Salewa Expedition III
This is a superb tent, and very tough competition…
Design: 4-season, double-wall expedition tent
Sleeps: 3 tall adults
Ease of Setup: Very easy, but I would recommend trying it at home before having to do it for real, since the enclosed description could have been better; just carefully looking at one of the pictures in the Salewa catalogue might be more helpful.
Weight: 4.5 kg/lbs. 9.9 (packed)
Price Paid: approx. $630, but got mine new at $365
This is a superb tent, and very tough competition for the generally better known North Face VE-25 and similar tents. I would argue that the Salewa Expedition III in fact wins from its competitors. Set-up is easy, at least after having tried it out once under ideal conditions.
The inner tent must be attached by plastic connecting rings (contrary to the usual sleeves used in most other tents) which clip on to four color-coded poles. The system guarantees a good balance. A fifth pole is used for supporting the tent vestibule.
There are two large doors, which both contain mosquito-net windows. There are two similar ventilation windows in the roof (in both inner tent and rainfly sheet).
The tent is both well-constructed and well-thought. The ground sheet is in 70DX190T nylon fabric coated with several layers of polyurethane and resistant against an 8-meter water column. The upper part of the inner tent is in 40DX238 Ripstop breathable nylon. The fly-sheet is in 75DX190T tear-resistant ripstop Polyester which is siliconized. Seems are covered sealed watertight.
Tightening straps support ideal tent tension, and two polyurethane cones on the roof part of the inner tent safeguard a good distance and circulation between inner tent and fly.
The tent comfortably sleeps three tall climbers, which is quite unusual. So is the relatively light weight of such a large tent (less than lbs. 10). However, this seems to have been the objective of Salewa's "Lite Line Extreme." The tent is also quite warm. It serves well under 4-season conditions both in the mountains and low lands. I'm not sure though if it still would be comfortable in hot climates such as Africa. This remains to be seen. Although I have not been able to test it yet in stormy high winds, I am very confident it will do just perfect.
The tent comes in a watertight stuff sack, which contains separate stuff sacks for the poles and pegs/repair kit. An extra tarp (106 X 69" approx. is recommended though).
At approximately $630 this large expedition tent costs even less than the North Face VE-25 (which theoretically may sleep three, that is if you don't have my shoulders and forget about comfort). However, I got mine directly from the distributor for not more than $365 including sales tax and UPS delivery !
You might not be able to get this deal though, because there was a special reason for this. Distribution of Salewa products, at least outside Germany, is, to say the least, "relatively poor." I had to wait for 10 months, despite repeatedly contacting retailer, distributor, who promised much but basically sucked. Apparently, news of this superb new tent has reached hikers and climbers with high demands such as me, which caused the tent to be sold-out and even stretching waiting times.
However, the company itself in Germany (I worked with Susanne) was extremely helpful and bent backwards to assist me. The quality of the tent, and the low price I paid, made it worthwhile though to wait for it.
I have not seen any Salewa products distributed by REI in the US, but from what I have heard, the brand is now distributed by Bergsport Ltd. (303) 258-3796. It might be worth trying to get your hand on one of their catalogues as they seem to have some excellent 800+ down sleeping backs and a couple of nice jackets (check-out the Pumori one - yeah, it has been sold out for half a year now, but anyhow, it's pretty cool).