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四季帐(来自BACKPACKER的测评)

[日期:2007-06-02] 来源:  作者: [字体: ]
四季帐(来自BACKPACKER的测评)

1、原作出自BACKPACKER,编译者yufeimen。如用于学习和交流目的的引用和转载,请您全文转载并注明出处绿野,请勿用于商业用途。
2、原作者的观点并不代表译者的观点,译者只是如实的翻译原文,本文仅供户外爱好者参考。
3、由于本人水平所限,必有不准确不通畅的地方,请大家批评指正。 中国户外运动网 www.iouter.com  户外运动论坛

四季帐
如果你无论夏天还是冬天都是个野营爱好者,你需要一个可以改变用途的庇护所。
By Dan Nelson, October 1, 2000 

我一直都梦想拥有一辆敞篷汽车。在酷热的夏日夜晚,没有什么比回到山顶让新鲜空气在你身边翻滚更好的事情了,特别是知道如果有令人不快的天气蜂拥而来它将只用一秒钟使其后退。

我必须承认我现在不是在谈论汽车。当然,我喜爱驾驶一辆经典的Mustang敞篷车,或者是一辆更好的'57 T-bird,但是这样的一辆汽车对于我经常去的有车辙的森林道路来说是不实际的。不,我梦想的敞篷汽车是帐篷,那些适应所有季节的奇妙设计能够对付我在12个月里遭遇到的所有任何情况,无论我是在爱达荷、俄勒冈还是华盛顿,也无论我是在高山、雨林和高地沙漠。

完美的帐篷能够提供足够的空气流通使得在夏季三伏天也相当凉爽,而且能够以一个稳定的帐杆结构紧紧固定帐篷,这样即使在最糟的冬季乳白色天空也可以提供坚固、安全的庇护所。大部分的重要特征是都有相当大的有拉链控制的嵌板的网孔窗以调节或完全阻挡外面凉爽的微风,有一些有可以收起来的外帐方便夏季使用。完美的帐篷能够应付除高海拔或者超轻型的探险以外的每一种旅行,它可以节约你的时间、金钱、存储空间,否则你可能得有单独的专用于夏季和冬季的庇护所。

幸运地是,帐篷制造者正在加班工作使我的梦想成真。正如在Backpacker装备指南(2000年三月)上列出的50款可转换的帐篷。问题是:这些产品的精华是不是符合真正的四季帐的要求?

为了找出这个问题的答案,我们提出了背包客对此的明确标准(看下面的列表),我们习惯于减少选择到七个可转换的两人帐。五个进行艰苦旅行的装备测试者整年出发,不管什么样天气或者道路情况,在从华盛顿贝克峰全面性大风雪时期的冰川到南俄勒冈Alvord沙漠被太阳烤焦的沙子每一个地方搭建帐篷。合计测试150个夜晚。来自华盛顿徒步协会的自愿徒步队提交了附加的另外100个夜晚,提供了补充我们评价的洞察力。

实地试验标准
? 为了四季、所有环境的使用而构筑
? 小于$350(厂商建议零售价)
? 依据厂商说明,小于7.5磅(3.405千克)
? 独立式结构
? 至少三个全长帐杆以抵抗风雪的负担
? 至少一个门廊以方便冬季存储和烹饪

接下来的评论是以总性能为顺序的。

Marmot Swallow
最后得分:4.3
如果你不很介意在你背上多加几盎司的话,这款Swallow将在全年任何环境下保持你的干燥和舒适。 


无论我们把这款帐篷置于每一次测试,它被证实是有更多的准备。三杆设计提供了在强风中象岩石般坚固的力量,当天气是潮湿和变温暖时在顶篷豪华的网孔和外帐有效的通风孔能够保持空气的流通。帐篷的设计考虑到良好的高低通风,在雪天露营可以保持冷凝降到最低。
Bree特别喜爱其圆屋顶的多功能性,也注意到“在亚热雨季因为其裸露的骨架,你能正确地搭建外帐”。这个特点的偏移关系到帐篷的重量。(根据Backpacker的测量)7磅15盎司,这款Swallow是这些帐篷里最重的,可是其外帐和帐杆就重3磅15盎司。
每个人都喜爱其宽敞的内部空间和大方的头上空间。迈克注释到“在紧急关头,你们可以挤进去三个人。”其矩形基底被证实是对于我(我是所有测试者里最高的)足够长,并且也足够宽,我、我的伙伴和我们黄色的拉布拉多猎狗可以很舒适地并排睡觉。
口袋和内部存储套的过多被每个人控诉。保罗是唯一的反对者,他想要第二个门和前厅以获得更多的储藏和存取选择。

