Macpac Olympus Review

Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Mini Reviews

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by Roger Caffin | 2012-04-24 00:00:00-06

This is a mini-review to go with our series on tunnel tents. It reviews the Macpac Olympus. Some of the illustrations are from the manufacturer's web site and from friends, used here with acknowledgement.

Introduction

Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report: Macpac Olympus Review - 1

The Macpac Olympus is a world-class tunnel tent designed to handle some of the harshest conditions in the world: the New Zealand Alps in winter. The Maori name for New Zealand is 'The Land of the Long White Cloud;' the rest of us often call it 'The Land of the Long Black Never-Disappearing Cloud.' I make no apologies for this tent. First, the specifications. Please note that they are for the current model of the Olympus, but I used to have the older version.

Brand Macpac
Model Olympus
Poles 3, DAC Featherlite NSL 9.6 mm
Skins 2
Fly Fabric "UV30TMSI / TorrentwearTM XP"
Entries 2
Vestibules 1
Persons 2
Listed Weight 3.1 kg ( lb oz)
Tent Weight 2.30 kg (5 lb 1 oz)
Pole Weight 0.54 kg (1 lb 3 oz)
Stakes, Weight 11, 0.18 kg (6.5 oz)
Stuff Sacks 90 g (3.2 oz)
MSRP NZ$810

Details

This is a double-skin tunnel designed for very serious winter use, but usable all year round. I better point out that I owned an earlier model of the Olympus for many years, and found it lived up to its reputation in every way, so I may sound a little biased. I have also found that the distinctive shape gets recognized even in Europe - with respect. The sunny photos were, as usual, taken at my place - much warmer than in the snow!

The poles supplied with the tent are DAC Featherlite NSL. They are colour-coded so you know which pole goes where in a howling storm. However, at my urging, Easton supplied me with a matching pole set using their Carbon FX tubing and their alloy elbows. These poles weighed 395 g (13.9 oz), somewhat lighter, but very strong. At the time of writing, I understand Macpac was in discussion with Easton about this option. Both sorts of poles have those silly knobs on the pole feet, but the knobs are fairly small and the eyelets are rather large. I doubt the knobs will be a problem.

Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report: Macpac Olympus Review - 2
The Torrentwear XP fabric used on the bathtub groundsheet is a PU-coated nylon with a hydrostatic head of 10 metres - that's a lot. The seams are tape-sealed. This, and the name, reflects the nature of the ground frequently encountered in New Zealand. (This is not a criticism of NZ: they will tell you this themselves.) I cheat slightly here in trying to illustrate this: the Minaret tent shown here is the smaller two-pole twin to the Olympus. Photo by Marty Schmidt, NZ Guide, East Ridge, Mount Cook.

The UV30 fabric used for the fly is double-coated 30-denier double rip-stop nylon, basically a form of silnylon. At 60 gsm it is heavier than the common Westmark silnylon, but it still seems very light. As the name implies, the silicone polymer provides some UV resistance, and of course increases the fabric strength. It is rated to 3.5 metres hydrostatic head, which is very good compared to many silnylons.

Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report: Macpac Olympus Review - 3
While the tent does allow access from both ends, plan on only using the front end where there is a decent-sized vestibule. The rear end-bell shown here is largely occupied by the rear end of the groundsheet, providing access, but no vestibule space. This is a change from the earlier model, which was symmetrical in design. We used to stow our packs at the rear end. Doing so left the front vestibule clear for cooking and so on, but the vestibule was smaller. Frankly, I think the only use for the rear 'access' will be ventilation in fine weather, and maybe an emergency exit for the second person while the first is up front cooking.

Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report: Macpac Olympus Review - 4
At the rear end there is good provision for ventilation, even when the weather is foul and the main door is closed. There are some small vents protected by mesh that can be left open or sealed right up. Full mesh doors at both ends as well as the standard fabric doors protect you from the deadly New Zealand sand flies while you sleep, with a good amount of through-ventilation. (Sand flies are very similar to Scottish midges; both are nasty.) Note however that the zipper on the inner door does go around a corner at the bottom: you need to exercise a little care here.

Owing to the design of the bathtub floor and the interior tent, it is possible to unclip the front end of the ground sheet to roll it back a bit to make an even larger vestibule space. This can be very helpful when the weather is filthy and you need sheltered space to strip off storm gear. It also makes for a very large cooking area - larger in fact than one would normally need.

Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report: Macpac Olympus Review - 5
The inner tent is a very light white fabric. It isn't quite see-through, but it certainly does not block incoming light. It does block most of the wind though. I can't help it that under benign conditions it looks a bit like the inside of a harem... The inner tent has huge pockets on both sides for light gear you don't want lost (or squashed) on the floor. The inner doors (rear one shown) can be held out of the way by small elastic toggles. These were a bit tight on the tent supplied, but Macpac took note of my comment and said they would fix that. There's a bit of room at the sides for gear, keeping your quilt off the sidewalls too.

Snow Loading

Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report: Macpac Olympus Review - 6
These two photos are before and after ones, taken in the Australian Alps by Jon Legg, Macpac staff, Adelaide. While some types of tents tend to collapse a bit under snow loading, a good tunnel tent does not. Incidentally, I have numerous similar photos of the older model Olympus in similar situations. You might like to note the small dark areas at the end of the tent: the vents are still open and functioning. This ability to handle high winds and snow loading is one of the key features of any good tunnel.

Pole Sleeves

The Olympus has the pole sleeve inside the fly rather than outside - it has always been that way. The distinctive shape of the tent helps to locate the poles exactly where they should be, and I can attest that this works very well. You can only insert the poles from one side - they go into a webbing socket at the other end. The pole feet have little knobs but the eyelet on the insertion side is large enough. Sleeve tightening is achieved using webbing. The tent that I owned used Easton poles, but, as noted, Macpac has since switched to DAC poles.

Stakes

This is a tent designed to handle very serious conditions. Macpac supplies four large tube stakes for the ends and 12 special Macpac-design channel stakes, and a very light silnylon bag. They should hold under any summer conditions, but are not usually good enough for the snow. A common end-bell anchor for snow conditions with this tent is often a couple of ice axes, although two deadman anchors are fine.

Summary

Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report: Macpac Olympus Review - 7

Yes, lots of hype, lots of claims, not the lightest tent on the market, and expensive. That does not stop an awful lot of people in our neck of the woods from buying this tent and using it hard. It was born for use in this sort of country and is regarded by many as a gold standard for tunnels.

Disclosure: The manufacturer provided this product to the author and/or Backpacking Light at no charge, and the author/BPL has returned or will return this product to the manufacturer upon completion of the review. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to the manufacturer to review this product under the terms of this agreement.

Citation

"Macpac Olympus Review," by Roger Caffin. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/tunnel_tents_2012_macpac.html, 2012-04-24 00:00:00-06.

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Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 3: The Mini-Reviews
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jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: A bit of a let down on 04/25/2012 19:58:24 MDT Print View

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.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: A bit of a let down on 04/25/2012 23:49:19 MDT Print View

Hi Jerry

> 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. :-)

Cheers

Gordon Bedford
(gbedford) - MLife

Locale: Victoria, Australia
Carbon fibre poles on 04/26/2012 00:32:18 MDT Print View

Dear Roger,

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?

Regards,

Gordon Bedford

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Carbon fibre poles on 04/26/2012 01:45:18 MDT Print View

Hi Gordon

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.

Cheers

Gordon Bedford
(gbedford) - MLife

Locale: Victoria, Australia
carbon fibre poles and separating the inner on 04/26/2012 05:05:06 MDT Print View

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.

regards,
Gordon

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: carbon fibre poles and separating the inner on 04/26/2012 16:06:55 MDT Print View

Hi Gordon

Understood.

My experience has been that the inner tent dries out a bit if it has a GOOD DWR in the period between pitching it and going to sleep. With the two of us active and eating in the evening, enough heat seems to be generated. Not perfect, but it helps.

The other advantage of keeping them together is the speed with which I can get Sue inside the tent. As soon as the two ends are pegged down, in she goes, while I do the guy ropes. By the time I am ready to get in, the vestibule is clear for me.

Cheers

Stuart Allie
(stuart.allie)

Locale: Australia
Re: Carbon fibre poles on 04/26/2012 18:41:58 MDT Print View

Gordon,

Note that Fibraplex make replacement poles for the Nallo 3 and 4, but NOT for the Nallo 2. I'd be pretty confident that is because the curvature of the Nallo 2 poles is more than the fibraplex poles can handle.

So if you use fibraplex pole sections to make a pole set for your Nallo 2 you will need some sort of elbow.

At most you might save ~200g or so (say 6 oz). I've thought about this on-and-off and so far have decided it isn't worth it for me. But if you have a go at making a carbon pole set, please keep us informed on BPL!

Cheers
Stuart

Gordon Bedford
(gbedford) - MLife

Locale: Victoria, Australia
re carbon fibre poles on 04/27/2012 01:00:47 MDT Print View

Roger,

Yes well to be honest I only separate if I consider the inner wet enough at pack up time.
I had a Fairydown tunnel tent 20 years ago which was great except it was so difficult to connect inner to outer you could nearly die in the time it took. I sold it after one trip.

