Apr 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm #1289106
Companion forum thread to:Apr 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm #1870716
Inaki Diaz de EturaParticipant
@inaki-1Locale: Iberia highlands
Loads of super-interesting info to digest! This is really fun. For the moment, just a comment on that weird front upper vent in the 2R:
> in bad weather you won't get much ventilation
The design is unusual but it works, maybe not any better than the most typical hood covered vent but it works. The hood is actually there but inside the main, mesh covered wall instead of outside of it. It can be left open in bad weather unless the wind blows horizontal rain/whatever in.
It takes some inside room but the exterior is more streamlined and the hood needs no stiffener.Apr 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm #1870770
You didn't show the versatility/variety of ways the front vestibule can be configured. Shame on you :)
Not up to your usual methodical high standard (eg. you mention the Nallo 2 can be double-poled, neglect to mention that the First arrow can too, neglect to consider that the velcro attachment of inner to outer for the Olympus is fiddly at best — far easier to separate and reattach the inner in the First Arrow, so for me the value of the mini reviews is limited).
Point being, these mini reviews are just that and I'm not sure that they particularly give much information beyond what a little experience and erecting the tent in a shop and looking at it would yield which is a little disappointing (not everyone gets access to tents they can play with in the field).
That said, I did learn a few things (including on tents I am unlikely to have the chance to play with like the Stephenson) so appreciate your review.
I know Vango don't market the Tempest as 4 season, but wonder whether you can speculate why it is less robust than other 2 pole tunnels like the Nallo (yes the fabric will have a lower tear strength… who cares to a degree… and the poles are probably not quite as high quality but do you have a feel for whether this is significant for the majority of conditions likely to be encoutnered)?
Disclaimer: I do not recommend the use of this tent for 4 seasons just as Vango do not market it as such. Just curious as to where you think corners have been cut that really would impact performance in wind and snow.
StuartApr 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm #1870823
Yes, these are just MINI-reviews, to go with the Survey & Tutorial. They are as much examples or illustration as anything else. I was hoping the pictures of each tent would give a bit more info, beyond the basic specs.
Double-poling. Frankly, I suspect this is another one of those great ideas which never get used in practice. My winter tent was fine with single 7 mm CF poles in that storm.
Velcro attachment fiddly: yes, but I think one would have to be nuts to even contemplate ever separating the inner from the outer on any light-weight tent. There is just no point. The only time I might do it would be to wash the inner tent!
Vango Tempest 200 – can it be used 4-season? Well … it is not a bad tent, despite the very low price. I think it is aimed more at wet weather with wind than serious high-altitude snow – and at DoE kids. Just how well it would survive a serious snow storm might depend rather a lot on the skill of the person in finding a site with a little protection and in pitching the tent. You would not expect DoE kids to be camping on top of the Ben for instance.
CheersApr 24, 2012 at 7:37 pm #1870826
Kind of a anti climax as Part 1 started a furor. A big project. Thanks for all the time Roger.Apr 25, 2012 at 3:25 am #1870914
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Yeah, I pretty much agree with the front upper vent not working that well. I have used the Stephensons in some really wet conditions in the NE part of the USA (including one ten day trip that rained solidly for 3 days and every day we were out paddling.) The vent itself is simply too small and is the ONLY high vent in the entire tent. I believe it needs more, high ventilation to provide a proper chimney effect. So, except in winds greater than 30mph, it really doesn't work that well. Most of the time, we easily find some sort of wind shelter, often a grove of trees, a larger rock or bushes, to hide the tent from major winds. I have asked the wife to put a second vent in below the first. The style seems good. We *did* have a minor leak at the base of the vent (the bottom of the "V".) I seam sealed it again and it went away. This was the only downside to the vent design.
The tension does not appear to be a problem. In fact, it seems to accur as a product of the angle to the ground. So, the three basic stakes are enough to do the job. In higher winds, four others are needed, at each hoop end, of course. I also use 16" guy lines on the window awnings leaving about a bit of vent clearence on the bottom. These also supply additional stake points for the canopy leaving a total of 11 staking(pegging) points on the tent. It does NOT move.Apr 25, 2012 at 3:51 am #1870916
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Exped dropped the Aries tent from their offerings this year.
