The Locomotive 20 offers a winter camping experience in a sleek package.
The Pomoly Locomotive 20 Chimney Tent, an interesting contender in the small tent market, offers some advantages for those wanting to keep the pack light.
Compact tents like this one are easily heated, provide stout protection against harsh weather conditions, and offer a low profile for the solo camper to be less conspicuous in the wilderness.
This article provides a candid first impression of the Locomotive 20, showing a glimpse into its capabilities without any rigorous testing… yet. I’ve never used a tent quite like this one and I’m excited to try it out.
Setting the Stage
Before we delve into the details of the Pomoly Locomotive 20 Chimney Tent, let’s familiarize ourselves with the concept of a tunnel-style hot tent.
These hot tents, unlike their traditional teepee counterparts, feature a distinctive tunnel shape and are equipped with a stove jack, making them a perfect blend of shelter and comfort for all four seasons.
I like to think of them as a larger version of a bivy tent as they offer a lot more room but still maintain that stealthy aspect.
Here are the key specs of the Locomotive 20:
Capacity: 1-2 People with Stove
Stove Jack Material: High-Temperature Resistant Silicone
Snow Skirt: N/A
Number of Doors: 2 Doors
Outer Tent Fabric: 20D Ripstop Silnylon PU 3000mm
Waterproof Treatment: Heat-Taped Waterproof Seaming
Inner Tent Fabric: 20D/40D Ripstop Silnylon PU 3000mm
Tent Poles Material: 7001 Aluminum Alloy / 8.5mm
Total Weight: 6.2 lbs / 2.8 kg
Color Options: Dark Brown / Black
Tent Type: 4 Season
As with most tents, the capacity for sleepers is questionable as the tent manufacturers like to cram people inside. I’m not the tiniest guy and I imagine it will only fit me and some gear, but we shall see,
I’m also interested to see how the aluminum poles hold up in the frigid Canadian winters. But truth be told, Pomoly hasn’t let me down yet with any of their products.
As you can see here from my legs, it would be a tight fit for two people to be in here. Well, with me at least.
Setup of the Pomoly Locomotive 20 Chimney Tent
Upon unwrapping the Pomoly Locomotive 20 Chimney Tent, the first thing to note is that the tent comes neatly packed in a sturdy stuff sack. This includes the tent itself, along with the necessary poles and stakes.
A quick caveat here – a ground sheet for under the stove is not part of the package. Pomoly tents generally do not come with a detailed setup manual, but if you have experience with their innovative designs, this shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.
I find that laying out the tent body first helps give you an idea of where the stakes will end up in the ground
The Pomoly Locomotive 20 Chimney Tent comes with three poles that are color-coded for easy identification. This helps in easily matching each pole to its corresponding sleeve on the outer tent. Initial bending and slotting of the poles might require a bit of effort but once in place, the tent becomes taut and sturdy.
I love the idea of the double doors that open on each side of the vestibule. It allows for more airflow and you can come to dump wood into the tent from either side. Plus, it looks cool when set up.
Another thing I like about this tent is that you can use it with or without the inner tent. For a lightweight trip just take the outer tent and a woodstove and you have a perfectly good winter shelter. The inner tent is an added luxury but it needs the outer tent to work.
Aluminum tent poles are light and flexible. Be careful of cracking and breaking in extreme cold temperatures.
Staking and Tie-outs
The package contains plenty of stakes and guy lines to secure the tent. I don’t know about you but the process of staking out a tent is quite relaxing to me. Building structures of any kind is always fun, though.
Speaking of stakes, these seem to be powder-coated or something similar. Driving them into the ground is easy and they feel sturdy when you hold them. I like the direction that Pomoly when in with these tent stakes.
These are some pretty awesome tent stakes. Corrosion resistant and pretty tough when driven into the ground
The Inner Tent
I’ll begin by saying I like this inner tent. There is a certain aspect of “comfort” that comes from a double-walled tent and I love how separate I feel from the world when I am in it.
The inner tent is a unique aspect of the setup process. Clips extend out to the outer tent and the inner tent ties into O-rings – a design that makes the setup process interesting and provides a satisfying result. I hate saggy inner tents and this one does not disappoint.
