This is a mini-review to go with our series on tunnel tents. It reviews the Vango Tempest 200 tent. Some of the illustrations are from the manufacturer’s web site, used here with acknowledgement.
The Vango Tempest 200 is a straight two-pole two-man double-skin tunnel. First, the specifications.
|Fly Fabric||68 denier taffeta polyester, 65 gsm|
|Listed Weight||2.8 kg (6 lb 3 oz)|
|Tent Weight||2.75 kg (6 lb 1 oz)|
|Pole Weight||485 g (17.1 oz)|
|Stakes, Weight||16, 234 g (8.3 oz)|
|Stuff Sacks||102 g (3.6 oz)|
This is a fairly standard slightly tapered two-pole two-man double-skin tunnel tent. It is not light, but since it has been approved for Duke of Edinburgh Award students, one suspects a major market is likely to be high school kids in the UK. It is built accordingly – but there were some little trivial funnies nonetheless. It comes with a repair kit and 16 rather massive stakes. You could comfortably leave some of those behind.
The tent is listed as having 2.5 poles, which is a bit unusual, but you can see the half-pole holding up the vestibule over the entry. This is actually a rather clever solution to several problems. First, the half pole makes extra space in the vestibule without increasing the footprint. Second, the roof from the main pole to the half pole covers a very large ventilation hole (covered with mesh of course), providing quite good ventilation while really keeping the rain out. Third, half a pole is lighter than a whole pole.
Of course, that means the tent really only has two poles for the main fly fabric, so it is not quite as storm-worthy as, say, a Macpac Olympus. One is tempted to suggest that the British are perhaps a bit more concerned with rain in their country. This idea is boosted by the fabric water pressure ratings: 5,000 mm water pressure for the fly and 6,000 m for the groundsheet. Incidentally, the fabric is a plain weave (I fully approve) with a distinctive honeycomb embossing – done with heat. The reinforcing at the corners is also done very well.
The interior of the tent has reasonable floor space for two and moderate headroom.
The rear end of the tent slopes down a bit, making the very rear less useful for sitting, but there seems to be a fair bit of floor space in the middle with adequate headroom. The sides go straight up fairly straight, and the front end is a lot wider than most. It might be possible for two people to almost sit side by side near the front end. You would certainly be able to pack a lot of gear down the sides of your mats.
You can see the vents at the rear end of the tent in the previous photo. In this photo you can see the vent in the rear end bell.
There is no cover for this exterior vent, but the hood does cover it quite well. The rear end hood is the bit of fabric thrown back in this photo: normally it comes forward and holds two storm-worthy end guys. Combined with the front vent, this tent has quite a bit of ventilation.
The tent poles go through sleeves in the fly for the centre section, clip into eyelets at the pole feet, and have a clip attachment a short distance up from the ground. I prefer a full sleeve, but this arrangement may be a lot easier for novices to handle, and it does not detract from the stability of the poles very much. The front pole is shown here with the half-pole in place; the rear pole is similar. The sleeve tension is adjusted with webbing.
The guy ropes are a very soft weave about 3.5 mm diameter.
The guy rope arrangement is a bit novel: there is a fixed loop of cord attached to the tent and an adjustable guy rope with toggle running off the middle of the loop, as shown here. The idea works fine. As delivered all the knots were some really queer thing which had me scratching my head a bit: I doubt the knots would have held in a storm. I retied all of them: a good exercise for some novice campers to go through before they leave home.
This photo shows two features of the Vango Tempest which I have not seen on any other tents except for mine.
The first is the groundsheet, which extends from the inner tent door outwards to cover the vestibule floor. It is detachable via bungee cord loops. This has several good uses. The first is that you now have somewhere to sit inside the vestibule while getting out of very wet clothing – even if the ground is rather muddy. Trust me, it is nice to have. The second benefit is that by covering the vestibule area you limit the evaporation of water off the wet ground – reducing the amount of condensation inside the tent. The third is that you now have somewhere a little more pleasant than gooey mud to prepare dinner. Ah yes – it rains a lot in the UK!
The second thing to see in this photo is the two diagonal bits of webbing. They are inner tent guys, reinforcing the main pole. There are similar guys for the rear pole. Having these here will limit sideways sway if the wind should come from the side. They are adjustable, to conform to the vagaries of the ground, but they manage to be just clear of the inner tent. I have used a similar device on a dome tent with some success.
The photo also shows how the inner tent is attached to the fly and the poles – with bungee loops and little hooks. This works fine. However, when the tent was delivered it came in two parts, and I did find it a shade complex getting the two parts mated properly. This is something you need to do just once, but before you leave home!
This tent shows its heritage and intended market. It is fairly robust, very waterproof, and not too difficult to set up. It may not be ideal for a howling blizzard on a snowy col at 4,000 m, but it is not meant for that, after all.
Disclosure: The manufacturer provided this product to the author and/or Backpacking Light at no charge, and it is owned by the author/BPL. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to the manufacturer to review this product under the terms of this agreement.