User Review: MSR Fury
Price Paid: Sale
Fury Mark II, edited version, see below in bold font.
Updated once again by MSR's design dept., who never seem to find time to leave the desk and put one of their tents up.
Originally a Moss design (along with a few others that MSR bought around 2004), this tent has gone from mid-weight to lightweight materials and the inner pole sleeving has been changed gradually, right up to the current 2011 clips-only model.
(Advances by the people who make tent fabrics allowed MSR to easily render the Moss designs more efficient by simply using new fabrics.) The tent was originally designed to have open-ended sleeves all round (and even a sleeveless center cross-section) with grommets at each pole end but around 2007 it was switched to an occluded sleeve design, a blanket change that affected all of the expedition series.
BUT THE INSTRUCTIONS REMAINED THE SAME, save for a small sentence about which end of the new unidirectional pole to thread first. So a high-tension design became an extreme, dangerous-tension design if and only if one was to follow the instructions provided by MSR online and, importantly, inside the tent bag.
These instructions are wrong and they should be ignored, as they have been for four whole years by MSR themselves. How wrong they are can only be appreciated by anyone unfortunate enough to put their faith in them, on the mountain or off.
Here is (what may be) the best way to erect this excellent tent, especially for one person:
0) Open the door!
1) Thread the middle cross pole fully into the sleeve end.
2) Thread the two long poles fully into the sleeve ends.
3) Fully erect only one of the long poles into the grommet.
4) Fully erect the middle cross pole into the grommet.
5) Fully erect the remaining long pole into the grommet.
There is no need to stake out the inner tent unless it is windy - you need to be able to reach across and grab the entire tent in order to help the sleeves around the poles. Some people find staking out the grommet ends easier when it comes to forcing the poles into the holes, as it uses tension against the pegs.
The poles themselves will catch inside the sleeves due to their having been engineered in a backwards, anti-streamlined fashion. There could be a reason for the backwards design of poles that are unidirectional (giving you no option, unlike open-ended sleeves, of how to thread them) but having thought about the way in which MSR proceeded to 'improve' these tents over the years, I doubt it; it is more likely an administrative error that wasn't worth correcting with DAC, and less likely a design choice, such as reducing the sections' chances of catching when the poles retreat in their sleeves during set up.
So the irony in a company called Mountain Safety Research, selling a mountain tent with false and harmful instructions, appears quite bitter. They took some great tent designs and proceeded to mess them up, especially this one, right until the present.
They could have made just the two long sleeves in the inner with new, occluded, pocket designs and left the cross pole alone. The earlier, open-ended sleeve actually gave you more options with tension as it allowed for four grommets vs. two. The cross pole is in fact under more tension than the rest and open-ended sleeves would have been fine and who knows, maybe the 'instructions' would have worked with such a hybrid 'improvement'. Had they tested their 'improved' design in 2007, the instructions would have looked more like what I have written. Had they cared.
Such is progress. Now the Moss-derived tents look like all the other 'mountain' tents: easy to put up, even if you have never practiced; easy to sew for less skilled workers who can be paid less working for customers who want to pay less; more tension on the clips, less stability overall; looks NEW! for 2011.
Two stars for MSR, who seem to have inherited the Soviet Union's central planning methods and paired it with the West's desire for novelty-driven consumption/production. Five stars for Moss' tent designs. I have no confidence in any MSR-originating-designs or at least not for a while, anyway. RIP Moss.
PS: I am not Furious, just disappointed, especially considering the fact that MSR will have us advertising their name in giant letters for the life of our equipment.
We continue to enjoy this tent; however, it is a bastard to set up. Something I noticed is that leaving the door open helps a great deal with getting the pole ends into the grommets (except the middle one, that's still a bastard and will never go into the second grommet). If you don't open the door first, it can be almost impossible in freezing temperatures---you will need either silicone grip gloves or bare hands.
I suppose coming from outer-first-pitching Hillebergs, where one has to keep the door closed on erection to prevent distortion, that this would have made things easier in the beginning for us.
I also just realised that camping in Scotland when it is not winter means you develop the habit of never leaving open the inner tent door. Leaving the rear mesh vent door open would reduce tension as well, in winter of course. The importance of 'leaving the door open' is yet another problem with the sewn-in instructions, all things considered.
Now opening the door will probably still not let you get the poles into the second grommet/eyelet things. I trimmed about 7mm off all the pole ends, near the blunt end cap, and it now goes up no problemo! I only meant to trim 5mm but I am pretty crap with a pipe cutter and the pipe cutter was pretty crap as well. So be careful, especially if you try a hacksaw.
Now, even with the shortened poles and door open, I can only just get the long poles into the tighter second grommet/eyelets; the middle pole: no chance! But the door will not zip around properly and is likely to split the zip if you have the tightest configuration on the two long poles! With the middle pole, I could probably have trimmed up to 1cm but even then it would pull up the floor as this design tends.
Another thing: guy out or stake out the 5 or 6 bottom tabs that run along the edge of the fly, as the fly is much too close to the inner (another reason they switched to clips perhaps in the Mark III?). Thin cord on a thin peg is probably all you need but some kind of thin webbing with eyelets cut into it might be simple and fast.
Since this review I have seen two other similar complaints about dangerous tension in the Mark II design. If you are having problems, try the door open and if that does not work maybe risk trimming the poles yourself (and tidy them up!).
In all, I like the cozy yet cramped aspect of this tent, though it is not for muddy exiting as you are on your hands and knees getting in and out. And as TipiWalter points out, the doorway is not for sitting in. In my opinion, MSR should have just stuck to the Mark I design (Moss with vents) and used lighter materials and streamlined poles (forget these stupid DAC featherlites, Easton or DAC NSL are needed); they should have kept the Sentinel in their line up as well.
Lord knows what they are doing--people are ready to pay higher prices and now that they have gotten used to euro tents like Hillebergs, they could easily upgrade and expand the Moss legacy as premium tents if they went about it the right way.
TL;DR: As the song says, "Open the door, Richard!" Peg out the bottom tabs. Trim the poles as a last resort. On yer knees.