The inner tent also features a bathtub floor, adding to the comfort level of the tent. It feels very nice to the touch and the outside is also coated in a waterproof coating which is nice.
The inner tent deploys quickly and provides a cozy retreat from the bitter winter
The overall setup process is enjoyable, with Pomoly offering plenty of opportunities to fine-tune the tent as per your preferences. The first-time setup took around 20 minutes, which included thorough inspections. In a real-world scenario, this process could likely be completed within 10 minutes.
First Look and Feel of the Locomotive 20
Upon first inspection, the Pomoly Locomotive 20 Chimney Tent impresses with its robust construction and thoughtful design. The material, although not as thick as an oil canvas tent, contributes significantly to a noticeable temperature increase once the tent is fully sealed from the inside.
This warmth retention capability is much needed, particularly for camping in colder climates. Even without a snow skirt, the tent’s design allows for piling snow against the outer wall for added insulation. It will have to be packing snow, not the fluffy stuff, though.
The access door may be short but is not that difficult to get in and out of
The quality of craftsmanship in the Pomoly Locomotive 20 Chimney Tent is evident in the seam taping and stitching. Upon close examination, I found no discernible flaws or manufacturing issues, and there were no loose threads, thanks to the effective seam tape.
The materials feel sturdy and reliable, similar to other tents from Pomoly. This quality reassures me that the tent won’t tear easily from accidents, although spark holes from a fire remain an inescapable risk that I am willing to accept.
The zippers are of good quality, with nice little toggles at the end to help smoothen the closing and opening. This “snag-free” approach has worked thus far, but we will see what happens when rain, ice, or snow gets stuck in there.
The two doors provide a pass through for great ventilation or easy access
Interior space is another crucial aspect that the Locomotive 20 handles well. I was initially worried that my old bones would protest as I either had to crouch, sit, or lay in the tent. I quickly discovered that it was not as bad as I thought and it felt cozy, like a little debris shelter.
As a single occupant, I had approximately half a foot of headroom when I was sitting and a foot to either side. This further solidified my suspicions that this would be a one-person plus gear shelter; Which is not a bad thing at all.
The space for the wood stove is ample, allowing for the storage of a good-sized amount of wood for those cold nights.
The Pomoly Locomotive 20 Chimney Tent features a front and a rear vent, offering efficient airflow within the tent. Those two doors only increase that ventilation even more.
Additionally, the large air gap between the mesh inner and the outer tent gives me confidence about it having effective ventilation. However, condensation build-up, a common issue I’ve observed with all Pomoly tents I’ve used, could still occur.
This is no fault of the tent, I just have a high body temperature when I sleep in the winter and the trapped heat has nowhere to go and condenses on the roof and walls. It happens with most tents I own.
The design is meant to optimize the length of the tent so that even tall people can fit
The rigidity of the tent after the poles are in their place is pretty impressive. I have a tendency to trip over tent stakes and having a sturdy tent really helps me not damage them.
One of my testing methods involves pushing and pulling on the tent when it’s fully staked out, and I can confirm that the Locomotive 20 is impressively stable. The other thing that is striking is the tunnel structure and how it supports the overall aerodynamics, ensuring that the tent remains firmly in place in a wind storm.
This tent seems like a good entry level shelter for someone new to winter camping
I like to think that I have some experience with winter tents, and while I have yet to personally test this specific tent, my preliminary impressions are optimistic. In my opinion, the Pomoly Locomotive 20 Chimney tent appears to be a viable choice for solo adventures in the colder months. But until I do my final review that verdict is up in the air.
Why I’m so optimistic is for a few reasons. Firstly, the tent can be warmed up quickly due to its contained size. Secondly, it’s lightweight, an aspect crucial to any solo adventurer. Lastly, the tent’s low profile design adds an advantage in terms of winter weather resistance.
However, certain aspects might pose challenges. For taller individuals or those with limited flexibility, entering and exiting the tent could be a difficulty. Also, setting up the tent for the first time may require a bit of strength, particularly when fitting the poles.
These are merely initial thoughts based on my overall experience with winter tents. I will be conducting a comprehensive review of this tent in the coming months, so stay tuned for a more detailed assessment.