Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Vaude Power Lizard, Final Update

As I mentioned previously I e-mailed Vaude UK and attached the photos showing where the water was seeping through the flysheet. I'd decided to contact Vaude UK directly as I'd been in contact with them regarding the end strut length as the retailer was unfamiliar with the Power Lizard. They did get back to me to say that,

basically, your tent should be a fully waterproof system. Checking your photographs, I would suggest the ingress is at the inner-tent suspension / attachment-points, this being not something we`ve come across previously.

They asked me to return the flysheet so that they could check it out and if a fault was found they'd source me a new flysheet from Vaude Germany which would take 2-3 weeks.

To be honest I wasn't too happy with that as I didn't really want to wait that long and had hoped Vaude would simply send out a replacement tent on receipt of the faulty one. I e-mailed Vaude suggesting I'd be happier to have the complete tent replaced or if they wanted to OK it with the retailer then I would return it to them (retailer) for a refund. Vaude UK then got back to say that as they were completely out of stock and it would be mid November before they had any more it might be better to contact the retailer for a replacement. To be honest there didn't seem much point in getting a replacement as any stock the retailer had was likely to be from the same batch and would at the very least suffer from the strut issue if not the leak which I felt was a manufacturing/design issue anyway.

In the end I contacted the retailer Friday past detailing the problem and asking them to contact Vaude UK for further information. They were quick to respond and e-mailed me saying they'd spoken to Vaude UK and felt that the best option was for me to return the tent for a refund. Obviously I took them up on the offer as I didn't particularly like the tent anyway. The tent was posted back on Saturday, ironically I finished making the footprint* on Friday prior to hearing from the retailer, and the purchase price together with my return postage costs was refunded on Tuesday so top marks to both Vaude UK and the retailer for dealing with the matter very efficiently indeed.

So I'm back where I started again, still looking for my perfect tent but the reality is that I may already own my perfect tent.

The Footprint

I wanted to make a footprint for a varety of reasons, I wanted to protect the groundsheet, not because I thought it was fragile but it's just something I've always done, secondly it would have allowed me to use the fly only if I so wished and thirdly it helps keep the groundsheet clean and dry when packing the inner and fly separately.

I had bought some temporary double glazing film but found it difficult to work with as it's so thin so I decided to use a sheet of plastic as a pattern. I cut the footprint to the dimensions given for the inner tent (230cm long, 115cm wide at the head and 90cm at the foot) I found however that the footprint was much too close to the bottom edge of the flysheet and felt that there was a strong possibility of rain being blown onto it. In the end to achieve sufficient clearance I cut the footprint down by 10cm in each dimension (215cm L x 105cm wide at the head and 80cm wide at the foot) which tends to support my view that the inner tent is cut too large and in doing so inner/fly separation has been sacrificed to achieve greater internal space. As it turned out I never actually got to try the footprint as by the time I'd completed it I'd received the e-mail asking me to return the tent for refund.


  1. The siren call of the Scarp is beckoning ;)

  2. Could be :-)

    To be honest I've been banned from buying another tent. However, should I choose to ignore the warnings I'd get the MSR Hubba HP as it's the closest to the Phreeranger. Inner 1st pitching has it's pro's and cons though, in it's favour it's pretty much free standing and as such should pitch easier on the very wet ground that's local to me or on very stony ground on the coast. The downside is getting the inner wet when pitching in the rain although I understand that if you use the footprint you can in fact clip the inner in after the fly is pitched. How easy or satisfactory that would be is anyones guess though. Again it's not really all that light.

    The Scarp although it's a transverse single pole looks vastly superior to the other single transverse tents available but I'm really not keen on that style, the packed length also puts me off to a degree and I'm wary of buying another tent against my better judgement especially as it would be coming from the US.

    I should just be content with what I have but........

  3. When I saw the Hubba in the flesh I wasn't very impressed. It's quite small. Jeff (aka Trentham Walker) had one; I think he's sold it now. If you want that kind of tent, Vango do one, the Apex 200, but it's 1.6kg. If the proposed Alpkit tent really is 1kg, then that would be worth waiting for. The packing length is an issue with the Scarp. Unlike the Laser Comp, the struts can't be removed.

