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Akto Review


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  • #1217854
    John Davis
    Member

    @jndavis

    Locale: Isle of Man

    The review seems good and accurate, although my experience is with the Mk I design rather than with the less likeable Mk II. (Creeping featuritis countered by flimsiness to keep weights down.)

    Just three points. The Mk II takes double poles. Does snow still collapse the tent with two poles in action? I’m never going to see enough snow to test this myself.

    However, living on a blustery island, I do get to experience plenty of windy conditions and don’t see the Akto as a good tent to be in when it’s really blowing. The Akto is semi-circular in the middle but rectangular at each end. Consequently, it can never achieve a drum-tight pitch and that makes it very noisy on a moderately windy night. I would not trust an Akto at all in a serious storm.

    Finally, there is a comment in the review about the Akto being one of the few effective, outer-first pitching tents. The frequency with which I end up setting up while rain is falling makes me say that I have never seen a truly effective, inner-first design.

    #1351121
    Miguel Arboleda
    BPL Member

    @butuki

    Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan

    Hmm… I’ve weathered two typhoons, on exposed ridges in the mountains here in Japan, with my Akto and there was no flapping and a great sense of safety while I lay awake listening to the wind and rain outside. The guylines on either square end helped keep the tent very tight and rigid. Never once did I get the sense that the tent was going to blow away or collapse under the strain of the wind.

    I agree with you about the outer first designs being much more effective. Maybe because of the drier conditions in many parts of the States the inner-first designs might make some sense there, but I just don’t see the advantages or point of pitching inner first. Most tents in Europe pitch outer first… it just seems more logical to me.

    #1351123
    kevin davidson
    Member

    @kdesign

    Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson

    It would be useful, if BPL staffers testing shelters would tell what size they were so people evaluating tents for future use would have a sense of whether or not a particular tent was big enough for them.

    My problem with the Atko review is that it gives very little sense of how problematic this tent would be for many 6 foot plus folk. It has scanty head room for me (at 6’2″) and makes it feel more like a oversized bivy tent, not anything I would want to spend a lot of time in.

    No denying it’s quality and the fly 1st pitch is ( as Miguel has suggested) a design approach more N.American tent makers should explore.

    As for me, for the same weight as the Atko, I can carry the luxuriously capacious BD Lighthouse as a solo tent if I need to– which I do for Winter use. It, unlike the Atko, will take a heavy snowload w/o collapsing and not require myriad stake-outs to weather more brutal conditions. Plus, I can set it up from the inside in rain or blizzard.

    For the rest of the year, why would I want to carry a 3# and change shelter for solo use when I can carry a tarp and bivy (w/ netting) for a total weight of about a pound?

    #1351125
    david chan
    Member

    @davidc-1

    Why did it collapse under heavy snow? Was it the poles which were not strong enough or something else ? If it was the poles then John Davis’ suggestion of doubling up on the poles sounds a good one but involves extra weight.

    As an alternative, how about using two trekking poles as additional support for the hoop. If you follow the reference in the thread “Hilleberg Rajd” in this forum you will see that this new-for-2006 model is in effect an Akto with trecking poles instead of the hoop. Using both together would, in principle, allow you to double up on the poles without any extra weight.

    O.K.folks. That’s the daft idea, now lets see the collective genius of this forum suggest ways to make it work, or give reasons why it wont work.

    David

    #1351126
    david chan
    Member

    @davidc-1

    Sorry, must find out why I post everything twice then have to edit.

    #1351130
    Miguel Arboleda
    BPL Member

    @butuki

    Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan

    Not a daft idea at all. In another BPL forum post I also suggested it and others pronounced it impossible, but until I actually try it out myself I will neither say yes nor no. Your idea of the double poles shoring up the hoop is one possibility, as is my idea of pushing one pole up to the hoop from the inside, standing just outside inner tent. You could even rig a strap to hold to the trekking pole handle that attaches to the inner tent hook above. By shoring up the hoop from the inside like this and using the guylines outside to stabilize the hoop, there is no reason why the hoop should collapse under a moderate snowload. And since most people seem to carry trekking poles these days that wouldn’t even be extra weight.

    #1351141
    david chan
    Member

    @davidc-1

    Miguel, your idea of pushing one pole up to the hoop from the inside, standing just outside the inner tent matches what I had in mind, but I wanted to use the other pole in the same relative position on the other side of the hoop, with both poles vertical.

    The part of the inner tent opposite the door would normally be in the way, so detach that part of the inner from the flysheet and fold it back enough to fit the pole in. Those familiar only with inner-first piching normally expect the inner’s tautness to provide some of the strength for the structure. This is not true for the Akto and similar designs.

    David

    #1351217
    John Davis
    Member

    @jndavis

    Locale: Isle of Man

    I stand by the flapping comment. It got embarrassing one night with the Backpackers Club. We had pitched where a stream left an upland bowl via a gorge in South Wales. That evening, cold air also left the bowl via the gorge. The air flow wasn’t strong but the tent was really noisy. The Akto stood next to an elderly Wilson 400 and that tent made not a sound.

    The Akto deforms notably in a decent breeze off the Atlantic, and even though the tent might be able to take it, sleep gets difficult. (Consequently, I pitched inside a sheep fold in a Force 7 on Innishbofin.) Double poling appeals to me simply because I have two poles. However, they consist of different numbers and lengths of pieces, so probably have different flex characteristics. Any ideas on whether or not they will work well together? I suspect they will work independently and be little better than one pole. One comes from my old Akto and the other comes from a new one, which I got cheaply but haven’t tried yet.

    Trekking poles would probably help the Akto if you could make them into an A-frame used externally. There is a chance that stiffening a flexible wand with stiff rods might make the wand prone to breaking at the attatchment points.

    My old Akto has a simpler design than the new one. It vented well despite lacking the hood over the door, so I can’t see that as an improvement. One change might be pertinent to the flapping issue. The old guy sliders slid. Each morning, particularly after rain, the tent was slacker than it had been when I retired for my beauty sleep. Also. the old Akto can’t accept two poles, but the new one can. However, on the whole, I prefer the simplicity of the old tent and was put off by the extra features in the new tent.

    The real reason I haven’t tried the new Akto is because I also recently acquired a Sierra Designs Mach 1 (even more cheaply than the new Akto). Kevin, the Mach 1 has no headroom at all – it’s an elbow living tent, but I’ve grown to love it. It’s a tough little blighter and kept me dry during a foul, autumnal week of cycle touring. And it doesn’t flap!

    Why take a tent? For much of the year I use a tarp, but not from June to August because that’s midge season. Also, my cycle tours in France use commercial sites where tarps let everyone see the kit you’ve brought.

    Just had a look at the Rajd press release. No wonder the new Akto was cheap! The Rajd looks like the tent I should have bought. Mind you, it will flap even worse than the Akto.

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