Heatwave they said. Long, hot summer, they said. Well, I managed to go for an overnight hike on the two days during which we had heavy rain and thunderstorms in South Wales. Well done, me.
Pitching and breaking it down
The weekend in the National Park gave me a welcomed opportunity to test my new Vango Tempest 200.
The testing grounds: Brecon Beacons National Park, near Aber Village.
I had pitched it a couple of times before as a dry run at home, but this was the first pitch for it in the wild. How straightforward it is to set this tent up is phenomenal. Three colour coded tent poles slide into their sleeves and form the frame of the tent which clips to the flysheet with hooks. You then simply stake out the corners, vestibule and guy lines and – volilá! – the two person Tempest 200 is up.
Breaking it down is equally simple as it is the same process in reverse. The frame is under quite some tension, however, so it is taking some getting used to just the right amount of force that is needed to release the poles from the hooks that fix them to the tent. The inner tent can be left attached to the fly sheet which reduces the pitching time even more. If done right, even in super rainy conditions, the wet parts will not touch the dry parts much and you’ll stay dry for longer when setting it up or taking it down in the rain.
The tent came with steel hooked pecks. One for every point that needs to be staked out, no spares. They certainly did their job on grass, but they bend very easily. I shall invest in different pecks for the next hike. An additional groundsheet is also on the shopping list for me as the Tempest 200 does not come with one for the tent. There is a small groundsheet for the vestibule included and that is super convenient.
Getting in and moving around
The shape of the vestibule and the door are the biggest differences between the older model Tempest 200, which I tested, and the newer model, Tempest Pro 200. The latter comes with an oval door in the centre, the former with one triangular door either side. The door to the inner tent is oval in both and comes with a mesh window for ventilation.
I like the two entrances to the vestibule. It makes it easy to open and close zips in a way that creates little windows even when the weather conditions are bad. When using it with two people, however, one of the doors will most likely always be blocked with packs and gear as the inner is not roomy enough for two people plus their kit.
Let’s talk about space. The weight to size ratio is good but the ratio between flysheet (3.20m x 1.50m) and inner (2.00m x 1,30) makes the tent appear much larger from the outside than it actually is inside. That said, two people on their sleeping pads fit in the tent no problem and when using it alone there is enough space for the hiker and the gear. Sitting up is only possible right at the door where the hight is 96cm and coordinating two people inside requires some wiggling. The whole thing weighs in at 2.5kg and fits into a pack sack that’s about 55cm long and 17cm in diameter. I carried it in my beloved Granite Gear Crown 2 60l pack.
Vango Tempest 200 and the weather
I went for this tent because of it’s supposed wind- and water resistance. The tent is waterproof to a hydrostatic head of 5000mm, the tent floor up to 6000mm. Vango equipped this model with their Tension Band System, through which adjustable straps form triangular shapes in the tent that secure it even in heavy winds.
This proved to be very true. I spent a very windy and wet night in the Tempest 200 and it stood up to the challenge. Gusts of wind from changing directions shook the tent, but nothing moved, collapsed or was pulled. Rain hit the tent all through the night, but the inside stayed nice and dry. If it wouldn’t have been for the loud noises that rain and wind made whilst attacking my tent, I could have slept peacefully. I was impressed!
Verdict after the first impressions
For our first night out together the tent had to face quite the test. And it passed. I really like the Tempest 200 for it’s size to weight ratio, it’s good ventilation and the cleverly placed zips that allow for a lot of different settings with the doors for both protection in cold, wet weather and ventilation in hot conditions. Pitching is incredibly easy, even for newbies and infrequent campers and with the addition of some extra items, this tent can be upgraded even more.
Long term use will prove if it makes for a reliable trail companion in the long run. Can’t wait to take it out again.