Nordisk Telemark 2 LW
Danish firm Nordisk claim the Telemark 2 LW is ‘one of the most advanced tents in the world’. That’s a bold statement, but it’s easy to see where the confidence comes from. The Telemark 2 LW is, without doubt, a durable, top quality and ridiculously lightweight tent – and, consequently, its trophy cabinet is bulging with an impressive array of industry awards. If being ultra-lightweight is your number one priority, then this is the tent for you. At 950g, it’s difficult to beat – unless you opt for the Telemark 2 ULW, which is 70g lighter and £160 more expensive, courtesy of its carbon poles.
Like similar tents from rivals Terra Nova and Hilleberg, the Telemark 2 uses a well-established design known for providing space and stability at low weight, with a single hoop central pole with shorter poles at each end. Nordisk say this approach creates a ‘very spacious tent with room enough for two’. This is a slight exaggeration. The Telemark 2 LW does have a spacious interior for one person, but it is definitely a little cramped for two, with not much space for moving around or organising yourselves. Like the Terra Nova Compact 2, it is perhaps best regarded as a comfortable, spacious tent for a solo backpacker, or on the ‘cosy’ side of things for two. There is a decent sized, single porch, however, for kit and cooking.
Features we love about the Telemark 2 include: the four small corner poles which seem to provide greater structure and height to the tent at the foot and head ends (as opposed to using one single centred pole at the end like Terra Nova and Hilleberg); the ease of pitching; the toughness of the flysheet and inner, despite how thin and lightweight they are; its ability to stand up to adverse weather during our tests out in the Highlands; and the magnetic quick-snap door closure is neat. There is all the usual stuff too – adjustable guy ropes, mesh for breathability, and inner pockets for expedition ‘admin’. We were somewhat nervy about threading the main pole through its sleeve, as it caught a few times and felt like you could rip the thin outer if you weren’t careful, but if you’re careful that shouldn’t be a problem. Nordisk’s Telemark 2 LW is a durable, weatherproof and incredibly lightweight two-person tent
Ripstop nylon flysheet with silicon coating (2000mm); ripstop nylon inner mesh (15d); ripstop nylon inner tent floor (8000mm)/ wind test: 18 m/s / 220 x 135 x 100 inner tent dimensions / pack size 12 x 41cm / 2mm Dyneema guy ropes / 8.7mm aluminium DAC Featherlite poles / 4 x aluminium pegs.
Snugpak Scorpion 2
One of the problems with expensive, ultra-lightweight tents is that they can feel somewhat flimsy and unstable, with the thin, featherlight fabrics flapping in the wind. This is certainly not the case with the Scorpion 2 by Snugpak. Yes, it is far heavier, weighing in at 2,650g with a trail weight of about 2,240g, but for this you get a sturdy, weatherproof tent made from reassuringly durable materials. The flysheet, for example, is made from 210 tensile ripstop nylon, which feels tough and thick, and has an impressive 5,000mm hydrostatic head waterproof rating, while the nylon groundsheet and polyester inner are similarly well-built.
The Scorpion 2 kept us warm and dry out hiking and wild camping during our field tests, and it seemed very stable during high winds. The latter was thanks to its three-pole construction, with a rather unique criss-crossing of the aluminium poles (something Snugpak calls ‘opposing pole design’) that ensures the tent can stand up to the worst of the British weather. All in all, this tent is pretty darn bombproof, with Snugpak stating its four-season rating will ‘protect you all year round from severe weather conditions’.
The Scorpion 2 is a fly-first pitch tent with decent space for two sleeping top’n’tail. It is not particularly long, but has decent width and there is just enough room to sit up at its highest point. There’s also a good-sized porch for cooking and gear storage. Due to the number of poles, setting it up is a little awkward: you insert the poles into colour-coded sleeves, press the ends into grommets – creating a convenient freestanding structure – and peg it out, before suspending the inner via loops and toggles. Although once pitched, we found the whole thing can be pitched easily as one.
The angled, low-profile shape, combined with the green colour, is ideal for a low visual impact and subtle wild camping, and we particularly loved the black fabric inner which created a dark interior conducive to a good night’s sleep. We never had a problem with condensation, with three vents ensuring adequate air-flow; we found the mesh pockets running the entire length of the inner handy for organising our bits and bobs; and the double-skinned single-entry door, made of a thick and a thin mesh, was a versatile feature. The biggest downside we encountered was the weight of the tent, which felt a tad back-breaking when trying to haul it up a steep Munro, as well as the fact the tent isn’t the most spacious for two. But, at this price bracket, the Scorpion 2 is a robust, stable, well-built, and reasonably-priced tent capable of standing up to strong winds and heavy rain – and that’s a combination with a pretty deadly sting (see what I did there).
Inner dimensions: 220cm x 115cm x 90cm / 43cm x 19cm packed size / 210t ripstop nylon fly (5000mm); 190t polyester inner fabric with 50t mesh; 190t ripstop nylon groundsheet (5000mm) / DAC Featherlite NSL aluminium poles / ten mesh internal pockets / 20 x alloy pegs.
Vango Banshee Pro 200
Ah, the Vango Banshee, a classic, extremely popular tent that seems to polarise opinion. Loved, even adored, by many; ridiculed by others, camping snobs who – from the porches of their £700 tents – label the Banshee a heavy, simplistic tent for beginners only. But we’d certainly side with the former camp.
The Vango Banshee Pro 200 is a great tent at an unbelievable price. For just £150 you get a Duke of Edinburgh approved two-person, tunnel-style tent, with decent space, durable and weatherproof materials, and a host of positive features. Yes, it is a starter tent for those on a budget or those just getting into camping, but its design, quality and build are more advanced than critics will lead you to believe.
The Vango Banshee Pro 200 consists of a robust flysheet, with a ripstop weave and a high-performing hydrostatic head waterproof rating of 5,000mm; a breathable polyester inner and a strong, thick and reliable 70-denier groundsheet; and pre-angled alloy poles that are both light and strong. Setting up the tent, either flysheet first or all as one, is very straightforward, by inserting two poles into sleeves and pegging out. There are two doors, one for each camper, as well as two porches, although one is smaller than the other. Inside space is a little limited, as with other tents on test here, so the Banshee should perhaps be considered a roomy one-person tent or a rather cosy one -person tent. Either way, the six inner pockets are handy for storing your essential items such as a headtorch and snacks, while the internal triangular mesh vents and semi-circle mesh window ensure adequate breathability.
During our tests the Banshee held up well to strong winds, helped by the presence of five guylines, and the durable flysheet safely kept out the rain. We found the side-loading, fast-pack tent bag really easy for packing, unlike others that are annoyingly small, and we also loved the flexibility of being able to separate the outer and inner after a rainy night, thus ensuring the inner stays dry. Our only gripes were a feeling of being a little cramped inside, as well as the overall weight of the tent. But, that aside, the Banshee is a bona fide bargain, providing a robust, quality shelter for a fraction of the price of others on the market. It’s a classic, popular tent – and rightfully so.
Inner dimensions: 115cm x 220cm x 100cm / Packed size 46cm x 16cm / Protex ripstop flysheet (5000mm); 70D groundsheet (6000mm); polyester mesh inner / Yunan Eco Alloy poles / internal Tension Band System / twin flysheet doors / inner pockets / reflective guys.
Written by: James Forrest, Nicola Hardy, Jordan Tiernan and Will Renwick
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