Kelty Windfoil 3
On my recent trip to Antarctica, we were supplied…
Design: 4-season 3-person hoop/tunnel
Ease of Setup: a struggle in storm conditions, and even just putting the poles in their sleeves
Weight: 10.5 popunds
Price Paid: loaner provided
On my recent trip to Antarctica, we were supplied with Kelty Windfoil 3s by the Logistics group. In some ways, it is a very nice tent, although a bit tight for 3 people with gear on an expedition. I have several problems with the tent as an expedition tent.
First is that it is a hoop tent that requires inserting the poles before staking it down. The hoop/tunnel design gives lots of space and cuts the weight, but in a serious blow, this can require 3 or more people to hang on and wrestle the poles into their sleeves.
Second is that the poles feed into the sleeves only from the one end, and then require a lot of struggling to get the pole end nearest the insertion end to seat into its pocket. Yes, there is a clever strap setup to ease the ball end into the pocket. But in a high wind (and we had to set up a couple times in 20-30 knot winds), with cold hands and heavy gloves or mittens, this is a real struggle, especially with the tent not staked down (we tried in calm conditions to stake one or two corners, but the pole insertion process doesn't really allow more than one corner to be staked until all poles are in place).
Another problem during setup is that 2 of the poles are longer than the third, but there is no color coding or any other indication of which is which until you have all three unfolded and can hold them side by side. It is really necessary to get the short pole into the correct (rear) sleeve. Again, when dealing with windy conditions, little oversights like this make a big difference.
The claim of 2 doors doesn't really address the issue that both doors are on the front of the tent, in the currently fashionable side to side configuration. They do not open wide enough to be able to toss your gear inside quickly, as you would like in a storm situation after a day of climbing a couple thousand feet in several miles and are desperate to set up your shelter. Luckily, being well south of the Antarctic Circle, we had 24 hours of daylight, so darkness was not an issue. Most true expedition tents these days offer at least one door that opens fairly widely to allow quick dumping of the gear inside, and offer front and rear vestibules for more gear storage.
Having a floored vestibule also does not allow one of the most important things in setting up an expedition tent for more than a quick overnight - building a "boot hole". Yes there is the zip door in the vestibule, but it is not big enough for a useful boot pit. But the boot hole serves a number of purposes, ranging from making it convenient and easy to remove and put on boots and crampons, to cook area to area to obtain snow for melting to in long term storm waits having a place to dump your pee bottle (best if there are two vestibules in this case to separate functions). Also, since the vestibule is integral with the main body of the tent, you cannot come inside the vestibule, shake off snow from the storm, remove a wet outer layer while isolated from the main body of the tent and your sleeping bag, then enter the tent.
On the positive side, once up and all guys staked out, along with the internal guying straps, the tent is quite stable in the wind, with less flapping than some expedition tents.
At 10.5 pounds with the needed stakes and guy lines, the Windfoil 3 is lighter than many 3-person expedition tents. The minimal 3 poles are largely responsible for this difference in weight. However, I don't feel the needed struggle to get the poles fully seated in their sleeves and pocket is worth the tradeoff of a couple pounds.
The setup problems preclude giving any higher rating to a tent that is sold as being intended for 4-season expedition use. Roominess and light weight are indeed desirable, but usability is by far the most important criterion for expedition use in anything other than perfect weather.
Had to throw my 2 cents in after reading what U thought…
Design: 3 pole (HUGE) Tunnel
Ease of Setup: SIMPLE
Weight: under 9 pounds
Price Paid: Depends on Model
Had to throw my 2 cents in after reading what U thought was an unfair review.
This is a great 2 person winter mountaineering tent. Poles sleeves a little tight but doable. Center pole can be "marked" with tape or pen (DAH?). And very easy to set up in blowing conditions. Try staking rear out first and take U'r time (have someone hold it (DAH?).
Very roomy with 2 people with huge down bags and for the strength the weight in just about as good as it gets for true 4-5 season performance. Yes it would have been nice to include a door and vestibule on rear but how many perfect things do U see. Extremely strong in wind and snow loads and I've winter camped with some of the best tents SD Stretch, TNF Domes.
I use 2 tiny oil lanterns hung inside for T-shirt temps when well below O. Worked out just fine on cross country trip in Yellowstone with temps -25 and below,
U can save tent stake weight by tying to limbs sunk into the snow sideways with little extra lines attached.
For the weight split between two people I'd consider it one of the very best. Some things could always use improvement but hey this is one great tent that surely should be rated higher than this. I'd rate it 4.80 in winter mountaineering tents if their scale would allow that.
Why the hek do U think they were issued to groups going to Antarctica?(DAH?) Hope this rating will bring this up close to the super excellent 4++ season tent that it is.