Ultralight hot tents are not only a thing, they are a game changer. This Seek Outside Redcliff review comes after our review of the Seek Outside Cimarron Light that we tested last year but found to be a bit tight for those trips with more than two people when we needed the comfort of the wood stove. I was excited to try the Seek Outside Redcliff due to its larger size with minimal weight penalty vs the Cimarron Light hot tent. It seemed to fit the bill perfectly, but you never know until you get it in the field and use it in real world conditions.
Why The Seek Outside Redcliff Light
Last year we tested and reviewed the Seek Outside Cimarron hot tent with the SXL stove, and it was an awesome combo. That being said, it was a little tight for three of us and a stove, which was a situation we found ourselves in a couple of times. That’s where this Seek Outside Redcliff review came from. We needed a tent large enough for three of us to be a bit more comfortable, but didn’t want a massive weight penalty.
I selected the Redcliff Light version for this Seek Outside Redcliff review rather than the Standard Redcliff to save a few ounces, and I didn’t see the need for the extra door that the regular version gives you. That extra door would have been nice when loading the tent up with firewood, or when throwing all our pads, sleeping bags, etc. in the tent, but it’s a minor inconvenience, and ounces add up quickly on late season backcountry hunts.
Like the idea of a hot tent but are looking for something a little bigger? Check out our review of the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi! Looking for something smaller? See our Seek Outside Cimarron Review and the Argali Absaroka 4P Review! Check out our other hot tent reviews as well!
Which One Would You Choose?
Check out this video as we dive into the differences between two of the best ultralight wood stoves on the market!
Looking for an ultralight backpacking tent? Check out our huge selection of ultralight backpacking tent reviews! We’ve tested a lot of them over the years!
Options & Accessories: Seek Outside Redcliff Review
There are a TON of options and accessories to choose from that Seek Outside offers. Each tent has various add-ons that you can purchase, making your Seek Outside tent extremely versatile. There are a few accessories that I found to be especially critical, and some that I’ve found to be nice, but not necessary.
Half Nest – Seek Outside Redcliff Review
Obviously, the canopy is the basis of your shelter, and you can certainly stop with just that. However, I’ve found that I loved bringing a Redcliff half nest, or even two half nests depending on how many people we’ll have in camp. There are plenty of folks out there that love the entirely floorless option, and that’s great, but personally I like to have a nice, clean sleeping quarter.
If a nest isn’t in the budget, or you want to save some weight, I’ve also found bringing a simple, inexpensive, lightweight tarp works just fine in order to provide a clean area to put your sleeping pad and bag on. I just want something primarily to keep my sleep system clean and dry.
I do prefer the a half nest over the tarp if possible as the nest allows you to get full protection from bugs, snakes, or other creepy crawlies that might be a problem. Those things typically aren’t an issue during the months you need a wood stove in your tent, so a half nest simply comes down to personal preference. I fully embrace the fact that I might be a pansy and like having a floor.
Condensation Liner (Half & Full)
Another option you can add on is the Seek Outside Redcliff Liner. You can opt for a half liner to protect just your sleeping area, or you can get two half liners for a full 360 degree protection from condensation. The liner will effectively turn your single-walled shelter, that is prone to condensation, into a double wall shelter. This will aid greatly in preventing those annoying drops of cold condensation on your head.
I’ve found that, if you are using a nest for your sleeping quarters, a liner for the side of the tent that you are not sleeping on is nice. If you are using two half nests, though, there is no need for any liners (and they won’t fit anyway). You can either put the liner or the nest on each side. I personally prefer the nest since you effectively get a liner and a floor making your sleeping quarter fully protected from bugs, but choosing the liner instead can save you a little weight.
During this Seek Outside Redcliff review I found that if temperatures are below freezing but not yet down into the low teens and single digits, condensation can be the worst. Once it got substantially below freezing, the tent walls just quickly froze any condensation during the night. Of course once you fire up the stove you can get a nice shower with the condensation dripping down on your things after everything heats up, so be careful there!
