Since my Laser Competition pole broke during my sojourn along the Dales Way a few weeks ago, I’ve been using an Akto I was lucky enough to borrow from John Manning’s partner, Steph. (Thanks again, Steph!)
The Competition is wonderful when I’m out on my own, but I immediately noticed significant benefits to the Akto when camping with Piglet.
There’s quite a lot more space for her, and my rather random approach to the distribution of kit within the tent looks less untidy in the Akto than it did in the Competition because there’s noticeably more room down at the foot end, so that I don’t have to arrange piles of Exped dry bags round the sides of the tent.
I began to think about buying an Akto, but then it occurred to me that there are other options out there.
The idea of the Voyager Superlite was tempting for a while, because I’ve always loved the Voyager, and the idea of being able to get one weighing only 1.6kg (!) was quite exciting. Ultimately, though, I’ve decided against it, because I’ve become used to being able to put up my tent in one, and don’t really want to return to the faff of putting up inner and outer separately. I know it’s not much of a faff in the greater scheme of things, but why faff at all, I asked myself, when these days there are so many utterly faffless but nonetheless beautiful tents on the market? I’ve therefore struck the Voyager off my mental list.
Another contender has been the Stephenson’s Warmlite. I spent a night in one recently, and was amazed by the space and stability and lightness of the wee thing. I’d looked into Alan’s at the campsite in Ballater last May, and so I already knew it was big inside, but I couldn’t quite get my head round the idea of not having a porch for cooking. After last weekend, though, I’m quite sure that I’d be content cooking carefully inside with gas, if needs were to be. I’d go for the fully double-skinned version, because for the absolutely minimal weight involved in adding an inner to the cones at each end I really can’t see any point in not doing so, for use in this country. In a drier environment things would be diffferent. Still, though… I’d really rather have a porch than not, all other things being equal.
In those circumstances I’m finally coming round to the idea of the Henry Shires Scarp 1–the new model (not yet released) with the lower flysheet. It looks very large, and I love the idea of having two porches. Mainly I love it in case the wind direction changes during the night, but it would also be useful for camping in twos, and (of course) for the time when Piglet learns to use her own little stove to warm water for her kibble in the morning.
It seems that with the new Scarp 1 it’ll be possible to have the best of all worlds: space, stability (optional crossover poles turn it into a 4-season tent that can be lifted up and put down somewhere more comfortable) and two porches, and all for approximately 1.3kg (plus about 350g for the optional crossover poles).
It’s exciting to have the prospect of a new tent ahead of me 🙂 I’m off to the Henry Shires site now, to see whether I can work out when the new model is going to be available.