Earlier this summer I took the plunge and purchased a tent from a new UK cottage industry company, Trekkertent.
It’s too early to give a full review based on extensive use, but after a few nights out with her in the Lake District and Pennines I thought I’d do a quick initial review. So far I’m impressed with what I see and it’s a great start for this new company.
Trekkertent make ultralight tents and shelters, designed with UK conditions in mind, aiming to give good performance in wind and rain. All Trekkertents use walking poles for support. I opted for the smallest model called the STEALTH. It’s a simple sloping ridge design. almost a throwback to the classic days of the Saunders Jetpacker, but slightly paired back and using modern materials.
I guess the first question is why I purchased the tent, given that I have a large collection already. And if I’m honest I don’t really need another. I’ve also had a bad experience with a well known cottage manufacturer in the UK recently (it would be unfair to make that the subject of a blog), and it rather jaded my faith in small start up companies. However the UK is sadly lacking pioneering and entrepreneurial outdoor gear makers like the Phoenix’s and Ultimate Equipment’s of old, and I’d really like to see the likes of Trekkertent succeed.
Marc at Trekkertent was extremely helpful when I contacted him and more than happy to make adjustments to the design to suit what I wanted. He also responded to emails very quickly and the tent was delivered in a very decent timescale.
There’s already an excellent review of the STEALTH by SectionHiker which no doubt is based on far more use of the tent than I’ve had time for so far. So let’s just call the following an initial review, and I’ll follow it with a longer tern round-up later.
Both the flysheet and bathtub goundsheet of the STEALTH are made from 30D grey Silnylon, grey and black respectively, which will be immediately familiar to anybody with a TarpTent (the fly is also available in 40D green silnylon). It’s a two skin design, weighing 620g according to the website (without pegs or poles). On my scales at home it weighed exactly 620g….spot on. It comes packed in a silnylon stuffsack and packs incredibly small. You could squash it down to the size of a Sigg bottle.
Setting up is relatively simple. Insert one trekking pole set to it’s shortest length into a grommet at the rear of the tent, and peg out the rear corners and guyline.
Then set the other trekking pole to 105 cm, insert in a grommet at the front under the flysheet, and peg out the front two corners and porch. The front of the tent is tensioned with a guyline set underneath the fly and it and the porch use the same peg. A quick bit of adjustment and the fly is up and wrinkle free, all with 6 pegs.
What you notice immediately is that comforting degree of ground hugging which I find essential for UK conditions. The flysheet can be set very close to the ground, and it certainly gives the impression of being fairly sturdy in wind.
One thing I did wonder about was how set-up would be effected by different types of trekking poles. Mine are a compact design and at there shortest are a perfect height for the rear. With less compact poles I’m not sure whether you’d be able to get the flysheet so close to the ground at the rear.
The STEALTH could of course be used like this as a sort of luxury tarp, weighing a little over 300g. Space would certainly be respectable. It’s 150 cm wide at the front and the porch in fact extends 100 cm beyond where the inner would finish which isn’t bad for an ultralight tent.
Tie outs are reinforced with double layer silnylon, which appears to be bonded rather than sewn. Corner tie outs are Linelocs secured with grosgrain. and fitted with 2mm red dyneema. Front and rear guys are 2mm yellow dyneema with fluorescent line runners.
There are also grosgrain loops fitted half way along each side at ground level. These proved essential when I used the tent in the Lake District a few weeks ago, especially when wind starts to hit the tent sides. Without them the windward side can collapse in against the inner. With all the will in the world, wind will always move direction no matter which way you pitch a tent.
Front ventilation is provided by a small mesh window in the porch covered with a good length canopy. This would prevent any wind blown rain entering the tent, but probably also restricts air flow. I haven’t suffered condensation in the few times I’ve used the STEALTH but on most nights I’ve had the front door zip open at least half way and wedged open with a stick.
Rear ventilation is very similar but with a slightly larger mesh panel. This a recent modification to the design of the tent introduced by Marc following some recommendations from SectionHiker. It’s great to see good feedback being incorporated into design so quickly.
Marc now also offers a second option of a rear door. similar to that found on the TarpTent Notch, but with a zip rather than Velcro tabs. Given the very low rear height of the tent you’d only be able to adjust this from outside the tent, and I’m not keen on venturing out to do this if I want to close it to rain during the night, so I stuck with the mesh vent. Time will tell if air flow is sufficient to prevent condensation.
The front porch secures with a decently strong zipper, covered by an equally good width flap secured with Velcro. Both front doors can be rolled back fully and secured with a loop and toggle.
