You can’t knock Lightwave’s DNA. The company was set up by Carol McDermott, who is ex-Berghaus, and the founder of Crux. Functionality and quality have been his hallmarks – but do space, solidity and lightweight really mix?
I took the g2 ioniX for a night in the Coniston Fells. The tent is a variation on the g2 Ion, which is a 2-person, 3-pole, semi-geodesic design. This new model has a fourth pole to support the voluminous porch extension (denoted by the X). It adds around 400g, but the increase in size is vast. Straight from the sack the tent oozed quality. A few competing companies – Hilleberg, Terra Nova – have high levels of workmanship and high price tags, and Lightwave has risen impressively to the challenge of providing the former, for less.
Construction is intuitive and unfiddly: even in the high wind I pitched it within five minutes. It’s very sturdy, and has seven guy points to add a decent amount of directional support, and almost ridiculous amounts of limpet grip when used together. This isn’t a token gesture: the ioniX is a strong tent. It isn’t as hardcore as the Crux Bomb or X2, or Lightwave’s own Arctic or Mountain series, which are expedition tents – but it’s not meant to be. Despite a 4-season flysheet, this is designed as a versatile tent for trekking, or high-level backpacking – not mountaineering.
Once up, several features stand out. Firstly, that porch: there’s a door either side, which aids cooking as you can use whichever side the wind isn’t blowing on. And, even when solo, it’s fantastic to be able to throw all your gear out of your sleeping area. With two occupants, that porch would be priceless. Secondly, the G2 uses removable foam spacers to separate the inner and outer – ingenious innovations with Aero-like structures which crush down to aid packability. This works with the external venting (two vents with rigid props on the front wings, and another on the rear) to aid airflow between the inner and the outer, reducing condensation and keeping the tent cool. It’s for this reason that the tent is ideal for warmer climates, though if your insulation is adequate there is no reason why you should confine yourself to warmer months.
And while that flysheet is a little higher around the hem, it would take a hell of a rainstorm to make this a true disadvantage. It has one issue, though: although Lightwave considers itself to be specialist at delivering light, quality gear, the g2 ioniX isn’t that light. It’s definitely light for its size, but there are lighter, flimsier two-person tents on the market that do more or less the same thing, and will steal potential buyers away from the ioniX. That would be false economy: this tent is ideal for the UK. It’s designed to work in wild places and not to fail – and lying in the G2 IonX with the Lakes in full howl, that’s blindingly evident.
Design 3-pole, 2-person semi-geodesic with additional pole for porch
Internal dimensions 225cm long x 143cm wide x 115 cm high (excl. porch)
Poles 4x 9mm DAC 7001-T6
Made in China
Stockist details (+33) 468 693008; www.lightwave.uk.comVerdict
Huge; stable; superb quality; very functional; light for its size and spec; cheap for its features. But there are lighter (smaller) 2-person tents available. Overall, it’s a superb, strong, spacious tent that is still relatively light.
Review by Simon Ingram
First published in Trail magazine August 2008