Gossamer Gear The DCF One Tent | Crazy Light
Gossamer Gear’s popular 1-person tent | Now just 15 oz in DCF!
Now full storm and bug protection, along with good ventilation, a very stable pitch and a full bathtub floor can be had for under a pound. And it’s pretty dang easy to pitch and use to boot!
Last year, Gossamer Gear came out with the much-anticipated Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF) version of their mega-popular The One solo trekking-pole shelter. The One has long been a favorite amongst solo trekking-pole shelter backpackers. It’s durable, spacious, and sets up with a fast, stable pitch.
The DCF One brings it to the next level, with similar dimensions, a low weight of 15.3 ounces, and built with DCF, the pinnacle of ultralight, waterproof tent materials. We were incredibly impressed with the ventilation and stability of the DCF One. Here’s the full rundown of this new offering from Gossamer Gear. This is also one of the most reasonably priced DCF tents on the market, made possible in part by the bathtub floor utilizing Nylon instead of DCF.
Looking for More?
Check out our Best Backpacking Tents 2021 | Lightweight & Ultralight for a complete overview of the best tents on the market including the competition for the Gossamer Gear The DCF One Tent. In particular:
Single Wall Tents | 1.2 lb to 2.6 lb | $260 – $680
Single-walled tents are quickly rising in popularity. In fact, some single-walled tent brands are now more popular than some well known double walled tent brands. This makes sense, as a single-walled tent has most of the benefits of a double-walled tent, but for much less weight.
Traditional Lightweight Backpacking Tents | 2.5 to 3.5 lb oz | $350 to $450
The 1st choice for many backpackers, these are the “classic,” full-featured, easy-to-setup tents most are familiar with. Carefully selected, the tents in this guide are lighter than most backpacking tents while still being storm-worthy and bug-proof.
Full Video Review of Gossamer Gear DCF ONE Tent
If a picture is worth 1,000 words what is a comprehensive video of the tent review worth? There’s stuff in here that we can’t begin to cover in words.
We field-tested the DCF One on a condensation-heavy December backpacking trip along the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. The two backpackers in hammocks woke up drenched from the high dew point each morning, but the Gossamer Gear DCF The One stayed remarkably dry inside. Temperatures dropped below freezing at night, with frost on the ground in the morning. This was a true proving ground for a single-wall shelter, where condensation and ventilation are going to be among the biggest issues.
Key Specs | Gossamer Gear ONE DCF
Style: Single-wall, trekking pole supported shelter with full bathtub floor
Capacity: One person
Shelter Weight: 15.3 oz / 433 g (26.3 ft2 / lb)
Total Area: 25.2 ft2 (Floor 15.2 ft2 — Vestibule 10 ft2)
Floor Dimensions: 81″ L x 33″/21″
Interior Peak Height: 45”
Material Tent body: 0.51 oz/yd2 DCF
Material Tent floor: 7D sil/pu nylon ripstop
Find the full Spec’s here
Overview of the DCF One
Gossamer Gear’s DCF One is their newest material upgrade to a fan favorite one-person trekking pole shelter. The One has been known for its livable space, fast, secure pitch, and reasonable price. The DCF one takes it to the next level with top-of-the-line material, a smart integrated construction with a Nylon bathtub floor, and superior ventilation for a one-person shelter.
Condensation is one of the biggest concerns with single-wall shelters, and DCF tents are not exempt. One of the most important aspects of single-wall shelters is how well they resist condensation buildup. More so than headroom, pitch, or doors, it’s the dripping of built-up condensation will make the living experience miserable in a single-wall shelter. Luckily, the DCF One doesn’t seem to have that issue, with some of the best moisture-management we’ve experienced in a single-wall shelter to date. (See more on this in the PROs section below)
The DCF construction of this tent isn’t just super waterproof, it also has less stretch (read: almost none) which helps create a much more taut pitch than Nylon. For this reason, it’s important to be somewhat careful with DCF tents, as their lack of stretch can make them prone to tearing. A tent with this weight DCF shouldn’t have these issues, but it’s worth being careful.
The DCF One package comes with six aluminum Y stakes, and you can use beefier stakes for the ridgeline tie-outs, which lets you stake out other points on the shelter with the smaller stakes. It comes with extra cords, a DCF patch kit, and stuff sack. This tent requires six stakes at a minimum to set up, and two trekking poles set to 120-145 inches.
We definitely recommend setting this tent up a few times in your backyard before taking it out. Once you have the hang of it, it goes up in just a few minutes, but it’s important to set it up correctly to ensure maximum stability. The trekking poles used for the main support aren’t vertical—you actually set them at about a 20-degree lean. This can be confusing at first, but the angles are to keep the peak extended out to prevent drips.
You can set up the ridgeline with the larger stakes as opposed to the smaller Y-stakes. This will help them stay in place better and keep the structure stable in inclement weather.
