The new 2019 Lightwave S10 Sigma tent is a single-wall, 1-person, 4-season tent. It is constructed with a breathable flysheet instead of an inner tent, which aims to control the problem of condensation. Review updated 3rd January 2021.
I’ve purchased the green and black version, and it’s also available in plain green. It weighs 978g without pegs and bags. The recommended retail price is £599.99.
Lightwave Sigma tent range
The Lightwave Sigma tent range was launched in 2016 with two models, the S10 and S20. Following customer feedback, both models have been updated and relaunched in 2019. The old S10 model has been renamed S15 (to reflect its larger size). The old S20 model has been renamed the S22 (to reflect the extra porch and door on this model).
This made room in the Lightwave Sigma range for a smaller, lighter-weight tent: the new 2019 S10 model, which I’m reviewing here.
Lightwave S10 Sigma tent features
New features on the 2019 S10 model are the pole arrangement, which has been simplified from three poles to just two. This means there is no longer a cross pole at the top. This does reduce the interior volume slightly, but there’s still just enough room to sit up without touching the sides of the tent.
The new S10 model has siliconised material for the pole sleeves to reduce friction. This makes it easier to push the poles through the sleeves. There are also two eyelets at the pole ends instead of one, making the tent easier to put up. This solves a common complaint with the old S10 model that the poles were too tight and difficult to locate in the eyelets.
The doors have also been enlarged on the new S10 model to make it easier to get in and out of the tent.
These are all useful updates and definite improvements on the old model. The new S10 model is now lighter and more user-friendly.
Lightwave S10 Sigma design
The new S10 is a single-wall tent, apart from a secondary inner wall which separates the porch area from the sleeping area.
Being single skinned means there’s no wasted space between the inner and the flysheet, so you can make full use of all the space. The 2-pole design holds the flysheet taught and makes for a pretty stable tent in windy conditions – as long as you’ve pegged all the guylines out!
The S10 is slightly heavier than most lightweight tent flysheets but you don’t have the additional weight of an inner tent. This means it balances out to be a very lightweight tent, especially considering it is designed for 4-season use. The X-tex fabric is also more waterproof than a lot of other lightweight tents.
I purchased the green and black model of the new S10 but I would say it’s more brown than black. This is not an issue to me, however, as it makes it even better for stealth wild camping as it is less conspicuous when it’s pitched.
Lightwave S10 Sigma materials
Single-walled tents usually have a problem with condensation on the inner walls but the Sigma S10 uses X-tex breathable fabric (as did the old model).
The X-tex fabric flysheet it reasonably thick and isn’t very light permeable so it can make the inside darker than you may be used to. It could be worth setting an alarm so you don’t sleep in. The porch fabric doesn’t need to be breathable (as it’s not part of the inner tent) so this is made from silicon-coated fabric similar to that found on other lightweight tents. This helps to make the tent lighter.
The Sigma groundsheet is made from 50-denier taffeta which is a reasonable balance between weight saving and adequate protection from moisture and abrasion. You shouldn’t need to carry an additional ground sheet with this tent unless you’re likely to be camping on extremely rough ground.
The ground sheet is a nice deep bath-tub design (meaning that the ground sheet wraps up the side of the tent).
Single-walled tents are renowned for condensation running down the inside walls and dripping on you and your gear in the night.
The Lightwave Sigma S10 X-tex fabric on the flysheet reduces this problem. It manages condensation by using an activated carbon coating to attract and increase the surface area, improving the absorption rate of the water. This means it literally sucks the moisture into the coating to then be transported to the outside of the tent through the breathable fabric. This works really well most of the time, it only fails when it’s water logged or frozen. Then there will be some condensation build up inside the tent.
The bath-tub groundsheet isn’t made from breathable material and the seams on the flysheet also don’t breathe very well. When conditions are right for condensation, it will form there but it’s not been a serious problem so far. It’s worth having a lightweight cloth around to wipe the condensation off these areas in the morning.
I’ve not had a big problem with condensation in the tent, but I’ve found that because there’s not much air flow through the tent. I do find a little condensation on the outside of my sleeping bag, that has come from my breathing over night.
