Polarmond is a Swiss Start up. They introduced a completely new philosophy of camping with the All-in-One sleep system at the end of 2016. I am a lucky owner of one and will share my views on it.
Why buy a Polarmond?
You buy a Polarmond all in one system for the following reasons:
- You sleep in cold temperatures, this is mostly designed for winter use below 0°C, although is works very well too above 0°C.
- Incredible sleep comfort comparable to sleeping at home
- You want to control temperature inside your tent
- You have enough of condensation in the tent
- You are concerned about Down insulation getting wet
- You sleep one your own in the tent
- You no longer want to slide on your sleeping pad with your sleeping bag
- You want a very strong tent that handles high winds very well
- You are looking for a complete new camping experience
- You are against Down or animal derived products (this tent is all synthetic, man-made materials)
- You want people to have a look at how cool you tent is
The 5 Customer Benefits
Sleeping is comparable to home comfort. No more sliding on the matt with your sleeping bag, no movement restriction
The inside of the sleep shell is coated with a vapour barrier, so the moisture your body creates overnight does not wet the synthetic insulation and there is not reduction in insulation like if Down got wet.
Condensation control. As the body warms up the sleep room, the moisture can be vented through the main zip, letting warm air carrying moisture out of the sleep shell
Temperature control. The more you shut the zip, the warmer it gets, adjust it as you like it!
Sleep in a warm room. The sleep shell is about 25°C warmer than outside temperature. as a result, it is almost never going to freeze in the sleep shell, making it ideal to store items which need to remain warm and dry such as: water bottle, boots, camera, batteries, clothes. I was able to dry my pair of winter gloves and wet camera overnight at -3°C outside. This is impossible with a tradition tent!
Who is it for?
- Photographers, Alpinists, mountaineers, climbers, adventurers, ski tourers, polar explorers, Kite tourers, high altitude campers, winter campers anywhere in the world, anyone who doesn't like sleeping bag or sleep cold
How it Works
It would be difficult to explain better than the video:
The built quality is simply incredible. As Polamond is a small company, they have been sourcing the materials all over the world. Different part of the tent have been manufactured in countries like Ireland, Corea...
The stitches are solid, the ripstop fabric inspiring confidence and feel great on touch, guy lines are strong, pegs are industry standard. The sleep pad is simply the best of the market for winter camping, The hood and inside of the sleep shell feel great, it is a real please to sleep in it. The zipper are heavy duties and waterproof. In summary it is a beautiful product fantastically designed and perfectly crafted. It is built to last! You will be proud to own one.
More technical details can be found on their website:
Here is full detailed video showing how to set up the whole system in the conditions.
It is quite different from setting up a traditional tent for 2 reasons.
You tend to inflate the sleep pad first (although you can set it up at the end like in the video if it rains), slide it in its pocket and then set up the rest of the system
The other thing which is quite different is the zip which connects the Sleep Shell to the modules, being either the tent module or the Bivouac module. it is a 360 degrees zip that goes all teh way under the sleep shell for full waterproofness.
The Polarmond is a pitch outer first system, both inner and outer sheets are linked and go up together. This protect the inner from rain or snow during set up. You start putting the skeleton up by inserting the poles one by one in their colour coded short pole sleeves. The sleeves have a dead end going to the ground and go up a about 10cm, this allows to insert the two ends of the pole first and then clip the fly sheet onto the pole using the clips. The systems then slowly builds up but already pegged down it stops it flying away. This concept is pretty unique and certainly revolutionary.
Overall if you compare setting up a 4 season tent, inflating your sleep pad and buff your down bag, it will take you just as long around 15 min with a bit of experience.
Performance in the cold
This system has been built for the cold, so it performs exceptionally well in these environments! The system is sold with a liner for extreme cold temperatures.
In my opinion, down to 0°C the sleep shell (the long self heated tunnel, orange part) gets more than warm enough so you probably will not need the liner. This save bulk and weight.
Down to -5°C it's still possible not to use the liner as long as you layer up.
Below -5°C, then the liner is a must.
Below is a photo showing the inside of the sleep shell. on that morning it was 3°C outside and 28°C inside. This was without the liner, of course at 28°C you do no need a blanket to sleep with!
Performance in the wind
I always said that I would never buy a tunnel tent design. on UK summits, particularly in winter the winds are very strong and a geodesic design is generally far more suited to strong winds and gusts.
With the Polarmond, I have had to change my mind. Technically speaking it is a tunnel tent. Although it is more an hybrid between a tunnel tent and a bivy bag, but my experience has shown that the design has been very strong in high winds. In fact, the Polarmond benefits from the best of the 2, it is large enough in the tent area to store winter equipment, cook and get changed, and it remains small enough so the area where you sleep is kept to a minimum, without being too constrained.
On the photo below, on the Summit of Ben A' Bhuird at 1165m in Dec 2017 (Cairngorms National Park, Scotland), the Polarmond stood in sustained winds between 20 and 40mph winds (estimated), competing directly with the amazing Hilleberg Soulo. It had nothing to envy the Hilleberg on that night.
Even though the overall system is quite low and profiled, 2 tent ventilations across the tent are placed right at the top of the tent unit. This helps getting a good air flow throughout the tent unit and limits greatly the condensation even in the tent unit itself.
This is possibly the most versatile product on the market. Because it is a modular system you can essentially build it for what you need it to be.
If you need maximum protection then you take them full system, you want to go more compact for dry conditions then pack the bivouac unit only. And if you love looking at the stars then take just the sleep shell. So this a pretty versatile system for one person. I hope in the future Polarmond will design version which can accommodate multiple people.
