/ Tent or Tarp

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readysalted - on 31 Dec 2012
I'm after a 1-2 man tent or tarp for 1 or 2 nighters in the UK national parks. I'm well experienced at camping, but have always made do with tents from makes like gelert, which have always sufficed, but never been ideal due to their size and weight, also their cheapy feel. I'm in the military so also well versed in sleeping under a single sheet, which has it's pros and cons too.

Anyway, I've decided it's high time I got myself something decent to sleep under.

Tarps are cheap, and I am comfortable sleeping in them, but they're not the best for adverse weather, and are kind of a three season option, unless I'm taking with me a better graded (and larger) sleeping bag, which would possibly defeat the object of a lightweight tarp.

On the other hand, I've always wanted a small one or two man tent, to slip into, as long as it's big enough for me, and my rucksack, and very easy to pitch and take down. The trouble is, the likes of the very desirable lightwave g1, or the terra nova voyager, for example, cost more than I'm willing to pay.

I have seen the Vango banshee 200, for around a hundred quid, which I'm happy with, and it packs and weighs, pretty much the same as the lightwave, so would seem a good buy, but I've had a few bits of vango kit in the past and always been under the impression it's on a similar par to kit by karrimor, and gelert?

Anyone used the banshee at all? and are there any other options open to me?
Cheers
xplorer on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to readysalted: mountain hard wear sprite 1
smuffy on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to readysalted: I've used a Vango Spectre 200 for the last 3 years and can't fault it. Originally cost about 80 I think. It's stood up to every kind of weather possible although I'm now looking to upgrade as it's just too noisy in high wind. Some great reviews around on the Vango Mirage 200 which being semi-geodesic should stand up much better in high winds. Also Go Outdoors have a similar tent the North Ridge Sphinx. Both of these designs are very similar to some of the much more expensive brands and for just over a hundred quid I think you'd be more than happy.
Landy_Dom on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to readysalted:

I had a banshee 200 which was good but just a smidge short. If you're a 6 footer look elsewhere. Built quality is fine and much better than gelert IMO.
readysalted - on 31 Dec 2012
Cheers all,
The vango tents are looking like the likely candidates now, although I've also seen aztec which look quite good. They're similarly priced, and I guess there's not alot in the build quality. Just a matter of personal preference to choose between the two.
PGD - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Landy_Dom:
> (In reply to readysalted)
>
> I had a banshee 200 which was good but just a smidge short. If you're a 6 footer look elsewhere. Built quality is fine and much better than gelert IMO.

Agree with this. Having been using banshees at work at all seems good with them( unless your tall )
damo5000 - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to readysalted:

Regarding the quality of vango..... My spirit 200+ has big problems with the poles, broke one putting it up once, and also snapped more in strong ish winds. They seem very prone to breaking at the joints. Otherwise great bit of kit without leaks etc.

I've wondered about the banshee, but slightly put off as you may expect!

MSR Zoid's come up on eBay cheap now and again ( version 1)
gethin_allen on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to damo5000:
I had a similar pole issue with a vango tempest, I had a moan to their customer services and they sent me some new pole sections for free. You won't get that from gelert. The design has changed now and the overall quality is great for the price.
happy_c - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to readysalted: Ive got the sprite one, its main advantage is being light, ive found the high sitting fly sheet a pain in the arse sometimes, to be honest i take my banshee out instead, as i now take my dog! There easy to put up, outer first so better for our crap weather, and mine has taken 3 winters so far, although ive always got my bivi bag in case it dies :D
Darkskys - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to readysalted: wild country Zephyros is a top quality 1 man and also comes as a 2 man! Mines had at least 30 days use and I'd recommend it to anyone!

Have a look at Terry BND through google, an avid wild camper who also reviews loads of various tents!
damo5000 - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:

In fairness I did the same and eventually got a repair kit for free, can't complain too much as I got it for about a fifth of the price of the Hilleberg it "copies"
philpdr - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to readysalted:Second vote for the Wild Country Zephyros,much better than a Vango Banshee and not far off the same price
ice.solo - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to readysalted:

have a looksee at the MSR nook. maybe a bit expensive tho.

year round design, luxurious for 1, fine for 2, 1500gms (very good for a double skin, has a decent vestibule and winter-friendly inner). very livable design, whoever came up with it knows what they are doing.

otherwise, if youre stuck between a tarp and a tent, maybe consider something like a mid or MSRs twin sisters.

yet another option and a bit radical, is to use retro-fitted poles with a bothy bag (a few loops of cord seamgripped into place).

and yet more again are the newish bivvy tents by companies like nemo (popular with mil types in some places)
mikehike on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to readysalted:
You wanta Tarp or a Tent, get a Tarptent.

I bought the Contrail
http://www.tarptent.com/contrail.html
I can sleep out with shelter/sleep bag/sleep mat, combined weight less than 2kg April to October.

and the Double Rainbow
http://www.tarptent.com/double-rainbow.html

Both very light and roomy, cost may be an issue depends on exchange rate.
Very good customer service even from across the pond.

mh
readysalted - on 02 Jan 2013
I'm finding that there are better tents than the 90 Banshee 200, for only a bit more cash, like the Wild Country at 125 etc. The trouble is it's very easy to go, 'oh well, this ones only 10 more than that one, and that ones only 10 more than this...', and before you know it you're looking at spending twice what you'd intended.