The inner material of the tent can feel wet to the touch and it’s best not to touch it, as it will transfer to your clothes making them wet. But the condensation on the inner has never beaded or dripped on me or my gear.
I find all small tents have issues with condensation on the inner, when conditions are right. Especially tents designed for cold weather, with a small amount of venting to keep you warmer. It’s just the lack of airflow through the tent and leaving the doors open if you can, always helps reduce condensation.
I’m very happy with the tent, there was less issues with condensation than I would have had on the inside of an inner tent of my usual light weight hiking tents. I’ve encourage condensation by camping on wet ground a few nights, and had temperatures below zero some nights. I’ve also spent some nights of between 12 to 14 hours in the tent and also cooked inside the awning.
The porch flysheet is not made with the X-tex fabric and is often wet with condensation in the morning.
The mornings when I would get a small amount of condensation on the X-tex fabric, was when it had been a still, cold night and I was camped on wet ground. But the tent dries quickly and it doesn’t cause problems. It would have been worse on a standard double walled tent with a solid inner tent in the same conditions.
I am very pleased with the tent so far and it worked really well in the conditions I’ve had.
John’s view of the Sigma S15. . . I would like to thank John for sending me a message of his experience of the similar Sigma S15 tent. He’s had trouble with condensation building up on the inside of the tent when the outer material is water logged from continuous rain. Otherwise he says the X-tex material works well.
Testing the Lightwave S10 Sigma tent
From feedback on the old Sigma range, we should expect the new S10 tent to be very good and control condensation well. Please watch this space and I’ll let you know how the tent performs as soon as I can.
I’ll update this review as I learn more about the tent.
Pitching the tent
The Lightwave S10 Sigma tent needs 12 pegs to pitch it for maximum stability. However, it will stand with only one peg (used to hold the porch open) because the rest of the tent is freestanding. This means that if it’s impossible to get pegs in the ground, you could sleep in the tent without pegging it down fully (as long as it’s not windy). I say this because I have had to do that on one occasion with a different tent. Anything over a slight breeze means pegs are essential though. Pegging a tent properly also maximises the interior space.
Pitching the S10 tent is really simple and quick. This is ideal if it’s wet or windy, or you’re just exhausted. It took me a little over two minutes to put up, including pegging out all of the guylines.
To pitch the tent, place the four smaller flash pegs into the four corners of the groundsheet, then push the two poles into their sleeves. The poles are both identical so that keeps it nice and simple. When the poles come out the other end of the sleeves, stick them into the outer eyelets at the pegging points.
All that’s needed next is to push both the poles in at the same time, until it’s possible to locate them in the other two eyelets. Then pull the porch out and peg it with a single peg.
The tent is pitched at this point (five pegs). However, if the wind is likely to get up (and for maximum interior space) it’s best to use all the pegging points and then pull all the guylines taught. This makes for a very solid and safe feeling tent. I’d be happy sitting out a storm in it.
Pegs and guylines
The supplied pegs are good quality and appropriate for the tent. They come in two sizes – lightning (thicker) and flash (thinner). I am impressed with the quality of the pegs. I have bought tents from other manufacturers in the past where I’ve had to throw away the supplied pegs and replace them with better-quality ones. Many manufacturers’ supplied pegs seem to be there for show and to reduce the overall weight figures, rather than to keep the tent standing. So well done Lightwave.
The 8 lightning pegs supplied with the Lightwave Sigma S10 tent weigh 10g each and are strong enough to take a bit of abuse. There are also four smaller and lighter-weight flash pegs weighing 6g each. These are used for non-critical pegging points such as the four groundsheet corners. The flash pegs are exactly half the width of a lightning peg but the same 160mm length.
The tent comes with 2.0 mm nylon guylines and there are enough for all the attachment points. You may wish to change these for Dyneema guylines to save a few grams, but these nylon ones seem fine to me, especially as they come with Linelok adjusters that adjust and hold really well.
The back wall guyline is substantial and well placed to keep the wall from blowing in. This is an important guyline to have pegged out well in case the wind turns. This wall is fairly large and very flat, so it will catch the wind if it ends up blowing onto it.
The guyline attachment points feel substantial, more so than on any other lightweight tent I’ve used. They look like they’ll hold together in a storm and last well.
