The Ultralite 100 is Vango’s affordable, lightweight, single-skin one-person tent aimed at ultra-lightweight backpackers on a bit of a budget.
The Techy Bits
The Ultralite uses a lighweight, rip-stop polyester fabric with a PU coating to keep it waterproof. The rip-stop improves tear resistance and the fabric, says Vango, is more UV resistant than equivalent Nylon materials.
Crucially, because it’s a single-skin tent with no separate inner and fly, the seams are sealed with a hot-air tape which bonds with the PU coating on the inside of the fabric.
Finally, Vango uses a minimalist version of its Tension Band system to triangulate the main pole internally and increase stability by putting the poles under tension.
How It Performed
The Ultralite 100 – there’s also a 200, two-person version – is very light for the price at a genuine 1009 grammes, that’s because it’s a single-skin tent which is its strength but also its weakness. Single skin tents like this are very prone to condensation, which means they work best in dry, settled weather.
The tent pitches easily and quickly with a single central hoop, plus bracing strut and two end struts along with eight small alloy pegs – we put it up in under five minutes without even a hint of rushing. After that, you just tighten the Tension Bands inside and you’re done.
The odd submarine shape means that your head sits in a low, narrow part of the tent when you’re lying down, though you can sit up – just – in the centre. There’s no porch or insect net, which is quite limiting when it comes to cooking in poor weather conditions or dealing with clouds of buzzing critters, but that’s the cost of lightness at this price.
Single-skin tents rely on ventilation to minimise condensation in damper conditions, but two big celing vents and two end vents still weren’t enough to stop heavy internal dew forming inside and once the wind got up, flapping tent sides meant an interesting shower experience inside.
To be fair, the main structure of the tent felt good and stable in medium winds and never hinted at flimsiness and it didn’t leak, but the narrow head and toe areas of tent distorted in the wind making it feel very claustrophobic.
In dry still conditions, none of this would be an issue of course – insects permitting – but in typical British hill conditions, you can’t expect to be as comfortable as you would be in a twin-skin tent. On the plus side, it’s less claustrophobic than a bivvi bag and you can, with some thought, stow kit inside with you.
Light, stable and affordable – you can find it at well below RRP – the Ultralite 100 is very capable, fine weather lightweight one-person tent and a pleasure to carry. It’s also very quick and easy to pitch.
Like most single-skin tents however, it doesn’t like damper, colder conditions when the lack of a porch, internal condensation and distorted walls around your face make it a less than comfortable experience. It would be less of an issue if there were more space around your head when sleeping, but the symmetrical design means it’s quite cramped at either end.
Buy if you want an affordable, fair-weather, lightweight, less claustrophobic equivalent to a bivvy bag.
Light, stable, well priced and robust so far.
Condensation an issue, no porch, cramped around head when sleeping.