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Vaude Taurus Ultralight Tent REVIEW

Lightweight double wall three-season, two-person tent that can handle a serious downpour, but its cramped interior may cause cabin fever.

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by Chris Arrasmith | 2006-01-24 03:00:00-07

Overview

Vaude Taurus Tent REVIEW - 1
The Vaude Taurus Ultralight tent offers good rain protection at a very low weight.

At less than 4 pounds, the Vaude Taurus Ultralight tent is a lightweight double wall tent. Some of the savings in weight are at the cost of space, though. There is room enough to sleep, but lack of sitting and moving around space makes taking shelter from a storm an unpleasant experience. At the entrance, the silnylon rainfly forms a vestibule large enough for a medium sized pack and some gear; when sleeping two people, there is no interior space available for gear. High quality materials hold up well to abuse, and ventilation and rain shedding performance are impressive. However, it is expensive at $355.

In Brief

  • Lightweight double wall tent
  • Two-person
  • Good ventilation
  • Good performance in rain
  • Narrow interior and low ceiling means limited moving/sitting room
  • Partially freestanding design needs a minimum of three stakes for set up

Specifications

  Year/Model

2004 Vaude Taurus Ultralight

  Style

Double wall with floor

  Fabric Description

Floor: PU-coated 40d ripstop nylon with water resistance rated to 5000 mm hydrostatic head; rainfly: silicone-coated ripstop with water resistance rated to 3000 mm hydrostatic head; interior walls: 30d polyester ripstop

  Pole Material

Anodized aluminum 7001 T6 alloy

  Weight Full Package
As supplied by manufacturer with stuff sacks, stakes, guylines, etc.

Backpacking Light scale Manufacturer claim
4 lb 5.5 oz (1.97 kg) 4 lb 4.8 oz (1.95 kg)

  Weight Minimum Package
Includes tent body and fly, 3 stakes and guylines, no stuff sacks or extra hardware.

Manufacturer supplied minimum Backpacking Light minimum
3 stakes, 12.5 ft (3.8 m) guyline Same as Manufacturer Minimum but with 0.25 oz (7 g) titanium stakes
3 lb 15.9 oz (1.81 kg) 3 lb 14.8 oz (1.73 kg)

  Floor/ Vestibule Area

Floor area Vestibule area
30.4 ft2 (2.8 m2) 6.3 ft2 (0.6 m2)

  Floor Area/Backpacking Light Minimum Weight Ratio

0.48 ft2/oz

  Dimensions

  Inches Centimeters
Width 52/46 130/115
Length 92 233
Height 39 99

  MSRP

$355 USD (£200 GPB)

Features

Usable Features / Ease of Use

Because the Taurus Ultralight is not an entirely freestanding tent, a little more time is necessary to choose a good spot to pitch it and to tension it properly. After the poles have been inserted into the mesh sleeves on the rainfly, the tent stands up on its own like a tripod, but stakes are necessary to hold the floor and sides out and create sleeping space. I found that set up usually took about five minutes. The rainfly is attached at the ridge and the front by sliding plastic toggles on the canopy through plastic O-rings on the rainfly. The corners at the foot of the canopy and rainfly both have metal rings and small tension straps so the one stake can be used to tension both the fly and canopy. The detachability of the rainfly is nice when drying the tent, but otherwise of little use since the canopy and rainfly cannot be set up separately.

The minimum weight configuration of the tent includes only three stakes. Two of these stakes are used in the corners at the foot and one to hold the vestibule out. I found that without two extra stakes in the corners at the head of the tent it was hard to tighten the foot enough to pull the sag out of the walls. It was well worth the extra weight to get taut walls.

At the entrance of the tent, the rainfly makes a vestibule that is large enough for a medium sized backpack and a couple pairs of boots. There are four zippers on the vestibule allowing it to be opened on either side, or from the top down to both corners. There are three storage pockets inside the tent suitable for flashlights and other small items. Nylon mesh on the upper half of the canopy door gives visibility outside when the vestibule is down, and helps with ventilation.

Included with the tent are ten stakes, a pole repair kit, small stuff sacks for the poles and stakes, a large stuff sack for the tent, and two guylines with glow in the dark tensioners. An optional tent footprint is available from the manufacturer.

Weight / Sizing

The Taurus Ultralight is a lightweight double wall tent, at just under 4 pounds minimum weight. The area to weight ratio of about half a square foot per ounce is also good for a double wall shelter. When using a compression sack instead of the manufacturer supplied stuff sack I was able to get the size of the tent down to about a 7-inch diameter ball, making for not only a lightweight, but also a compact double wall shelter.

Usable Space

Vaude Taurus Tent REVIEW - 2
The low ceiling and slanted walls at the foot of the tent make it impossible for the 6 foot tall author to sleep without having his feet pressed against the side of the tent.