Tuart,

I have been in contact with Fibraplex and they do have a Nallo 2 replacement set with bends as Roger suggested. I have added a third pole to my Nallo for the reasons of snow loading outlined by Roger. They have indicated I could replace this as well with one of their carbon bibre poles.

This whole review is great for improving the knowledge and quality of tents.

Regards,
Gordon

Stuart Allie
(stuart.allie)

Locale: Australia
Re: re carbon fibre poles on 04/27/2012 02:00:32 MDT Print View

Gordon,

That's interesting news about fibraplex. If you do go that route, please let us know how it goes, as I'd be interested in a Nallo 2 pole set as well.

Cheers,
Stuart

James McIntosh
(JamesMc)

Locale: Near Bass Strait
Macpac Tents on 04/27/2012 03:45:09 MDT Print View

Love my Olympus - and Minaret for going lighter.

James McIntosh

Miles Spathelf
(MilesS) - MLife
Thank you on 04/27/2012 15:12:32 MDT Print View

Just wanted to add a thank you for all the effort you put forth in your designs and reviews of tunnel tents. My first tunnel is a Hilleberg that I love but is just a bit too heavy for summer use and compared to your winter tent...not quite as light. Cheers!

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Re: Thank you on 04/27/2012 15:23:15 MDT Print View

Many thanks from me, also, to Roger and all the rest of you, for an enlightening and interesting series of articles, and for a great discussion! Roger, I especially appreciate your continued participation in the forum discussion, which required a lot of extra effort on your part. The articles and discussion have given me a lot of information for looking at tents in general.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Thanks on 04/29/2012 13:28:55 MDT Print View

Thanks Roger for a good review, "mini" though it was. I do like tunnel tents for their aerodynamics and even more for their roomy interior space.

I think the main reason MSR made the Dragontail tent a single wall was to cut down on weight. As for the new pole clip arrangement, I agree, for a WINTER tent the pole sleeves should be a "requirement" - tunnel or dome. Sleeves also spread out the stress on the fabric in extreme winds.

Even with my TT Moment 3 season tent I modified it to allow the "crossing pole" to go inside (then back out reinforced holes at each end) to more fully support the canopy in high winds or unexpectedly heavy snow.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Warmlite history on 04/30/2012 11:26:37 MDT Print View

Roger, you decribe the Warmilte 2R in your mini-review as "deriving from the mid-2000's". I think you're a little off on your history there. That tent dates back to the 1960's at least - with the only difference being the fabric, as Silnylon was not avaialble then. Stephenson's were possibly the first to use silnylon in their tents, and had been using urethane-coated 1.1 oz nylon before that. And by the way, you may find this site interesting, as it contains many tidbits of backpacking gear history:
http://www.oregonphotos.com/Backpacking-Revolution1.html

I'm in agreement with you on the design shortcomings of the Warmlite tents. No vestibule just doesn't cut it for me. And they admitted to me in a response to an email query that the vents cannot remain open in the rain and snow. But I am interested in the poles, and have been for a while. I see you have a weight for the set of poles. Did you weigh just the larger front pole separately? My interest lies in making a tent similar in size to their 3R, which uses the 2R front pole at both ends. And I take note of your comment on the fragility of the thin-walled poles Warmlite is using.

Ruan Kendall
(Ruan) - MLife

Locale: UK
Re: Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 3: The Mini-Reviews on 04/30/2012 14:41:38 MDT Print View

Re: the lightwave tunnels, they've just released an interesting new 2 man model (the T2 Hyper) which has simultaneous or outer first pitch, unlike all their other models which are inner first only. No useful information about it yet, though, other than the fact that it seems size and cost comparable with the Nallo 2.

What's with the lack of 2-door tunnels in the market, though? HB have the Kaitum and Keron and Macpac has the slightly useless rear door on the Olympus, but the offerings beyond that seem nonexistent. I'd consider cost or weight or complexity to be an issue, but even competent tent manufacturers like Lightwave and Helsport don't seem to bother, despite their offerings including heavy, complex and expensive tents.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Warmlite history on 04/30/2012 15:58:50 MDT Print View

Hi Paul

Now where did I get 'the mid-2000s' from???? Dunno, and I will plead guilty here. Yeah - from back in the hippy era! Late 50s, early 60s.

The History of Gear web site - yes, I am familiar with it. Fascinating stuff.

> Did you weigh just the larger front pole separately?
No, but since you ask: 196 g and 72 g.

