Shelter and sleeping

I’ll write up my trip notes over the next week or so, but it will take a bit of time to get everything in order. In the meantime I’ll do some short posts on gear and how it performed, to help you with your gear choices. The first observation is that everything worked well and I was pleased with the combinations.

My tent (as if you didn’t know already!) was the Terra Nova Laser Competition with my modifications. I’m now very happy with this, having addressed many of the shortcomings through various tweaks. Other than some strong gusts on Monday and Thursday evening, it wasn’t tested by strong winds but the battering it took in Wales makes me confident that it will withstand windy weather as well as most tents, although at the expense of a bit of noise and flapping.

On Wednesday, after lunch it withstood one and a half hours of intense rain with absolutely no leaks at all, unlike my Akto where I have had to seam seal two weak spots. Condensation is no better or worse than other one man tents I’ve had and it was only an issue on Friday morning. Drawing inspiration from others, I’ve rigged up an end venting system of a length of dyneema tied the the flysheet guy tie out loop, threaded up through the plastic hook that retains the shock cord for the end pole, then terminated with a cord lock. Hopefully the photos below show how it’s done.

This gives two venting options. With the end pegged out with the shock cord, the end can be lifted up slightly without taking the shock cord off the tent peg (photo second left). If the shock cord is taken off the tent peg (easy to do from inside), then the tent end can be lifted up appreciably to ensure a good air flow. The two pictures on the right show this. I also use a short loop of shock cord attached to the door hook loop to peg out the door a fraction to provide ventilation when cooking. I should have taken a photo to explain.

The two essential tweaks are the pole hood line loks, which work really well especially in conjunction with the small karabiners and the door threshold cord. The interior pocket worked well. Using safety pins to attach was a good idea as the pocket can be moved to wherever it’s needed. The porch groundsheet is now an essential item. I couldn’t manage without it. It adds so much usable space. The double end guys make the tent more stable but weren’t really tested. All in all, all the tweaks I’ve made add up to a considerable improvement, I think.

My sleeping mat was the Thermarest NeoAir, which as I suggested on an earlier post is the bee’s knees. Incredibly comfortable, making a mockery of poor ground conditions, excellent insulation and very light. I was very happy with the small version. I used the foam pad from the Mariposa under my feet. I also used a 150cm length of thin tent underlay under the NeoAir, which wasn’t strictly necessary but probably helped with insulation. I won’t bother next time.

My pillow was the Ajungjilak blow up pillow, which is very comfortable and folds away to next to nothing. I know others have issues with it, but for me, the comfort, the weight and compressibility make it ideal.

My sleeping bag was the Cumulus Ultralight 350, which I took in preference to the Pipedream 400 as it packs down smaller. Night time temperatures were well above freezing, so warmth wasn’t an issue. I would prefer to have a draught collar, but it wasn’t an issue. I didn’t regret taking it and valued its compressibility, making more room for food on a five day trip.

I was very pleased with the way everything worked and enjoyed a good night’s sleep every night, even when the under tent conditions were less than ideal on Monday and Thursday night.

2 thoughts on “Shelter and sleeping”

  1. Great to hear your experiences with the improvements. I’ve installed the door line and it works great.
    You could have your vents even more open than half way. Or with my setup, or when you don’t pull the fly inwards. Run the line as you do but run it further and attach it to the outside loop with a line lock.

    I’ve began work on the frustrating hood. although not finished the first results are promissing. You can see the ventline setup and the work on the hood at my blog htttp://

    1. Ingenius, Luc. However, I think I’ll stick to my simple ventilation mod. Interesting pole hood configuration. My mods worked well in the Cairngorms, so I’ll leave things alone for the moment. Great to see others using their imagination to improve the Comp.

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