The Sirius has been gone for a while, 2006 or so? But, this included a light, fabric inner tent. Good in windy conditions. The vents are all zippered to allow adjustment of the outer vent hood from the inside. Overly elaborate….Apr 25, 2012 at 5:17 am #1870922
I think I have occasionally done it for drying. Never for load sharing.
For temporarily enlarging the vestibule I think it can be useful (the attacjment on the WE tents is very quick and easy and I think from memory vango may use a similar system). Also to take the outer alone, which I did once and have learnt my lesson (trip turned into a sand pit, with plenty of rain and even mosquitoes one night (the last two not expected at all as advised by park rangers pre trip)… probably never again.
Also if the weather was particularly not very nice (edited due to possible profanity) to be able to pack up dry. I'm not sure I've ever had to resort to that though.
Taking fly only allowed me to take a nice heavy camera however, so once the memory of that trip fades, maybe I'll give it another go…
I guess one liveability thing against the Vango in winter is the vents which can't be closed.
Incidentally, the bracing Vango (so called TBS) uses on the poles – they specifically do not claim this increases wind resistance (though it obviously should increase stability in cross winds, i.e. liveability but this is not to be confused with an increase in the upper performance limit of the tent in a crosswind I think – in fact I would not be surprised if it actually reduces it by concentrating forces). Anyway, I'm interested in the concept. With luck maybe such a system will appear in the wind testing project BPL is doing for lightweight tents.
StuartApr 25, 2012 at 10:01 am #1871022
@earn_my_turnsLocale: New England
The qualities of the reviews aren't the let down, the product on the market is. I have skimmed the mini reviews and looked at the comparison table. I can't decide if it is writer’s bias or truly lame designs available on the market. All of the tunnel tents on here don't seem to hold a candle to the Caffin designs… Either you pay a large weight penalty for high quality or you pay a size or quality penalty for weight.
Except of course when you look at the two Caffin tents that have seen years of service, are still going strong, and are substantially lighter than anything else available.
What do I do now, I had decided about a year ago that a tunnel tent was in my future for strong conditioned winter climbing but none on the market seem to be reasonable.
I may just have to look into making one.
How much effort and sewing skill go into making the Caffin Winter Special?
How much math and physics are in the design?
What are the approximate material needs for the Caffin Winter tent?Apr 25, 2012 at 10:03 am #1871024
So Roger if you don't secure a manufacturing contract in the next so long say 6 months could we expect you to be selling patterns and instructions on making your own ? Or maybe a kit for making your own?Apr 25, 2012 at 2:23 pm #1871114
> Exped dropped the Aries tent from their offerings this year.
> The Sirius has been gone for a while, 2006 or so?
I think you may be looking at the USA web site? Try the Swiss web site – their home country. Both tents are still current there.
CheersApr 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm #1871122
Hi Jeremy and Peter
> selling patterns and instructions on making your own ? Or maybe a kit for making your own?
If the commercial deal does not go through I will be again helping people MYOG. But bear in mind that the 'instructions' are NOT a hand-hold job! They are MY guide, so much study is required.
> How much effort and sewing skill go into making the Caffin Winter Special?
A lot of effort. Yes, it is a long project. Sewing skills required are medium: it is just about all straight stitches. Much study of the plans and instructions needed. Careful pinning up and sewing is what makes it. Some tools required.
> How much math and physics are in the design?
The design is totally mathematical. It is based on parameters like height, width and lengths of sections, pole curvature, tilt angle … Its a full 3D parametric model.
There is some physics as well, but more concealed in the design and model. Pole curvature for instance: limited to 1800 mm to avoid breakage, fabric stretch (a %) for tension, etc.
What comes out are the fabric patterns.
> What are the approximate material needs for the Caffin Winter tent?
Um … roughly 8 m of silnylon and 4 m DWR fabric, plus netting and arrow shafts for poles, and string. Zippers are #3 coil. Some 20 mm hook&loop tape. Eyelets of 2 sizes. Also elbows – the difficult bit as they need a lathe, and pole feet.
Rest assured – I will update the status when I can.
CheersApr 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm #1871128
> The qualities of the reviews aren't the let down, the product on the market is.
That may be a little unfair to the commercial tents. Some of them are good, even in extreme weather.