Cheers

Dan Healy
(electricpanda)

Locale: Queensland
Another take on Australian weather... on 05/01/2012 20:17:25 MDT Print View

Another take on Australian weather.

Australia is the flattest, driest continent on the planet. There are relatively small areas above the treeline where, like other countries, the weather in winter brings challenges. However if your country has peaks over 3000m and is closer to the poles then you will in all likelihood have more severe conditions than Australian high country. Also, if because of altitude or distance, you cannot get to a decent coffee shop within a days walk from that area you might consider the ruggedness of your lightweight materials.

Another take on the Wilderness Equipment ‘First Arrow’ tunnel tent.

The guy who designs Wilderness Equipment (WE) is a bit of a legend in some circles. He has designed packs and equipment for Australian Special Forces, Australian Antarctic expeditions, various mining companies, governments etc. His stuff is known as bombproof expedition worthy gear. His expedition backpack harness with two independently rotating hip wings is rated by many people as the best in the world with daylight second - if carrying a lot of weight is what has to happen in your line of work. It is never light though. WE expedition equipment is designed to survive very rough country for extended periods of time for many years. Many people over the years have exhorted Ian to come up with a range of gear with lighter materials. For the last 15 years I have got responses usually along the lines of ‘equipment needs to last more than a couple of years of serious use’, ‘… ok for recreational users’… sustainability of products is better for the environment is another one. He has an ‘institutional’ range of gear for schools etc that is for beginners. This article is the first I have heard that the reason for the weight of expedition type tents as being ‘for novices’. Seemingly it is quite the opposite. ‘Novices’ generally do not buy expensive expedition tents that are twice the price of other, already expensive, tents in the store. Similar size expedition type tents from Macpac and Hilleberg are of a comparable weight and are using similar materials.

All WE designs using his engineering background are worth looking at closely and have many outstanding features.

The WE First Arrow is a case in point.

... another look at the specs... Stripped down for carrying 2.95kg sans ti pegs and 9in stakes. The WE site has 3kg listed as min weight which maybe is with pegs. This is the biggest of the tents tested. External width at 171cm (67.3in) height 120cm (47.25in) middle pole approx 95cm, end pole at 70cm (27.5in) Not sure how Caffin measured the interior in his review. My ruler says 110cm (43in) height at the peak, 90cm middle, 62cm (24in) at the foot end. 155cm widest internal to 110cm at the wide point of the foot end. So about 51cm each at the shoulder for 3 - tight and 2cm each less than Hilleberg 3 person - but ok … with height of 110cm x 155cm at the business end stretching to 90cm at the centre it allowed 2 big blokes and one 5’9” to cook and eat sitting up with a bit of care for two wet nights a few years back.

... another look at the design... I owned the Macpac Olympus and it is and was a very good tent despite the original design being from around the 80’s - like the WE. Here is why I sold it and bought the more expensive WE tent.

Like most high middle or non tapered tunnel designs the ventilation in the Macpac type tents can be a serious problem and a pain. It left a lot of condensation in the tent which froze or dripped onto the inner. The First Arrow is a tapered ie a rising roof design which is a very much drier tent.

“... the continuously rising shape of the tent to the high point in the cut-away eave provides the best possible still air convective ventilation and a direct exhaust path for cooking vapours rising from the vestibule. Even at low wind speeds the low pressure created over the main vestibule positively sucks air through the tent. With other designs the top part of the tent must flood with warm moist air before it reaches down to vent level.” … I would add wetting the inner in the process.

The venting is very clever system protected by ‘eyebrows’ that also do double duty as tension spreading for the multiple guy ropes for very stable end to end tensioning. The flow thru of this system is so efficient that this tent also excels in humid tropical downpours.

The ingenious vestibule design allows one or two entries or the entire front flap to zip down. The huge entry space allows for such easy entry and egress that helps make the livability of this design a joy to use. No more shuffling around when the second person needs to exit while the first person was cooking, a problem that occurs with most tunnels according to Caffin.

