Military Gear & Army Surplus Gear Blog

4+ Year Follow up Review – Snugpak Ionosphere – Worth the Money?

4+ Year Follow up Review – Snugpak Ionosphere – Worth the Money?



can you believe that it's been over four years since I reviewed the snub pack ionosphere tent over four years you know in four years this tent has gone out onto the trail more times than I can possibly count and I'm sure you're wondering how well has it held up after all of these years after all of those trips well today you were going to find out my name is Luke this is the outdoor gear review and we are returning back to the stub pack ionosphere tent I will set up the tent now go over some stats before I do here is a pro tip do you want your tent to last you over four years use a ground sheet actually before I do the setup this is the component breakdown you receive the stuff bag on the inside you have a repair kit repair kit and instructions just in case your pole splits or breaks some sealant and some repair material black and green the black component is the body the green component is the fly you receive more stakes than with any other tent in the entire world sixteen stakes 16 you also receive two aluminum color-coded poles pre-shaped you have one with a green in and you have one which is solid black the green pole goes down at the bottom the larger black pole goes at the top with the entrance when it comes to the weight of the ionosphere you were looking at three point three pounds this tent is available in two colors green and also a tan color the price of this bad boy at the time of filming is $140 for the green version on Amazon 170 for the tan on Amazon the retail price is two hundred and twenty three dollars before going any further with the setup process let's take some measurements real quick here at the highest point of the roof you were looking at 28 inches here at the bottom you are looking at roughly 18 inches the width down at the bottom is about 33 and a half inches the width at the very very top is roughly 33 inches and the width right here in the middle is roughly 30 six inches the overall length of this tent he's right at 92 inches long the inner tent is constructed from a 119 I'll on with polyester mesh the fly sheet is made from a 210 polyester rip stop with polyurethane coating the poles are Dec feather-light aluminum poles it has one door it is not freestanding and the seams have been taped now this is a tent that has not changed much since 2012 when it was released on the market now this is a product that has been copied by many companies including battle box battle box actually took their design and made their own little cheap version of that tent but they took that design from snug pack without permission the only real changes that have taken place since 2012 are the colors it's always been available in this green color here but a tan version did come out a few years ago my review came out in 2013 and since then I've continued to use this tent I mean just non-stop every couple of months this tent comes out for an overnight trip maybe I'm using it maybe my kids are I let my friends borrow this all the time this tent has actually been all around the country on many many different types of adventures and so far there have been zero issues with this tent absolutely none I have to say that for the money this is one of the best purchases I've ever made this is a tent here that I recommend to a lot of viewers I get contacted all the time from viewers who are looking to purchase their first tent they're looking to go a little bit lighter weight little smaller lower profile this right here is a fantastic option it's fairly lightweight at 3.3 pounds the profile is very low it's great for stealth camping since it's so light such a small form-factor it easily goes on motorcycles bicycles you can throw this inside of your dry bag when you're out kayaking and canoeing and so on this tent will work for so many situations and so many environments it really is a great recommendation since my review took place in 2013 the one big thing that's really stood out to me about this tent is that it is widely used with the United States military I receive emails from people all the time talking about using this tent in training situations and so on I've had people tell me that they jump with this inside of their backpack and that's pretty incredible this is without a doubt a civilian tent this is not bomb proof bulletproof like many military products even so this thing continues to go on I mean if soldiers are using this in the field I'm using this out in the bush that tells you a lot there are a lot of things to like about this tent first the price the price is super good 144 this tent here is a fantastic deal if you're looking to lighten your load maybe you're looking to test the waters to see if you like backpacking and so on this right here is a fantastic option it's not gonna break the bank it's not gonna break your back carrying it and it's very small you could fit this in just about any sort of pack you could fit it on the outside of a backpack if you want to do that this is a bivy tent low profile small size more of a tent than a Biddy but still small like a bivy some of my buddies who borrow this from me are 6 foot 200 pounds and it works perfectly for them one person and their gear it's a perfect fit you could fit a dog in there but that would be somewhat tight depending on the size of the dog of course for me there's plenty of room to have my backpack all of my stuff inside of here with space left over still plenty of room to roll around get comfortable all that good stuff this set is perfect for warm environments it's going to keep the bugs out you have all the mesh you could be in a rainstorm you can stay dry speaking of which I've been in serious downpours with this tent here with winds around 25 miles an hour with no issues I've always stayed dry if you are in a dry arid environment you don't have to have the fly don't put it on stare at the Stars enjoy the night but if the weather changes you can easily put the fly on let's talk about setting this thing up and breaking it down it takes no time at all less than five minutes two poles color-coded could not be any easier steak steak steak steak and then you're pretty much done you can use the additional steaks to really tighten this thing down if you need to there are guidelines if there's one in the back there's one up here at the top without a doubt you can secure this thing and it will be storm proof now when it comes to crawling inside of this tent if you're a short individual you go in headfirst and turn around if you're a tall individual you have to back in now I have to admit with tall people it is kind of funny watching them get in and out of this thing they definitely have a hard time one of my friends I give for it all the time with this tent it's hilarious but of course he gives me crap for being short so it works out pretty well with the poles being deck that means they're good quality no issues there the stakes they're cheap aluminum stakes but they've held up well to all of my abuse no issues there either when it comes to quality I really don't have any complaints for this price point for 140 bucks 170 this is exactly what I would expect all of the stitching is good seam sealed there been no issues with the zippers nothing like that something to keep in mind is that this is not a high end tent it is not ultralight and it will never perform like an ultralight height in tent for roughly $150 this is one of the best bangs out on the market today another thing to like about this tent is that yes it's small but it's not so small that you feel claustrophobic inside of this and that's true with me who's short and my buddies who are tall I've had no complaints from anybody about feeling claustrophobic inside of this another area where I like to use this tent at is with car camping namely in the back of my truck it really works well fits perfectly in the back of my truck I did some car camping in the Pisco National Forest with my buddy he has a nekoma he liked that idea so much that he ended up buying one of these tents and it fits perfectly in the bed of his truck as well something to keep in mind is that this is not a free standing tent so it does have to be staked out or anchored anytime that I go car camping I take some duct tape I incur this thing down and it works perfectly now of course no tent is perfect neither is this one there is some room for some improvement first off on the inside when you're inside of the bug mesh and all that I wish that there was an overhead pocket so you could store a light in there you could slide it up and easily see inside of your tent that would be very nice there are two pockets there on the side that's okay a pocket on top would really make a lot of difference a con of course would have to be that it's not the easiest tent to get in and out of depending on how tall you are no tent is condensation proof and neither is this one pro tip using a ground sheet will help for condensation on the floor the next con deals with size you're not going to set up inside of this that's not going to happen it's way too low of a profile when it comes to the cons for the IATA sphere that's pretty much it most of the complaints that I've seen and heard come from individuals who really didn't pay attention to what they were buying they didn't know that this is not a free standing tent they didn't know that it was going to be such a small low-profile those are pretty rookie mistakes to make and you can't hold those faults against this tent all-in-all I really really do like this thing it is held up so incredibly well it really has impressed me a lot so to wrap this up folks this tent is well worth its inexpensive price I continue to recommend this tent for all the reasons that I've stated it comes in two great colors tan and green you don't have to worry about the Teletubby colors or anything like that strong inexpensive easy quick to set up there's not much to complain about and with all that being said I want to hear from you all comment down below if you own the ionosphere and tell everybody what you think about it have you had any problems and if so what did snug pack do about them one thing that I encourage all of the viewers to do is to make sure to comment down below if you have a product and you have an issue make sure that other people know about it make sure to share your thoughts share your stories if you contact a company and you get the runaround share those stories with everybody else it's all about keeping those companies liable for their products and their warranties if you guys have any questions about the ionosphere please let me know by emailing me until next time everyone strength in honor I'm going to use this tent again very soon maybe in the back of moose oh yeah see you guys you


