Decathlon Forclaz Trekking Tarp Tent 2-Person MT900 | Deep Dive - Outdoors Magic

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Decathlon Forclaz Trekking Tarp Tent 2-Person MT900 | Deep Dive

Billed as an “ultralight solution for experienced adventurers”, this trekking pole tarp tent from Decathlon is superbly priced

There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. Are ultralight backpacker’s innovative mavericks or gram-counting oddballs? Is their quest for trail minimalism avant-garde and erudite, or simply dirtbaggery gone too far? Whichever way you see it, travelling light is on-trend in the world of long-distance walking – and hikers across the globe, from the PCT to the Camino de Santiago, are converting to this no-frills approach to trail life. Is it time you got on board?

With no monster 65-litre gear-hauler weighing you down, literally or emotionally, you’ll be hiker re-born: fast, agile and happy. The physical benefits are obvious. With a light load, your back, shoulders and neck won’t ache, and the strain and stresses on your hips, knees, ankles and feet will be lessened too. You’ll enjoy the walking, rather than struggling through it, and when you’re feeling nimble and fleet-footed, the miles will tick over easier.

But how do you achieve a light backpack load without sacrifice and compromise? Your sleep system – tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat – is the heaviest and bulkiest thing in your backpack. That means it’s the best place to start for big weight savings. A reduction of a few kilograms should be achievable, simply by investing in lighter equipment, particularly your tent.

That’s where the Decathlon Forclaz Trekking Tarp Tent 2-Person MT900 comes in. It’s an ultralight shelter weighing it at just 1.3kg for the two-person version, despite delivering ample space, good weather protection and loads of excellent features. It is pitched using two trekking poles, and it has good eco credentials too. Here’s the full lowdown.

Shape, Structure, Pitching & Internal Liveability

Pitching this tent is simple and straightforward. You simply need the tent and two trekking poles, which can be adjusted to a height of between 110cm and 120cm, but ideally 115cm. For absolute clarity, it’s worth noting that these poles are not supplied with the tent and instead you’ll need to provide your own trekking poles to create the tent’s structure.

This two person tent is pitched all-as-one, with the inner and flysheet pre-attached. You simply lay out the tent on the ground and stake out the four corners. Next you slide your two trekking poles under the flysheet, directly above each of the doors, and secure them in place. Two small aluminium strut poles (supplied with the tent) are then added to the foot end to add a little volume, before pegging out the guylines and tightening to create a taut structure. The height of the trekking poles can also be tweaked to fine-tune the structure of the tent. The shelter created is not freestanding, while the pegs provided have an anvil head design and are made from 7075 T6 aluminium.

Related: Best Two-Person Tents For Backpacking
Related: Best Backpacking Tents

Internally the tent has a decent amount of space. The bedroom height is 95cm, the internal length is 225cm and the internal width is 125cm at the head end, tapering to 105cm at the foot end. You also get two doors and two 60cm deep porches for storing backpacks and boots. The presence of two doors is an excellent feature, meaning each camper has some independence. The bedroom “cabin” also has two pockets for organising your gear and essential items.

Externally the tent is white. This is because the fabric is undyed – a finishing process that enables Decathlon to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 58% compared to conventional dyeing.

Waterproofing & Wind Protection

The hydrostatic head waterproofing stats of the Decathlon Forclaz Trekking Tarp Tent 2-Person MT900 are as follows: the 20-denier polyester flysheet is 2,000mm rated while the 40-denier polyamide groundsheet is 3,000mm rated. These are impressive stats and should keep you dry in all but the worst of conditions. All of the tent’s seams are taped with heat-sealed strips to prevent water ingress, and both the flysheet and groundsheet have a polyurethane coating on the inside and silicone coating on the outside for maximum waterproof protection.

Furthermore the tent has been laboratory-tested by Decathlon in its rain rooms, exposed to 200 litres of water per square metre over a three hour period – the equivalent to a tropical storm – without letting in water.

For enhanced weather and abrasion protection, you can also purchase an MT900 2-person groundsheet, which Decathlon sells separately for £34.99. It weighs 230g, has a 40-denier grade and boasts a 3,000mm hydrostatic head rating.

In terms of wind protection, the Decathlon Forclaz Trekking Tarp Tent 2-Person MT900 looks like it should be reasonably stable, particularly if pitched in the correct orientation. It looks pretty aerodynamic and, in theory, should be able to cope with medium level winds. However, it has quite tall, steep-sided walls, which may “catch” the full brunt of a wind, and it does not have a low-profile shape, which may be a concern for some campers.

Decathlon is more confident, however, stating the tent has been testing in a wind tunnel on a turntable, exposing each side of the tent to the wind. The result? The Forclaz Trekking Tarp Tent 2-Person MT900, if properly pitched with a taut (but not stretched) structure with all guylines used, “should remain habitable at wind speeds of 70km/hr”, according to Decathlon.

Condensation is notoriously difficult to avoid when camping in Britain’s wet climate and it will probably tricky to avoid in the Decathlon Forclaz Trekking Tarp Tent 2-Person MT900, particularly if the weather conditions are against you. However Decathlon has made a decent effort at adding features to try and combat this problem. You get vents on each side near the doors to encourage air flow, while the upper part of the bedroom is mesh to facilitate breathability (and keep the bugs out). Decathlon says: “to reduce condensation inside your tent, it must be properly pitched, with the fabric kept taut without being over-stretched, and the air vents open”.

Weight & Packed Size

One of the standout features of the Decathlon Forclaz Trekking Tarp Tent 2-Person MT900 is its low weight. It weighs just 1,313g for a two-person tent. This is broken down as follows: flysheet (564g), inner “cabin” (534g), two aluminium strut poles (50g), 11 pegs (110g), three guylines (12g) and carry bags (43g).

All of this makes the Decathlon Forclaz Trekking Tarp Tent 2-Person MT900 one of the lightest two-person tents on the market, and – unlike many ultralight tents – it doesn’t have a sky-high price-point. All of the weight savings come courtesy of the minimalist design, lightweight materials and (of course) the omission of a main tent pole structure and the use of trekking poles instead.

The tent is stored in a 4L carry bag, sized 35x12x11 cm, so it packs away very compactly and won’t take up too much space (or weigh down) your backpack.

Who Is It For?

This trekking pole tent is designed for hikers, wild campers and long-distance trekkers who need a lightweight shelter for use in spring, summer and (sometimes) in autumn in fairer conditions. Obviously, due to the design, it is only suitable for thru-hikers who normally carry trekking poles. Decathlon states it designed the tent “for experienced adventurers on multi-day trips and expeditions”.

A one-person version – the Trekking Tarp Tent 1-Person MT900 – costs £129.99 and weighs just 950g.

Price: £179.99
Weight: 1,313g
Rating: 3-season

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