At the end of the day, I hate adding the extra weight of a liner, but it really does help in keeping you nice and dry inside the tent by giving you that extra layer of protection of a double-wall tent. I found the combination of either the full liner (when not using the half nest) or a half liner with the half nest to work really well.
Big Mama Stove – Seek Outside Redcliff Review
Seek Outside recommended any of their stoves from SXL size and up to use with this Redcliff shelter. Since we tested the SXL Titanium wood stove last year, we decided to give the Seek Outside Big Mama Titanium wood stove and stovepipe a try this time. The Big Mama is the largest of the titanium stoves offered by Seek Outside, and it certainly is a bit heavier than the SXL at around 5.5 lbs, but I was curious if the extra size and fire box capacity would make a difference. Plus, if I ever decided to pick up one of their larger tipi tents down the road, I’d have a stove that would work for that as well.
One of the extras you can pick up with the Seek Outside Big Mama Stove is the Big Mama Baffle. This is a unique titanium sheet that is added inside the fire box (while assembling) that creates a secondary air chamber, giving the stove a more efficient and complete burn. Be careful how you install it, though, as it’s a bit odd the first time you do it.
The picture above is how the stove looks without the Big Mama Baffle installed. Assemble as usual. However, if you use the Big Mama Baffle, you install the opening in the baffle toward the rear of the stove, and then flip the top piece of the stove so the stove pipe is at the front of the stove (closest to the door opening).
This may seem odd, but it really does help with the draw, and I found that the stove burns longer and more efficiently with the baffle in there, and it only adds a couple ounces. It made a big enough difference that I found myself taking it, even when backpacking.
Snow Cap – Seek Outside Redcliff Review
One optional piece I came love through this Seek Outside Redcliff review is Snow Cap. If you are going to be using your stove in situations where snow and/or rain is likely, it may not be a bad idea to add a Snow Cap to the stove pipe to help alleviate moisture from coming down the stove pipe and causing a wet mess inside your stove box. This can reduce efficiency of the burn inside the stove box, especially if it rain or snow hits while you are out hunting for the day.
Extra Stove Parts & Pieces
One other thing I would STRONGLY recommend is to order some spare stove parts to take with you. I learned this the hard way by losing a foot on one trip, and having the spring inside the carbon pole disappear on me on another trip, so I had to improvise and find a stick to plug in there to make it work. It was a little sketchy, though, and I was praying the tent wasn’t going to come down while we had the stove cranking. Based on my experience, I now take the following Seek Outside Stove replacement parts with me in a spare parts bag:
- 2 wing nuts
- 1 extra leg (rod)
- 1 extra pole spring
- 1 extra foot
- 1 extra stove pipe ring
I also picked up one of the Seek Outside Stove Pipe Storage Cases, which I also use to hold the spare parts and rod. It’s definitely not a must-have, but is kind of nice for organizational purposes.
The Specs: Seek Outside Redcliff Review
One of the reasons I wanted to do this Seek Outside Redcliff review was because of the extra space you get without adding a ton of weight over its smaller brother, the Cimarron. Given that the Redcliff shelter is so customizable with a number of accessories to add depending on your need and wants, it can be hard to get an “all in” weight when going from product to product on the Seek Outside website. I went ahead and put that all together for you here. I weighed each piece, then weighed the total package to get an actual, realistic carry weight. Here are my results:
As you can see above, there are so many variables that can affect the total weight. How many stakes do you want to take? Did you add the additional guy lines and line locs? Did you add in the liner, half nest, snow cap, etc? What about gloves and a saw? You can go minimalist and keep the weight way down, or add in a bunch of accessories that can really push the weight up there on you. Everyone will be different here, so pick what will work best for you and go with it.
Now, for my stove kit, my total all-in weight ended up being 7.26 lbs (or 116.1 oz) if I threw everything in the stove bag including the stove, pipe & rings, pipe case, snow cap, extra stove parts, gloves, saw, cleaning brush, and a tin of those Bigfoot Bushcraft Fire Plugs. Obviously, I added some significant weight, but I can lighten it up by leaving some of those extras at home.
