Force Ten Nitro Lite 200 mods

Much as I like the Force Ten Nitro Lite 200, it falls short in a couple of areas. Most serious is that the rear panel of the fly sheet can touch the rear of the inner tent, transferring condensation, which can lead to a damp sleeping bag. Secondly, rain drops can be driven up the rear vent and onto the mesh ventilation panel. I’ve also been looking to see if I could improve the stability of the hoops by doubling the attachments for the guys. This afternoon, I got round to trying out my ideas.

1) Extra rear pegging point.

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I glued a circular piece of nylon cloth (ironically from the valance that I cut off the door of my Force Ten Vortex 200) as a reinforcing patch on either side of the hem in the middle of the rear panel. I used some McNett Silnet glue to secure it. After this was dry, I sewed on a linelok with a short piece of grosgrain (kindly donated by Sean at OookWorks). I used strong nylon thread, ensuring it was securely fixed to the hem. Next, I added a piece of shock-cord. The idea was to have the option of using the shock-cord or a piece of guy cord.

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After trying, the shock-cord on its own, then a piece of guy cord and lastly a combination of the two, I felt the best setup was the guy cord with a loop of shock-cord at the end secured on the same peg as the vent tie out. Hopefully, you can see that this pulls the rear fly panel well clear of the inner. The shock-cord means there’s not too much strain on the linelok and there’s some flexibility in the wind. It should also help compensate for the stretch of the silnylon fly when it gets wet. The picture below shows it from a different angle.

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Vango would do well to adopt this mod. It pulls the fly well clear of the inner. Inside the tent, it was almost impossible to push the inner onto the fly. It adds next to no weight and by doubling up with an existing pegging point, it doesn’t require an extra peg. Here’s another picture (eagle eyed will notice that this is using the guy cord only). You can see how well it pulls the fly away from the inner. Even without testing this on the hills, I can see this will be much better than prior to the mod. My only criticism is that I didn’t get it perfectly centred! It’s about 5mm off centre 😦

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2) Doubling up the guy lines.

From the picture above, you can see my next mod was to double up the guys. While I’m not suggesting that the Nitro is unstable with the original system, having two attachment points on either side definitely improves the stability of the pole arches. It’s noticeable that most Hilleberg tents adopt this configuration. Fortunately, it’s really easy to replicate. On both sides, at the exit of each pole sleeve, there is a loop. They are sewn into the seam of the pole sleeve and seem quite secure. To each, I attached a mini karabiner (Alpkit) and doubled the guy back (shown below on the rear pole).

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Initially I used the guy line supplied with the tent. Vango very kindly sent me some surplus guylines to play with. However, this is a bit thicker, so I used some 2mm line that I bought recently on Amazon. While it’s not Dyneema, it is very strong and it’s a rather wonderful, eye-searing orange with black flecks.

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Above you can see the guy lines on one side. I’m really pleased with the extra stability it adds, particularly on the rear hoop. It’s not so noticeable on the front as the Tension Band System works well, but the rear hoop has no TBS. On the rear hoop, the original guy line is long enough to double up and maintain the correct angle of “pull”, but the front guy is too short. If you don’t want to re-guy the tent, you could just double up the rear, while leaving the front unchanged. However, I like symmetry, so I did both ends. The only slight doubt I have is how strong the lower loops on the pole sleeve are. They seem quite solid, but only time will tell. Even if they ripped out, it wouldn’t do much damage.

3) Rain gutter for the rear mesh vent.

This mod is going to be a bit harder to explain! On my Lakes trip, on the second night, some rain drops were driven onto the mesh vent on the flysheet. None penetrated to the inner, but it made me concerned that in strong winds, with heavy rain, the vent could be vulnerable to water ingress. My initial thought was to make a vent cover. However, it looked very difficult to make, especially to sew Velcro attachment patches inside the vent.

Then I had a brainwave. Why not make a gutter or barrier to prevent the droplets being blown up the vent and onto the mesh. I though of using some window draught insulating strip, but decided it wasn’t quite right. Then I thought of using a V shaped strip of material.

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Using the same material from the Vortex valance, I cut a strip 30cm long by 4cm wide. I covered one side with Silnet and folded it in half length ways. Only glueing the very ends, I halved it again to form a V. I then used my old Black & Decker workmate as a vice so that the material would retain the V shape. After leaving overnight, I added a couple of stitches at the ends and 1/3rd and 2/3rds along. Hopefully you can see that in the picture above.

