Incoming: Force Ten Nitro Lite 200 tent

I’ve been looking at this tent for a while. I held off getting one because I was sceptical about the weight. I was also concerned that the fly would not reach to the ground, looking at the publicity photos. Terry of terrybnd fame, received one for testing recently and he confirmed that the weight was correct and that the flysheet was not raised. He also answered a few other questions I had.

I’ve never had a tunnel tent, although I like the design. Until now, they’ve all been a little bit heavy for backpacking. The Nitro Lite 200, seems to have cracked this barrier. I hunted around the internet and found an offer on Amazon of one for £348 with free postage from Springfield Camping compared with a list price of £430. I think you can guess what happened next. My finger slipped.

It arrived this morning. After unpacking, it was straight on to the scales: 1475g. Interestingly, the swing tag says 1550g. The weight breaks down as follows: tent 1151g, poles 226g, pegs 46g, bag 37g, repair kit 15g. As it’s raining today, I don’t think I’m going to get an opportunity to pitch it. Unpacking it, as far as I can see, the manufacturing quality is good (I’ll make a proper inspection when it’s pitched). As you can see from the picture, the fly material is semi translucent and thin, but feels fine. The inner is also gossamer but quite windproof.

The poles are well finished and seem quite sturdy. However, the pegs are quite flimsy. There are four “normal” sized ones (blue tops) and the rest are tooth pick pegs which will need to be replaced, which will probably add another 50-100g, depending on what I select. The repair kit contains swatches of material, plus an adhesive backed patch for the fly. The tent bag is a decent size and has printed instructions inside.

The seams on the fly are taped, so it should be properly water tight. The various fittings that I could see are light but not flimsy. The one thing that is crying out for a mod is the rear fly sheet vent. It has a wire hood but no means of sealing against the elements. In a strong wind, I can see rain being driven up the vent and through the mesh vent. It needs a removable piece of material to cover it, I think I’m going to email Vango for a swatch and make a cover with Velcro attachments.

Hopefully, tomorrow will see better weather and I’ll be able to pitch it in the garden. I see the Nitro as an interesting alternative to the Scarp and a better winter tent. The tunnel design should be better for snow shedding. It is also appreciably bigger inside, which should be an advantage in winter conditions.

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19 thoughts on “Incoming: Force Ten Nitro Lite 200 tent”

      1. There quite a deep cowl but I don’t think I’m going to take a chance. I’ll make a cover for the mesh.

  1. As you know, I’m a great fan of the very underrated Force Ten range. Many dismiss them because of the perception of the related Vango range as merely entry level. I have four Force Ten’s including two that I’ve successfully used on the 2011 and 2012 TGO Challenges when conditions were wild to say the least, the Helium 100 and Helium 100 Superlite respectively.
    I also have a Force Ten Baltoro which is a great winter tent but rather heavy for backpacking so when I saw the Nitro 200 advertised at Springfield at an (erroneously low) introductory price I was straight over to Hebden Bridge. Sadly their stock had sold out and when readvertised the price had risen to the current figure. (I have nothing but praise for Springfield and believe their opening price had been a genuine mistake). But the tent looked great and seemed to offer the combination of a four-season tent that was light enough for backpacking. The snag is that the Scarp offers the same and after reading rave reviews for the Scarp, including your own, I chose Scarp.
    If any of my four Force Tens have a drawback it’s weak ventilation so I tend to sleep with as many zips or doors open as conditions allow. I’ve never had a failure of materials, zips, closers, toggles or anything else with any of them and I would recommend them wholeheartedly for quality, not just on price. I upgraded pegs on my Force Tens, but we all do that anyway, using y-pegs or eastons.

    1. It will be interesting to compare and contrast with the Scarp. Not necessarily a replacement for the Scarp but an alternative. I suspect it is a better winter tent as its a tunnel tent. The Scarp is still a superb tent.

  2. Is it realistically capable of sleeping 2 people, with gear in the porch, though?
    And will it be big enough for us taller folks?

    Obviously, you’ll only be able to answer those once its been pitched, but I’d definitely be keen to know!

    1. Aye, it’s defo a 2 person tent. Not a luxury solo like some brands/tents in it’s class (or in general come to think of it!). Mind you, depends how large you are I guess.

      You can put two mats side by side inside and still have a little room with no overlapping. So, good sign I guess…

  3. You must have more tents than days in the week now Robin. I fancied this Nitro when it first came out but never got round to seeing one. The Scarps and Moments were getting rave reviews so went for the Scarp 2. I’ve always wondered if i made the right decision, but i won’t be changing the Scarp any time soon.

    1. Scarp1, Laser Comp, Cuben Duomid (I’ve given the silnylon one to a friend), Nitro, Vortex 200, TBS100. I wasn’t interested in the old Nitro as it was a bit heavy. I’d really like a Hilleberg Soulo as well 🙂

    1. I pitched mine in the garden last week Mark. In the winds and rain. Ha! It stood fine. Wanted to gauge how noisy it might get what with it being a tunnel tent and all.

  4. Ha. Well you surprised me with your quick purchase Robin. But then you’ve had your eye on it for a while I guess.

    For folks info, Force Ten are having somewhat of a re-launch in 2013. Hence some of the new kit creeping through. Like you Robin, I was keen to try out in vain the Nitro tent. I like tunnels for their space to weight ratio. And this one isn’t as heavy or cumbersome as others.

    I’m yet to use it on the hills though. That’ll be remedied next week. But having seen it a few times and pitched it in my garden for a quick thorough gander, I’m mightliy impressed with it upon initial inspection.

    Proofs in the pudding, so they say. So, we’ll see. It seems stable enough for a tunnel tent for sure. Looking forward to it.

  5. Me and the missus used a Spirit 200 +, which we picked up in a sale for £150, until it was replaced with a Hilleberg Allak. I regret selling it, especially for campsites, where you don’t wanna be leaving an expensive tent, whilst you’re in the hills all day. It was very stable, and very well made for the money.

    I always fancied one of the older Nitro 100s as my solo tent on the experience of the Spirit 200 +, but couldn’t get hold of one, so went for a Lightwave T0 Trek, which was eventually replaced by a Scarp 1. I like the Scarp, but still think the Lightwave was better made, as stable, and never collapsed in snow! Saying that the Scarp is lighter, faster to pitch, and much roomier. As for it collapsing, I’m sure with the crossing poles it wouldn’t have, but it’s a pity they’re such a faff IMO.

    Anyway, looking forward to your feedback on the tent.

  6. Internet kit shopping, it’s all too painfully easy… So you’ve bought it as a more winter oriented tent option? Hmm, I’d be very intrigued to see how this copes with snow… Looking forward to your more thorough review already!

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