A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

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Jezrant
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A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby Jezrant » 7 Sep 2012, 8:37am

I'd be interested in comments from people using superlight 1-person tents like the Hilleberg Atko, Terra Nova Laser, etc. I'm thinking of downsizing from an old 2-person Helsport tunnel (it's like a Hilleberg Nanno) to something lighter and less bulky when packed. I think I can cope with the cramped space, but am a little concerned about condensation. Is it a real issue? Also, how well do these things hold up in gales? Anything else worth knowing about?
cheers!

bluemint
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Re: A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby bluemint » 7 Sep 2012, 11:14am

TN laser user here. I don't find it cramped at all (I had a gelert solo, that was cramped), there's plenty of room to get changed for my 5'8" and there's oodles of porch space. It's amazingly light and quick and easy to pitch.

I've maybe had a few drops in the inner The only condensation problem I've had is it forming under the fly, but I got into the habit of wiping away as much as I could from the fly and dried it out when I had the opportunity. It's a great tent for me. I've not had it in any gales but I'm sure it's quite sturdy.

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pjclinch
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Re: A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby pjclinch » 7 Sep 2012, 1:29pm

Condensation, that old bugbear.

It isn't just about the size of tent. There are times in any lightweight waterproof tent where you are going to get it. If there's dew forming on every blade of grass in the neighbourhood then you have water coming out of the air any place it has an excuse, and a fly sheet is a pretty good excuse. If it's rain-cooled, even better...

So it's going to happen at some point, but that's not the same as a problem. You have the condensation on the fly and any drips that come off slide down the lightly proofed inner. Thousands of these tents are out there in regular use and they're popular, so the obvious conclusion is they're not broken.

Gales... a bit like your existing tunnel it's the case that if you pitch them well they'll take some pretty serious flak. And if you don't then they won't. Also like a tunnel, don't expect them to be quiet in a blow. You can expect to be kept dry but not necessarily in peace. Earplugs may be a good idea if you're heading in to the wind. Cycle camping rarely involves the most exposed pitches so you can usually get somewhere out of the absolute worst.

(oh, the Akto is many things, but "superlight" ain't one of them!)

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

boblo
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Re: A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby boblo » 7 Sep 2012, 2:11pm

I have a Laser Comp

I don't pitch in really exposed locations and always take ear plugs. The tent can take some wind but it's nylon and bendy poles....there are limits.

Condensation is a problem. I use down bags with water resistant outers and always mop up with a J cloth. If you're out multiple wet days, you'll gradually get soggier and soggier. This is true for l/w and heavier tents. However, it's quite hard to avoid touching the inner etc on the Laser (and similar sized tents) so beware.

Neither points are show stoppers as the compelling upside is the light weight and compactness. For extended use in winter, I'd probably use something else.
Last edited by boblo on 7 Sep 2012, 3:45pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jezrant
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Re: A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby Jezrant » 7 Sep 2012, 3:21pm

thanks for the info so far.
pete, I notice you don't say what sort of tent(s) you use. The Helsport tunnel has a great ventilation setup. There are two large tube-like vents, on at top in the front and another large one at the back. They are amazingly effective. The Norwegians know a thing or two about weather. Condensation can build up on the outer, but I've never had a problem with it building up inside. But maybe this is also related to the size. The tent is a lot bigger than a TN Laser. As for the flapping noise from the wind, it doesn't really bother me. On the contrary, the wilder the better. But maybe the noise in the same conditions is deafening in a Laser-type tent.

kuba
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Re: A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby kuba » 7 Sep 2012, 4:22pm

I used my TN Laser Comp for the first time last weekend. No condensation in the inner and just enough space for me at 6'2'' though I couldn't sit in it. The porch is big enough to take panniers, shoes etc. It stayed dry inside even though it rained quite badly. Not sure if the previous models had them, but the 2012 Laser has plenty of vents in the inner, which prevents condensation but means that it's not the warmest tent around; TN say it's a 3-season and that's fair, I wouldn't use it in the winter. As to stability, well, my Coleman Helios x2 is way more stable, but that's a proper mountain tent similar to TN Quasar. It was a windy night and, for a single pole tunnel tent, I was pleasantly surprised how stable the Laser was. Easy to pitch too, though you need quite a few pegs. In any case, it's just 300g heavier than my bivy bag which is quite incredible. Last year met a guy in the Himalayas who used it on a world tour, he still has it a year on so that's quite sturdy. The only things is, these 2g titanium pegs are utterly sh*te.

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pedalsheep
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Re: A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby pedalsheep » 9 Sep 2012, 4:19pm

Another Laser Comp user here. Really just echoing what others said - great space to weight ratio but wouldn't be my first choice for a winter trip. Those tiny ti pegs actually work surprisingly well in hard baked ground but I agree they'd be useless on anything softer. Alpkit have got ti tent pegs in their sale at the moment. Sorry, scrub that, I was going to post a link but they've sold out.
'Why cycling for joy is not the most popular pastime on earth is still a mystery to me.'
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pjclinch
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Re: A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby pjclinch » 10 Sep 2012, 11:25am

Jezrant wrote:thanks for the info so far.
pete, I notice you don't say what sort of tent(s) you use. The Helsport tunnel has a great ventilation setup. There are two large tube-like vents, on at top in the front and another large one at the back. They are amazingly effective.


