Monday, 29 October 2018 | Ron
I was looking for a tent to camp at some archaeological digs I was attending and as I was travelling by public transport and or bicycle was looking for a lightweight option. The V4A caught my attention on the backpacking light website, particularly aided with the their you tube video reviews. I therefore took the plunge and as acknowledged by fellow reviewers, was very impressed by the customer service and speed of delivery. I had to return the hiking pole connector I had ordered, as I chose the wrong diameter. This was very easy and was speedily addressed and instead I opted for the Adjustable Tarp Pole 163X instead.
My first-time erecting was at a dig with NW Heritage at Lathom Castle Ormskirk during Easter. I travelled by train with my cycle trailer and rented a bike from the Bike and Go hire scheme to get to the dig. It was a straight forward affair to sight and put up the tent.
Fellow campers observed that the tent was too small, but everything fitted in and at night I was snug in the Single Inner V4A that I had also purchased. The weather was particularly wet, and we had snow on one morning but there were no issues with leaks despite not taking on the advice to seal the joining seams at the top of the tent. Over the eight days on site I did have to make adjustments due to a bit of sag and changes in wind direction but again this was to be expected and very easily achieved. What I did need and had to improvise with, was some more stakes to take advantage of the additional guy points. The learning points where you were either in or out of the tent, I could however cook from within in the porch area, and the nearby portaloo provided decent if not salubrious changing / admin facilities. Overall the everything stood up well, the quality v price is excellent and I would recommend the tent, particularly for overnight stops / touring.
My second dig was in June at the Culver Archaeological Project just outside Lewes, West Sussex. This time I decided to cycle across from my home in Ashford and made some adjustments. This time I replaced the Single Inner V4A which I did not need, with the Hex Peak V4A Footprint and supplemented my living space with a DD 3m x 3m Tarp, Adjustable Tarp Pole 197X and Long 19cm Y Pegs again all dispatched overnight via, for me the excellent DPD Local couriers, with text updates from Backpacking light. Google maps indicated I could cycle there in four and a half hours, across the Weald, so a little over loaded I set off.
Nine hours later I called it a day at the excellent and accommodating Horam Manor Touring Park.
Thankfully setting up took less than fifteen minutes, again absorbing all my gear so I could have a shower and source a meal and a pint. The following morning it was only another hour or so to Bridge Farm, Barcombe Mills the dig site.
The camping area is basically a field with longish grass but again once I chose my area it was quite quick to establish myself.
This this set up did me proud throughout the four weeks we were on site. We had no rain and it was exceptionally hot, so the additional shade area was welcome. The bath tub Hex Peak V4A Footprint took some adjustment, again as advised by Bobs videos I eventually got there. One point of note was because of the grass, some mornings, I found that there was quite a lot of condensation. This was clearly down to the dew point however and not the tent, that through easily accommodating height adjustments, by raising the base height of the tent assisted with airflow. A good learning point was, please do take their advice……. Each of the supplied Tarp Poles came with Backpacking light replacement heavier duty spring buttons. One evening, making above said adjustment, the supplied button failed and caused some tension (mine, not the tent). The V4A again proved its worth, as I was easily able to source a hazel pole, that remained in place for a week or so until I obtained the better supplied buttons from home. When it came to breaking camp I was surprised how much the colour of the DD tarp had bleached, due to the UV light, compared to the Hex Peak V4A which showed little, if in fact, no such changes.
Overall, I have to say that I have been very impressed with the quality of the Luxe products, and more importantly the customer service provided by Backpacking Light. So much so in fact that I have just received a text from them updating me that the Mega Horn III, I ordered at the weekend, will be delivered tomorrow.
Thank you and sorry for the delay in getting to this.
All the best, Ron
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