User Review: Quest Preying Mantis 4S
Design: Elongated Expedition Dome
Ease of Setup: Very fast and easy - first time in less then 5 minutes
Weight: 9.1 lbs.
Price Paid: $680 (cdn)
Four years ago I bought a 3 season Preying Mantis and it has been absolutely superb. However, when I saw the 4S on sale for $261 (cdn), I couldn't help myself, I bought one, then I told a couple friends and they bought some and so on and so on. So now I'm telling everyone else!
Anyways, about the tent itself. It is very similar to my 3-season version, except the 4S is a little bigger (and tougher) in every direction. It is about 6" longer (for all of you tall folk -- check out 96"), it is about 4" wider and the best part about its additional width is that the walls are much more upright (due to the double-crossing support poles). In the 3S you can only sit up if you're near the middle of the floor space, however in the 4S you have much more head and elbow room.
Now speaking about additional space, if you thought the vestibule was big on the 3S, well this one is gymungous (quoting my 6-year-old son), another 4" in length and 4" in width making it big enough to fit a small herd of moose. One very nice touch with the vestibule is that they have now made it with 2 opposing doors. This way, you can enter or exit on the side away from the wind (and blowing rain or snow) and keep everything dry inside.
To batten down the hatches for those cold nights, you can zip shut the mesh door with a nylon inner flap as you can with the 2 large triangular mesh windows in the side walls.
As with the 3S, for flow through ventillation, you can still roll the fly back (leaving the vestibule in-tact) and if you unzip the door flap and the 2 side windows, you'll be living very comfortable on those hot summer nights (do I hear a song in there somewhere?). However, the down side is if it is raining on a hot humid night, you'll have to battened down the fly, it can get hot! My solution was to set up an awning over top of the tent and fend off the rain that way, thus you can keep the fly rolled back. Remember, this is an expedition tent, yet with good ventilation!
The tent is remarkably taut, even without any stakes you can bounce dimes off the fly! If you have the will to use all 28 stakes that are provided (20 for the tent/fly loops and 8 for guy line connections) you will have a structure so solid that it could hold up 4 feet of snow without a problem (not speaking from experience though).
Yes, 28 stakes and 8 guy lines (included), well that accounts for a couple of pounds. If you cut that back to only 8 stakes and no guy lines, the weight would drop from 9.1 lbs. to about 7.5 lbs., not bad for a bombproof shelter!
One of the coolest enhancements on this tent (over my old 3S) is the use of what Quest calls "Super Fly" connectors. They are super hardened plastic fittings that the poles attach into (elliminating metal gromets) and they have a lip in the ends to hook the fly into (ie. no moving parts to break). Apparently, this makes it very easy to connect and disconnect the fly with mitts on... no fumbling with small (cold weather breakable) clip buckles.
Well, I am very impressed with this tent and I have had it for just over a month. On my very first night out, we had a heavy downpour, that lasted all night long (as best I could tell) and not a drop got in!
I will provide an update after my first winter experience in the 4S. See you in about 6 months.