联系方式:Marmot Mountain, Ltd., (707) 544-4590; www.marmot.com


Sierra Designs Omega CD
最后得分:4.3
以其防弹设计和宽敞的内部,这款帐篷是一个阻挡边远地区暴风雪的理想避难所。近门处通风嵌板的集中使得它最适合寒冷的环境。

这款Omega CD值得夸耀的是对于两个人来说非常大的睡眠空间,而且有许多空间留给装备,还可以加上一、两条狗。甚至更好的是,额外的空间都是有用的,这是由于其陡峭的、绷紧的内墙和45英寸(约合1.14米)的峰高。
保罗称赞其三杆结构的圆屋顶易于设置,说“它就象一本给孩子准备的有跳起立体图片的书?太容易了。”这款帐篷利用Sierra Designs的标准回形钩固定帐杆,在所有帐杆连接处都有一个加锁的回形针以增加稳定性。微风、雨水和雪能平稳地滑过其锥形、绷紧的帐篷,推动我们全体一致同意这款帐篷几乎是不受天气影响的。我们中的一对夫妇注意到沉重的湿雪往往正好聚集在通过台门上方,虽然当我们从前厅里向上猛击一拳,雪很容易就跌落。
虽然这款帐篷似乎适合在任何季节抵挡暴风雪,但我们中有少数人对它在炎热、潮湿环境下的有效性持保留意见。Omega在门附近有几个通风嵌板,但是在帐篷的底部没有网孔。约翰在Cascade 丘陵地带的闷热夜晚使用这款帐篷后,他特别注意到其交叉通风选择的缺乏。
Omega不但显示了网孔而且显示了尼龙门嵌板;遮蔽网孔的尼龙布拉上拉链可以阻挡寒冷的微风。但是迈克不喜欢厚尼龙布是在网孔的外面这个情况。“如果温度下降我想要关闭帐篷,我不得不在关闭尼龙布之前拉开拉链移开网状织物。”
我们另一个挑剔的是其前庭。是一个有单独的门、中等大小的前庭,当摆满装备的时候这款Omega的入口通道可能会变得拥挤。

联系方式:Sierra Designs, (800) 635-0461; www.sierradesigns.com


Mountain Hardwear Muir Trail
最后得分:3.9
如果你不需要宽敞的住处,但是要求不管任何季节的天气都可以获得最大可能的保护,这款Muir Trail正合需要。

 

对于其完美的强壮性和稳定性,全体人员都一致同意,这款Muir Trail是难以击败的。“这个帐篷经得起风、雨、雪和它们的联合袭击,” Bree说。约翰,他挑选了这款作为他钟爱的帐篷,说这款Muir Trail低的末端是为了防风而设计的,这样帐篷将不会移动。四根帐杆的结构朝着脚部方向急剧变细,形成了一个楔形物可以劈开最强硬的大风,这使得它在高海拔营地和其它多风的地方成为最出色的表演者。可靠的有压胶的接缝和一个额外宽的外帐完成一个第一流的防风雨的包裹。
这种使得Muir Trail在暴风雪中表现得如此稳定的设计是侵犯了居住面积的。约翰报告说“这款Muir Trail对于一个象我这样的家伙(5尺8寸)是可以接受的,但是两个更大的家伙挤在这里也许是段难以忍受的时光。”在一次穿越华盛顿干涸的Methow河谷期间他自己使用了这款帐篷之后,六英尺高的保罗同意道:“其隧道形状仅仅提供了睡眠空间,而没有生活空间。”就我而言,我挤在里面度过几个下雨的夜晚,发现如果我的帐篷伙伴躺着的时候,在帐篷的前端我能够舒服地坐起来。
其特定的短小的空间,冷凝始终是我所担心的一件事,直到我实际上睡在这个帐篷里。这款Muir Trail靠几个高处的通风孔和其它靠近地平面的通风孔提供了卓越的空气流通;凉爽的空气沿着地面流动,湿热的空气会从屋顶溜走。