Small details
Like the Hilleberg and Macpac tents WE uses thick hard abrasion resistant guy ropes – less worries about guys abrading on rock ‘pegs’ and at 5000m base camps where average wind speed can be 40knots for days on end - these type of conditions are beyond an overnight winter storm at 50m above tree line – you might even describe it as 5th season perhaps.
WE’s guys are attached with doubled 4mm shockcord to better control wind forces and loosening guys. They are reflective for the entire length – higlighting guy ropes at low vis.
Like Macpac the guy attachment point is one very wide piece of fabric doubled over not two small ones.
Ian at WE is obsessive about new materials and ideas. Every few years there are updates and small redesigns. Gone is the silconised nylon fly to be replaced by a 30d ripstop polyester with silicone elastomer facing and polyether based PU back coating. A deep, unstressed tub floor, 100d nylon with 8,000mm HH coating that is folded not cut and sewn at the corners. These types of tubs are not light but they will handle rough sites where light materials won’t.
Scandium poles – marginally better performance than alu but, unlike carbon, will tend only to crease and fold when stressed too far that may allow for pole sleeves to rescue the situation.
Features like good big hardy zippers and decent pole sleeves like Macpac and Hilleberg that will stand up to some abuse that will inevitably occur in sub zero conditions at altitude with a decent alpine breeze where it just taken 2hours to travel 150m and the penalty for failure is extreme.
Like the Macpac it is easy to unclip the front end of the ground sheet to roll it back. In the WE this makes a very large vestibule space that two can sit and prep.
Custom alterations - eg snow skirts can be sewn in.

In many people’s view the Wilderness Equipment First Arrow is a premier expedition tent with design features that make it superior to others of this genre in important areas – albeit more expensive than most.

It seems to be a common thing that good designers are not necessarily the best marketers. Wilderness Equipment would be better known if the founder was more ‘accommodating’ and didn’t p!ss reviewers off so often and was able to explain his product to those selling it. Maybe engineers think that just because they have a good product it should sell itself.


First Arrow too much tent? WE also do a smaller 2 pole version - the Second Arrow tent - a 2 man tent about the same size and weight as a Hilleberg Nallo 2 or Macpac Minaret.2nd Arrow in snow

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Another take on Australian weather... on 05/02/2012 00:52:47 MDT Print View

Hi Dan

I had better say up front that I have known Ian Maley (WE owner) for many, many years.

> Many people over the years have exhorted Ian to come up with a range of gear with
> lighter materials.
Yup. Me too. Same goes for One Planet.

> This article is the first I have heard that the reason for the weight of expedition
> type tents as being ‘for novices’.
Well, calling all that gear 'expedition' may be part of the perception problem. It IS sold in standard retail outlets, and yes, novices DO buy it. And they do stick the poles through the wall of the sleeve and demand their money back. (Source: Ian Maley.)

As to the other points you made - to each his own style. No problem.

Btw - nice photo - where?

Chweers

Ren Stimpy
(handshake) - F
Warmlite on 06/12/2012 13:03:10 MDT Print View

I have been using Warmlite tents now for over 20 years. Over the time I 'collected' 3 Warmlite tents (2,3 and 5) as well as several tarps and a couple tents from other manufacturers. Yet I keep coming back to these tents as my main goto tent.

First let's talk about the negatives:

1. I agree with you about the stitching 'look' but it has not affected me in practical terms while out there camping.

2. Also, in these days of taped seams, getting a tent that needs to be seam sealed is a bit of a drag.

3. If you absolutely must have a freestanding tent then a tube tent is obviously not for you.


Now the positives:
The Warmlite tents are by far the fastest pitching shelters that I have ever used and seen compared to what I own or what my friends own.

When you're being chased by mosquitoes in the wind river range or when you're caught by a rainstorm or when you're pitching a shelter in 30 knot winds - the warmlite tent is up in no time. Two hoops and 3 stakes, no messing with attaching a fly and you can retension the tent from the inside while out of the elements. I can have the tent pitched in 3 to 5 minutes.

There is absolutely no need for additional guy lines or for 3rd pole. The tent works fine as designed and thankfully this simplicity contributes to a quick up and down of the pitch.

I love the integrated fly design. The inner wall (second wall) shields you from any condensation issues. Typically one sleeps in the area between the hoops where the two walls are. The single walled entrance space is supposed to be the 'vestibule'. The space outside under the flap can store your shoes if you desire.

Because the tent is contain to one piece it is also very easy to dry it. Just hang it from a clothesline at home. This also helps keeping it clean of sand and debris. You can just shake it all out of the tent or just leave it hanging on the clothes line and gravity will take care of it.

The 2 series tent sleeps two people comfortably. We've had one night where we had 3 people side by side and a 5 year old child facing oposite way. By comparison the 4 person Big Agnes Copper Spur I have (and like) fits 3 people and one must rely on the tight vestibule space for equipment.

Last weekend I was pitching a tarp on a beach in strong winds. It was to be used for shade while the 3R waited to be pitched later for sleeping. The amount of stakes, guy lines and stakes and hardship that a single person needs to go through is almost comical when compared to the quick pitch of the Warmlite tents.

I've had a 2RD for over 20 years, 3RLW for 10 years and 5XW for over 5 years. This summer I will be replacing the 2 series with a new tent.