Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Vango Tempest 300 review

Mike started his trip with a Vango Tempest 300 tent. We liked the design and clever features like ventilation through the roof without rainwater coming in. It proved to be an easy to pitch tent with a lot of promise. He used if for about a year, of which 6 months on this trip. We camp every night. So any shortcomings will show up quickly. And the Tempest 300 had a few of those...

Pitching a Tempest 300 is quick and easy. Slide through 3 colour coded poles and put the pegs in the ground... done. The inner tent is suspended from the outer and folds up attached in place. Ventilation is taken care of by 3 ventilation panels, front, rear and top. Especially the ventilation in the top proved very useful in hot weather. The top opening is covered with a stitched-on flysheet to prevent rainwater entering. As hot air goes up, having ventilation in the top makes a big difference. 

There is a small vestibule area, with a groundsheet, to keep muddy boots outside and yet protected from the rain. We were quite happy with it, but it has a couple of weaknesses. Strong winds shake it up quite a bit. More so than the bigger Hilleberg Keron 4 we have as well. Vango knows and have tried to address the issue by fitting cross-brace straps. They do help but not a lot. The first proper rain we had showed wet spots on the fabric... hmmm. To be honest it stayed dry on the inside, but we always wondered for how long. As the inner tent isn't waterproof, that was a worry.

While in Canada, the poles started to snap. They are aluminium ones but apparently not very good quality. The poles split at the connection point. We had no alternative but to shorten them... and did so bit by bit over the following weeks. In the end we had hardly any poles left. In the meantime we asked the Canadian Vango importer about replacement poles. They were quite helpful, but Vango wasn't. We could buy a new tent from them but the not poles...

Because of where we were, we had no option but WalMart glass fibre poles. They didn't last either as the tension on the poles is quite high but at least we had something to keep the tent going until we could replace it. The material had faded quite badly by then too. 

The Vango Tempest 300 is made in Scotland, well… the design and head office are, and is marketed for the serious hiker. Being Scottish we assumed it would at least cope with some serious rain :-) It's not a bad tent for a couple of months but then it starts to fail… miserably. The aluminium poles snap without reason, the stitches come loose, the seam seal tape in the floor comes off and the fabric becomes wafer thin and starts to fade. We tried to keep the Vango going but in the end it was falling apart quicker than we could fix it. So Vango became Van-gone for us.