A brief overnighter is hardly a good test but I thought I’d pass on some brief thoughts on the new gear I used recently.
Tarptent Notch Li
At around 600g, the Notch Li is astonishingly light for a proper two skin tent. I’ve made some minor tweaks which I will share in another post. It’s extremely easy and quick to pitch. Although you only need four pegs in theory, in practice you need six as the apex guys are needed to give it a robust structure. There was a modest breeze so it was hardly testing conditions but with the apex guys and pitchloc ends it’s a pretty solid structure.
In common with most trekking pole tents, there’s a bit of a gap between the hem of the fly and ground, so it was a bit more draughty than say the Scarp. I guess it’s a bit swings and roundabouts as a bit more air flow helps to mitigate condensation. With a fresh breeze condensation wasn’t an issue anyway. There is a small vent above both doors and the end panels can be opened so there are plenty of venting options.
While I much prefer zipped doors, the zips do feel a little fragile, so I think it would be wise to take care. I have put a side release line lok on either door panel that has just a grosgrain loop so it is feasible in calm conditions to have the zip open (something that Colin Ibbottson recommends on the Tramplite shelter to help with longevity). I might sew a buckle clip at the base of the door too.
In terms of room, the inner is quite compact. There’s not a huge amount of room for gear but it is reasonably long so some stuff can be stowed at either end. A modest amount can be stored at the mid point, but I put most of my gear in one porch. The porches are a decent size, so there is space to store things. The only thing to be careful with is rain might get blown under the fly sheet.
The flysheet seems to be lighter weight DCF than say the Tramplite, but the groundsheet is heavier and feels robust, which seems to be a good compromise. The solid inner fabric is thinner than the stuff they use in the Scarp and has a slight green tinge to it. I like it and wonder how much weight they could save on the Scarp if they used it. As an aside, the solid inner is marginally lighter than the mesh alternative. The inner pockets by the door are ok, but I think they’ve missed a trick by not putting them at the ends.
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with it. It feels like a decently robust mountain tent. It has a small footprint, making it ideal for summit camping. At 600g it’s astonishingly light for such a robust tent. The small inner will take a little getting used to, but not a major issue with a decent amount of porch space.
Nemo Tensor Alpine sleeping mat
At 475g the Tensor is 115g heavier than my Thermarest X-Lite, but is slightly larger and marginally warmer. It has a different structure and is less noisy to sleep on. I found it more comfortable to sleep on, partly because it doesn’t taper as much and partly because it feels more supportive. It didn’t deflate at all in the night and the valve makes it much quicker to deflate in the morning. I couldn’t tell any difference in insulation. It packs down small. Overall I like it for the extra comfort over the X-Lite, but it’s not a clear cut winner, just a bit different.
Atom Packs Mo 50
This was the first outing for the Mo. Until I walk a few days with it, I can’t give a definitive judgement, but it feels really comfortable. It just feels right. When packing, it is a little slim compared with my GG Mariposa, and is definitely smaller, so a little more care is needed in packing. It feels very robust. The side pockets are big enough for a tent or two water bottles. The stretch pocket is much more robust than on many packs. I like the rolltop closure and the Y strap.
All in all it’s a really well designed and made pack. I wish I’d bought the 60 for a little more space, but if I’m careful it should be big enough for multi-day trips. The Y strap means that I could put a stuff sack on top to increase volume. My pack weight was around 9kg with water and food and it carried that easily.
Mountain Equipment Kinesis trousers
I changed into these when I had camped and they were brilliant for the chilly weather. They are very light at 220g. The fleecy liner is lovely and soft but not too warm. The thigh vents are useful but I didn’t need them. I slept in them too and they kept me warm in the subzero overnight temperatures. They have a little bit of stretch which makes them great in the tent. They pack down quite small into one pocket.
It’s a shame ME have stopped making them but there are two new versions: one is like tracksuit bottoms and a bit lighter, the other is a heavier weight trouser with reinforcement patches. I prefer mine as they are are a good compromise between a usable and reasonably smart trouser but not overkill.