Ages 3 and up

Since the end of last November its seems like all I’ve done is talk about tents and tarps, pitch and re-pitch tents and tarps, weigh and measure tents and tarps and write about tents and tarps. However, it’s all done. The tent review should be in the Trail that’s in the shops this week and the tarp stuff will be out in a few weeks I think. It’s been odd doing so much outdoor stuff and not blogging it other than a couple of quick looks, but it’s been great fun and I’ve learned a huge amount during it all. Not just about the new kit, but also about being analytical and being concise in my writing, both of which it’s easy to let slip unless you feel the cuffs around your ankles and stop to pull them up. It’s re-focused me in many ways, and I’m going to return to more in depth reviews on here now and again with kit that really sparks my interest.
Once the reviews have been out I’ll be featuring some new stuff on many of the tent models, and we’ll see some tarp stuff later on as well, I’m looking forward to having some proper fun with these techno shower curtains in the better weather.

Today’s most exciting news is that me and my buddy Craig are in the recording studio at the start of March to do a follow up to Princess, we had a good rehearsal tonight (studio staff may disagree…) and booked ourselves in to the room withy the big fancy desk to concentrate our minds for the the next couple of weeks. The new track is a snails-paced, 9-minute epic doomatron and it makes me grin like a maddie when we play it.

Anyway, Holly got “Dream House” today. I don’t believe for a second that bad translations are an accident any more, I’m sure they all sat in the OmnitronEast boardroom somewhere deep in China and thought that putting Fanny Amused!all over the box would just be all disarming and cute and keep us from suspecting their real plans for world domination and colonisation of the Moon.
I haven’t made my mind up about Special design Outstanding product, it’s either irony, libel or taking the piss. Still, kids stuff rocks.

16 thoughts on “Ages 3 and up”

  1. [IMG][/IMG]

    My new toys for the weekend…

  2. Speaking of tarps and tents, does anyone have views/experience with the kit from these guys?

    The Scarp 1 spec looks like it would suit me really well, but I’m reluctant to commit without seeing one in the flesh…

  3. The Scarp has a lot of fans out there. I think if you either flick through my blogger links list or google it looking for UK stuff you’ll get a lot of info from UK use.

    Always a gamble getting hard-to-find stuff, it’s never quite what you were expecting.

  4. This reminded me. I feel bad I’ve still got that tent. Do not fear though, it’s been safely stored in my cupboard for a while. I hope you don’t mind. I will return it!


    Pete Macfarlane today shocked the outdoors community by awarding the Terra Nova Laser Photon Best in Test in a Trail magazine review. Mafarlane, 40, awarded the Photon an unpresidented 5 out of 5.

    Speaking after the event, McFarlane commented:
    “There were some real surprises in that test, but I can’t remember what they were. The Hilleberg was pish but they made me give it 4 our 5”.

    Commenting on the article, respected outdoors gear tester Chris Tentsend observed:
    “5 out of 5 for that fiddly, flappy piece of rubbish!! Where was the bl**dy Akto; that’s a proper tent.”

    The UK’s leading hillwalking and windfarm expert, Calderon McWilderish commented:
    “It’s nice to see the lightest in test winning. That is how it should be. Can I put my socks on my hands now?”

    Beamy six-foot-two-hillwalker-with-dodgy-back, DavidG, 44, commented:

    “87cm head room? I might get in, but I wouldn’t flippin well get out again”

    Several people with Hubba HPs and other sensible tents were unavailable for comment.

    (REUTERS, Friday)

  6. Dyed-in-the-wool luddite, MattC, broke off from winching his trusty Vango Force 10 Mark III Std (Cotton) from the car boot into his all-terrain wheelbarrow to say:
    “That’s not a tent… THIS is a tent!” :)

  7. I’m going to print both of those comments out and pin them up :o)

    This tent test was tough. There were a few standout tents, and a whole shed of average.
    Like the Hubba HP last time, the Power Tokee lost to a Laser variant by a single degree out of the whole 360.
    MSR were late sending their models out, they arrived the day after I’d done the photies, and given their bigger internal space and low weight there could have been a diffent outcome.
    I’ll do some additional stuff on the tents later, lots to talk about in that lot. Including the three models that didn’t make the cut.
    I still have to read the review and see what the hell I was saying…

  8. “I’m going to print both of those comments out and pin them up” …

    …and throw darts at them.