Materials Used: Seek Outside Redcliff Review
Seek Outside products are proudly made in the USA, which is a rarity these days. Not only that, but they use some of the finest materials and craftsmanship to make their shelters. When you start to pay attention to the detail and thought that was put into the angles, seams, and design you appreciate the product more.
The Seek Outside Redcliff is made of top-quality 30D Silnylon. You’ll want to either have Seek Outside seam-seal your shelter, or you have the option of doing it yourself once you receive it. Either way, it’ll need to be seam-sealed to make sure you don’t have moisture coming through the seams.
One of the reasons I opted to go with the Redcliff Light for this Seek Outside Redcliff review rather than the standard version is that the Redcliff Light comes with linelocs as well as nylon loops for the tent stakes vs. the standard Seek Outside Redcliff, which only comes with the nylon loops. I like the versatility you get with the two different stake options to vent more or seal out drafts depending on the situation. The linelocs also make the setup easier and more flexible if need be.
Zippers are heavy-duty YKK zippers, and we got to fully test them out during last year’s Seek Outside Cimarron review as I had the zipper completely freeze on me. It took some serious force to break it loose, but it held up just fine!
My Field Testing: Seek Outside Redcliff Review
Now that we’ve got all the boring stuff out of the way, how did this thing perform in the field for this Seek Outside Redcliff review? If you’ve not used an ultralight hot tent before, know that a shelter like this will make some hunts possible that simply would never have happened otherwise. The ability to have a stove inside your tent is a game changer.
Especially during late season hunts, having the option to fire up the stove and get warm and dry at the end of a long day in the mountains is something you’ll look forward to, rather than dreading the transition of getting out of your wet, cold clothes and into your sleeping bag. Also, getting to eat a hot dinner in a warm, comfortable tent is nothing short of amazing after you spend the day out in the cold.
We were able to test this tent for the Seek Outside Redcliff review on several trips throughout the year, but fortunately (or unfortunately for purposes of a review), we tagged out early enough in the fall and never faced one of those brutal winter storms that can make life miserable in the backcountry. We still faced some cold temperatures, and for that we were extremely thankful to have had this Seek Outside Redcliff with the Seek Outside Big Mama stove keeping us nice and warm.
Drawing on last year’s experience using the Cimarron tent, where we did get hit with one of those storms that brought wet, heavy snow, followed by temperatures that dropped into the low teens, an ultralight hot tent will absolutely make your backcountry trip more enjoyable and keep you out there longer.
Sadly, for purposes of this Seek Outside Redcliff review, each trip we took with the Seek Outside Redcliff gave us pleasant weather without snow, but we did get hit with some nice cold temperatures. Particularly during October and November rifle season, the nights are long, and being able to fit a couple of ultralight backpacking chairs, like the Helinox Chair Zero, the Big Agnes Skyline and the Nemo Moonlight UL chairs, inside the tent to eat dinner and relax is oh-so-nice.
I found that the Seek Outside Redcliff is plenty big enough for 4 people and a stove even though they say it’s meant for 3 and a stove on their website. If you have 4 people and a stove, you won’t have much room for gear, but you certainly can sleep 4. In the picture above, you can see I’ve got it set up with the Big Mama Stove and two half nests, which still gave us plenty of space between the stove and the half nests.
While you will still need to like the person you sleep next to, each half nest isn’t as tight as a typical 2-person, ultralight tent (which is what I’m used to). The extra space of the 55″ width and 99″ length is significantly larger than even the largest 2P ultralight backpacking tent I’ve tested.
Stove Tips: Seek Outside Big Mama Stove
A couple of things became very apparent during this Seek Outside Redcliff review as we became accustomed to the way the Big Mama stove burns. I HIGHLY recommend picking up some Bigfoot Bushcraft Fire Plugs. These things are FLAT OUT AWESOME and make getting your fire going so much easier. They are a lifesaver, time saver, and help you not lose your patience trying to get a fire going when you’re wanting to warm up quickly.
