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Vango Hydra

rated 3.0 of 5 stars
Version reviewed: 1995

A bit heavy for solo work, but fine when you can split the load. A bit tricky to set up: the pole sleeves (3 poles: 2 longitudinal + 1 transverse) are not continuous so poles must be re-positioned at each sleeve -- tricky in the dark! The fly has aluminium D loops, which lock on to the pole ends and these require some considerable effort to place.

Inner first pitching only so inner gets wet in rain. But is free-standing once up and you can get away with only two pegs (assuming you weight down the inner with a sac or your body!). Once up it is rock solid with very little distortion even in Scottish winter gusts of 60 mph+ (90 - 100 km/hr). The side guy lines keep the fly away from the inner and ventilation between the two is excellent because the pole sleeves are not continuous. There is also a good rear vent panel, which can be opened or closed, though only from the outside.

Bags of room inside for two sleeping mats although they will overlap a little at the narrower, foot end. Plenty of height -- you can sit upright with ease. Double inner door with 'midge netting' (US = 'no-see-um', I believe). The vestibule is big enough for two sacs or one sac and a stove. Double longitudinal zips on the door which can be rolled right back leaving the two side panels to shelter a stove.

I've used this in a variety of conditions including heavy rain, wind and temperatures to -10C and it's been fine. My one concern is that the 3 pole semi-geo design results in a flattish roof and so wet snow does tend to settle on it -- OK if you are around to knock it off, but I wouldn't like to come back to it after a day of heavy snowfall - I feel it could collapse under the load which could accumulate. The fly, by the way, is a 'burgundy' colour which, the makers claim, absorbs less U/V light and so prolongs the life of the nylon - maybe, who knows?

In return could anyone give me their thoughts on the Terra Nova 'Solar', Macpac 'Microlight', Hilleberg 'Akto' and/or the amazingly light (875g) 'Sup-Air' tents or recommend their ideal tent for mountain marathons such as the KIMM? I would be grateful for any comments via this site or my e-mail.

Design: 3 to 4 season semi-geodesic
Sleeps: 2 easily
Ease of Setup: Pole sleeves are not continuous so poles must be re-positioned at each sleeve. The fly has aluminium D loops which lock on to the pole ends and these require considerable effort to place. Inner-first pitching only so inner gets wet in rain.
Weight: 3.2kg is the advertised weight (7lbs for our American cousins)
Price Paid: Was £159 in 1997 still under $200 Around $250 - $300)

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