The problems you are seeing come in several places:
* Range of customer requirements: not everyone is stupid enough to camp on a snow-covered saddle in a 100 kph storm. Many people genuinely need something a little lower in performance.
* Cost of manufacture: always higher for this sort of tent, even via China. The high quality tent has to be able to sell in competition with cheaper tents. And the manufacturer usually cannot afford to make a really wide range to cover every eventuality. He has to compromise a bit.
* Range of customer experience: let's face it: commercial products get bought by people of various skill levels. A mass-market tent has to be able to handle some misuse by novices in the field. The expert user pays for it.
* Retail resistance: unless you sell via the web, you have to placate the retailers as well. They don't like things which take a lot of explaining, and they really don't like things which novices break and return. This is a generic problem for the whole UL sector – which is why the cottagers sell via the web. Roll on web sales!
Yes, my tents are ultra-light, and yes they provide extreme performance, but they could be trashed by novice mistreatment. They have lasted so long because I care for them.
But maybe you have unfairly condemned the commercial tents anyhow. The Macpac Olympus is widely regarded as legendary in this part of the world. The other European tents are designed for European weather – which can be bad. You do have to pick the right model though – a Hilleberg pop-up is still a pop-up, even if well-made. The American tents seem less favoured: both suffer from design faults and one of them has very poor manufacturing quailty in my humble opinion. YMMV.
CheersApr 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm #1871142
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
Not sure if these have been mentioned yet http://www.integraldesigns.com/product_detail.cfm?id=898 and http://www.lightwave.uk.com/en/tents_overview.php.Apr 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm #1871144
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Roger, I'm curious why you decided to review the Vango Tempest 200, which is clearly not in the same class as the other tents, as one of your worst weather scenario tents, rather than the Vango Nitro Lite 200, which was specifically designed for the same conditions as the other tents, and is significantly lighter and made of better materials?Apr 25, 2012 at 3:21 pm #1871145
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
"Zippers are #3 coil"
I've been experimenting with #3 coil zippers. I haven't totally decided if they're strong enough. I like the reduced weight compared to #5.
Do you put tension across the zipper, like when you have your 100 kph winds?
Do you think a #3 coil zipper might fail?
Do you use regular YKK zippers?Apr 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm #1871198
ID Traverse 2 is interesting, but floorless. A bug liner is available. I actually have one on the floor here, but so far the company has not replied to any of my questions about some VERY strange features in the tent.
Lightwave T2 Ultra: Nice tent, love to review it. I don't remember them replying though.
CheersApr 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm #1871200
Ah, yes, I agree that the Nitro Lite is nice. But all the head office had in stock was the Tempest 200 – and I had to wait a while for that. Seems they build some of them to retail order maybe?
PS: don't knock it too much: the Tempest 200 would be a good reliable inexpensive tent for some adventurous kids.Apr 25, 2012 at 6:05 pm #1871222
Hi Jerry and all
OK, getting technical now.
I have never had a #3 coil zip fail in the field, and they have had a 'fair bit of use'. No problems at all – in my hands.
So why do manufacturers use #8 and #10 zips? In a word: novices. Or perhaps more accurately, careless teenage males. Every manufacturer I have spoken to about this problem has virtually cried on my shoulder about the way some kids trash their gear – and then expect free repairs. Many of them agree that #3 has quite enough strength, but they dare not.
Under storm conditions the zips at the rear end of my tents do have a lot of tension along the tape but not too much across the zipper teeth. In fact, I actually use the strength of the nylon zipper tape as part of the design. When you look at the fabric tension distributed across a zip in most situations, it is not that high.
Caution: do not use a zipper slider to pull the two sides of a zip together. that way will trash both the teeth and the slider. Bring the two sides together by hand first, then run the slider up the length.
Do I use 'regular YKK zippers'? Not sure what you mean here. I use YKK, RiRi and a few other brands available locally, and truthfully I have not seen much difference between them. The zips on my tent are not YKK: they are off a large roll of continuous-chain coil-coil #3 zip. I do use solid metal sliders.
Comment: I see some manufacturers boasting about how they use 'only YKK'. I suspect they are being given a discount for saying this. The YKK brand is not very different from the others as far as I can see, but they have great marketing.
