Some may know that I've been shopping around for (yet another) tent. The criteria for this tent is very specific. It needs enough head room for me to sit up in at the front, so that I can cook in the porch and under cover if the weather is bad. It also needs to have an inner and outer. And here's the killer criteria - weigh on or under 1500g.
Here's how the candidates measured up.
First up was the Big Agnes Seedhouse. I had big hopes for this tent as I'd heard good reviews from various sources. Off plan it had the headroom. However once set up it was clear that the maximum headroom was in the wrong place, to sit up and cook in the porch would require arm extensions.
Next up was the Laser Comp. Having measured my sitting back length I was sure that the internal height would do. I got something of a shock when I tried to sit inside and my head bumped against the hoop. Now it may be that the tent was not set up properly in the shop but I wouldn't have thought that would make much difference to the headroom.
After much trawling of the Internet I found the Mountain Hardware Helion 2. One of the outdoor retailers on Kensington High Street had one in stock, so I popped up on the tube over the weekend. One of the handy things about free standing geodesics is that they don't require pegs (or peg replacements) to hold them up. Well this tent ticked all the boxes and, as an added bonus, will sleep two (it's cosier than some two person tents I've owned however.)
I left the shop thinking job done... Until I walked into the next shop. In the middle of the floor in the area where they stock the tents was an Atko. Out of curiosity (a dangerous thing for cats, and me it seems) I asked a shop assistant to pitch it. Luckily they had those Velcro pegs that some shops use. With the tent pitched, I sat inside. I had room to sit up, there was space to store boots and rucksack, and space to cook. I now know why the Atko is such a well regarded tent. Off plan the headroom of this tent is 90cm, 5cm less than the Laser Comp, so given my earlier experience with the Laser I shouldn't have been been able to sit up in it. Then again I'm still wondering why this should be.
This left me with a bit of a dilemma. The Atko and the Helion weigh and cost the same. The Atko is a big amount of space for one. Oh dear! I kicked around the pro's and cons, and a decision was made.
I'm buying the Helion. Why? Well it sleeps two and the other person who'll be sharing it with me offered to pay half.
Look out for the obligatory gear review.
High street retailers please note; Velcro carpet pegs help pitch tents so that people can try them out. This is extremely useful especially when the stock advice to people buying tents is to try them out for size.