Reader Comments

  1. So I just tried setting up this tent, sun had been shining all day then all of a sudden BOOM rain just pours down when im setting up the inner part of the tent and it's all soaking wet before I manage to cover it with the outer part. Has anyone got a tip on how to setting it up during rain? I mean imagine a scenario where it's late, you're out in the woods and wanna set up the tent and it's just pouring down. Is it possible to spike the outer tent first and then crawl inside and set up the inner part? Seems kind of hard to get the tent straight then.

  2. My favorite shelter👍The amount of gear i got in there was nuts, Bergen, compound bow, 50 arrows, boots etc… and i still had space🐺🇬🇧

  3. Thanks for the 4 year update. Tells me a lot about the companies reliability.
    The design is pretty much identical to my Kelty Microlight Hiker (style 41990008) that I’ve been using since 1992. Looks the same, setup is the same. Only difference is the interior of the Kelty is solid, not mesh.

  4. WOW…$140 for the green…2 yrs ago I paid $80 for my brand new green Snugpak…I got really lucky…and it is a very good tent/bivy.

  5. Many thanks for posting this review, I've been thinking of buying one for stealthy wild camps over here in the UK. A great and thorough review. Thanks again! – Ben (AKA Londoner Outdoors)

  6. Absolutely love this tent.>>>nub.best/tagr Set up is instant. It does pop out pretty quickly so beware of any small children close by that could get knocked over. The inside is HUGE! We fit 3 adults and 2 children inside comfortably. The instructions for take down on the bag are useless but after watching a you tube video we got it down in a couple minutes. Awesome product.