First impressions of quality are excellent overall. All seams and stitching is straight and neat. Trekkertents also come ready seam-sealed, and it’s very professionally done. I’d really like to know how he’s managed to do such a neat job, sealant is both substantial but also a very even width.
The only seam which doesn’t quite align perfectly is the apex at the rear where the grosgrain webbing is attached for the rear pole. It’s ever so slightly miss-aligned…but that’s being very picky and it doesn’t at all effect the tent’s performance..
Attaching the inner is simple enough although if the ground is wet be prepared to get wet knees. You need to slither down to the back and attach the rear apex with a toggle and loop, then pass the corner tie outs under the fly and loop over the corner pegs. Then slither back to the front and repeat. Simple enough apart from one minor issue which I’ll explain in a moment.
The inner tent is a full mesh inner with a 30D silnylon bathtub groundsheet about 3 inches high. Marc has recently increased the bathtub height by another 2 inches, but I stuck with the shallower height to keep weight to a minimum. The flysheet after all hugs the ground quite well so there’s minimal chance of rain and wind blowing underneath.
The door has an L-shaped zipper and toggle and loop tie back. The corners of the groundsheet have struts to maintain the shape.
With the inner tent, internal height is still a reasonable 98 cm, and the width is 95 cm at the door. Not a palace by any means and it’s narrow at roof height, but we’re talking here about a tent I’ll use for quick and light overnights and for that purpose it’s fine.
So far then so good. There are a couple of things however that I still need to iron out before I’m 100% happy with the STEALTH.
- Setting the front correctly
Lets take setting the front first. The problem here seems to be that like many tents which use trekking poles, the set up is sensitive to the effective height of the front pole, and of course this is going to be impacted by uneven or soft ground. The instruction advise setting the front width to 150 cm to get the correct set-up, and you’ll see from the photo above that I’ve used a piece of thin green cord, attached by mitten hooks and set exactly at 150 cm, to ensure I always get the right width.
However, even set at the correct width, the tie-outs for the inner tent don’t stretch far enough to use the same pegs as the flysheet.
I’ve tried slackening everything off, using the same peg to tie out both inner and fly together, and then readjusting the front pole to take up any slack in the flysheet……but that leaves unsightly creases in the fly which can’t be pulled out. The STEALTH definitely does prefer a 150 cm front width.
So my solution to this will simply be to extend the front tie outs of the inner, but not with dyneema, with a small loop of 2mm bungee. This should also make set-up a bit more forgiving if the ground is uneven or soft.
The second issue I need to iron out is access. I’m fine with having a smaller internal space for quick and light backpacking, but I’m getting a bit long in the tooth for trying to bend myself around a pole which is set in the middle of the entrance. It’s really quite a squeeze, and not much fun in a hurry when it’s raining or you need a call of nature.
The solution obviously is to set the pole to one side. But it’s not quite that simple.
You’ll see above the effect of moving the pole from the centre to one side. The whole tent has a tendancy to lean to opposite side, and no amount of tensioning the fly can fully correct this. The angle between the flysheet and the pole is simply too shallow for the fly tensioner to pull the top of the pole to one side. It needs something pegged further away from the tent to do that.
This also means that the flysheet has a tendency to sag slightly to one side if the pole is offset, and this could result in some pooling of water at the bottom if it’s raining.
Luckily a D-ring and grosgrain loop are attached to the outside of the front apex. so it should be a simple matter of attaching another front guyline to this to use out sideways. It’s not ideal due to the alignment of the stitching, but should work. I may even detach the green cord I use for setting the correct front tent width, and have a secondary use for that as a guyline just for this purpose.
So there we have it, an initial review. I’m hoping to get out into Snowdonia in a week or tow to try it out in some more testing conditions, but initial impressions are that if I can sort out access and front set-up, then I’m really going to enjoy using the STEALTH. Certainly the few nights I used it recently had me feeling a bit nostalgic about being in a ridge tent again after all these years. And if these first Trekkertents are any indication of the company’s professionalism and eye for detail and simplicity, then I can see a great future.
- Does what it says on the tin….great for quick and light stealth camping
- Very light at 620g
- Packs away tiny
- Good separation between inner and fly
- Front porch can be completely rolled back
- Fly can be pitched close to the ground
- Quality build
- Superb seam sealing
- Customer service
- Care needed to get the correct front set-up
- Tight access when the front pole is set centrally.
Update: For a neat and simple solution to the front access in the form of an ‘A’ frame set-up, and an example of great customer service from Trekkertent, see my subsequent post. -> subsequent post