Tent: The North Face Spectrum
What The North Face Say:
Developed for multisport athletes, the Flight Series" features ultralight, multi-purpose apparel, equipment and footwear. This athlete-tested performance collection is designed for done-in-a-day and weekend adventures when fast and light packing is paramount.
Retail Price: £225
What planetFear say:
This is a tent with many plaudits, but one major downside that makes me seriously think twice before using it. It’s obviously very lightweight, coming in at under 2Kg. It’s very easy to erect with colour coded poles threading easily into their respective sleeves. One thing to be aware of when erecting is the plastic swivel joints on the top which only work in one orientation. Easy enough to spot when it’s light and conditions are OK, but may prove problematic otherwise. It’s incredibly stable in high winds (it’s actually rated to 130mph). It is reasonably roomy given its light weight. However, despite some fairly decent venting, it becomes incredibly wet inside. I first used it in high winds and very light rain on top of Kinder in the Peak District. We smugly got inside and settled down into our sleeping bags, and were pretty disappointed that within minutes condensation was forming on the inside of the tent (we did not have a stove going, though we were obviously sweaty from the run up). The wind that was rattling the tent simply caused the condensation to rain on us for the entire night! We experimented with the vents in the roof, but they had little effect on the overall situation – we were getting wet! The vent in the roof actually seem to be a fairly major design flaw. It is effectively horizontal. Although it has a zip so that you can close it off, the zip is not waterproof so it is absolutely vital to pitch the tent with the door facing into the wind to avoid any driving rain from collecting on top of the zipped vent and finding its way in. By morning we were thoroughly wet and fed up. In drier conditions (the weather on top of Kinder was extremely humid) the tent doe fare better, but it certainly has some breathability issues. A real shame as it is excellent otherwise.