Vango Helium Superlite Tent
22nd Aug 2011
Helium Superlite 100
Once I had a bivvi bag which weighed as much as this tent does, and I could guarantee that even if it didn’t rain, I’d wake up damp. Now, though, for less than a kilo I can chuck this tent in my bag and have a far better – and drier – night.
The Helium Superlite pitches flysheet first, but you can leave the inner attached so the tent effectively goes up in one. The design is based around a single main pole to save weight, plus a short pole at the foot end to increase internal space – Vango call this a ‘Hybrid Tunnel design. Their Tension Band System (TBS) means there’s a clever strap of webbing which is set to reinforce the main pole, and when pulled tight this really helped stability in high winds. In all, I’ve found the TBS system an excellent design which increases the tent’s strength for just a few grams weight penalty.
Unlike some other single person tent’s I’ve spent the night in, I didn’t feel claustrophobic or restricted in the Superlight, although anyone over 6ft might have a different experience. For its weight and class there was a decent amount of space for both me and my kit. I was also impressed with the porch which was good and easy to get in and out of, plus big enough for my wet kit overnight. With a bit of care it was reasonable to cook inside it in bad weather, but this leads to increased condensation problems.
On the down side, that condensation did prove problematic on very cold nights since there aren’t many venting options. I was also the unlucky recipient of a faulty pole, but the customer service at Vango was brilliant and replaced it in no time at all. Also, the pegs were perhaps a bit too light weight to be fully practical. In general, though, it feels petty to be finding too much fault in what is in total a great and very well thought out tent.
In all, the Helium Superlite comes highly recommended for single person backpacking. If you want a bit of extra space then the Superlite 200 is a little bigger and heavier, but still well within a reasonable weight for solo backpacking. It’s may not be the very lightest single person tent out there, but unlike the lightest, it comes in at a reasonable price.
Features from the manufacturer
• Flysheet: Protex® 20D SPU 5000 ripstop nylon
• Inner: Lightweight 40D ripstop nylon
• Groundsheet: Protex® 20D SPU 5000
• Poles: F10 Flexlite Ã¸7.9mm
• Pitching: 'As one' or flysheet first
• Poles lighter for 2011: F10 Flexlite poles Ã¸7.9mm
• Protex® 20D SPU 5000 Ripstop Nylon
• Lightweight 40D ripstop nylon inner
• Protex® 20D SPU 5000 groundsheet
• Pre-angled poles
• TBS® Pro Tension Band System
• Hybrid tunnel design
• Flat pole sleeves
• Line-lok guyline runners
• Taped seams
• Inner tent pockets
• 'O' shaped inner doors
• Rain stop flysheet door
• Flysheet door can be opened as a vent
Reviewed by Ben Winston