Have Realistic Expectations
First is to have realistic expectations with an ultralight, titanium wood stove. While it is amazing and makes things possible in the backcountry that otherwise wouldn’t be, don’t think you’ll stay toasting warm all night. You are dealing with a collapsible, ultralight, ultra-thin titanium stove that will absolutely NOT keep you warm all night long unless you wake up every couple of hours throughout the night to keep it going.
Bring the Right Sleep System
Personally, the sleep system I bring does not change whether or not I have a wood stove in the tent or not. Again, the reality is you won’t likely keep the stove going all night, so you still need the exact same warmth out of your sleep system as if you didn’t have the stove.
If I’m expecting temperatures to be around 0° Fahrenheit, I’ll bring a sleeping bag that will keep me warm well below that irregardless of having a stove. If you bring, say, a sleeping bag that’s good down to 30° for that same situation, and expect the stove to keep you warm, you’ll be sadly disappointed. You’ll have to make sure to keep the stove cranking all night long, which means you won’t sleep a wink. It’s simply not worth it. Just bring an adequate sleep system.
Don’t Let it Get Too Low
Second, once you get the fire going, make sure you don’t let it go down too far before adding some wood. Now, having the Big Mama Baffle in there definitely keeps the coals going longer than I experienced with the Seek Outside SXL Titanium Stove I tested last year, but you still want to stay on top of it and keep it going. It’s much harder to bring it back to life than just periodically throw a few extra pieces of wood on there every 30 or so minutes.
Bring a Saw & Gather Enough Wood Early
One thing I’ve learned through this Seek Outside Redcliff review and other ultralight hot tent reviews is to bring a small, lightweight saw to cut some larger pieces of wood This really helps in keeping the fire going longer after you go to bed. It’s a little extra work to cut firewood rather than just snapping it with your foot, but cutting up some larger pieces will give you significantly extra burn time if you do. I even experimented at home with some larger (3-5 inch rounds) and the Big Mama stove (with the Baffle) kept going for well over 3 hours, and I didn’t even stuff it full.
It’s always a good idea to bring enough firewood in your tent for a couple of days if possible. This is especially helpful when a storm rolls in while you’re out hunting, soaking all the wood that isn’t in the tent. I’ve had this happen, and we would have had a much harder time finding dry wood had we not gathered a couple days worth as soon as we got camp set up, and brought some inside.
Clean the Spark Arrestor
During this Seek Outside Redcliff review I learned the hard way to make sure to regularly clean the spark arrestor. By “regularly” I mean at least every couple of days, but for optimal performance, give it a quick clean before every other use. For that, I bring along a wire toothbrush for a quick, easy clean. They are cheap, lightweight, and will keep you from getting smoked out of your tent. We had this happen on day 3 of a hunt, when I realized the spark arrestor had gotten plugged. A quick clean and the fire was roaring again without smoking us out.
What I liked: Seek Outside Redcliff Review
The list of things I loved after doing this Seek Outside Redcliff review FAR outweighed the list of things I didn’t. Ultralight hot tents are an absolute game changer and will change what you think is possible for late season, cold weather hunting and backpacking trips. Their quality and craftsmanship are top-notch, they are made it the USA, and can be used for warm weather trips as well as frigid cold weather outings. You can make them a full double-wall shelter, hot tent, floorless shelter, several combinations of those, and more depending on what accessories you select.
One of the main things this Seek Outside Redcliff review showed me is just how much fun a cold weather, late season hunting/backpacking trip can be with the right gear. Sure, I’ve done cold weather backpack hunts before, but having a tent large enough to comfortably fit 3 or 4 of us while having the comfort of a wood burning stove made me look forward to those trips rather than having me question my sanity.