CheersApr 25, 2012 at 6:15 pm #1871227
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
The description of the Vango Nitro Lite 200 looks good. I don't think Vango exports to the US. Too bad, it looks like it would be a good choice for a light, one-man tent for winter and bad-weather use…Apr 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm #1871253
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Thanks for the comments about zippers, Roger, that makes sense, that's the direction I'm going – #3 coil zippers on everything and try to be a little careful
"Caution: do not use a zipper slider to pull the two sides of a zip together"
I know what you mean. When I cinch down the corner guys on my tent because it's windy, it tends to pull apart the zipper. If I unzip it, and zip it back up I have to be careful.Apr 25, 2012 at 10:49 pm #1871333
> When I cinch down the corner guys on my tent … it tends to pull apart the zipper.
I know exactly what you mean. After much thought and experiment, I eventually took the bold step of locking the bottom end of the door zips together. My doors no longer open upwards, only downwards. I step over the crumpled-up door to get in and out. Problem solved – and the corner of the tent is stronger for it.
You might ask whether this causes problems with ventilation. No, it does not. At the rear end of the summer tent there is an inlet air gap at ground level. At the downwind end I want the exit vent to be right up at the roof. So opening the door downwards is correct. Yes, that does mean I have to have a good hood over the top of the door to keep the rain out. The hood used has always worked very well.
For the winter tent I have a sod cloth at ground level at the rear end which can be tucked out of the way if not needed, and an inlet vent at the top of the 'door'. In fine weather I tuck the sod cloth out of the way. In bad weather … I shut most everything because the tent is usually pumping quite enough for ventilation anyhow. :-)
CheersApr 25, 2012 at 11:32 pm #1871344
@gbedfordLocale: Victoria, Australia
Very good reviews.
I have a Nallo 2 and I am wondering about replacing the metal poles with carbon fibre.
I can source the poles through Fibraplex. I haven't looked into your arrow shafts yet. I assume any information about using arrow shafts is on the Bushwalking FAQ site.
My worry is would the carbon fibre pole need the elbows as you have with your tents? Fibraplex stock elbows but they have a relacement kit for the Nallo that doesn't include elbows.
What do you think? Would the arc be too great without elbows?
Gordon BedfordApr 26, 2012 at 12:45 am #1871369
I hauled the Nallo 2 poles out and had a look at them. Yes, they have a pre-bend. Not large, but it is there.
My gut feeling is that you would be pushing the CF poles too hard withoput elbows. They might survive on the back lawn, but once the tent moves a bit in the wind in the mountains … bang.
What about adding a (say) 10 degree elbow between each pole section? Maybe … The pole sleeves tend to be a bit more forgiving than an embedded sleeve in handling corners. I would NOT go for just 2 -3 big elbows with a tent designed for a smooth curve: you will need to distribute the bend along the length. yes, I have tried that already with the Olympus and some Easton CF poles.
Suggestion: Take a few measurements of the Al pole on the ground with the legs at the right separation, and then use a graphics pkg to see what a CF pole with elbows would look like over that profile. Failing a graphics pkg, use a very large bit of butchers paper on the floor. Make up a cardboard edge with a radius of curvature of (say) 2000 mm to represent a CF pole, and see how it all goes.
I use a radius of 1800 mm for the formal design work. That has worked OK.
CheersApr 26, 2012 at 4:05 am #1871391
@gbedfordLocale: Victoria, Australia
Thanks very much for your advice Roger.
Having just read all the posts I noticed Stuart Murphy raised the issue of separating the inner from the outer. Now I know you disagree but I will throw my two bob,s worth in anyway.
It all comes down to what experiences one has been through and these are mine.
1. Day after day of wet weather means the inside of the tent eventually gets wet.
2. Wet evenings followed by cold still mornings means the condensation builds up on the closed up fly while you sleep.
In both of these situations keeping the inner dry is/has been my main aim and this is most easily achieved if the inner is packed up separately.
3. Sometimes in a big storm in the cold areas of the world we have just wanted to get out of the blizzard and take stock. you don't want to put the inner up.
If the the inside of the fly is dry I would always pack it up together but if it is wet then I separate. This is the great advantage of tents put up this way.
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