My Thoughts On The Southern Cross 1

I don’t normally do gear reviews – I might say whether I like something or not, but that’s about it – but there seems to be a fair amount of interest in this tent, so I’ll pen my thoughts after its first night out.

Why Did We Buy A SC1?

We’ve had a Hilleberg Enan for about 3 years, and it’s generally been great. We initially bought it for my 2015 trip to Sarek with James, and it performed brilliantly out there.

It is a ‘sheltered, three season’ tent though, and Geoff did have an unforgettable night in the Howgills with it one January,Β with high winds and rain.

It never totally flattened, ripped, blew away or got damaged in any way, but it did give him a rather disturbed night. So, we’ve been wondering about something similar but specced as ‘four season’.

A year back, we bought a Southern Cross 2. It would be fairly cozy as a 2 person tent, although it does have two porches which is very handy, but we bought it specifically as a 1 person + 1 big dog tent. In this respect it has been serving us very well, so this led us on to purchasing the SC1 for solo use.

First Night Out With The SC1Β 

I chose a pitch which would catch the weather a bit. Kinder has been pretty dry of late and water can be a problem up there, so I went over towards Brown Knoll instead. I knew that would be dry too, but I also knew I could filter some water on the way and not have to carry it too far.

Ok, so it wasn’t a particularly inspired pitch for the night, but it served a purpose and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get disturbed.

The tent goes up quickly and easily – outer first then add the inner, although you can keep it attached as one if you feel like it.

These tents have a couple of really nifty door features. One of them is the way you can clip the door open, by hooking it onto the ‘exoskeleton’. I can do this, and unclip it, from a kneeling position inside, so it’s very useful.

This next photo shows this on the SC2 aswell:

It also has a way of folding and fastening the bottom few inches of the outer door out of the way, and if you combine this with undoing the top of the zip a little, it creates a reasonable amount of ventilation. This makes it about as safe as it can possibly be, if you need to cook (very carefully of course) in the closed porch in really bad weather. I forgot to take a picture of this feature last night though, but here it is on the SC2:

Once inside, the SC1 feels a touch smaller than the Enan. I think this is partly due to the inner walls sloping inwards more. The headroom is also a bit lower. I still had no problem fitting all my gear in, however, in my usual organised manner…..

I pretty much empty my rucksack and place most of the contents alongside my Xtherm, and the empty-ish sack, boots, water, stove, etc. fit nicely in the porch. There is also a good 6 inches or so spare above the head end of my sleeping mat, where I tend to store my food bags.

I had dinner and settled down for the duration. Sitting on my mat I was comfy enough, and spent a couple of hours reading.

Well I can’t say that the weather overnight was Wilder Than A Wild Thing, but there were some heavy showers and a lively breeze from time to time. The tent was absolutely fine in this and I slept well.

All was still and claggy when I awoke.

I had a leisurely breakfast, then decided to put to the tent to the final test for this trip. Could I pack my rucksack inside?

So, I pretended it was still throwing it down, closed the outer door, left the inner door open to give me a bit more space and set to.

It was no problem whatsoever, and I was soon ready to take my pack outside and take the actual tent down.

I took the inner out first.

The inner and the outer were placed in separate bags, which both fit neatly together in the zipped pocket on the front of my pack.

The poles and pegs are in another bag, which I put in one of the side pockets of the rucksack.

And setting off home, the sun started to make an appearance.

A Few Further Thoughts

I like the tent. The slightly smaller feel compared to the Enan is of no consequence to me. Everything fitted in fine, I had no problems doing anything and it was warm and cozy.

Geoff is off to the Lakes next Tuesday for a week and taking it with him, so we’ll see how he gets on with it too. He’s not much taller than me anyway, so I imagine he’ll be ok with it. There won’t be space for him to use his Thermarest Chair Kit inside, mind…

If you were much taller than me however, but still liked the style etc of the tent, I suspect the SC2, with it’s greater headroom and oodles of space, may well suit better. There would, of course, then be the extra bit of weight there to take into consideration.

On the other hand, if you have been used to using a Laser Comp (which the SC tents are based on) or a Zephyros – which I think probably have a similar amount of space inside – you may well be perfectly happy with it.

The SC1 weighs 1.7kg and the SC2 weighs 2.3kg.


19 thoughts on “My Thoughts On The Southern Cross 1

  1. Thanks for the write-up. I do like tent reviews! That “Exoskeleton” looks a bit phooey; Do you have to join the poles together or does it spring into the right shape when you unfold it?
    Also, did you get any noticable condensation?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, thanks for the reminder – I forgot to talk about condensation and I had planned to!
      In short, not really. There was condensation on the inside of the fly in the morning, but the inner was pretty much bone dry. This is again another contrast with the Enan, where we have had the inner absolutely drenched with condensation several times.
      And the exoskeleton is all elasticated together as one, so does spring gently into shape when you unfold it…… πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My Dad’s old canvas ‘Blacks’ tent, which I still use if I’m camping by the car, has ties on the doors and they tie open. Not only that but, in hot countries, you can tie up all the bottom all the way around as there isn’t an integral, attached groundsheet. I’ve always loved those features on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is the last thing I need, gear reviews. I found myself thinking I wanted one even though I have more tents than I could ever need! I have no wallet control. I looked at the SC2 as a two person tent but chose a Nigor Parula in the end. Close run thing though, I like the outer first pitch for bad weather in the SC range.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never owned a Zephyros, but I’ve just had a look at the specs.
      Looks like the Zephyros 1 and SC1 are similar sizes – SC1 a few cemtimetres wider but the Zephyros 1 a few centimetres taller. The Zephyros is also a bit lighter. However the big differences are the classifications and the price. The Zephyros is only 3 season and cheaper, whereas the SC is 4 season and quite a bit more expensive.
      And I suspect if you were wanting the extra space of the Zephyros 2 (which i could fully understand) you would be better off with the SC2. This is actually a touch more spacious than the Zephyros 2 as well, and again 4 season plus a touch heavier.
      So I suppose, it’s down to when and where you might want to use it, and money. I can say though, that Geoff and I have both used the SC2 solo (without a dog!) and it is super spacious and comfortable – good for long winter evenings!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have one chrissie and o just cant love it. I find it just to cramped for me.ive had two, the first one i sent back after first night out as i lent back in on the inner and the material holding the middle toggle just split,so my toggle was left dangling. So one year down the line and about ten nights in my replacement and what did i clumsily go and do but exactly the same thing,and sat. On a half closed inner. Now its my fault i know but i sometimes make the same mistakes in other tents and theres no problems.i just feel that those connectors are poor quality and there is no give in them. I like the taught pitch and ease of set up and it is well ventilated and looks great. But i would like the fly closer to the ground for winter to stop those drafts. ☺Just be careful of the toggles!


      1. Actually I have found it quite a warm tent so far, even a few weeks back in mega winds in the lakes. My hubby doesn’t like it though even though I do. He thinks it’s too flappy, but I don’t! πŸ˜‚ Fascinates me how we all see/notice/like /don’t like different things about stuff!


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