Double Rainbow vs. Lightheart Duo vs. Lunar Duo

A Tale of Three Duo's


For those of you looking to make a departure from the mainstream 2-person tents to shed some weight while still retaining creature comforts we suggest taking a look these three duo’s offered up from the cottage gear industry. We’re looking at the Double Rainbow by Tarptent, the Duo Wedge by Lightheart Gear, and the Lunar Duo by Six Moon Designs. Each of these tents can comfortably sleep two, they all have 2 side doors and dual vestibules, and they all land right around the 2-pound ballpark. All three tents are of the “single wall hybrid” style; in other words, the canopy overhead is a single layer of material while the sides consist of bug netting which serves as a double wall to protect the occupants from brushing against a (possibly) damp single side wall. Each of these tents have a bathtub floor which turns up at the edges to protect against rain splash and minor amounts of water runoff.

Double Rainbow
Double Rainbow
Lightheart Duo
Lightheart Duo
Lunar Duo
Lunar Duo

Setup

Each of these tents is fairly easy to pitch. For the most part they each use 2 trekking poles and 6 stakes. But keep reading because they each pitch entirely differently.

Double Rainbow

The Double Rainbow (“DR”) is the only one of these three that does not require trekking poles (or dedicated tent poles) to pitch; however, if you happen to have trekking poles handy (two of them) this tent can be set up free standing in which case only the vestibules need to be staked, or tied out. The DR makes use of a single ridgepole which runs the length of the tent and gives it the namesake arched “rainbow” shape. A sewn-in spreader bar runs crossways and supports the peak width of the tent. Setup is very easy: assemble the ridgepole, run it through the sleeve, attach at both ends, and stake out the corners and vestibules. When setting the tent up in freestanding mode trekking poles fit into sleeves at each end along the ground spanning the width of the tent; this keeps the ends taught and everything hunky dory. This is the only of these three tents that can be setup this way which can be a plus when using stakes is not an option.

LightHeart Duo

The LightHeart Duo (“LHD”) requires two trekking poles to pitch, alternatively dedicated tent poles are offered for those who don’t hike with trekking poles. The tent is provided with a specially designed lightweight spreader bar that attaches crossways to the peak from inside the tent by way of Velcro loops and supports the peak width of the tent. The LHD has a unique floor; each corner has a 6-inch vertical strut sewn in which aids in supporting the upright “bathtub” shape. Setup is fairly straightforward: stake out the corners, move inside the tent and insert the pole tips into the spreader bar at the peak with the hand grips seated on reinforced areas at the edges of the floor, then stake out the vestibules and/or pitch the porch (more on that later). This is the only of these three tents that allows for a good part of the setup to be done from inside the tent, which can be a plus in rainy weather however careful handling of the trekking poles inside the tent is a must.

Lunar Duo

The Lunar Duo (“LD”) also requires two trekking poles to pitch, and again dedicated tent poles are offered for those who don’t hike with trekking poles. Unlike the previous two tents, the LD does not utilize a spreader bar. Instead, the tent is provided with two short banana shaped ridge poles that are inserted into sleeves at each side of the tent running in the lengthwise direction. These poles give the tent a rounded shape at the peak. Setup is fairly straightforward: stake out the corners, insert the ridge poles into their sleeves, insert trekking pole tips into grommets located on pullout tabs near each ridge line, and stake out the vestibules. It’s also possible to do some of the setup from inside the LD, but it’s just waaay easier to get done from outside.

Living Quarters

The interactive photo series below will overlay the tents so you can get a good idea how they compare size-wise.

Double Rainbow

The Double Rainbow is a spacious tent with enough room for two without getting intimate. The floor measurements are approximately 48″ x 88″ with a peak height of 42″ and a peak width of about 18″. The end profile of the tent is an “A” shape with squared off top. The side profile is an arch shape which pulls the canopy away from the center and helps to make the most of the available space. The bathtub floor can optionally be unclipped to lay nearly flat which increases its size by several inches all around. The dual doors are situated symmetrically making entry or exit the same for both occupants. The vestibules on either side of the tent provide plenty of room for gear. Ventilation is provided by means of airflow all around the tent in the gap between the the vestibules and ground, as well as two top side vents.