  7. Great update. I too have a ton of Snugpak gear and its all held up great. I modified the UQ a bit by giving it a primary + secondary suspension and adding end cinches. Doing so makes it much easier to setup and adjust. I modified the TQ by cutting off the "wings" on each side and then user them to make the footbox deeper. As far as the Jungle Blanket goes, i turned one into a 50° 3/4 length UQ that can be used on a regular gathered end hammock as well as my Warbonnet Ridgerunner. I also turned a second Jungle Blanket into a TQ that has a drawstring + velcro footbox so it can be used in blanket mode still as well. To modify the hammock Cocoon , I add a small loop of shockcord prussiked onto my ridgeline to which i use a micro S biner to clip the head end zipper to it. This keeps it up off my face if Im zipped all the way inside it and also gives me some extra room so i can read or watch a movie on my kindle. One last item I slightly modified was the Thermalon sleeping bag liner. I sit it about 3/4 of the way down to give it a TQ shape instead and added a snap so it can be secured behind my neck and shoulders , then cinched closed like most regular topquilts to keep any drafts of cold air out. The rest of my Snugpak gear ; the Patrol Poncho + Poncho Liner , All Weather Shelter, Snuggie Pillow, Jungle Bag and Bivy I haven't modified. Its all held up great the past 4 years. I even use the hammock insulation inside "365" since I switched to a hammock full time about 3 years ago! I have SEVERAL vids on my channel showing all the mods as well as a wet out test i did using the Cocoon and UQ if anyone is interested. I HIGHLY recommend anything from Snugpak….. its all very well made, bombproof and will last for a very long time. ~ Chesapeake

  8. I'm sold! I was wavering between this and a less expensive knock off, but I don't see any four years on videos for any of them.

  9. I used to have one of these when I was in the Canadian Forces. I somehow lost it, I think during a break up. Sometimes I stay awake at night wondering how it's doing. I hope it thinks of me too.

  10. What about in cold rainy weather i can see the ground is not attached to the walls. I guess a big fat slepping bag 😀

  11. Luke is absolutely (as usual) on point. I have one, love it and knew it's stats and had no issue with it. I use this with a static v lux with still room at the sides and especially length wise. Space inside is plentiful given its profile and I've never had an issue with it and have always used a ground sheet. I'd recommend it as well. Uses : sea kayak camping and backpacking. I own the bunker as well, super solid with a compromise of a vestibule,again not an issue for me personally.it was more a design preference over the scorpion.

  12. Great review do u still have the eureka Solitaire tent I remember your review from a few yrs ago would love to know how it held up , I just picked one up and it seems like a great little tent and has the same size specs as this tent, shout out from little Rhode Island

  13. I have the same tent and its great. Im 200 cm tall and there is enough room for me. The only thing I did not like about that tent were the tent pegs that came with the tent. The pegs pick up so much dirt and it's sometimes painful to pull them out. I just got regular lightweight pegs.

  14. – This tent
    – Klymit static v
    – Snugpak special forces 1 sleeping bag
    – OD green SOL escape bivvy

    Try it and you will never look back.

  15. Great review after long term use, Luke! Thank you. I'm a Snugpak junkie being retired military. Like you, I love gear that is military surplus. Although not surplus per se, Snugpak products look and feel like it. My hammock gear is all Snugpak and for three years I've had NO issues with any of the four items. I'm not a groundhog but I will add the Ionosphere to my equipment for those trips where trees are non-existent.

  16. Good review. I am personally so done with "unboxing" vids. Get some mini groundhog stakes and be done with it. Since it is not freestanding, the stakes become even more important.

  17. I own one and I must say, that if you take a bot of care while folding, you can pack it really small. Imusually carry the poles on the side of my pack and the tent itself in the bottom bag. And Imtotally agree: nice tent for little money.

  18. As a 6’2” 200 lb guy I appreciate the 4 year review of this tent. I was curious as how the tent would be a for a person my size.

  19. I bought the same tent new in 2012 when it first came out and used it on every military excercise I've been on since. Probably have over 200 nights in the tent and it still looks new never had any issues with it. Only downside is I don't think I have the 16 pegs anymore lol.

  20. March 6, 2019—Thanks for the review. You're the ONLY one who actually states how long it takes to assemble it.

  21. Having used both single and double wall tents, I'll stick to double wall. I've had so much trouble with condensation and hardly any breathability on single wall tents that I have not had with double walled.
    Keep up the good reviews and the adventures. I have learned alot from watching your videos, and I think I might have to do some camping out in NC!

  22. I never get why people use wordings like " returning back " or "continuing on". Seems like you're just saying things double hehehe.

    Never buy a Vaude! , the tentpoles will break and they will not replace them, instead they will blame you , adding insult to injury. I will never ever buy from them again and I will use any chance I get to keep people from experiencing what they made me go through.
    Yep, more than 5 years ago, I do not forgive, nor do I forget.

    Now I'm contemplating buying the Ionosphere, but it'll be watching a few more reviews on it, especially long term ones, before I risk buying something that could ruin another 2500 km bicycle trip.

    Thanks a lot!

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