  4. Glad you got a refund Richard.
    There's nothing worse than being stuck with something you're not happy with.

    You can gear surf for tents all over again! :)

    Mike fae Dundee

  5. Agreed Robin, the Hubba looks quite narrow, at 70cm it's about 1 1/2 times the width of a standard sleeping mat however I'm more interested in height than width and it is 100cm high.

    The Apex is close to what I'm looking for but on closer inspection it doesn't really offer any benefit over the Phreeranger, the weight is about the same but the Apex looks less wind resistant what with the large vents/hoods on the fly.

    The Alpkit tent is interesting but I'd need to know more, the weight is good at 1kg but as it is it would be too low for my liking, again with longitudinal single pole designs I don't mind a narrowish inner if there's plenty of headroom and a good sized porch.

    I also like the look of the Big Agnes Fly Creek 1 like Maz has although it's a completely different style of tent, at 1kg it's certainly light enough and looks quite stable/wind resistant.

  6. Hi Mike, it was a relief to be honest, I'd resigned myself to either using it which is why I'd went ahead with the footprint but I knew that I'd never like it or selling it at a loss. I didn't even seek a refund initially as I didn't think I'd be offered one and had they offered a complete replacement I'd have taken it gladly and tried to sell it.

    As for gear surfing for a tent, well unless you all know of an exact replica Phreeranger made from updated materials and haven't told me about it I guess I've seen all there is to see.


  7. Someone on BPL.com could probably help you out with a cuben or silnylon Phreeranger clone.
    A few folk on there have recreated their favourite tents using UL materials.

    Mike fae Dundee

  8. Thats a possibility Mike, I talked about making a new inner tent a year ago but thats as far as it got, if I even managed to replace the original groundsheet which isn't waterproof anymore with a new silnylon one that would be a step in the right direction but I'm just too lazy :-)

  9. The old apex height thing has me vexed, I have to say. Sitting on the floor, I'm over a metre tall. That puts most tents out of the running. I mentioned the Hubba HP (over on OM) as a likely contender but it would still be a compromise so I may just end up sticking with the Hex 3 which is great for height but suffers length-wise.

    I looked at the Fly Creek btw. 96.5cm :o(

  10. I guess that's why you're called 'Big Kev' then :-)

    One thing to consider though is that in my experience the height doesn't drop off quite as quickly on longitudinal single pole designs and looking at the Hubba on ULOG the inner looks to be nice and tight as you'd expect on an inner 1st design, how about the length of the Hubba, is 220cm long enough for you?

    I need to tread carefully here or I'll talk myself into getting a Hubba ;-)

  11. Being tall is both a blessing and a curse :o(

    220cm is right on the edge as that's the length of at least 2 or my sleeping bags. Contact with the inner is inevitable but it's manageable as I carry a TN Moonlite when it's likely to be really damp.

    I've taken to using a Seedhouse SL2 as a solo tent and sleeping on the diagonal. Works for me but it's not ideal. Folk have suggested Hellesport (sp?) but they're awfy dear tents tho'.

    If I do end up with the Hubba HP, I'll let you know.

  12. Hi Richard.
    Terra Nova may help you out with a replacement groundsheet for the Phreeranger. I might be worth a begging email explaining the situation. They are usually a helpful lot.
    If it turns out that they cannot replace it then they may offer to reproof it for you professionally.

    Sorry to hear of your Lizard problems but glad the service you got from Vaude and the retailer was positive.

  13. The service from Vaude and the retailer was 1st class absolutely no complaints there.

    I've ordered some 30D silnylon from Bearpaw tents so I should have a new groundsheet. I went for 30D silnylon as I always use a footprint anyway, the one I made to use the Phreeranger fly only is fine on it's own so combined with a poly footprint should be more than enough. I'm in 2 minds whether to order some ripstop nylon from Extreme Textil to make a complete new inner.

    If I can get under 1.5kg inc pegs and poly footprint I'll be happy.

  14. Has anyone seen the BROOKS RANGE ROCKET TENT as i think its all made from that cuban material ? anyhow it looks and sounds pretty awsome, also aswell as this tent ive been looking at the MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR BUNKER as i want a top quality 4 season bomb proof tent that will stand every conceivable weather variation that mother nature can throw at it, anyway if you have any thoughts at all on these 2 tents could you post on here so as i can take on board anything you may have to say on these, thankyou kindly.

  15. I'll hand that over to anyone else who can comment as I haven't seen either of the tents you mention let alone tried them.