Thursday 12 June 2008

Test Pitch of the Big Agnes Seedhouse SL 2

The Big Agnes Seedhouse SL 2 arrived on Wednesday afternoon and the first thing that struck me is how light this thing is and next was the pack size. This is going to be a dream to carry and pack over my Coleman Exponent Phact 2.

Now there's a problem in that last Friday I turfed part of our garden and so now I have nowhere to pitch it. I don't know how I did it bit I managed to wait until tonight to pitch this thing and that was only due to an exchange of favours between a friend and I. The deal was I'd fix his wireless broadband connection and I'd use his garden to pitch the tent.

As it turned out things took longer than planned and by the time I got round to going outside I was running out of time and the light was fading fast. Nevertheless I quickly sussed it out and set about putting it up. I'm impressed with the weight and ease of setup but even more impressive is the space inside. A lot of reviews from users in the US claim that this isn't a true two-person tent and having been inside I can strongly disagree. In lightweight backpacking over a few days I can't see sharing this tent being a problem at all. Just be free and comfortable with your sexuality and smile with glee knowing that sharing the tent has meant your half only weighed in at 750g!

I have to admit that I didn't really take my time putting the Seedhouse up, mainly because I wanted this to be a test to pick up on any little quirky bits before using it for real in the driving rain no doubt. The only issue (I think) is remembering to align the fly with care (to avoid areas with slack) and attaching the clips from the fly to the inner before pegging the fly in. This is just to create more internal space by pulling the inner out slightly. Some people have complained about this but once you know its there it just becomes part of the ritual of setting up the tent and its not worth worrying about.

Although I only used half of the pegs to stake the tent in I am really pleased at the stability of the little thing. With just two pegs in each corner of the groundsheet and 5 pegs to secure the fly it stands its ground well and I bet with experience one could set this up to withstand a fair bit of wind. Of course time will tell!

The bathtub style groundsheet comes up fairly high and I don't expect there to be any problems with water ingress, even in heavy rain. Of course what remains to be seen now is if 1200mm hydrostatic head is watertight and I'll be watching this with nervous scepticism! On a similar note, as per the reviews, the groundsheet is very thin and I've decided that I'm going to make a footprint/protector out of waterproof rip-stop nylon. I'm just waiting on the specs of the fabric (particularly the weight) from the supplier before ordering the fabric and testing my sewing skills.

I'm on holiday a week today so I won't be out to test it until I return so its going to be a bit like going cold turkey until I can get back on the hill!


Martin Rye said...

That looks a great tent – thing is it looks complex to pitch? Inner first and all that mesh in the rain seems a pain. Good space and weight though. Hope it works out for you in the hills. Post a long term review and feed back to let us know if it was any good.

Marcus said...

Hi Martin, thanks for your comments.

Its not all that difficult to be honest, just a different approach than most might be used to - what with the skeleton frame to which the inner is then clipped. If I can find a spare minute I could do a video in real time to demonstrate to others just how easy it really is.

Like most inner-pitch-first designs, erection in the rain is going to get the inner wet, however I would say that the tent takes such a short amount of time to put up, its going to be minimal. My biggest concern about this tent is how it handles high winds.

The weight is fantastic for the size, bearing in mind that it will always be split 50:50 until I find my solo feet! It needs a footprint to preserve the thin groundsheet in my opinion but I'm not too worried about the additional weight when using lightweight rip stop nylon.

Paul and I are off to the Coniston fells in a couple of weeks to test it all out, so this will be a good trial of how it performs fairly high in the hills. I'll post my findings on here along with some of the other new kit, like the multimat superlite compact 25, the Golite Litespeed pack and other tweaks to my equipment.


Martin Rye said...

Sounds a good trip. Dartmoor this weekend for me. I'll look out for updates on your site.

Marcus said...

Morning Martin,

I've always fancied Dartmoor but only ever stopped briefly and carried on straight past. My GF has a natural affection for any type rolling moorland so maybe this is how I entice her on her first wild camp!

I read your blog with interest (and envy) the other evening and can only hope that I can get out to such inspiring places on my travels.

Thanks again.

P.S. Hope the outdoor bloggers weekend goes well.