LightHeart Duo

The LightHeart Duo is also a spacious tent and improves upon the floor space offered by the DR with a measurement of 56″ x 102″ with a peak height of 44″ and a peak width of about 10″. The end profile of the tent is an “A” shape with squared off top. The side profile is triangular as well. The struts that make the bathtub floor stand up help make the most of the floor space. Dual doors are situated symmetrically making entry or exit the same for both occupants. Two vestibules provide ample of room for gear. Ventilation is provided by means of airflow from the sides of the tent between the vestibules and ground. There are no top vents.

Lunar Duo

To say the Lunar Duo is spacious is somewhat of an understatement; measuring 54″ x 90″ with a peak height of 45″ and a peak width of 54″ this tent has an entirely different shape than the previous two. Since the sides do not slope inwards the gain in living space is substantial. The end profile of the tent is a rectangle. The side profile is triangular with a rounded over peak. The rounded peak again improves the living space by increasing the angle of the canopy. The dual doors are situated in a head-to-toe orientation which makes entry or exit a little different depending on which side you’re on (unless sleeping head to toe, which there is no reason to do in any of these tents). The latest design of the tent does feature symmetrically oriented dual doors, so entry and exit will be the same for both occupants (a nice change), this design is also present in some earlier versions of the tent. The vestibules are equally spacious. Ventilation is provided by means of airflow all around the tent in the gap between the the vestibules and ground, as well as two top side vents.

End Profiles – Click on an image thumbnail to see it compared against the current tent.

Double Rainbow
Double Rainbow
LightHeart Duo
LightHeart Duo
Lunar Duo
Lunar Duo

* Note – due to extremely loose soil it was difficult to keep a taught pitch on all 3 tents. We’ll be better prepared next go around!

Side Profiles – Click on an image thumbnail to see it compared against the current tent.

Tarptent Double Rainbow
Double Rainbow
Duo Wedge
Duo Wedge
Lunar Duo
Lunar Duo
Tarptent Double Rainbow
Tarptent Double Rainbow

Fair Weather and Foul Weather Use

A note on wind-shedding ability: We have not destructively tested these tents, and even if we had there are so many variables involved that the data harvested could only be of limited use. We’ll concede that, in general, a shelter with lower, rounder profile and less “sail faces” will shed wind better than a tall oblique shape. Keep in mind that where a tent is pitched and its orientation with respect to the direction of the wind are critical factors in how it will weather the storm. Pitching any of these tents on an open exposure in strong sustained winds would NOT be advisable. If you’re thinking that your intended use might push the tent to its limit you should be looking at dedicated 4 season bomb proof tents – your life might depend on it some day! Having said all of that, we’ve had each of these tents in some bad weather below tree line and they did just fine.

Double Rainbow

The Double Rainbow features roll up vestibules all around and a roll up rain curtain for complete unobstructed views (and lots of airflow) in good weather. It also allows for a mini-porch setup by way of pitching both vestibules out and up via trekking poles (or dedicated tent poles, sticks, etc…) and fastening the integrated rain curtain in place. The porch is probably best buttoned down when the wind becomes serious. In rainy weather the rain curtain prevents drips and some windblown rain from getting inside the tent during entry and exit. Although the DR doesn’t require trekking poles for setup they can be used at either side of the tent to provide additional support. This configuration might be used when snow is expected. The DR also has an (optional) mesh insert which essentially turns the tent into a double wall for use in areas where condensation can be problematic. The shape of the DR doesn’t provide many large, flat surfaces therefore it would make sense that this tent sheds wind better than the others. Two additional tie outs are provided for extra wind stability.

LightHeart Duo

The LightHeart Duo also features roll up vestibules all around for great views when the weather is nice. The optional “Wedge” version of the tent (as tested) provides a rain curtain similar to the DR yet much larger and integrated into the tent with a zipper on one side rather than velcro closure. The Wedge ties together both vestibules into a single large porch that is pitched via trekking pole or an optional dedicated awning pole. The resulting porch is large enough that an individual can sit under it (unless you’re a Sasquatch!). When the wind picks up the porch needs to be buttoned down. The shape of the LHD is probably the middle of the road when it comes to shedding wind compared to the others; not as sleek as the Double Rainbow but more angular than the Lunar Duo. Two additional tie outs are provided for extra wind stability.