Quick Comparison to the Nylon Version of the Gossamer Gear The One
17.7 oz & $299.25 | The traditional Nylon The One also updated for 2021
Only a few ounces heavier, Gossamer Gear’s the One (Traditional Nylon version) is also worth a look for a lower-cost option. And actually, it underwent some design updates in 2021 as well. Among other updates, the new version lowered the weight from 21.6 ounces to 17.7. This version is made with a 10D Nylon Ripstop, weighs 17.7 ounces compared to the DCF One’s 15.3 ounces (so 2.4 ounces heavier), but it’s also three inches longer than the DCF One: The One is 84 inches long, and the DCF One is 81 inches long. The other dimensions are the same, including the 45-inch interior height and generous 10-foot vestibule space. Your main difference here is the outer body of the tent either as DCF or the Nylon Ripstop. DCF creates a more taut pitch and is incredibly waterproof, more so than nylon. And at $539 for the DCF One compared to $299 for the One, the other major difference will be the price point.
Good condensation management!
Possibly the most important performance metric for a single walled tent
First, the Gossamer Gear the DCF One did quite well at condensation management for a single walled shelter without a rear door. This is arguably one of the most important performance metrics for a single walled shelter. The vent at the rear peak above the back wall helps keep the air moving. The front wall slopes out away from you, which means the peak extends away and helps protect from dripping. In our field testing we had minimal condensation — even on near freezing to freezing nights with high humidity and lots of dew.
Most tents under a pound are pretty wobbly. Not the DCF One — it’s solid! This tent has wide, low walls which help buffer the wind. Fully guyed out, it’s incredibly storm worthy, and the angled trekking pole setup puts enough opposing pressure to prevent them from caving in. It comes with additional tie-out lines for more stability. You can use larger stakes for ridgeline tie outs in a less protected campsite for more stability. The catenary cut also helps this fast, taut setup.
Full storm & bug protection with bathtub floor
The taut, waterproof tent body with factory-taped seams, the extended bathtub floor, and fully enclosed bug net mesh is as much protection as you can hope for with an ultralight trekking pole shelter. The 45-inch vestibule zipper also locks tight against blowing rain, though you’ll want to leave the vestibule open when possible to help aid in ventilation.
The DCF One does well managing condensation. The pole-sloping-outward-overhanging door allows you to leave a portion of the front of the tent vented (re. door cracked a bit) and still stay dry but keep condensation low. The mistake that most hikers make is sealing the tent up like a drum at the first drop of light rain, or worse when there is no rain. As long as you have the front door cracked a bit and/or a largish clearance above the ground at the bottom of the door, you’ll get decent cross ventilation and convective ventilation to reduce reduce humidity and condensation in the tent. But yes, if is a hard rain being blown in from the front of the tent, you’d likely nead to seal things up and would have some condensation. No free lunches — sub 15-oz single walled shelters are what they are. And in this case, we think The DCF One does commendably with condensation.
Top-of-the-line DCF fabric
DCF is the gold standard for tent materials now. Though it comes at a premium, it’s the most lightweight, waterproof, durable material you can find right now. And an astonishing amount of ultralight tents sold are made with DCF fabric. Some manufactures that offer both nylon and DCF versions report over 50% of their sales are DCF tents even with the much high price tag.
The 10-foot vestibule is plenty spacious — it even has room for a visitor to hang out with you (pictured is Alan in the vestibule). So sure it has plenty of room for shoes and a pack. That’s good. While there is plenty of sleeping space and room for some miscellaneous gear — most people won’t be able to fit their entire pack into the tent with them — or it would be quite a tight fit!
Small packed size (a rarity for a DCF tent!)
DCF is not the most foldable and compact fabric. As such, DCF tents usually stuff to a significantly larger size than their nylon counterparts. The Gossamer Gear the DCF One beats this trend with a small packed size, unusual for a DCF tent. Two things are responsible. 1) The 7D Silnylon floor compacts much smaller than the more usual DCF floor. 2) The smaller overall size and minimal, “hiker’s tent” focus of the DCF One means less fabric overall which of course means a smaller packed size.
Stakes, tensioners & reflective guylines
The adjustments, cord knots, and reflective lines make it easy to perfect your pitch. Using the burlier stakes (Toaks Tite-Lite UL VF Tent Stakes) for the ridgelines frees up two of the smaller stakes for the additional guylines that come with the tent package.
Large interior pockets:
Generously sized interior mesh pockets hold personal items for easy stashing and grabbing at night. With limited interior space of a one-person tent, all of the organizational aids are appreciated.
Combination DCF and Nylon Fabrics: The floor of the DCF One is actually made of a 7D SilNylon ripstop. We actually like a Nylon floor for a tent, and this helps keep the cost down while making the DCF One more packable than a full-DCF tent. The tent body is made with the 0.51-ounce per square yard DCF.
Fits in More Campsites: The DCF One’s is on the smaller size for 1-person tents. This works to your advantage as it fits into a number of smaller campsites giving you more options to get your tent pitched quickly.