联系方式:Mountain Hardwear, (800) 953-8375; www.mountainhardwear.com


Dana Design Arja
最后得分:3.8
这款Arja提供了你将经受任何暴风雨所需要的全部强壮性和稳定性。其无遮盖的网孔使得内部会有少许微风,在夏天这非常棒,在冬天就很寒冷了。

 

当在爱达荷州Sawtooth山脉滑雪时,保罗和一个相当大块头的家伙分享了这款Arja,发现这是一款耐用的、能抵御风暴的庇护所,对于两个人来说有充足的空间,这是一个超过其它一些帐篷的极大的优势:“摇摆的第二个家”保罗表现得很热情,他可不愿意在午夜从同帐篷的人身上爬过去或者有别人从他身上爬过去。我们都喜欢其额外的异于平常的存储空间。
这款Arja的三杆改良型圆屋顶形状是很容易地被迅速架起的,虽然有少数测试者注意到其帐杆对于套管来说太长了。“我想把帐杆穿入扣环时,因为太紧密所以有一些困难,”约翰说。但是一旦帐篷被支起,那些紧密的机件对于你是个有利条件,将得到一个绷紧的、不会松弛的庇护所。保罗在Arja里经受住了几场大的冬季暴风雪,注意到它能够很容易地散落降雪。其外帐在拨散雨水方面也格外优秀,虽然这是唯一一款接缝没有压胶的帐篷。
带着Arja在寒冷天气外出旅行之后,迈克对于在这款帐篷内部缺乏覆盖大量网孔的嵌板觉得很遗憾。应该承认,这种结构有效地保证了空气的流通,但是,他说,“我认为这是一款三季帐,因为它没有办法阻挡冷风通过网孔涌进来。”另一方面,我发现通过关闭所有外帐通风孔并且踢起靠近外帐底部迎风侧的雪,这款帐篷可以被弄得很温暖舒适。
约翰表达了一个最后的但不是普遍的要求:内部更多的装备口袋。

联系方式:Dana Design, (888) 357-3262; www.danadesign.com


Kelty Cyclone Convertible
最后得分:3.5
一旦你了解了它的单方向帐杆套的悬挂方式,这款Kelty Cyclone Convertible是结合了强壮性和稳定性,并且广阔、舒适的。

 

园屋顶形状的Cyclone是一个强壮的、稳定的庇护所,能够在中等强度的风中保持它的外形。像绷紧的鼓一样的外帐能够容易地拨散雨水和雪。在门和天花板上有网孔嵌板,对于交叉通风有充足的条件,其外帐部件可以密封通风孔以调节空气流通。宽敞的内部、大方的前庭空间和双重门处处显现出亮点。
在设置的容易性上意见出现了分歧,主要是因为其与众不同的帐杆套的安排。这款Cyclone的套管在一端是被缝合上的,并且三根帐杆的每一个在一端都有一个橡皮“子弹”。保罗在亲身体验了这个系统后立刻喜欢上了它。Bree报告说“这是一款我在华盛顿奥林匹亚半岛猛烈的倾盆大雨中不必介意架设问题的帐篷。大约在几分钟内,你就有一个干燥的庇护所可以钻进去了。”经过第三次或者是第四次搭建帐篷,迈克和我基本上意见一致,虽然我们稍后发现在潮湿的时候橡胶“子弹”会钩住管套,这时候就不象那些没有橡胶“子弹”的帐杆那么容易地滑动收回。
我们对于“飞机驾驶员”也是喜忧参半,“飞机驾驶员”是Kelty用来称呼锚定外帐与每一根帐杆和帐篷主体的小部件。这个飞机驾驶员是由一个在外帐外面的橡皮补丁和一个厚的塑胶回形针组成。橡皮补丁直接定位于帐杆套管上面。你只需挤压帐杆周围的补丁,然后向下滑动在补丁上的回形针钩住下面的帐杆就可以了。这个把外帐扣住帐杆的锁,真是个好主意,但是保持回形针附着在外帐上的弹性绳是用一小条尼龙缝上的,在测试期间有三个回形针被扯掉了。
同样,一些维持外帐展开的塑胶杆也是被缝进帐篷边缘,其中的一根在测试的初期阶段就突然折断了。在塞满填充物的袋子里仔细地包装外帐,这个问题或许能被避免。