The interior gives enough room for two people to sleep, and not much more. Sloping walls and a narrow profile make it possible for only one person to sit up at a time, which makes waiting out a storm a rather unpleasant experience. The low ceiling and slanted walls at the foot of the tent make it impossible to sleep without having my feet pressed against the side of the tent (I'm 6 feet tall), causing colder feet and a damp sleeping bag if there is condensation (luckily condensation was minimal). Because of the low ceiling at the foot, only the front half of the tent is really usable when playing cards and such. The vestibule provides enough storage space for a medium backpack and a couple pairs of boots, and is ample enough for one person to sit in the tent and take off shoes out of the weather.

Performance

Wind stability

When staked out at all the corners and the guylines, the tent is stable in moderate winds. Because there are no poles connected to the outer corners of the foot of the tent, it is difficult to achieve a taut pitch on the large side panels. The guylines on the outside of the rainfly help to pull the sides out, but in strong winds they still show some deflection. Setting up with the foot of the tent facing into the wind works best, keeping the wind out of the vestibule and preventing things from blowing around the tent when entering or exiting.

Storm protection

The silicone-coated nylon rainfly and polyurethane-coated floor offer very good protection from rain. The seams in the floor are taped, and had no trouble keeping the inside of the tent dry when the ground was wet. In snow or rainstorms, I did not find any water on the inside of the tent, and a storm flap over the zipper kept rain from leaking onto the vestibule area. Although this tent is very waterproof, staying in it while waiting out a storm is not enjoyable because of its low, slanting walls and limited sitting-up space. Snowfall on the tent causes the sides to sag in on the sleeper, but is quickly remedied by giving the wall a kick once in a while to knock the snow off.

Ventilation / Condensation resistance

Vaude Taurus Tent REVIEW - 3
Four zippers allow the vestibule to be opened from either side or the top. While sleeping, the top can be opened a few inches for increased ventilation.

Ventilation in the Vaude Taurus Ultralight is very good. The polyester interior walls along with the mesh window on the interior door let small drafts through to move moisture out. The advantage of this and other double wall shelters is that storm protection is achieved by the rainfly, allowing the interior tent fabric to be made of a highly breathable material without worrying about water getting in. The door of the vestibule has four zippers on it so just the top can be opened a couple inches to let air flow through more easily. Even in subzero temperatures I awoke to find little or no condensation on the walls. When condensation did occur it was in small amounts and mainly at the head of the tent where breath vapor had collected during the night.

Insect protection

Since it has a floor, the Taurus Ultralight is completely protected from insects, except for those that sneak in when you have the door open. The only vent is located on the upper half of the door, and is made of no-see-um mesh to keep bugs out while still allowing some visibility and ventilation.

Durability

With taped seams and a 40 denier ripstop floor, the floor of this tent held up well even when camping on small rocks and twigs. The corners at the foot of the tent that are used for tensioning as well as the guyline attachments on the side are reinforced for added durability. During field testing I noticed nothing beyond minor abrasions on the floor.

As with other three-season tents, the Taurus Ultralight is not meant for heavy winter use. Because of its minimal support using only two poles, in heavy snowfall the sides collapse which could cause damage to the fabrics and poles.

Value

At $355, the Vaude Taurus Ultralight is at the expensive end of double wall tents. Although it is light weight, the lack of interior room and the fact that the canopy and rainfly cannot be used separately bring the value of this tent down a bit.

Tips

Since it is not entirely free standing, this tent is the tautest when nearly all the stakeout points are used. Staking all four corners and the guylines reduces the walls' tendency to sag in on the sleeper. There is a stake point at the very foot of the tent where the pole sleeve ends that I found unnecessary. This point is kept taut by the pole, and an additional stake did not help pull the tent any tighter.

Recommendations for Improvement

Vaude Taurus Tent REVIEW - 4
The center pole holds the rainfly taut enough that this clip is not needed.

It would be nice to have the option to set up the rainfly and the canopy separately as camping situations differ. Having to pack a rainfly on a summer trip when rain is not expected and bug protection is the only necessity only adds useless weight to the pack. Being able to set up the canopy without the rainfly would also increase ventilation on hot summer nights.

As mentioned in the above sections, I found that my feet pressed up against the side of the tent due to the low ceiling and slanting walls. This could be improved by adding more height at the foot of the tent, or by sacrificing a little more weight for a hoop type pole at the foot. However, if minimum weight is desired, bumping your feet against the side of the tent may be acceptable.

Where the center pole attaches to the rainfly above the entrance of the tent, a small clip attaches part of the rainfly to the pole. I found that the pole kept the tent tight enough that this clip served no purpose. A minute amount of weight could be saved by removing this clip altogether.


Citation

"Vaude Taurus Ultralight Tent REVIEW," by Chris Arrasmith. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/vaude_tarus_ultralight_tent_review.html, 2006-01-24 03:00:00-07.

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