There are fewer differences today between small tents and poled bivvy bags, but the Snugpak Ionosphere sits at the tent end of the scale, thanks to its use of a two-pole design that requires that the inner is pitched first before the outer is draped over the top. Its low profile and robust design rebuff wind and rain well, but as soon as you open up the end door the minimal headroom becomes apparent, and it’s the tent’s main drawback. At only 71cm in height there is not enough room to sit up so you have to lie down and prop yourself up on an elbow or two. There is no external porch either, so your gear goes outside or inside the inner, but there is room for a rucksack at the head end as the inner is 235cm long. You cannot cook under the flysheet, though, as there is no porch – so again there are drawbacks to living with this design for repeated nights. Pitching also lacks some of the finesse of other designs as you don’t get ladder-lock adjusters or ultra-skimpy pegs for example. But what you do get with the Snugpak Ionosphere is a robust shelter with a good price tag and is light enough for most.
Flysheet material PU-coated polyester
Inner material nylon and polyester mesh
Groundsheet material PU-coated nylon
Internal dimensions (length x width x height) 235x88x71cm
Packed size 44x14cm
The Snugpak Ionosphere is a low-priced bivvy tent design, but higher-priced tents offer more living space and a porch where you can store gear and cook out of the rain.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine July 2012