联系方式:Kelty, (800) 423-2320; www.kelty.com


REI Convert Mountain 2
最后得分:3
对于身高6英尺(1.83米)以下的人们,这款Convert Mountain 2在适度的天气时会做得很好。

 

这款REI Convert Mountain 2的空间利用和独特的设计思想赢得了我们的赞扬。但是测试者感觉其设计思路没有被充分地贯彻。例如,迈克注意到,“在外帐的一个屋顶通风孔的设想似乎是非常好的,它应该允许任何停留在帐篷内的湿热空气从最高点排出。”不幸地是,这款Convert Mountain的通风孔没能达到预期的效果。“通风孔必须被放置在一个陡峭的位置才能获得最有效的透气性,”迈克说。保罗和我对于这款帐篷也有一些微词。这款Convert Mountain的外帐为了防水在接缝处是被压胶的,但是在主门拉链周围的接缝没有被压胶,正如迈克评论的,“这是外帐最应该密封的地方,它是直接对着帐篷中央的上方。”为了解决这个问题,我用了一个完整的密封管修补了拉链周围的接缝,并且加了个罩以覆盖拉练的上部。
迈克、约翰和Bree认为这款Convert Mountain的生存空间是宽敞和舒适的,然而保罗和我却因为其短的长度和狭窄的宽度觉得很不舒服。我们也注意到了其低的、隧道式的前庭,这要求露营者得用手和膝盖爬进去。
良好的通风选择(门上的网孔延伸到地面)、天花板上大量的网孔嵌板,这款帐篷的通风非常好。这使得其在夏季和相邻季节非常舒适,但是我担心其在冬季的使用。换句话说,雪堆积在帐篷接近通风孔的顶部和自支持的前庭颈部,在厚重的积雪重压之下导致帐篷下垂、前庭几乎倒塌。在Pacific Crest Trail一场春季暴风雪期间我得多次去帐篷外面去清理积雪以保持帐篷竖立和稳定。

联系方式:REI, (800) 426-4840; www.rei.com


The North Face Harrier
最后得分:2.6
在普通的环境下,这款Harrier对于身高在6英尺以下且不介意潮湿的徒步旅行者来说是一个舒适的庇护所。

 

每个人都同意这款Harrier的搭建是非常迅速和容易的。原因呢?这款帐篷是一个由两个交叉的帐杆支撑的基本长方形,第三根帐杆延伸通过帐篷的狭窄部分以支撑宽大的外帐,非常简单。双门和两个前庭使每个人满意。对于其前庭短小的尺寸也有一些担心,约翰认为其对于背包、靴子和多种混合装备的存储是不够格的。
不过因为弄湿了大部分测试者,这款Harrier丢了很多分。Bree说当她在华盛顿Norse山的荒野时,“在基底的所有四个角都有水渗漏,并且在外帐也有几个点下漏。”约翰和迈克都注意到在基底接缝周围有水渗出,甚至有压胶涂层的也是如此。接缝是被用斜纹带包了起来,意图用一个被缝在接缝周围的编织带来帮助防止磨损。那个编织带使得在接缝里的密封胶层难以工作。
迈克指出其外帐没有伸展超过帐墙的边缘。雨水从外帐直接流到帐篷的下缘,在基底平面有一条被缝合的接缝,雨水立刻沿着这条路通过。更糟糕的是,当风加大了在外帐边缘下的雨水,帐墙就被浸湿了,同样地在内部靠着帐墙的任何东西也被雨水刷过。作为好的一方面,这款Harrier通风充分并且能有效地防风。
全体人员一致的意见是其可居住面积对于两个人来说是不够的。其矩形的地面被证实对于两个人想要舒适地睡眠来说太狭窄了,对于任何一个身高超过6英尺的人想睡觉而不碰两面的墙就太短了。帐墙以一个浅的角度向内倾斜,减少了其靠近帐墙空间的有效利用性。当我睡觉的时候尼龙是如此接近我的脸,冷凝的形成是不可避免的。用不了多长时间我就被滴到我眼皮上的水(我自己的呼吸冷凝的)弄醒了。