Lunar Duo

Like both of our previous tents, the Lunar Duo also offers roll up vestibules for views and airflow in fair weather. Unlike the other two tents, the LD doesn’t feature any sort of “porch” in the sense that the others do. This is a bit of a bummer as it should be something simple to implement from a manufacturing standpoint – but don’t let it be a deal breaker if you’re interested in this tent. The shape of the LD creates several large flat surfaces, so theoretically it probably doesn’t have the wind shedding ability of the others. Two additional tie outs are provided for extra wind stability.

The Specs

Theses tents compare pretty well, yet they each offer something a little different. All specs below are as tested, as measured, and as weighed by us.

Side by Side Comparison
Double Rainbow LightHeart Duo Lunar Duo
Style: Single Wall Hybrid Single Wall Hybrid Single Wall Hybrid
Sleeps: 2 2 2
Packed Weight (oz): 42.8 35.41 42.8
Packed Size (in): 5×20 6×14 6×15
Floor Size (in): 48×882 56×102 54×90
Floor Area (ft2): 29.32 39.6 33.8
Peak Height (in): 42 44 45
Peak Width (in): 18 10 54
Interior Volume (ft3): 70.3 62.8 81.5
Free Standing? Yes3 No No
Stakes Required: 2-83 6-8 6-8
Poles Required: 0 + 1 included3 2 + 1 included 2 + 2 included
Doors: 2 2 2
Vestibules: 2 2 2
Porch Option? Yes Yes4 No


Foot Notes:

  1. Weight includes 1 “Wedge” plus carbon fiber pole which adds a total of 2.5 oz according to manufacturer.
  2. The bathtub floor may be unclipped to lie flat, increasing the available floor area.
  3. To use tent in free standing mode 2 trekking poles are required.
  4. Porch option is available with purchase of optional “Wedge”.

The Bottom Line

There is no clear winner here – all three of these tents are very capable 2-person shelters. It really comes down to personal preference at the end of the day.

Double Rainbow

With optional free standing mode, an optional inner liner, and optional pitching reinforcement this tent may be the most versatile of the lot.

LightHeart Duo

The lightest of the bunch and the porch (via Wedge) is grand. A tent equipped with two Wedges gets twice the love.

Lunar Duo

Even a pampered wife (or hubby!) will appreciate the space offered by this tent. Lots of mesh and top venting ensures excellent ventilation.

Jacob D Written by:

Jacob is the head honcho, wearer of many hats, and modern day berserker here at Hike It. Like It. When he's not out hiking or running the trails you'll find him operating in full capacity as a Super Dad and chipping away at a degree in Kinesiology. This guy likes to stay busy. Follow on Strava

8 Comments

  1. March 25, 2015
    Reply

    Hello it’s me, I am also visiting this website regularly, this website is in fact
    pleasant and the viewers are in fact sharing nice thoughts.

  2. October 7, 2011
    Reply

    Jacob, I should note that all of the new Lunar Duo’s have interior doors on the same orientation. We had several production runs where the were this wasn’t true. However, we decided to go back to the original design.

    • Jacob
      October 8, 2011
      Reply

      Ron, thanks for the clarification about the design change. I will update the article to reflect it.

  3. Robert Voorhees
    September 28, 2011
    Reply

    I bought a Lightheart Gear SoLong 6. It has more length inside and is huge for one or snug for two. Best part is that it only weighs 27oz! Even after I seam sealed it and added different guylines. Check it out!

  4. Daniel
    August 25, 2011
    Reply

    I bought a LightHeart Duo and LOVE it! Easily one of the lightest items in my pack now and setup is a breeze. I get lots of comments for it on the AT and you can custom order it in about a dozen colors. I recommended another LightHeart tent to my buddy and he takes it out for regular camping as well as the trail. I gotta say, the Wedge came in handy for cooking during a drizzle in the Smokies. I’m considering the SoLong 6 from Lightheart as well, my son is 6’2 and the extra length would make hiking a little more comfortable.

    D

    • Jacob
      August 25, 2011
      Reply

      Hey Daniel. Thanks for dropping us a note on the LightHeart Duo. The porch is awesome and I wouldn’t hesitate to cook under it. I’m 6′-3 and change and I can actually sit upright under the porch… lots of room. I’m hoping to review the SoLong6 later this year. I spoke to Judy regarding it and I know she has been very busy making them 🙂

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