I’ve been trying to figure out a way to either close the rear vent on the Nitro Lite 200 or at least reduce the size of the aperture for a while. I’ve failed to think of an elegant way to completely close it.
The best solution would be to sew a flap inside the vent, but it would be incredibly fiddly to do, especially for someone with limited sewing skills like me. I’ve already introduced a rain gutter to stop drops of rain being driven up the vent. The next step was to have a mechanism to reduce the size of the vent aperture in stormy weather.
The most obvious way to achieve this was to use a strip of Velcro. Because the hood is wired, it is difficult to secure the whole length of the hood, so I decided to close it in the centre. First I sewed a length of Velcro to the underside of the hood guying grosgrain loop.
Next I sewed a mating strip on to the flysheet. I had some orange Velcro, so I used that as it colour coordinated better (these things are important!). Before sewing, I glued the Velcro to stop it sliding around. This meant a wait of a couple of hours for the glue to dry, but made the process much easier.
On the underside, I used some McNett Tenacious Tape as a strengthener to sew on and then to seal against rain wicking through the stitching (i.e. two layers of tape).
Initially, I was pleased with the result. However, after thinking about it for a while, I had another brainwave.
The drawback with just using Velcro might be that in really windy conditions, the Velcro could separate, leaving the vent vulnerable. Combining the Velcro closure with some shock cord and a cord grip would give a much more secure closure.
I sewed a small grosgrain loop on the orange Velcro strip. I looped some shock cord through it and then through the hood guying grosgrain loop (shown above).
To aid the removal of the hood guy, I used a small karabiner. The picture above shows the hood in the open position.
To close the hood, I remove the guy line, engage the Velcro and tighten the cord lock. With this system, there’s no chance of the hood flipping open. Initially I was annoyed at not thinking of the cord lock option first as it seemed the Velcro had become superfluous. However, the addition of the Velcro makes the opening smaller, so I think it is worth while.
Clearly, this is not a perfect solution as it is still theoretically possible for rain to penetrate. However, given the small aperture size and the rain gutter, I think it’s highly unlikely it would be a problem. It will be interesting to see whether Vango will address this weakness and others in a new version of the Nitro Lite.