联系方式:The North Face, (800) 719-6678; www.thenorthface.com


与测试者相识

Bree 巴顿
荒地救火队员,急诊医士
身高:5英尺5英寸(约合1米65)
测试范围:南部Cascades
喜爱的帐篷:Marmot
偏爱:能够坐起和四处移动的空间,一个或两个窗口,宽大的前庭

保罗 克利夫兰
江河向导,户外作家
身高:6英尺(约合1米83)
测试范围:太平洋西北部
喜爱的帐篷:Dana Design
偏爱:两门帐篷,大的前庭和房间方便进入

约翰 Kemple
雷尼尔山国家公园的志愿护林员
身高:5英尺8英寸
测试范围:加利福尼亚,华盛顿
喜爱的帐篷:Mountain Hardwear
偏爱:重量轻、耐用;愿意牺牲一些空间以节约重量

丹 A. 纳尔逊
户外作家
身高:6英尺2英寸
测试范围:爱达荷州;Cascades, Olympics, WalLOWAs
喜爱的帐篷:Sierra Designs
偏爱:能够做起和躺下的空间,对于我、我的狗和我的徒步旅行搭档来说足够的空间

迈克 Torok
航空宇宙工程师,志愿道路维护队领队
身高:5英尺7英寸
测试范围:北部Cascades,Glacier Peak
喜爱的帐篷:Marmot
偏爱:重量轻,有对于两个人来说不会感觉挤的空间


原文如下:

Tents For All Seasons
If you're a fan of both summer and winter camping, you need a convertible shelter.
By Dan Nelson, October 1, 2000

Photo by Dan A. Nelson

Marmot Swallow
I've always dreamed of owning a convertible. There's nothing better on a sweltering summer night than rolling back the top to let fresh air billow in around you-especially knowing it'll take only a second to put it back up if nasty weather rolls in.
I must confess that I'm not talking about cars. Sure, I'd love to drive a classic Mustang convertible, or better yet a '57 T-bird, but such a car isn't practical for the rutted forest roads I frequent. No, the convertibles that fill my dreams are tents, those all-season wonders designed to handle any and all conditions I encounter during 12 months of travel in the mountains, rainforests, and high deserts of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
The perfect convertible offers enough ventilation to be comfortably cool during the dog days of summer, but also battens down tightly around a stable pole structure to provide strong, safe shelter in the worst winter whiteout. Most feature sizable mesh windows with zip-over panels for regulating-or completely shutting out-cool breezes, and some have rainflies that roll back easily for summer use. The ideal convertible handles every type of trip, short of high-altitude or ultralight adventures, which saves you the time, money, and storage space you might otherwise devote to separate summer and winter shelters.
Fortunately, tent makers are working overtime to make my dream come true. No less than 50 convertible tents are listed in the Backpacker Gear Guide (March 2000). The question was: Would the cream of this crop pass muster as true all-season shelters?
To find out, we came up with backpacker-specific criteria (see list below), which we used to pare down the selection to seven convertible two-person tents. Five hard-traveling gear testers who hit the trails year-round, regardless of weather or trail conditions, pitched the tents on everything from the glaciers of Washington's Mt. Baker during full-blown blizzards to the sun-scorched sands of the Alvord Desert in southern Oregon. Total nights of testing: 150. Volunteer trail crews from the Washington Trails Association put in another 100-plus nights, offering insights to supplement our evaluations.
Field Test Criteria
? Built for all-season, all-conditions use
? Less than $350 (manufacturer's suggested retail price)
? Less than 7.5 pounds, according to the manufacturer
? Freestanding
? At least three full-length poles for wind and snow loading
? At least one vestibule for winter storage and cooking
The reviews follow in the order of overall performance.
Marmot Swallow
Final
Grade
4.3
If you don't mind a few extra ounces on your back, the Swallow will keep you dry and comfortable all year long, in any conditions.