Overall the footprint of the Polarmond All-in-one sleep system with the tent module is longer than a traditional one man tent, however, if you are planning exposed pitches with little ground scape then the bivouac module is probably more suited to you.
It is important to note that because you do not directly sleep on the sleep pad and you are not in a sleeping bag, the fabric of the pocket pocket in which the Thermarest pad slides in is a rubbery material. So rubbery material and not slippery bag means that you will no longer slide and roll down on your matt all night long. a huge comfort meaning you will not wake up every hours if the ground is on a slight angle. This also mean that you can pitch the Polarmond on slopes which would not be possible with traditional systems.
Ventilation is one of the main selling point of this system. the Sleep shell uses physics to ventilate the warm room by using warm air escaping the warm room and cold air coming in. This generate a continuous airflow which removes moisture out and stops/reduce condensation issues.
Down to 0°C outside I had no condensation in the sleep shell. between 0°C and -5°C only a little condensation was present in the sleep shell around the bottom of the walls. This was no issues as sleeping in the middle I never touched that condensation, this can easily be wiped and does not enter the insulation. bellow -10°C condensation disappears again (feedback from other users as I haven't tested the system below-5°C yet)
Inside the tent module, I observed some condensation, as it is no different than a normal tent at this point, however overall I would say there was still less condensation than I would normally have in a traditional tent.
The 2 top vents can be seen on each side of the tent module.
The Polarmond is full of little smart details and will keep surprising you for a long time. even now having used it several nights, I still discover something new about it every time!
This is an important question for a shelter, particularly for a one man tent. From the outside the Polarmond may feel fairly small, but it surprises how roomy it is inside.
Once again the system has been very well designed. In a traditional tent, the bed takes most of the space, leaving sometimes little space left for anything else, in fact I normally store all my equipment in the vestibule as the bed is taking most of the space. In the Polarmond, because the bed is at 80% outside the tent module, you have 80% of the tent itself which is essentially free, giving you a huge vestibule in essence. Clever concept! There is a good vestibule too for cooking with the vent just above or for storing your dirty boots. This is perfect as you put your boots on to get outside.
I am 6ft4 or 1m91cm so fairly tall. I can to comfortably sit on the sleep pad warm which falls right under the highest point of the tent module with my head barely touching the inner tent ceiling. from there I can easily access all my gear in the inner tent, but also open the inner and outer doors. this is perfect for cooking, getting changed and pack equipment too. Most solo tent with be just about the size of the Polarmond tent module, but you would have to fit your bed in it, not here!
Cooking in the tent module is perfect, open up the door and off you go, the vent is also placed just above the vestibule so in bad weather you can still cook with the door closed
This is where it gets GOOD! The shell is the revolutionary part in a sense that there is far more space than in a traditional sleeping bag. With a little squeeze there would almost be enough space for 2 people so on your own you have plenty of space. you can roll around, bend knees, like in your own bed, you will not have the limitation of a standard sleeping bag. also, there is no more cold spot when your elbow or knee sticks through your down bag squashing the down and making you flee cold, since you are sleeping in a warm room.
The extra space also means you can store all sort of stuff in the warm room to prevent them freezing up, such as water bottle, boots (in a bag to keep the room clean please! you don't get in your room with muddy boots do you? well same here !), electronic equipment... but you can do something which had never been possible before, you can dry damp/wet cloth, now this is amazing! My winter gloves were very wet after digging the snow walls for the tent, so I left them on my side in the shell overnight and in the morning, they were almost dry! My camera had been covered with condensation on the evening taking photos outside, in the morning it was bone dry! I couldn't believe it!
As the whole system splits into several units, it is easy to break down into small unit and hang separately. The sleep shell reverse inside out, making it very easy to vent, dry and clean. Leave the short zip near the hood open overnight in a room at 20°C and any moisture in the insulation magically dries off, great system! As the whole sleep shell is a vapour barrier it is easy to wipe with a wet cloth!
Weight & Packability
Here below is a good overview of what the Polarmond includes (liner not shown in this photo). The whole system packs into a normal back pack I have a 65L rucksack and I still have plenty of space for cloth, food an, gas stove , water and my cameras, so that is not an issue.
Compared to a traditional 4 seasons winter camping set up, here is what I also own:
Hilleberg Soulo (including bags, repair kit and Footprint): 2.7kg
Rab Neutrino 800 Down Sleeping bag XL (including stuff sac sleep comfort ): 1.5kg
Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm Large : 0.6kg
Average Vapour Barier Liner: 0.2kg
Total : 5.0kg
So down to -5°C there is little extra weight in comparison. If you plan to sleep below -5°C down to -30°C then I would recommend the use of the liner (0.8kg). This brings the overall weight to 6.3kg.
The cost of a Polarmond All-In-One Tent is 1,762€ in regular size (equivalent to £1,550) (including tax and shipping all over the world)
The cost of a traditional 4 seasons winter camping set up is:
Hilleberg Soulo (including bags, repair kit and Footprint): £650
Rab Neutrino 800 Down Sleeping bag XL (including stuff sac sleep comfort ): £400
Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm Large : £160
Average Vapour Barier Liner: £60
Total : £1,270
So for short of £300, you have a shelter that offers all the benefits described in the review, sleep comfort comparable to your bed, temperature and moisture control, warm room, protection of insulation against moisture...
So in Summary:
This is something truly unique, that people will turn their head to, so if you want to experience camping in a complete new way with a new level of comfort then, it's time to save up and invest in a Polarmond. You will not regret it, you'll be proud to own one!
Feel free to ask questions and/or comment below. Thank you for reading...