    Not surprised that you found the tent test a bu**er.

    The best tent for a mountain marathon is not the best for a winter hoolie. What presses the button for a three-dayer with a set fair forecast, might not inspire confidence for the three week trip where the forecast is irrelevant. What suits a 10 stone whippet might not suit a 15 stone ‘flank forward’. Then again, the flank forward might be better able to carry an extra few hundred grams of space than the whippet (and quite happy to do so) *
    Then there are other variables:
    A summer shelter versus a tent for long, dark, windy nights and saturated ground.
    The lakes vs Scotland
    valley vs summit
    Knoydart vs. just about everywhere else

    No wonder tents generate arguments and everyone thinks that their tent is the best. It probably is! (at least for them)

    * Pack weight as a proportion of body weight isn’t a topic I see discussed often.

  9. “No wonder tents generate arguments and everyone thinks that their tent is the best. It probably is! (at least for them)”

    That’s something I say all the time: Most kit is fine, it’s only factors personal to you that make it perfect. Or rubbish for that matter.

    Balancing personal factors with a wider view is the trick when doing a grouptest with scores out of five. What folk might see when the Photon wins is that I’ve just gone for my favourite yet again, but what they won’t see is me using tents since the mid-70’s, and never finding something that hit all the right markers for solo trips until the original Laserlite came along. That’s why I rate it, it’s not an arbitrary affiliation. Then, the Laserlite gets regular makeovers to improve and lighten it, where many of the models in the test are identical to what they were years ago.
    I think most of the tents got 3/5, but that’s not a condemnation in any way, it’s just that they’re in that middle ground of all-round performance where personal factors will make the most difference. The ones that scored higher are better tents because they’re been designed to perform better, even if it’s just in a certain area, be that weight (Photon) or weather resistance (Soulo).
    There’s enough info in the text for folk to make sense of it I think, there’s positives and negatives right through regardless of scores.

    One of my criteria for one-person tents is that it’s always represented “freedom” to me. That means simplicity, low weight and reliability, I want my tent to shelter me, not take up any time playing with it, and I don’t want to be reminded that I’m carrying it by feeling it on my back all the time. That’s what lightweight means to me, simplifying my time outdoors, not competing in a pissing contest of how low a pack weight I had last weekend.

    The truth is that the Laser’s have always been closer to the ideal than most others, and the uncomfortable truth for many forum dwellers that having used Lasers in most conditions since their first year of production, 99/100 it really is enough tent. I know when it’s isn’t enough tent as well, I’ve had one under the sewing machine.

    A wee secret here too, I knew the tents I was getting well in advance, and having used a Photon regularly I had dismissed it as the winner as I knew the things that niggled me about it and I was sure that three other models were going to beat it. Once I started using them, one by one they got marked down and the little tweaks on the new Photon marked it up. When I wrote up my notes my heart sank when I knew the Photon was going to win.

    But what the hell, the Photon was the best tent there. Mind you, the Vaude is standing right behind it with a mischevious look in its eye.

    I love when a comment gets my mental wheels turning, I should have saved all that for my tent write up later on :o)

  10. I thought your group test was pretty near faultless. You were positive about all the tents, and there was enough info for the flank forward and the winter storm junkie to make their own minds up.

    Photon or laser comp, though. What’s the best all rounder?

    And it’s 22.13, so I really should concentrate on what is happening in The Killing’!

  11. I’ve just watched Blades of Glory on BBC3 :o)

    I’d hoped I’d got enough of the useful points in there, as much as I review stuff I’m still as much of an enthusiast as ever, and I know what I would be looking for. So thanks, at least I know it’s all in the right area.

    Photon versus Comp? The Comp is the all-rounder for me, the Photon is the king of the quick blast into the hills.
    The Power Tokee is closer to the Photon in size and feel than the Comp as well which is interesting. Terra Nova split the Laser familiy up quite wide, where Vaude have coverd most bases outside of elite racing with just the two models of Power Tokee and Lizard.

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