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The next part was quite tricky. With some Silnet, I glued the underside and then stuck it to the flysheet just below the mesh vent (shown above in a slightly blurred photo). The idea is that it presents a barrier to any raindrops that are driven by the wind up the flysheet, so they can’t migrate onto the mesh. Will it work? I don’t know, but the vent hood is quite deep, so I don’t think drops can be blown directly onto the mesh. The picture below shows the gutter strip from inside the tent. It was quite difficult to position so it’s not perfect, but it can’t be seen from the outside.

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4) Zip pulls and pegging loops.

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Not strictly necessary, but I added some zip pulls from the same cord as I used for the guy lines. More useful are the pegging loops that I added to the corner pegging points. These make pegging and adjustment easier.

So there we are, some useful mods that are not to hard to do. I recommend doubling the guys (really easy) and the extra rear pegging point. Let’s hope Vango include them in a mk2 version. They also need to look at the rear vent. I would prefer the option to close it completely. However, I’m hopeful that the rain gutter/barrier will work. I’d also like to encourage them to do a winter version with doors at either end, an extra hoop in the middle and removable snow valances. I’ve also got a few other ideas up my sleeve if they are interested 😉

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27 thoughts on “Force Ten Nitro Lite 200 mods”

  1. Good stuff Robin and very sensible modifications. I use my Soulo outside of summer but I think I would like to try and do some further mods to try an increase the stability of the ends of my Power Lizard tent. Your post has encouraged me to get around to it!

  2. Hi Robin,

    Great blog mate, thoroughly enjoying following your posts since I found your blog.

    This is not, however, a reply to your recent Nitro post but rather some questions about the Tarptent Scarp series.

    I currently live in New Zealand and there is very little practical experience here (that I can find) re Scarp’s performing in the field.

    I was, therefore, hoping to run a few questions re Tarptent Scarps past you if you don’t mind?

    I have been researching a lot in the attempt of finding a one shelter fits all solution. Whilst I realise that this is a somewhat unrealistic ambition, I don’t have the budget to fund multiple shelters.

    Via said research, I have come to the decision that the Scarp series is looking like a good bet to fulfill my criteria.

    What are your experiences with the Scarp and heavy rain and how the Silnylon fly stands up to this? I’ve been advised that Silnylon isn’t as effective as the fly’s used on TN’s or Hilleberg’s?

    Secondly, I mainly go into the field on my own, but have been cautioned to get the Scarp 2 over the 1? Is this over kill?

    Any feedback or advice you could offer regarding the above (or anything else you think I might want to consider) would be much appreciated

    Cheers

    Paul

    1. If you seal the seams and the crossover pole loop properly, there should be no problems with water ingress. I’ve been in some very heavy rain and had no problems (after sealing correctly!). I was concerned about the silnylon ground sheet, but even this has proved watertight, tested when I was flooded out of one pitch. So I don’t think you should have any concerns on how waterproof the Scarp is.

      The Scarp 1 is very spacious for one person, but isn’t a two man tent (unlike the Nitro). The Scarp 2 looks spacious for two, but I don’t have any experience of it. If you are travelling solo, the Scarp 1 is more than adequate.

      As I’ve said before, if I was restricted to one tent, it would be the Scarp. I hope that helps.

  3. Excellent mods there Robin. I particularly like the double using that loop fabric on the pole sleeves. Easily doable with the guy rope being a little longer. Same goes for the rear fly mod too.

    Though I may will give it a go with one of them fabric grippers you can buy from Ultralight Outdoor Gear. Cheap, quick and easy, with no need for DIY – if it works of course. I’ll find out soon.

    You should email Vango/F10 with these mods mate. They’re spot on 🙂

  4. To Paul Richards via Robin. Forget the Scarp 2 as a one man tent. You can get 3 in it if necessary. For 2 its very spacious. Its a great tent but the Scarp 1 would give you plenty of room. If weight is more important than space then check out the Tarptent Moment. All these tents will stand up to the worst the UK can throw at them. Some blizzard blown snow can ingress under the fly but how often does this happen.

    1. I’m hoping that Henry will make the Moment with a solid inner. That will pose a real dilemma for me 🙂

  5. Good suggestions, Robin! Re double-guying the poles: I agree. I’ve replaced the original guys with some 2mm dyneema I had lying around. I may order some more 1.7mm dyneema that is strong enough and shaves off a few more grams. I do it the Hilleberg way, with two line locks. And you’re right, it does add a lot more stability.