Some of the main things we loved about this Seek Outside Redcliff hot tent were:
- Top quality and craftsmanship
- Made in USA
- Incredibly versatile
- Ability to have 2 nests and stove
- Extra spacious, but still lightweight
- Performed excellent in all conditions
- Wood stove = Game changer
What I didn’t like: Seek Outside Redcliff Review
After spending time in the field using and testing this tent for this Seek Outside Redcliff review, there were a few things I thought could be better about this shelter system. First, the placement of the stove jack, while much better than the Cimarron, could still have been another 6 inches further towards the wall. The stove jack placement doesn’t require you to put the stove pipe at an angle (like the Cimarron does) to make sure you don’t melt the Seek Outside Carbon Center Pole, but I felt like it would have been better another 6 inches away. The last thing you want to do is damage the expensive carbon pole.
ASSEMBLY AND DISASSEMBLY
Something to prepare yourself for is setting up and taking down the titanium stove. I found it a bit cumbersome setting up and taking down the Seek Outside Big Mama Titanium Stove. Bring some gloves as well as some spare parts in the event you lose something in the shuffle of setting up camp. I found some nice, lightweight all-purpose mechanics gloves are a great addition to my stove kit. They go with me every time I bring a stove so my hands don’t get cut up or completely black from ash during assembly and disassembly.
Some of the trips I took for this Seek Outside Redcliff review were bitter cold, and trying to set up the stove in freezing temperatures, or a rain or snow storm, was less than ideal. The last thing you want to be doing is messing with tiny wing nuts and having to use fine motor skills to get everything assembled for use in adverse weather conditions. I get it. It’s a trade off for the crazy light weight and pack-ability, but prepare yourself mentally so you don’t get too frustrated the first couple of times you use it in the field.
The Seek Outside Big Mama Stove sets up pretty much the same as the SXL stove we tested last year, unless you have the Big Mama Baffle. That adds a little extra needed finesse to install, so just give yourself some time and have a little patience. Make sure to practice the setup a few times before hitting the trail to get a method down so you don’t get frustrated during crunch time.
NO EXTRA GUY LINE & STAKES
I wish that the Seek Outside Redcliff came with enough guy line and linelocs to guy out the whole tent. Oddly, as you can see in the picture below, I had to use some extra guy line I had on me, and pick up some linelocs to finish and fully guy out the tent. To me, it seems like this should all be included as most of the time you’ll want to guy out the tent.
Spend enough time backpacking and you’ll break a lot of tent stakes. For some reason though, I broke way more than usual while testing this tent for this Seek Outside Redcliff review. In fact, on one trip, I didn’t know if I was going to have enough stakes to finish setup as I broke 6 of the aluminum stakes during setup. Thankfully, I’d left the larger, more robust aluminum twisted stakes in the bag and was able to get the tent set up, but if I hadn’t done that, I would have been looking for large rocks to hold the tent up. Not ideal.
To be fair, the ground was exceptionally rocky, and I was using a large rock as a makeshift hammer, but still, I kept breaking off the heads of the stakes.
Finally, one of the main things that had kept me from diving into the hot tent game was the cost. These things are not cheap. There’s just no other way to put it. Depending on the size of the shelter, stove, and accessories you get, you can be looking at some serious cash. If you can swing it and will actually use the shelter it’s worth it, but it might take some saving up. However, after doing this Seek Outside Redcliff review, I can say they are worth every penny if you like to do any late season backpack hunting or camping.
Here’s the quick rundown of what I didn’t like about this tent after doing this Seek Outside Redcliff review:
- Stove assembly
- Lots of loose parts for the stove
- Broken stakes
- Not enough guy line or linelocs included to fully guy out the tent
Conclusion: Seek Outside Redcliff Review
So after doing this Seek Outside Redcliff
I love that the Redcliff is large enough for up to 4 people, so splitting the weight makes taking this tent extremely manageable. If you won’t have more than 2 people though, I’d recommend saving the weight and getting a smaller tent unless you just want the extra room to sprawl out.
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