Photo by Dan A. Nelson

Marmot Swallow
The Swallow proved more than ready for every test we threw at it. The three-pole design provided rock-solid strength in strong winds, while the expansive mesh in the canopy and effective vents in the rainfly kept air circulating when the weather was damp and warm. The tent's design allows for good high-low venting, which kept condensation to a minimum while snow camping.
Bree was especially fond of this dome's versatility, noting that "for bare-bones shelter in the hot-and-rainy season, you can just pitch the fly." This feature offset concerns about the tent's weight. At 7 pounds 15 ounces (on Backpacker's scales), the Swallow was the heaviest of the lot, though the fly and poles alone weigh just 3 pounds 15 ounces.
Everyone loved the roomy interior space and generous headroom. Mike noted that "in a pinch, you could squeeze in three people." The rectangular floor proved long enough for me (the tallest of the testers) and wide enough for me, my partner, and our yellow Lab to sleep side-by-side-by-side comfortably.
The plethora of pockets and inside storage sleeves appealed to everyone. Paul was the only dissenter, wanting a second door and vestibule for more storage and access options.
Contact: Marmot Mountain, Ltd., (707) 544-4590; www.marmot.com.
Sierra Designs Omega CD
Final
Grade
4.3
With its bombproof design and roomy interior, this tent is an ideal refuge from backcountry storms. The concentration of venting panels near the door makes it best suited to cooler conditions.

Photo by Alan L. Bauer

Sierra Designs Omega CD
The Omega CD boasts great sleeping space for two, with plenty of room left over for gear, plus a dog or two. Even better, the extra space is all usable, thanks to steep, tight walls and a peak height of 45 inches.
Paul applauded the ease of setup of this three-pole dome, saying it's "like a pop-up book for kids?it's that easy." The tent utilizes Sierra Designs's standard clip-hook feature for attaching poles, with a locking clip at all pole junctions to add stability. Air, rain, and snow slipped smoothly over the tapered, taut tent, moving the group to agree unanimously that this tent was nearly impervious to weather. A couple of us noted that heavy wet snow tended to collect just above the vestibule door, though when we "punched" upward from inside the vestibule, the snow fell off easily.
While the tent seemed fit to withstand storms in any season, a few of us had reservations about its usefulness in hot, humid conditions. The Omega has several venting panels near the door, but no mesh at the foot of the tent. John in particular noted the lack of cross-venting options after using it on a hot, sultry night in the Cascade foothills.
The Omega sports both mesh and solid nylon door panels; the nylon panels zip closed over the mesh to shut out chilly breezes. But Mike didn't like the fact that the solid panel was outside of the mesh. "If the temperature dropped and I wanted to close the tent, I had to unzip and move the mesh before I could close the nylon panel."
The only other nit we picked was with the vestibule. With a single door and moderate-size vestibule, the Omega's entryway can get crowded when loaded with gear.
Contact: Sierra Designs, (800) 635-0461; www.sierradesigns.com.
Mountain Hardwear Muir Trail
Final
Grade
3.9
If you don't need spacious accommodations, but demand the utmost protection from the elements regardless of the season, the Muir Trail fits the bill.

Photo by Alan L. Bauer

Mountain Hardwear Muir Trail
The crew agreed that for pure strength and stability, the Muir Trail is hard to beat. "This tent stood up to wind, rain, snow, and various combinations of all three," Bree said. John, who picked this as his favorite tent, said that with the low end of the Muir Trail set into the wind, the tent wouldn't budge. The four-pole structure tapers sharply toward the feet, creating a wedge that splits the strongest gale and makes it the best performer for high alpine campsites and other gusty places. Secure seam-taping and an extra-wide rainfly complete the stellar weatherproofing package.
The design, which is what makes the Muir Trail so stable in storms, cuts into the living space, however. John reported that "the Muir Trail is acceptable to a guy like me (5'8"), but two larger guys may have a tough time fitting into this one." Six-footer Paul concurred after using the tent by himself during an excursion through the dry Methow Valley in Washington: "The tunnel shape offers only sleeping space, and no living' space." For my part, I spent a few rainy nights huddled inside, and found that I could sit up comfortably at the head of the tent only if my tentmate was lying down.
Given the smallish space, condensation was one of my concerns?until I actually slept in the tent. The Muir Trail offers excellent ventilation with several high vents and others near ground level; cool air flowed in along the ground, and hot, humid air escaped through the roof.
Contact: Mountain Hardwear, (800) 953-8375; www.mountainhardwear.com.
Dana Design Arja
Final
Grade
3.8
The Arja offers all the strength and stability you'll need to weather any storm. The uncovered mesh inside makes it a bit breezy within-great in summer, chilly in winter.