    What I do, though, is run the guy behind the pole as I slide the pole into the sleeve, so that the tension is shared between the “unofficial” guy point you’ve discovered (which doesn’t look as strong as the official one!) and the pole itself. It’s hard to describe, but basically, as you slide the pole in, you keep one length of the guy under it so that when you tension the guy it sits behind the pole and pulls the pole outwardly. It’s a bit like they do on the Soulo, if you know what I mean. That adds even more strength.

    Another thing I’ve done is replacing the rear guy and make it longer. The longer it is, the more it pulls the fly away from the inner. I haven’t done your mod at the rear yet, but I suspect simply by having a longer guy will help keeping the two apart.

    Keep bugging Force Ten about these improvements though. It’s a great tent, and it needs just a few changes to me it truly outstanding. I’ve now learnt to pitch it properly and the fly sits taut as a drum, something that is allegedly not so easy to achieve on a Nallo!

    1. That’s an excellent idea about looping the guy behind the pole. I’ll have a go some time.

      Adding the extra pegging point at the rear is excellent at maintaining the flysheet/inner separation, as I tested it in Wales.

  6. How does this tunnel design fair at keeping the inner+outer apart over that long central area? I had a Vango Spirit and that long tunnel they were touching unless I got it “just right”. I expect the modification you added to pull the fly at the bottom would help?

  7. I’ve done those mid rear peg points before. They will help with ventilation as well. Keep it simple. It’s not critical. Just put a loop of 2 or 2.5mm shock cord on it and use one of those 2g Ti wires.

  8. Hi Robin,
    I hope you don’t mind me asking your advice but I’ve just bought a used 2013 Nitro lite without the pegging point at the rear
    I am thinking of using a mini holden clip with some shock cord and I wondered what your thoughts are on this, e.g. If they are any good/can damage the fabric etc
    Cheers

    1. Hold on clips work well. You can use a spare piece of nylon as a protective patch. Even better are the woven circles of repair patches by McNett (tenacious tape). The Nitro Lite material is strong but could be damaged by the teeth of the Hold on clip. The peg out point doesn’t need to be under much tension though. Hope that helps.

  9. Hello Robin. Commendable and most sensible mods on this tent, thank you for sharing!
    Do you think ForceTen will ever implement these mods in an improved model of the Nitro Lite 2 ? Have you talked with them about this recently (2015)? They don’t seem to have any intentions of doing it from what I can see. What is your take on this?

    1. The extra pegging point at the rear is on the latest model. I was in contact with them a while ago and they know the other mods. My guess is they won’t incorporate them.

      1. Thank you, Robin.
        It is hard to see (or touch) any version changes in this tent when on the other side of The Pond.
        I don’t understand why it is so hard for Force Ten to install 2 more pegging points (lower end of each arc pole). People would readily pay a few extra pounds for this improvement.
        Why so stubborn!?!
        They already went through the “trouble” of installing 1 extra point, why not put all 3 at once!

        Now, if I can only find a new tent on SALE (latest 2015 Model -Nitro Lite 2 Plus -with the extended vestibule) mailed to the US without being charged an arm and a leg for shipping.

  10. Robin, are you aware of any design changes and differences between the 2014 and this year 2015 model of this tent?
    The new 2015 model is £50 more expensive and I wonder if there are any NEW and improved features that would warrant this price hike?

    Also, do you know if the tent Footprints for the “Nitro Lite 200” and “Nitro Lite 200 Plus” are identical and interchangeable, or not?

    Sorry for bugging you, Robin.
    Force Ten does not answer my emails and you are the best source (for obvious reasons) of information on this tent. You know it inside and out, literally!

  11. Hi Robin
    After going through many reviews and especially after reading your mods, I purchased the F10 Nitro Lite. It was delivered today. I’m pleased to inform you that FT has indeed added an extra peg point on the flysheet, middle rear. And they added extra pegging loops. Also the way the inner and outer are attached had changed. So your comments have indeed helped! After receiving I pitched it immediately and I am extremely pleased with the tent and the alterations. I doubled up the guy lines and will add some flexible cord. Thanks for this post!
    Conny, The Netherlands

  12. hi Robin , yep just as above i just bought the nitro 200 too this week got it for £339 ! after reading your reviews and mods pages very informative mate , they have taken your review info and it does now have extra rear pegging point, and have added a elastic in the rear inner to outer too mid way up to help pull out the inner , its very light , im 6ft and i just fit in , i had hoped it may have had a little more length but it will be fine , shame F10 dont make it a little longer for the taller folk and add a rear tbs in too 😉 looks impressive , have you had it out in many winter / bad storms ?

    1. I’ve been out a couple of times when it’s been bad weather and no problems. It’s pretty stable even if the wind is not end on.

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