The rugged Robens Starlight 1 four-season tent is a tiny, do-anything shelter that will keep you safe and warm in practically any conditions, with some well thought-out features.
Great in changing weather conditions
Very reliable and rugged
Excellent in strong winds
Not the lightest
Very small interior
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Robens Starlight 1: first impressions
The Robens Starlight 1 is an ultra-sturdy one-person tunnel tent from a renowned Danish brand. Designed to deliver exceptional performance in changing conditions, it’s known to shrug off winds up to 160kmph (94mph) while still being reasonably easy to carry and packable. It is definitely one of the best four-season tents available today.
• List price: $180 (US) / £256 (UK)
• Style: Tunnel
• Weight: 2kg / 4.4lb
• Waterproofing: 5,000 mm fly / 10,000 mm floor
• Vestibules: 1 (small)
• Pack size: 39cm x 15cm / 15in x 6in
• Compatibility: One person and gear
Weighing in at around 1.7kg, the Robens Starlight 1 is also fairly lightweight considering how versatile this shelter is. If you’re a long-distance thru hiker who’s used to camping in ultralight shelters when the weather’s not at its harshest, this one-person tent might not be the best choice for you. But if you want a jack-of-all-trades shelter that you can use in a variety of different climates and seasons while only compromising slightly on weight and pack size, it’s difficult to beat the Starlight 1.
For me, one of the most impressive things about the Robens Starlight 1 is the feel of the materials from which it’s manufactured. They just ooze reliability and instantly make you feel safe. Take the lashings, for example: these are made of a thick webbing material interlaced through solid metal ladderlock buckles.
When it comes to the fly, this is constructed from thick polyester with fully taped seams and a 5,000mm hydrostatic head to properly fend off everything nature throws at you. The bathtub floor is constructed from an ultra durable 75D polyester with a hydrostatic head twice that of the fly (10,000mm), and all of the zip pulls glow in the dark so you always know what to reach for in the night.
All in, this tent boasts some incredible features that, in my opinion, make it a candidate for one of the best all-round tents on the market today. Retailing at $180 / £256 when ordered direct from Robens, it also represents incredible value for money: this is a shelter that you can use in all seasons and in practically all scenarios, and – even though Robens markets this tent as a three season – I’ve used it on countless winter adventures and continue to be super impressed with its performance in the wind, rain and snow.
Robens Starlight 1: in the wild
I’ve owned the Robens Starlight 1 for a number of years now, and it’s become my go-to tent of choice. Thanks to its solid versatility, robustness and pack size, I take it with me pretty much whenever I head into the mountains. In fact, the only activities I don’t use it on are when weight is an absolute priority, such as when out bikepacking or fastpacking. Otherwise, the Robens 1 always has a place in my daypack.
I’ve used the tent in freezing weather in Snowdonia, in deep snow the Brecon Beacons, in some of the worst wind I’ve ever experienced on Dartmoor, and on numerous summer adventures across the UK. As I look at it now, aside from a hefty amount of dried sheep droppings caked to the underside of the bathtub floor, it looks as good as new: there’s barely a mark anywhere on the tent or its accompanying accessories, aside from a slight bend in one of the pegs due to over-aggressively trying to set it up in the snow.
Aside from the confidence the tent instills in me when I’m wild camping, one of my favorite things about it has to be the sheer number of ventilation options. Despite the tent fly being made from a heavy polyester (comparative to other tents around this price point, at least), the fact that you can open up two doors at the head and foot end, as well as fully open a port in the head space maximizes airflow through the shelter. Naturally, in cold weather, you’ll always have to deal with a certain amount of condensation, though I’ve found that this is minimal in the Robens Starlight 1, at least when compared to similar tents at this price point.
Being able to solidly close up all of these ventilation ports also means that, when the mercury plummets, you can properly batten down the hatches. You can seal yourself inside in the harshest conditions, and thanks to minimal mesh on the inner, you cut out drafts and maximize heat retention.
Erecting/dismantling the Robens Starlight 1 is also a doddle. I’ve managed to fully erect the it in around three minutes with practice, and packing it away doesn’t take much longer. As the footprint of the tent is so small, you can also toss the thing up practically anywhere. Just bear in mind that the structural integrity of the tent relies on the four corners being appropriately pegged out (and with enough tension). In the past, when camping atop of Dartmoor tors or on softer ground in Snowdonia, it’s been a challenge to get every corner appropriately pegged down. Granted, I was always able to solve this with some handy paracord, but you’d be in for a fairly miserable (and very flappy) night should you not be able to properly peg out the corners.
When it comes to drawbacks, other than the pitching issue above, the only thing I can think of is the size of the interior. Especially on the one-person, the bedroom space in the Robens Starlight 1 is quite small. It’s enough for an extra wide pad, but that’s it. It’s 215 cm (7 ft) long, so there is ample room at the foot end to store a backpack or some extra gear, but you’d have then used up practically every inch of residual space. Additionally, the vestibule on this thing is tiny. You can get some boots and an empty backpack in there, but on winter nights when you’ve lots of gear, a fair amount of creative stacking is needed to keep everything out of the elements.
Growing up just south of the glorious Brecon Beacons National Park, Craig spent his childhood walking uphill. As he got older, the hills got bigger, and his passion for spending quality time in the great outdoors only grew - falling in love with wild camping, long-distance hiking, bikepacking and fastpacking. Having recently returned to the UK after almost a decade in Germany, he now focuses on regular micro-adventures in nearby Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons, as well as frequent trips to the Alps and beyond. You can follow his adventures over on komoot, or visit www.craigtaylor.co for more info.