Blacks Octane 1 2009

The Blacks Octane 1 tent is a great package for the price. The stuffsack has the instructions sewn in, and there’s a spares pack with a pole repair sleeve, various fabric patches, seam sealer and a coil of spare guy cord. Many of the tents in the test have a similar set up, but none is so comprehensive. The tent itself is a single-pole design that pitches outer-first to keep your sleeping compartment dry. The pole is one-ended, which is great for solo pitching. There are plenty of pegging points, and the guy lines came already attached. Inside there are mesh pockets for keeping your bits and pieces to hand, and the porch is big enough for gear storage, cooking and still being able to get in and out. When pitched and tensioned, it’s stable. The door has a zipped flap that gives you a mesh ventilation panel. But inside, it’s very small (when I lay down my head went in the mesh pocket at the end!). For its internal dimensions the weight looks a little high. Some of the tension adjustment webbing was put through the buckles the wrong way so it wouldn’t tighten. Easily fixed, but it might mean a trip back to the shop. The outer door lacks double zips.

Design single-pole dome 
Poles shock-corded alloy
Inner breathable nylon ripstop
Flysheet nylon ripstop silicon-coated, 3000mm hydrostatic head
Groundsheet nylon Hypalon-coated, 10,000mm hydrostatic head
Internal dimensions length 210cm; width 100cm; height 90cm 
Packed size 40x13cm
Packed weight 1665g
Made in China
Stores in UK 60
Blacks – tel. 0800 665410; www.black.co.uk

Verdict: The Blacks Octane 1 is a great budget tent if you’re not six feet tall. Silly quality control issues with the webbing let it down, and more venting control would have been good.

Review by Peter Macfarlane
First published in Trail magazine March 2009