Very like the venting on my Hilleberg Kaitums. But if there's not much wind and a very heavy dew where the moisture in the air is condensing out on anything it can find an excuse to condense on you're going to get condensation inside because your fly sheet is a very big and cool surface that's really great for it, and even before you add your own moisture the air in the tent is full of cooling vapour too.

Jezrant wrote:The Norwegians know a thing or two about weather. Condensation can build up on the outer, but I've never had a problem with it building up inside. But maybe this is also related to the size. The tent is a lot bigger than a TN Laser.


Quite a lot down to luck of conditions when and where you pitch. For example, on a weekend on the Black Isle we had two days camping in the Kaitum. Temperatures were about the same, windspeed and direction the same. Occupants and choice of sleep setup the same, set of ventilation again the same. The first morning there was a huge amount of condensation both inside and outside the fly, the second morning there was virtually none. And we've never had nearly as much since despite plenty of use: there are times where any lightweight tent will get condensation inside.

Pete.
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andrew_s
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Re: A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby andrew_s » 11 Sep 2012, 4:51pm

Condensation is caused by warm air and a colder flysheet.
Small tents are generally worse than large ones because your body heat gets the smaller amount of air inside warmer. Tents with larger areas of flattish roof are worse because the roof area radiates heat to the sky, but doesn't receive much from the ground. The Akto loses out on both counts.

To try to avoid condensation:
a) keep the air inside the tent cold by ventilation - vents, gap below flysheet edge, mesh inner etc. These all depend on some breeze to actually move the air, convection is rarely enough.
b) avoid radiative cooling of the flysheet - pick a cloudy night, pitch under trees or immediately adjacent to something reasonably tall (cliff, building, trees).

If you are getting condensation on the inner, it may help to close exterior vents so that the air between the inner and outer can warm up. You'll get more condensation overall, but it should be mainly on the outer rather than the inner.

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simonineaston
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Re: A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby simonineaston » 11 Sep 2012, 5:07pm

http://www.hilleberg.com/home/products/anjan/anjan2.php ?
Near the weight of the Akto, more-or-less same size as Nallo and well ventilated...
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

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BeeKeeper
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Re: A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby BeeKeeper » 11 Sep 2012, 5:24pm

I am not sure condensation is the main issue about tents being damp in the morning, if that is what we are talking about. In my experience the main reason for waking up surrounded by a damp tent is dew and ventilation of the tent can often have no impact on dew forming.

Dew forms when an object cools to below the dewpoint of the surrounding air. This tends to happen on cloudless nights with little wind. Ventilation does not help, take the example of how condensation forms on a spider's web - which are pretty well ventilated. Dew will form on the outside of a tent if temperatures and humidity are correct but if the tent was completely air tight, i.e. no ventilation at all, very little would form on the inside of the fly or on the inner tent as the damp air could not get in. Perversly, it is ventilation of the outer which allows the air to enter which allows dew to form on the inside surface of the fly or outer sheet. These droplets are the ones you don't want touching your inner tent which is where a good separation between the two helps, as does pitching it correctly. Of course, humidity does not just come from the ambient air, the air inside the tent will be damp from breathing and especially after cooking (which none of us ever do in tents - do we?) plus some dampness could come from the ground or grass esepecially where it is not covered by a ground sheet. This moisture will tend to condense on the inside of the outer sheet (which will be cooler than the inner) creating the same droplets which cause the problems. However, ventilation of tents is required, both to take away the dampness created by the occupants and also to dry out the tent as quickly as possible once wind and/or air temperatures increase sufficiently. But on a windless, cloudless summer evening as the air temperature falls no amount of ventilation will prevent dew forming on and in your tent - think of that spider's web - full of holes but still festooned in dew drops come the morning.

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pedalsheep
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Re: A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby pedalsheep » 11 Sep 2012, 6:38pm

think of that spider's web - full of holes but still festooned in dew drops come the morning.


Excellent analogy Bee Keeper!
'Why cycling for joy is not the most popular pastime on earth is still a mystery to me.'
Frank J Urry, Salute to Cycling, 1956.

nirakaro
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Re: A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby nirakaro » 18 Sep 2012, 9:30pm

I spent a night in my Laser in a howling nightmare of a storm at 2400m in the Alps. I was scared out of my wits and didn’t sleep much, but the tent stayed up fine and didn’t leak more than a few drops.

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Re: A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby mercurykev » 18 Sep 2012, 10:22pm

I spent Thursday night up in the Cairngorms in my Akto and the wind wasin the region of 45mph with some tremendous gusts (60-70mph). To make it worse the wind direction shifted 90 degrees during the night so in the morning, when the winds were at their strongest, they were hitting the tent side on. The Akto was fully guyed out and it was rock solid. It was very impressive to see how it shrugged off the wind and not a drop of condensation - but there was a bit of a breeze to carry away the wet air :D

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andrew_s
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Re: A question for Atko, TN Laser et al users

Postby andrew_s » 20 Sep 2012, 2:14pm

This chap pitched his Akto on top of Great Mell Fell in 80mph winds. Pitching a tent in high wind is a much more severe test than an erected tent not blowing down.

BeeKeeper wrote:I am not sure condensation is the main issue about tents being damp in the morning, if that is what we are talking about. In my experience the main reason for waking up surrounded by a damp tent is dew and ventilation of the tent can often have no impact on dew forming.

Dew IS condensation.
If a dew forms you will get condensation on any tent outer or tarp, and if you sleep out in the open without a bivvy bag yor sleeping bag will get wet.