Ultra-light Fast Stash Tent

Gear Review: Fast Stash Single Wall Tent by MSR

The Fast Stash is a single wall “Adirondack Lean-to” style tent – tarp hybrid. For the hiker who wants to experience the openness of tarp style camping without the bugs and other critters invading your sleep space, maybe the Fast Stash is for you.

At first glance, the Fast Stash has innovative features such as side wings that when set out will increase venting or moved in “closing” them for protection from rain or to increase warmth. You can play with stake guy cord placement to angle the wings at various degrees from the tent.

When wide open, the wings give enough protection for gear in good weather. The Fast Stash also features an overhang at the front and only entrance which can also give a bit of protection in light rain. Its real function is to provide cover for a full-length venting screen that runs along the front of the tent. There is no vent at the peak of the tent.

Inside the tent has two small stash pockets on each side of the door. The front door is large and has a screen for more ventilation. The interior space is airy. For two hikes sitting in the tent, there is ample room for them and gear. The large floor area also provides plenty of space for two to sleep. The tent is light enough and with the ability to use hiking poles to erect it, it could be used as a very spacious one person shelter.

MSR Fast Stash Interior Showing Space for Two
MSR Fast Stash Interior Showing Space for Two

The rear sleeper

One of the hitches with the Fast Stash is the space for the rear sleeper. Due to the tents tarp like design, the rear of the tent angles quite close to the ground. This may have the rear sleeper feeling a bit closed in. However, if you have put any time in a bivy sack in bad weather, it will feel large.

MSR Fast Stash Rear View
MSR Fast Stash Rear View

MSR has attempted to lessen this with a guy line that when anchored to a tree or hiking pole to give some lift to the back wall. However, some may not find this adequate.

The rear sleeper has a two options:

  1. Move to the front a few inches. Yes, even a few inches will help.
  2. Don’t be the rear sleeper.

A major problem with being the rear sleeper is the issue of condensation which will get on much of the wall side of your sleeping bag. Another problem is having to crawl over the front sleeper if you need to relieve yourself at night. This is a problem for both tent mates.

Putting it up

The Fast Stash requires practice.

The tent is not freestanding but with some practice can easily be erected by one person. With nine stake points and two poles or hiking poles, it does need a bit of fiddling to get the tent set right depending on the ground.

It has a big footprint so tight spots could be a problem. I can’t say with absolute certainty as we stayed at back-country designated sites which are large and level.

Pitching the Fast Stash goes something like this:

  1. Stake the corners
  2. Stake the front guy lines
  3. Set poles at top front corners and on ground a few inches from door (no grommet or loops provided)
  4. Tighten guy lines a bit
  5. Set wing guy lines
  6. Set back guy line to a tree
  7. Check and tighten all guy lines to get the tent taught
MSR Fast Stash with side wings closed
MSR Fast Stash with side wings closed

We found when closing the side wings in it was better to move the front guy lines out a bit to keep the ridge of the tent taught. The Fast Stash is surprisingly wind resilient, but not as sturdy as other lightweight tents. Having said that, we live in the Catskills on an open ridge which gets battered by wind much of the year. We found setting the tent up in windy conditions challenging, but once it was up and well anchored it withstood strong wind in a field on an open ridge for a five-hour test fairly well. We found the stakes adequate but could see situations where larger one would be better.

Condensation

You’ll get it to some degree. It’s a single wall tent. But you get it on tents with flies too. On a cool November night in the Catskills with low temps of 28 degrees and next to no breeze, camping in a bowl below Blackhead Mountain, we had all vents open and woke to lots of frosty condensation. needless to say, as the rear sleeper part of my bag was wet. It is part of using a single wall tent.

Likes:

  • Weight to space ratio.
  • Tarp-style camping with protection.
  • Lots of ventilation.
  • Large front door.
  • Movable wings to increase warmth.
  • Ability to use hiking poles vs. tent poles

Dislikes:

  • Rear angle of tent
  • Having to climb over tent mate if rear sleeper
  • No loops to secure poles at the base of the tent.
  • No vent at the peak of the tent which we feel would decrease condensation.

Final Thoughts

MSR Fast Stash set with wings out
MSR Fast Stash set with wings out

All in all the MSR Fast Stash single wall tent gives the camper a lightweight option for tarp style camping with more protection from the elements. With its ability to open and close the wings you can push it into the late fall as long as there is no snow falling.

If weight is your main consideration there are other ultralights that will suit you better. But if you are looking for a large lightweight tent, the MSR Fast Stash could be for you. The tent is large enough for two but is light enough with the ability to use hiking poles to erect it and could be used as a very spacious one person shelter. 

Last Updated on by Scott L.

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