On the other end of the scale, there are ones such as the 35 easycamp star 200, and the 30 gelert solo, which are fairly light at about 2.5kg, but aren't great with about a 2000mm hydrostatic head, which makes them not particularly trust worthy in very wet weather.

I've found the Coleman cobra, for 65 with next day delivery. It doesn't look like the best thing in the world, but I think it's a good compromise. It's got a 3000mm HH, weighs a whisker over 2KG and packs up to 48 x 18 x 15 (which I imagine could be reduced further by putting it in a proper compression sack). From the reviews I've read, or here and external sites, it looks like its a suitable entry level tent.

I think I'm going to go for it and if it's here by Friday, then I can have a play over the weekend.

Before I go ahead, does anybody have any horror stories of using a cobra?
readysalted - on 03 Jan 2013
...with the Coleman in my basket on a website, I decided to have one last check, and found the Lichfield treklite 200 for under 50 quid so I bought that instead.

Bit of a wild card, and I'm well aware it was originally an argos tent, which means it could well be horse shit, but I figured the cheaper the better for now, and on my next trip to snowdonia, I could treat myself to a decent one from the shops in betws y coed.

The reviews are what swayed me to be honest, and it's made by the same people who make the vango tents.

If it turns out to be cheap tat then hey ho, if not, then I've got myself a bargain.

I'll let you know how it turns out, and cheers for your input.
Bradders - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to readysalted: The Lichfield treklite 200 is the tent i have been using as my 1 man tent. If i had more money i probably would have got the wild country zephyros 1 though.
I bought it after the summer to have a lightweight tent for my ml assessment. I first used it on a very wet night in september where all the paths turned into torrential rivers and it stood up to the rain perfectly.
I used it on my ml assessment where it stood up to heavy rain the first night and strong wind and blizzard conditions the second night.
The one thing that could be a downside to it is the inner is a mesh fabric, however this just means it doesnt hold the heat as well in winter conditions, but better for summer. Build quality seems very similar to the banshee 200 which ive also seen in action, however it is the blue and i would have preferred green.
Bradley
StuMsg - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to readysalted:
I have the banshee 200, got it for about 80 2 years ago and has been used in conditions including strong wind at 800m+ altitude, heavy rain with two people in it with no condensation problems, frosty weather but not below -2 degrees.

Light tents need flatish (and pegable) ground underneath.

Tarps need a tree or walking pole etc.

I prefer (and recommend) a tarp + hammock which requires trees (plenty of those in scotland below 600m.
readysalted - on 05 Jan 2013
So the tent arrived yesterday, and I can only really give my first impressions, having not slept in it etc.

So I was initially impressed by the size of the tent packed away, and also the lightness. It's supposed to be 1.9KGs and to be honest, I was surprised how light it felt, having picked up the bashee 200 in go outdoors the other day which seemed surprisingly heavy for a small tent.(If memory serves the banshee 200 weighs 2.1kg or 2.3kg depending on which years m model you have, although the latest model now weighs 1.85kg).

When I pulled everything out of the it's compression sack, I was surprised at how light everything seemed. Having never owned a small lightweight tent, (I think the lightest tent I've had would be about 4kg) it was hard to get my head around lighter being better.
My last tent was a gelert 2 man tent which I was forced into buying for 79 quid from the campsite shop, when I was in north wales, and realized I had forgot the poles for the tent I bought with me.

What I find surprising about this one, comparing it with the ridiculously overpriced gelert I bought a couple of years back, is that the gelert one, which is to all intents and purposes a budget tent, or low end quality, seemed pretty heavy and the poles etc. seemed more robust. Wheras this one is so light that you naturally assume that it's of poorer quality, but looking at the quality or stitching at the seams, or the material that makes the poles, it is soon apparent that the lichfield, is really of very good quality for the cheap price that it is sold for.

So... packed size: impressed, weight: impressed, quality: impressed.

But I had yet to put it up, so I could have been talking bollocks.

I did my best to put it up in my front room with boots and chairs on top of the peg holes, and although it didn't quite fit, and I couldn't peg it out taught, I climbing inside and was pleased with the size. I don't think it's wide enough to get two grown blokes, but a bloke and a smallish women, then yes. If not, plenty of room for a man, and his kit/ dog. The bottom of the tent seemed like a very thin sort of rubbery material, which I imagine could easily snag etc. So will have to always remove large thistles, and sharp twigs and stuff, but I'd do that anyway. The flysheet seemed well made, and very light. It's waterproofness is hard to judge, but it's supposed to have a 3000mm HH, which would make it just inside the acceptable limit for 3 season UK stuff.

I'm okay with tents, and the tent took me about 3-4 minutes to pitch (even though I wasn't pegging it, and didint do anything with the guys. Which was very quick and I was happy with. Equally, it took about 5 minutes to pull it down, and pack away which is very quick compared with other tents.

All in all, it seems well made, very impressive specs, and was at a good price. I'm pleased with it but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so I will have to give it a proper test on my first night out in it.

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