SlingFin CrossBow 2 Tent Review
The SlingFin CrossBow 2 Four-Season Tent sports an impressive balance of light weight, durability, and overall sturdiness. It’s made for winter adventures, alpine climbing, and backcountry ski touring, but is also marketed as a sort of quiver-killer. It’s light enough for 3-season backpacking if the weight is shared between two people, but it’s also capable of handling the gnarliest storms when need be.
While myself and most folks reading this probably have lighter tents we use for tame-weather trips, SlingFin is not wrong in making the claim that the CrossBow 2 Four-Season can do it all. Five pounds is pretty reasonable for a two-person tent if it’s going to be your only tent and do absolutely everything. I’ll tell you right now, I have nothing but good things to say about this tent. Read on to find out why I think the SlingFin CrossBow 2 Four-Season is a hell of a tent.
Specs at a Glance
- Capacity: 2 person
- Type: Double-wall, freestanding, four-season tent
- Trail weight with WebTruss (no stakes): 4 lbs 4.5oz (1942g)
- Minimum Trail Weight with DAC Twist Clips (no stakes): 4 lbs 1oz (1843g)
- Measured Weight with WebTruss, 13 stakes, and guylines (included): 5 lbs 0.7oz (2270g)
- Packaged Weight: 5 lbs 4oz (2381g)
- Floor Area: 32 sq ft (975 sq cm)
- Vestibule Area: 11 sq ft each (335 sq cm)
- Interior Height: 41.5” (105cm)
- Packed Size: 14” x 6” (36cm x 15cm)
- Floor Length: 92” (234cm)
- Floor Width: 50” (127cm)
- Doors: 2
- Fly Material: 20d Silicone Coated Nylon Ripstop
- Tent Body Fabric: 15D Nylon Ripstop DWR
- Floor Fabric: 20D Nylon Ripstop PE 1800mm
- WebTruss Fabric: 20D Nylon Ripstop PE 1800mm
- Poles: 3 DAC PL 10.65mm
- Guy lines and tensioners: Included
- Stakes: Included
- For complete specs, see slingfin.com
WebTruss Structure and Setup
SlingFin’s patented WebTruss design combines the strength of sleeve-style tents with the ability to set up easily in high winds. The pole sleeves reduce flexion in the poles, keeping the whole thing very stable. If setting up in the wind, just unclip the WebTruss from the tent body and insert the poles into the WebTruss. Once the structure is set up and staked out, clip the tent body back into it. It is also possible to use the WebTruss in conjunction with the groundsheet and the fly for a light and strong shelter in bug-free conditions.
Bottom line: the WebTruss is not a gimmick, it’s a well-thought-out solution to several problems other similar tents fail to address. I was very impressed with this tent’s performance in high winds one night in the Wasatch Mountains this winter, and attribute my good night’s sleep partially to the WebTruss, which provided the structure and stability that kept the fabric from flapping. The tent body did not cave in at all, despite some swift gusts.
The fly has been redesigned for winter 2020/2021 and is now made from a 20D Nylon Ripstop Sil/Sil. This fabric has a waterproof rating of 1500mm. Compared to other 20D silnylons I’ve used, this one is more stiff and crinkly than most. It has a robust feel and the characteristic slickness of silicone that is ideal for snow-shedding. I think this is the perfect fly fabric for this tent.
The tent body is made from a 15D Nylon Ripstop treated with DWR. It’s notably beefy for a tent body material, but it is a four-season tent after all, so the beefiness is probably appropriate.
The WebTruss, floor, and footprint are all made from a 20D Nylon Ripstop PE. It has a waterproof rating of 1800mm. The PE (polyethylene) means it will be resistant to rot, while also giving the floor a very slight tackiness that helps keep sleeping pads from sliding around too much. Again I think they chose the perfect material for these applications. The groundsheet doesn’t come with the tent but might be a good addition just to increase the longevity of the tent body. It can be purchased separately for $60.
The CrossBow 2 Four-Season uses 3 DAC PL 10.65mm poles. To make these poles light and sturdy, DAC made the diameter bigger and the wall thickness smaller. They have walls that are 40% thinner than many other poles. As well, according to DAC, “At about 75% of their breaking strength, they start to flex more – they literally get a little softer – so they can bend further without breaking.”
The interior size of the CrossBow 2 Four-Season is pretty typical for a two-door freestanding tent with a width of 50” and a length of 92”. Two average adults fit just fine, but it’s awesome for one in the winter. I have slept diagonally in it with gear spread out all around me and was very comfortable. The vestibules are pretty large at 11 sq ft apiece. I have left my boots and gaiters in the vestibule, still had plenty of room to cook, and wasn’t particularly worried about scorching anything. One could fit a pack in the vestibule and still have room to cook. If traveling with a partner it could be a good idea to designate one vestibule as a garage and the other as a kitchen.
The CrossBow 2 Four-Season fly has a through-vent with a partial flap on the outside. It can be opened even in a storm without letting much of anything in. The tent body also has a through-vent with both mesh and ripstop closures. Open the ripstop closure, but close the mesh one in buggy conditions.
The doors can be cracked for ventilation, as well. Open the main door closures for optimal ventilation. In buggy conditions, just open the ripstop flaps and tie them back, leaving the mesh windows closed.
There are also two “kickstands” included which can be used to prop the fly open near the peak.
Features You Shouldn’t Overlook
This tent is chock-full of little details that make it more impressive upon full inspection than one would notice at first glance. One noteworthy feature is the extra zipper sliders on each door. SlingFin, unlike many companies, seems to be fully aware that most zipper problems are the result of worn-out sliders. When the first set of sliders wear out—and they will—simply slide new ones out of the little slider garages found at the end of each zipper. This feature adds minimal weight to the overall weight and makes the tent easier to use. This tent uses #5 zippers on the fly door, #4.5 sliders on the main door, and #3 sliders on the mesh windows. These choices of zipper sizes are perfect.
Another noteworthy feature is the clips on each corner where the fly attaches to the body or the WebTruss, and where the WebTruss attaches to the body. At first glance I wondered why they were so gigantic, thinking weight could have been saved had they used smaller clips, but I found out pretty quickly. When setting up or taking down the tent with mittens on, I had no problem with the clips. Smaller ones would be fussy in the cold with mittens on. One would probably have to take their gloves off, risking cold hands.
There are eight mesh storage pockets inside the tent so you can organize really well. This increases the overall livability of the shelter.
There are internal guylines that increase lateral stability and snow-loading ability. The tent only comes with one set, but another could be ordered. On a windy night, I made sure these guylines were on the windward side of the tent and they seemed to keep that panel from caving in during gusts.
Yet another not-to-be-overlooked feature is the clips that allow the fly to attach to the WebTruss. These are located directly on the other side of each tie-out point on the fly, meaning each guyline is attached directly to the rigid pole structure, rather than pulling superficially from just the fly.
The packed size of the CrossBow 2 Four-Season is about 6” x 14”. This is pretty typical for many similar two-person, four-season tents, and even some semi-robust, two-person, three-season tents. It looks pretty funny on the top of a Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus but will fit vertically inside many larger packs.
Comparable Four-Season Tents
The SlingFin CrossBow 2 Four-Season Tent is a truly amazing shelter. Every little detail has been considered to ensure that the tent is durable, light, sturdy, storm-worthy, livable, comfortable, and easy to use. $650 is a lot of money, no doubt, but when compared to other four-season, two-person tents it’s really pretty reasonable. I can’t recommend the SlingFin CrossBow 2 Four-Season enough.
Check out this video for even more information about this tent’s many setup options. !
Disclosure: Slingfin provided a sample tent for this review.
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