Finding the perfect tent for Bicycle Touring

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Recommendations to producers, on future improvements

Exped Vela I Extreme or Vaude Taurus-UL2p?

Bicycle Traveler who wanders alone, usually has a one person tent, due to modest weight and dimensions and because of a limited volume of bike bags. Reading outdoor reviews and travelers advice, most of them are from their personal experience. It must be lightweight, pitching easily, stable and durable. List of tents suitable for Bicycle Touring is large and searching in middle price range was a challenge. Choosing a small tent is definitely a good idea, but sooner or later, every self-supported traveler is facing a stressful situation. Due to bad weather you are forced to stop and stay in a tent for several days with no extra space for a little bit of comfort. 

Some tips on choosing a tent for bike travelers

It was one of that night, when I was clutching wet in Ferrino Ligtent 1 and recognizing soon, this certainly wasn’t the right tent for my size. Result is a search for a different tent. Soon I sold it to a much smaller, guy who went to Iceland. Purchase of new part of outdoor equipment, usually begins with reading more reviews, considering recommendations and brand names like Vaude, MSR, Exped, Hilleberg and special army hammocks

Special Hammocks made for longer trips

Clark Jungle Hammock

North American

There are many hammock choices on the market, but only few brands are made for the long haul. Regarding hammocks, actually “drifting beds” I have a good experience. Clark Jungle Hammock-North American, which I bought in the U.S. is very useful when trekking along forest terrain for short periods or in tropical climate. It has almost everything as a tent has. Personally, although excellent, I was not sleeping good in it, because it is still a hammock and sleeping in “U” position was just not comfortable enough for me. The manufacturer now offers a hanging tent version of hammock.The original Hammock tent, made for long haul. Good stuff.

Top quality tents

Hilleberg Suolo

Hilleberg Staika

Travelers who don’t like to make any compromises regarding the quality, Hilleberg tents are the best option (Hilleberg Suolo and Staika).  Since the price exceeds the budget of many touring cyclists,  we have to deside between quality and price. I have decide between MSR (Hubba Hubba, Hubba, Nook, Carbon Reflex), Exped Vela I Extreme and Vaude. I have chosen the Vaude Taurus UL2, rather then similar model  Vaude Hogan or smaller Argon. A decision was made, due to simplicity of the construction and ease of pitching. All of those tents have similar characteristics. We will take a close look at Exped Vela I Extreme and Vaude Taurus UL2.

Exped Vela I Extreme

At worldtravellers.dk Nikolai says: Exped Vela I Extreme tent has it all. It is a powerful, compact and easy to set up. Nikolai has cycled a good part of the world with Exped Vela I Extreme. This was a key argument, for buying this tent. Exped Vela I Extreme is quite expensive tent for its size. But after a detailed review of Exped Vela I Extreme, I found only a few weak points that I have further amplify. The entrance is really something special. Interior space is bigger than at Ferrino Lightent 1 and above all the vestibule is huge, because it runs along the entire length of the tent. Satisfied with Swiss precision, quality and a sense for details, I went to a couple of wanderings, but soon began thinking on another tent. Why and what for? Although really high-quality and strong in materials, Exped Vela I Extreme is not a free standing tent. Only one supporting pole and two pegs, isn’t giving enough reliability and comfort in more difficult weather conditions. That is my opinion, but I like Vela somehow and it will be used for short hikes.

Vaude Taurus UL 2

First of all it was a Swiss precision in shipment from Exped, that spoiled me, because when I opened the shipment from Vaude, I was slightly disappointed. Where are the accessories? Are spare parts not belonging to the shipment? After setting up Vaude Taurus UL2, my disappointment continues. Especially relevant were much softer materials and faulty seams, compare to Exped tents! The unique shape and spaciousness of this tent is very good, but obviously at Vaude, they are saving in quality and quantity of materials. Due to total weight, it is obvious, that more spacious tent Vaude Taurus UL2, weighs similar as smaller Exped-Vela I Extreme. In addition, the VAUDE service team says: “The longer your product is in use, the better it is for the environment”. I hope, the same applies also for the terms of durability.

With purpose of eliminating the deficiencies, I set up both tents for comparison. Differences are first of all in precision of production.
Swiss precision against German practicality. On both tents I pointed out their strengths and weaknesses.

Verdict: Recommendations to the producer, on future improvements!

VauDe Taurus UL2:

  • It is advisable to strengthen most exposed seams with cross-stitching,
  • replace the thin strips with stronger,
  • it is also necessary to strengthen the bottom of the pocket, where most tension occurs from top pole, due to high pressure, the lower part of the pocket will probably soon be ripped.
  • Better quality Fiberglass Tent Poles (DAC).

Exped-Vela I Extreme:

Problematic entrance. Instead of clumsy roulette which elevates the the entire front hall, it would be better to install a zipper that will open only a portion of the vestibule.

VauDe Taurus UL2 Exped-Vela I Extreme
PROS:

  • Price
  • Plenty of room for sleeping and equipment
  • Quality materials
  • Easy set up tent
  • Small dimensions and weight
PROS:

  • Good quality constructed tent
  • Durable material
  • Easy set up tent
  • Small dimensions and weight
CONS :

  • Questionable durability of most exposed seams
  • Defective seams
  • Thin strips
  • Missing DAC Featherlight SL 7001-T6 aircraft aluminum seamless Shock-Corded Poles
CONS :

  • Price
  • Low inner tent
  • Clumsy roulette
  • Due to a plethora of cords difficult to set up in dark
  • Packing the tent into side-opening stuff bag

 

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