Vaude Hogan Ultralight Tent REVIEW

Two-person semi-freestanding double-wall tent that weighs less than 4 lbs but sacrifices in some areas to achieve that weight.

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by Loren Lee | 2006-02-07 03:00:00-07

Overview

Vaude Hogan Tent Review - 1
The Vaude Hogan Ultralight tautly pitched at 10,400 feet on the seemingly incorrectly named Froze-to-Death plateau of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness of Montana.

The Vaude Hogan Ultralight is a double-walled, three-season, two-person shelter with a one-piece pole system. At less than 4 pounds, it is among the lightest double walled tents on the market. The steep walled interior is spacious for one but extra-cozy for two - almost to the point where I question its two-person status. The tent has a single entrance at the head and a small vestibule that has room to protect two medium sized backpacks. It is lightweight, simple to set up, holds up well to rainstorms and wind gusts and looks nice, but is expensive at an MSRP of $371.

In Brief

  • One piece pole system connects together in a "+" shape, improving stability and keeping the pole system light
  • Quick set up - takes about two minutes with a little practice
  • Lightweight - the design and materials were selected to keep weight at a minimum
  • Very compressible - the tent and fly minus poles will easily shrink to half the size of its spacious 22"x7" stuff sack
  • Well ventilated - when staked taut there is a large air gap between the breathable tent fabric and the fly on all sides, additional weatherproof venting is provided by zipping down the top of the covered fly entrance
  • Original stakes bend too easily under normal use and should be upgraded

Specifications

  Year/Model

2004 Vaude Hogan Ultralight

  Tent Type

Three-season, double wall, single entrance tent with floor and vestibule

  Fabric Description

Flysheet: Waterproof to 3000 mm hydrostatic head, 40d polyamid ripstop 240T nylon, silicone-coated on both sides. The stakeout points are reinforced with thicker gray nylon sewn to the inside of the fly. Inner canopy: 30d polyester ripstop 285T. Groundsheet: Waterproof to 10,000 mm hydrostatic head, 40d Polyamid ripstop 240T laminated nylon.

  Pole Material

Aluminum 7001 T6, 9.8 mm

  Weight Full Package
As supplied by the manufacturer: includes tent body, flysheet, poles, 12 aluminum stakes, four 4.9 ft (1.5 m) guylines with plastic glow in the dark tensioners, pole stuff sack, stake stuff sack, and tent stuff sack.

Backpacking Light scaleManufacturer claim
3 1b 14.8 oz (1.78kg)3 lb 15.5 oz (1.8 kg)

  Weight Components

ComponentOuncesGrams
Poles 15.2 431
Pole stuff sack 0.5 14
Tent stuff sack 1.1 31
Stake stuff sack 0.4 11
Flysheet 18.8 534
Tent 21.8 618
Stakes (12) 4.2 119
Guylines (4) 0.8 23

  Weight Minimum Package
Includes tent body and flysheet, poles, three stakes and two guylines.

Manufacturer supplied minimumBackpacking Light minimum
3 lb 9.2 oz (1.62 kg)3 lb 8.5 oz (1.60 kg)

  Floor/Vestibule Area

Floor area Vestibule area
29.2 ft2 (2.71 m2)4.5 ft2 (0.4 m2)

  Floor Area/Backpacking Light Minimum Weight Ratio

0.52 ft2/oz

  Dimensions

InchesCentimeters
Width48.8124
Length106.4270
Height38.197

  MSRP

£210 (Approximately US $371.00)

Features

Usable Features/ Ease of Use

Set up of the tent is straightforward and intuitive. After a few tries I could confidently pitch the tent in the dark in less than three minutes, closer to two minutes in daylight. All of the sections of the pole connect together at one "+" intersection near the front of the tent which branches the side poles at a slight forward angle. The ridgepole continues forward for another segment length to provide a weatherproof overhang for ventilation. To connect the poles to the tent put the front two poles in their grommets then insert the rear part of the pole at the back. Next attach the eight hooks, which connect to the tent via short lengths of elastic material and snap snugly to the pole. Next run the short pole segment at the front through the hole at the front of the fly and insert into the pocket. Snap the fly to the tent at the base of each pole and stake tent and guylines.

The minimum number of stakes required to set up the tent is three - one on each side in the rear and one at the head of the fly (with a maximum of 12 stakeout points). I would recommend using at least six for good stability, additionally securing the front two guylines and the rear-most point.

The 13 included stakes are 6.3-inch (16 cm) long aluminum with a curved shaft and a 90-degree bend at the top to provide a pushing point. During field testing the stakes proved to be too weak in all but the softest, most stake-friendly soils. When trying to pitch the tent on some very rocky ground in the Absaroka Mountains several stakes bent to the point of being unusable. I settled for a loose pitch accomplished by placing heavy rocks on the horizontal stakes.

The Vaude Hogan Ultralight tent comes with four guylines, which are quickly attached and de-attached with plastic sliders. They have glow in the dark tensioners, which cinch nicely and make the tent very taut.

The inner tent has two small zippers to the door with orange pulls and a 10-inch by 6-inch mesh pocket on each side in the front. The entire tent is lightweight breathable nylon with just one small mesh window on the upper half of the door.

Weight/Sizing

At 3 pounds 9.2 ounces trail weight, this tent is very lightweight, especially if distributed between two hikers. However, it is a little small for two hikers. When taken on solo trips it is still manageably lightweight and I found I preferred the extra space provided by the tent over a lighter bivy shelter. The stuff sack is a spacious 7 by 22 inches, but the tent will easily take up half that space. The area to weight ratio of 0.54 ft2/oz (1.75 m2/kg) is in the average range for double wall tents we tested.