Photo by Alan L. Bauer

Dana Design Arja
While skiing in Idaho's Sawtooth Range, Paul shared the Arja with an even bigger guy and found it to be a durable, stormproof shelter with ample room for two and a huge advantage over some of the other tents: "The second door rocks!" enthused Paul, who prefers not to clamber over his tentmates in the middle of the night?or have them scramble over him. We all liked the extra, out-of-the-way storage space.
The Arja's three-pole modified dome shape sets up quickly and easily, though a few testers noted that the poles are almost too long for the sleeves. "I had some difficulties getting the poles into their grommets because of the tight fit," John said. But once the tent is up, that tightness works to your advantage, producing a taut, sagproof shelter. Paul weathered several big winter storms in the Arja and noted it shed snow effortlessly. The fly also sheds water exceptionally well, though this was the only tent lacking factory-taped seams.
After cold-weather outings with the Arja, Mike lamented the lack of solid panels to cover the plentiful mesh inside the tent. Granted, the configuration keeps air circulating effectively, but, he said, "I'd consider this a three-season tent, since there's no way to stop cold breezes from rushing through the mesh." On the other hand, I found that by closing down all the vents in the fly and kicking snow up against the windward edge of the fly bottom, the tent could be made snug and warm.
John voiced one final but common request: more gear pockets inside.
Contact: Dana Design, (888) 357-3262; www.danadesign.com.
Kelty Cyclone Convertible
Final
Grade
3.5
The Kelty Cyclone Convertible combines strength and stability with roominess and comfort?once you get the hang of the one-way pole sleeves.

Photo by Alan L. Bauer

Kelty Cyclone Convertible
The dome-shaped Cyclone is a strong, stable shelter that held its shape in moderately heavy winds. The drum-tight fly shed water and snow easily. With mesh panels on both doors and in the ceiling, there's ample opportunity for cross-venting, and the fly features sealable vents to regulate air flow. A roomy interior, generous vestibule space, and double doors round out the highlights.
Opinions diverged on ease of setup, mainly because of the unusual pole-sleeve arrangement. The Cyclone sleeves are sewn shut on one end, and each of the three poles has a rubber "bullet" on one end. Paul, who has had experience with this system, liked it immediately. Bree reported that "this is one tent I don't mind setting up in torrential downpours on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. In a matter of minutes, you have a dry shelter to dive into." By the third or fourth pitching, Mike and I basically agreed, though we later found that the rubber bullets catch in the sleeves when wet and don't slide back out as easily as nonbulleted poles.
We also had mixed feelings about the "Flyboy," Kelty's name for the gadget that anchors the fly to each of the poles and tent body. The Flyboy consists of a rubber patch on the outside of the fly and a thick plastic clip. The rubber patches are located directly over the tent pole sleeves. You merely squeeze the patch around the pole and slip the clip down over the patch, catching the pole underneath. This locks the fly to the pole. Great idea, but the elastic cord that keeps the clip attached to the fly is sewn to a tiny sliver of nylon fabric, and three clips tore off during testing.
Also, small plastic rods are sewn into the lips of the vents on the fly to prop them open. One of the rods snapped during the early stages of testing. This problem probably can be avoided by carefully packing the fly in the stuff sack.
Contact: Kelty, (800) 423-2320; www.kelty.com.
REI Convert Mountain 2
Final
Grade
3
For folks under 6 feet tall, the Convert Mountain 2 works well in moderate weather.

