag, and you can see why I choose the Lynx.
Eureka! – Solitaire 1
By reader request, I’ve added the Eureka! Solitaire 1 to this list.
I’ll be brief – this tent is a lower quality version of the Snugpak Ionosphere. It’s got all the cons of a bivy-style tent but doesn’t have Snugpak’s pros, like top-notch weather protection.
It is more affordable, sure, but not by that much. I think it’s worthwhile to upgrade to the Ionosphere or Lynx. This investment will pay off in the future, trust me.
Lynx vs. Lynx
We know the Lynx model is a champion, but what if you want to camp with more than one person?
As mentioned before, ALPS has blessed us with a whole line of Lynx tents.
For reference, here’s the layout of the Lynx 1. Remember, it’s got a height of 36”.
To compare, here are the dimensions of the Lynx two-person, three-person, and four-person models:
- Two-person: 7’6” by 60”, 46” center height
- Three-person: 7’6” by 84”, 48” center height
- Four-person: 7’6” by 102”, 52” center height
Take a look at the dimensions and decide which one fits you and your gang. If these aren’t big enough for you, ALPS has some other great six-person tents that I recommend.
Overall, my take is that the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1 is the best 1-person tent available right now. It’s high quality, spacious, easy-to-use, and best of all…affordable. This is a tent you can buy now and use for years to come.
However, the ALPS Lynx ties for first with the Snugpak Ionosphere.
Both are top-of-the-line tents with similar price points. The determining factor between the two is the tent design. If you like the low to the ground bivy-style tent, go for the Ionosphere. But, if you want a more abundant, free-standing dome tent, the Lynx is your best bet.