Usable Space

The steep walls of the tent interior make for good usable space at the head of the tent. Near the foot of the tent the walls are really low, my upward pointing feet brush up against the fabric. I estimate the amount of compromised difficult-to-access space at the foot of the tent constitutes about 10% of the total tent area. The length of the tent may not be enough for tall people; I'm 5'10" tall and there is about a 5" space cushion at my head and feet. The width of the tent will fit two 20" wide side-by-side ground pads, any wider and they will overlap at the foot of the tent. With two bodies in the tent there is no room for additional gear.

The usable space of the vestibule is hindered by the fact that the fly does not go all the way to the ground and any gear too close to the wall will get wet in a storm. The vestibule is large enough to protect two medium packs and two pairs of boots, but not much more.

Performance

Wind Stability

Vaude Hogan Tent Review - 2
The rear guyout points are securely located on a seam in the fabric above the pole. The fly attaches to the pole at this point with Velcro, making the tent very stable in the wind.

The tent has Velcro strips that secure the fly to the poles at three locations. This lightweight and simple feature adds a lot of stability to the tent in windy situations by keeping the poles from sliding relative to the fly. The front guylines are secured high on the tent and dramatically improve stability, especially because they are easy to get very tight. I originally thought the low rear guylines were poorly positioned and not very useful. I took them off a few times in moderately windy conditions and didn't notice much difference. But on one windy night a huge gust flattened the rear of the tent, folding the pole almost to the ground. Re-installing the rear guylines prevented another flattening. The guyout points are located at seams in the fabric above the poles, making them strong and not prone to tearing. In general it is good to point the tail into the wind to maximize stability, since even with all the guylines, strong side winds will cause some deflection.

Storm Protection

When pitched taut the Vaude Hogan Ultralight is extremely weatherproof. The fabric will not let any moisture through. On one trip in the Spanish Peaks Wilderness in Montana I spent two days alone in the tent with almost constant rain fluctuating from a light drizzle to times of heavy downpour. I kept the guylines tight and the tent held up well and kept me completely dry. An elastic sleeve of fabric covers the zipper and keeps water from leaking through. The seams are not sealed, but I didn't notice any leaking at all. The tent has steep walls that make the rain run off quickly and keep dry snow from building up. Wet snow sticks a little, but the tent holds its shape surprisingly well and snow tends to slide off after a little buildup. When correctly pitched the only water I noticed on the inside was due to condensation buildup. The fly doesn't reach all the way to the ground, so with a loose pitch the bottom of the tent is exposed and will leak.

Ventilation/Condensation Resistance

When pitched taut there is a large air gap between the fly and the tent allowing for good air circulation around the whole tent. The fly door unzips at the top under an overhanging canopy and provides weatherproof ventilation. I found that zipping each side down 5-7 inches keeps condensation buildup down except on overly humid or rainy nights when a larger hole is needed. The most condensation buildup I noticed with two people occupying the tent was a light dampness, not enough to form droplets. When the tent is loose to the point where the fly sags against the walls of the tent it severely decreases the ventilation and condensation will build up. On one stormy night, in my backyard, I loosely pitched the tent and tried to weather the storm. Condensation built up and began dripping by early morning and rain soaked the side of my sleeping bag where the tent was exposed, so I abandoned the tent and went inside. Taking the time to properly pitch the rain fly is critical.

Vaude Hogan Tent Review - 3
This good-sized ventilation opening keeps condensation down.

Insect Protection

The Vaude Hogan Ultralight is completely bug proof when the door is zipped closed. In situations where there is no likelihood of a storm, the fly can be left behind and the tent becomes a very lightweight bug shelter with a floor area to weight ratio of 0.76 ft2/oz (2.49 m2/kg). The upper half of door is mesh, which allows for good ventilation but minimal views.

Durability

The fly material is very durable - I stretched it as tight as I could every time I pitched the tent and noticed no wear on the fabric surface or at the guyout points, which are reinforced and located along seams. The stake points at the base of the tent are reinforced with heavy gray nylon. The thinner breathable fabric of the inner tent is less durable. On about the tenth use one of the elastic clips started tearing out. On subsequent uses more of these points began weakening. I noticed no wear on the surface of the tent fabric itself over the duration of testing. The floor fabric is very strong; on several occasions I pitched it on very rocky surfaces with no resultant tears. On one occasion I unknowingly pitched the tent on a very sharp rock that not only wore a small hole in the tent, but also popped my Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad. No fabric could have stopped that rock, and overall I found the tent to be well built and very strong.

Value

The MSRP of $371 is a bit higher than similar tents. The Vaude Hogan Ultralight is a lightweight, storm-proof, no-frills tent but overall it has no distinguishing features that distance it from other tents of comparable lightness and functionality.

Recommendations for Improvement

I found the provided tent stakes ineffective on all but the most stake-friendly ground. On rocky ground the stakes bent to the point of no longer being usable. Vaude should include tougher stakes with this tent.

The two side stake points on the fly need a longer loop to help make the stakes less apt to pull out of the ground - which will help stablize the tent - and move the walls of the fly further from the tent and improve ventilation.

The tent door zipper tends to snag at the seams near the bottom of the door. The seam should be modified to not intrude along the path of the zipper.

The elastic clips should be reinforced; they are prone to tearing out of the tent fabric.


Citation

"Vaude Hogan Ultralight Tent REVIEW," by Loren Lee. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/vaude_hogan_Ultralight_tent_review.html, 2006-02-07 03:00:00-07.

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