Photo by Alan L. Bauer

REI Convert Mountain 2
The REI Convert Mountain 2 earned praise for its use of space and unique design ideas. But testers felt the ideas weren't carried through fully. For instance, Mike noted, "The concept of a roof vent in the fly seemed really good. It should let any moist heat trapped in the tent escape at the highest point." Unfortunately, the Convert Mountain's vent didn't live up to expectations. "The vent needs to be placed at a steeper location to breathe most effectively," Mike said. Paul and I also had leakage around the vent. The Convert Mountain's rainfly is factory seam-taped for waterproofness, but the seam around the main door zipper is not taped, and as Mike commented, "This is the most important seal on the fly; it's directly over the center of the tent." To solve the problem, I worked nearly a full tube of seam sealer into the seams around the zipper and the hood that covers the top of the zipper.
Mike, John, and Bree rated the living space of the Convert Mountain as roomy and comfortable, yet Paul and I felt constrained by the short length and narrow width. We also noted the low, tunnel-shaped vestibule, which requires campers to get down on their hands and knees to crawl inside.
With good ventilation options (mesh on the doors extended to the floors), and with vast panels of mesh on the ceiling, the tent vents well. That makes it comfortable for summer and the shoulder seasons, but I had concerns about winter use. Namely, snow accumulated on the top of the tent near the vent and across the neck of the self- supported vestibule, causing the tent to sag and the vestibule almost to collapse under heavy snow. Only by making multiple trips out of the tent to clear the snow could I keep it upright and stable during a spring storm on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Contact: REI, (800) 426-4840; www.rei.com.
The North Face Harrier
Final
Grade
2.6
In moderate conditions, the Harrier is a comfortable shelter for hikers shorter than 6 feet who don't mind getting damp.

Photo by Alan L. Bauer

The North Face Harrier
Everyone agreed that the Harrier pitched quickly and easily. The reason? The tent is a basic rectangle supported by two crossed poles, with a third stretching across the narrow dimension of the tent to support the large rainfly. Simple. The twin doors and two vestibules pleased everyone. There was some concern about the smallish size of the vestibules, which John thought inadequate for storage of packs, boots, and assorted gear.
The Harrier lost points, though, by getting most testers wet. Bree said that while she was in Washington's Norse Peak Wilderness, "water leaked in at all four corners of the floor and seeped down through a few spots on the fly." John and Mike both noticed water oozing in around floor seams, even after a coating of seam sealer. The seams are bias-taped, meaning a fabric ribbon is sewn around the seam to help prevent fraying. That fabric tape made it difficult to work sealant into the seam.
Mike pointed out that the fly doesn't extend past the edge of the tent wall. Rather, rain runs off the fly directly onto the lower edge of the tent, and with a stitched seam at ground level, water worked its way through in no time. Further, when wind blew rain up under the skirt of the fly, the tent walls became soaked, as did anything inside that brushed against them. On the good side, the Harrier vented adequately and slipped wind effectively.
The general consensus was that the living space is inadequate for two people. The rectangular floor proved too narrow for two to sleep comfortably and too short for anyone over 6 feet to sleep without touching both walls. The walls slope inward at a shallow angle, reducing the usefulness of the space near the walls. With nylon so close to my face as I slept, condensation buildup was inevitable. It wasn't long before I awoke to water (condensed from my own breath) dripping onto my eyelids.
Contact: The North Face, (800) 719-6678; www.thenorthface.com.
Meet The Testers
Bree Barton
Wildlands firefighter, EMT
Height: 5'5"
Stomping grounds: southern Cascades
Favorite tent: Marmot
Preferences: room to sit up and move around, a window or two, and large vestibules
Paul Cleveland
River guide, outdoor writer
Height: 6'
Stomping grounds: Pacific Northwest
Favorite tent: Dana Design
Preferences: tents with two doors, big vestibules, and room to move inside
John Kemple
Volunteer backcountry ranger at Mt. Rainier National Park
Height: 5'8"
Stomping grounds: California, Washington
Favorite tent: Mountain Hardwear
Preferences: light weight and durability; will trade some space to save weight
Dan A. Nelson
Outdoor writer
Height: 6'2"
Stomping grounds: Idaho; Cascades, Olympics, Wallowas
Favorite tent: Sierra Designs
Preferences: room to sit up, room to lie down, and enough space for me, my dog, and my hiking partner
Mike Torok
Aerospace engineer, volunteer trail maintenance crew leader
Height: 5'7"
Stomping grounds: North Cascades, Glacier Peak
Favorite tent: Marmot
Preferences: light weight with room for two without feeling cramped

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