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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Vango Helium Superlite 200 Tent Review on 09/27/2011 16:06:18 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Vango Helium Superlite 200 Tent Review

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
14 square feet? on 09/27/2011 19:27:32 MDT Print View

14 square feet? For two people? Is that right? That's not big enough for one!

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Who's this for? on 09/27/2011 21:21:01 MDT Print View

Way too small for two and really, too small for adult-sized humans. Might as well tarp it and save a bunch of weight and have a shelter with some room, cause this one is sorely lacking in that.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Who's this for? on 09/27/2011 21:27:31 MDT Print View

This is a weatherproof tent. Not a tarp. Ergo, it offers the benefits of an enclosed shelter. Tarps suck in conditions where tents excel.

The 14q feet is a typo.

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Who's this for? on 09/28/2011 06:11:19 MDT Print View

A tarp is the perfect shelter for when you don't need one.
A tent is for the rest of the time.

Sadly, Vango is not the innovative company it once was and they have sacrificed to much in the Helium 200 trying to compete with the TN Laser.

Edit to add: From the given floor dimensions, the floor area should be 20.4ft2 (1.9m2). Still on the small side for a 2p tent.

Edited by Scunnered on 09/28/2011 07:35:29 MDT.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: Vango Helium Superlite 200 Tent Review on 09/28/2011 06:35:01 MDT Print View

I'm surprised that it scored an average rating with all the quality concerns. Expensive piece of krap, sounds like. Too tiny.

Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Typo fixed on 09/28/2011 11:49:15 MDT Print View

Thanks for pointing that out!
Addie

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Re: Who's this for? on 09/28/2011 15:37:42 MDT Print View

Talk about overgeneralizing...

> A tarp is the perfect shelter for when you don't need one.

Then I suppose I didn't really need a shelter that night I stayed 100% dry under my 8x10 silnylon tarp during an 8 hour thunderstorm with nonstop rain and howling winds in North Carolina, USA. Had plenty of room to sit up and be comfortable. Slept quite well given the noisy storm.

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Vango Helium Superlite 200 Tent Review on 09/28/2011 21:03:28 MDT Print View

What a disappointment, but life is full of them. Thanks for the review.

One nagging issue. You noted that, "The two corners or angles in the main pole improve the usable interior space by making the side walls steeper and decrease the risk of a pole breaking under stress," and there was some additional comment to the same effect.

Could I suggest that with one or two elbows used to create angles in a hoop, when the hoop is subjected to high stress from distortion by wind, it will fall disproportionately at one of the angles. When the angle happens to be formed by an elbow, a piece of prebent pole, there is also the likelihood that the bending process may make it weaker than the straight portion of the tube material. Combine these two factors, and the result is more likely pole breakage in high wind, either at the angle or slightly removed from it where the elbow joins the straight pole tube. So I had trouble accepting your last conclusion.

This risk can be reduced by having more angles to distribute the stress, as with Roger Caffin's angled hoop tents, by high radius elbows, by reinforced elbows as with the EMP Kilo, and guylines from the angles to the ground, as often used to support tents subjected to high winds. Or, by really high quality elbows. Given what you experienced with the quality of the inner fabric, I wonder if one could expect high quality elbows.

Great review and photos. Thanks, again.

Edited by scfhome on 09/28/2011 21:07:08 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Vango Helium Superlite 200 Tent Review on 09/29/2011 01:11:04 MDT Print View

The way the inner tent was degrading was atrocious. The idea of 4" stakes is ridiculous. The total lack of ventilation up top is .... bad design. The way it was so hard to get the low end looking right is also bad design. The short length and lack of clearance at each end is poor. Expensive, too.

I agree with others. A good review, but a rather sub-standard tent. I am afraid it would not even have got Average from me. Pity.

Cheers

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: Re: Who's this for? on 09/29/2011 06:00:48 MDT Print View

"Then I suppose I didn't really need a shelter that night I stayed 100% dry under my 8x10 silnylon tarp during an 8 hour thunderstorm with nonstop rain and howling winds in North Carolina, USA."

No, I did't claim the converse of "A tarp is the perfect shelter for when you don't need one" to be true. However, I do claim the inverse to be so.

Don Ashton
(dash1730) - MLife
Tears and smiles on 09/29/2011 06:07:36 MDT Print View

What a disappointment, but I had to smile at my wisdom in buying a Scarp 1 by Tarp Tent almost 2 years ago that have none of Vargo's disadvantages. The Scarp is spacious, well designed, immaculately tailored, manages condensation, wind and rain with ease, weighs 48 oz, and costs $100 less. What's not to like?