Ridgeline is Separate from Vestibule: In a smart design choice, the DCF One has a separate ridgeline from the vestibule, allowing you to roll both vestibule sides all the way back without losing the tension and integrity of the pitch. Using one of the larger stakes here is also beneficial, and means you can adjust the vestibule doors and confidently enter and exit the tent without worrying about pulling the stake up and collapsing the tent.
CONs & Recommendations for Improvement
Below we list some changes that would make the Gossamer Gear DCF ONE even better
- Slightly tight floor space: While the head and shoulder room is ample thanks to the angled trekking pole supports, the floor of the DCF One can feel a little narrow. I managed to stay away from both sidewalls, but some hikers who hang around in camp more might want a smidge more space than a 21-inch foot width. This is definitely an on-the-move backpackers’ tent, not a lounge-around camp tent.
- Headroom is concentrated: The 45-inch peak height is generous, though it’s worth mentioning the walls quickly and steeply slope down at either end. This is good for shedding wind and precipitation, but it means the full height is limited to the center.
- Small zippers: The #3 zippers are on the small side, and you’ll need to treat them with care and watch out for snags on the tent material. They can be challenging to handle, especially with cold or clumsy fingers.
- Vestibule Door and Bugnet Door tie-backs: These are quite tight and require careful/precise and tight rolling up of doors in order close the fastener over them. Even so it can be difficult to secure the door tie-backs with cold fingers. These need to be about 50% larger.
- 7d Silnylon Floor Needs a Footprint: this is the downside of the light and compact floor. Fortunately this is inexpensively dealt with for a minimal weight increase. We suggest getting a few $12 Gossamer Gear Polycro Footprints when buy the tent. The advantage of this is that your tent floor is protected and will not wear out.
Competition for the Gossamer Gear DCF ONE
The most comparable tents by design are fully double-walled, freestanding tents for two people. But we include one trekking pole supported tent that’s very light and a great value.
Gossamer Gear The One
Weight: $17.7 ounces
We’d be remiss not to include the original (but updated) version of this Nylon shelter. While you don’t get the taut pitch and extra waterproof protection of the DCF version, you save $240 with this version, which is nothing to sneeze at. This shelter is a few ounces heavier than the DCF version, but slightly longer and with the same stable, intuitive setup.
Weight: 15.3 ounces
This popular one-person DCF tent sets up with just one pole, though you will have to do some extra work with the guylines and stakes to get it set up with a stable pitch. It has a tall, protected bathtub floor and extra headroom at the squared-off ridgeline area, with a very generous 48-inch peak height.
Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis DCF Tent
Weight: 12.1 oz (242 g)
Design: Floorless, single walled, trekking pole supported tent with mosquito netting perimeter.
The Wild Oasis is a stripped down version of SMD’s Deschutes Plus. As such, it takes minimalism to level beyond the DCF One as you’ll need to supply your own tent floor (we suggest a $12 Gossamer Gear Polycro Footprint) As such, it will not appeal to all hikers. The tent does have bug protection via mosquito netting sewn to the bottom perimeter of the tent.
On the upside it provides a ton of livable area and full bug and weather protection for only 12 ounces — a whopping 39 ft2 of floor area and a peak height of 49”, providing plenty of room to sit up and spread out gear.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo 2
Weight: 29 ounces
Hyperlite Mountain Gear was one of the original adopters of DCF shelters, though they have been surpassed by new, lighter designs and lower prices from other manufacturers. This is their comparable option, with a DCF exterior, and a seam-sealed, DCF and mesh insert for bug protection. It has a long, sloping rear and a tall peak.
This is a stable, weather-worthy shelter for less than one pound. The combination of DCF and SilNylon is a smart choice that allows the tent to cost less and pack down smaller, and while it’s not the roomiest shelter on the market, the space-to-weight ratio is quite impressive. If you feel confined by the floor space and want to have your pack in the tent with you, check out Gossamer Gear’s The Two, which can easily be a one-person shelter without a ridiculous weight penalty.
This is Gossamer Gear’s first foray into utilizing DCF in their gear construction, and after testing this tent in incredibly condensation-heavy conditions, we were surprised and impressed with how dry we stayed. Ventilation, easy side entry, and a large vestibule for storing gear makes this a highly livable shelter for a lower cost than the other DCF shelters on the market.
Style: Single-wall trekking pole shelter
Capacity: One person
Shelter Weight: 15.3 oz / 433 g
DAC Stakes (6): 10 g each
Extra cord (2): 7 g each
DCF Repair Patch: 2 g
Head End Width: 33″
Foot End Width: 21″
Interior Peak Height: 45”
Vestibule: 10 square feet
Tent body: 0.51 oz/yd2 DCF
Tent floor: 7D sil/pu nylon ripstop
Guylines: 1.8mm reflective nylon sheath, 1 mm Dyneema core
Find the Complete Spec’s On Gossamer Gear Website here
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