The interior feels spacious enough, especially when laid down. It has plenty of head room and there’s space to sit up and get dressed.
Many lightweight tents can feel like coffins when you’re laid down, but not the Lightwave S10 Sigma tent. The material is kept well away from your face and feet. The interior height is 95cm when the poles are in the outer eyelets, so this could be increased slightly if the poles were placed in the tighter inner eyelets.
The flysheet tapers in with height but there’s enough room all the way up. Not having the cross pole like on the old S10 model (and the new S15) does reduce the interior space a little, but there’s still enough room to be comfortable. The two pole design keeps the flysheet tight. The material is therefore not being blown in if it’s windy, reducing the interior space with every gust.
The porch is plenty big enough to hold a rucksack and boots, leaving enough room to cook in if you need to.
The inside of the tent is the same width both ends (80cm) so you can sleep either way round. This is very useful if you’re camped on a slope or the wind and ground conditions are less than favourable.
The two corner pockets are a nice size and well placed in both corners on the back wall.
The Lightwave S10 Sigma tent comes with two tie-backs for the outside door. This is really useful to hold the door material completely out of the way.
The inner door has a nice amount of mesh to help with airflow and the zip can be operated from top or bottom. This can be very useful to increase ventilation and help to reduce condensation.
The main flysheet door can be zipped from the bottom or top which is great for ventilation in bad weather and essential if you’re cooking inside the porch area.
- 1 person
- 4 season
- Flysheet/inner weighs: 714g inc. all guylines
- Poles weigh: 251g + Pole bag 13g
- Total weight: 965g (excludes pegs & bags)
- Pegs 16cm long x 12 weigh: 103g (peg/tent bag 26g)
- Pole repair piece: 9g
- Tent all-up total weight: 1116g
- Internal length: 215cm
- Internal width: 80cm
- Height: 100cm (internal height 95cm with poles in outer holes)
- Porch width: 60cm
- Flysheet: 20d ripstop nylon, X-tex coating, 20,000 hydrostatic head.
- Inner wall: 20d ripstop nylon.
- Porch: 30d nylon ripstop, 5000 hydrostatic head.
- Groundsheet: 50d nylon taffeta, 5000 hydrostatic head, bath-tub with taped seams.
- Poles: 2x DAC 9.35mm featherlite alloy.
- Supplied with the tent: 4 x 2.5m and 2 x 1.5m (2mm nylon) guylines; 8 lightning pegs; 4 flash pegs; pole repair tube, pole bag and tent/peg bag.
Conclusions on the Lightwave S10 Sigma tent
I’m very impressed with the new Lightwave S10 Sigma tent. It’s well made with quality materials. This new simpler and lower weight model is an extremely attractive choice for lightweight hikers. It’s nice that it comes with everything needed and you haven’t got to add guylines or sensibly sized pegs.
There are lighter tents out there, but if you want to use it all year round or be able to sit out a storm in relative comfort, then this tent is a great choice. I think it’s a good choice for long distance hikes in the UK’s unpredictable weather.
The tent controls condensation well but doesn’t eliminate it completely. Condensation is the number one problem with small tents on long distance wild camping trips. I had good experience of this on my 62-day Lands End to John O’Groats and 3 Peaks walk, when I wild camped for 58 nights.
This tent material is a great compromise but doesn’t solve the condensation problem completely. I don’t think any small tent can if conditions are right for condensation. Were you pitch your tent and how much ventilation you’ve got, will have more of an impact on how much condensation you wake up to rather than the tent you have purchased.
Great tent though and I can recommend it for the shoulder seasons and it’s especially good in winter.
I will be testing the Lightwave S10 Sigma tent extensively and I’ll update this review as I learn more about the tent.
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I purchased this tent with my own money. This is an independent, honest review but just my opinion. All information (including prices) on this post are correct at the time of writing, to the best of my knowledge. The weights are from my kitchen scales. I do my best to not make mistakes but cannot be held responsible for incorrect information. If you have an opinion on this tent, please get in touch – I’d love to hear from you! If you find any mistakes on this site, please let me know so I can correct them for future readers. Many thanks.
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