I don't have the courage to try a tarp alone in the Colorado Rockies. And remain unconvinced a tarp can protect me from horizontal rain that sometimes visits those altitudes. Also, I crave the security and warmth of an enclosed tent. I love backpacking because, among other things, I can tailor my equipment to my needs. I can be safe and comfortable for under 17 lbs base weight. To each his own. Viva la difference!

Edited by dash1730 on 09/29/2011 06:25:27 MDT.

John Coyle
(Bigsac)

Locale: NorCal
Vango Helium Superlite 200 Tent Review on 09/29/2011 12:45:36 MDT Print View

The quality control issues of the inner tent are unacceptable in any backpacking tent, let alone one so expensive at $440 American. I see none of that on my new SMD Trekker at $225 American.

Andrew Priest
(Aushiker1) - M

Locale: Fremantle
Helium Carbon on 09/30/2011 07:19:18 MDT Print View

Thanks for the review. I was particularly interested in the forthcoming Force 10 (Vango) Helium Carbon but might re-think this. A claimed 950 grams for a two person tent was appealing but :)

Andrew

Danny Milks
(dannymilks) - MLife

Locale: Sierras
Vango Helium Superlite 200 on 10/01/2011 13:56:26 MDT Print View

Hi All - Thanks for noting the original surface area measurement, and for Addie for correcting that so quickly.

Thanks to the rest of you for the added comments. I would generally agree with most of your sentiments that $400+ is a lot to pay for a cramped tent with bad ventilation and inner-tent durability concerns.

That being said, there are probably some users who have a higher opinion than the rest of us. Consider adventure racers in wet and windy climates. Compare this tent to the Vaude Power Lizard UL and several Terra Nova tents. The Vaude is about the same price and weight and was rated Above Average. Terra Nova tents are the same price and weight, or more expensive and lighter,. The Vango's fly is more waterproof than many of these UL tents (5,000 mm compared to the more common 1,500-3,000 mm). You can set up the fly as one, so the inner stays dry; there is the no drip door, TBS cross bracing for strong winds, fast setup, small footprint and no guylines needed.

The TarpTents also have a waterproof rating of 1500 mm. So what's not to like about the lighter, cheaper Scarp? Water misting through or dripping. Roger (and others) have voiced their desire for high water resistant sil-nylon to avoid this shortfall.

Kristin and I slept in the Helium Superlite 200 for about 50 nights. Even if it was cramped, we never worried about the wind or rain being too much for the tent to withstand. I can't say that for other sub-three pound tent I've seen or used (though you may have examples). The durability issues were inconsequential in the big picture.

A few changes could make this tent much better - longer stakes, a high ventilation window, and maybe two "elbows" or struts at the head for more headroom. These would contribute greatly to the performance without adding a lot of weight.

Edited by dannymilks on 10/01/2011 14:02:14 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Vango Helium Superlite 200 Tent Review on 10/01/2011 20:24:39 MDT Print View

The TarpTents also have a waterproof rating of 1500 mm. So what's not to like about the lighter, cheaper Scarp? Water misting through or dripping ,

Misting from the silnylon TT uses is not that uncommon in high humidity areas (I just spent two nights camping next to a river (my mate likes the sound of the water...) under constant heavy rain and yes it did mist on me but stopped when I wiped it down a couple of times and then again twice in two occasions during the night (my pee break and waking up because of the light on from next door, his pee breack..) and it can also happen (not often...) by penetration.
(the next night we had some air movement so I wiped only two or three times, my mate could not be bothered doing his Moment)

However that is not the case with the Scarps because the solid inner is water resistant so it does shield you from both types of mist.
(I have had the inner only up under light rain with no drips inside...)
BTW, that 1500mm rating is probably on the generous side. I think that it is closer to 1200mm.
Do keep in mind that the Scarp 2 is also much larger , so if you like a small footprint, this is not the one...
http://www.youtube.com/user/francodarioli?feature=mhee#p/a/u/0/PCGp9MVDoNk
Franco
franco@tarptent.com

Danny Milks
(dannymilks) - MLife

Locale: Sierras
TT Scarp Comparison on 10/02/2011 21:13:20 MDT Print View

Hi Franco,

Thanks for the added details about the TarpTents, specifically the Scarp (solid inner, 1200mm rating). I have two TarpTents, the Contrail and Double Rainbow, and love them both.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Dishonesty on 10/04/2011 20:49:49 MDT Print View

Most two-person tents are awfully small for two adults -- although the definition of accommodating two standard sized sleeping pads is at least consistent to enable comparison across the board.

So now, we have a "two person" tent that can't even accommodate two standard size sleeping pads without overlapping? A company's integrity is important to me. And this one has failed.

Good review and write up though.

Edited by ben2world on 10/04/2011 20:50:30 MDT.