The Force Ten Helium 100 is a frequent Trail award winner. It pitches flysheet-first with a single precurved pole slipped through a sleeve around the outside of the fly. A vertical pole at each end creates extra foot- and headroom, and once assembled the structure is very stable. Entry is via a side zip that has double zip pulls so you can open the top of the door. You then access a full-length porch, which has just about enough space for a pack at one end while leaving cooking space and room to enter the inner at the other, although other tents do have wider porches. When you open the inner door the interior space is reasonable but as it tapers down steeply from the centre pole it is more limited in its headroom than some other options, though I could just about sit up under the main pole. There’s a Tension Band System (TBS) inside the tent, a pair of internal guy lines that help stabilise the main pole. These do get in the way a little, but they can be removed. Condensation is controlled by vents at each end of the inner, and the whole package provides good all-round performance for the solo backpacker. The Force Ten Helium 100 has the highest price tag in our test, but it offers the best all-round performance.
Flysheet fabric Protex silicone-coated ripstop nylon
Inner fabric nylon ripstop
Groundsheet fabric nylon
Internal dimensions (LxWxH) 210x95x90cm
Packed size 40x11cm
A bit more headroom and a wider porch would be nice, but the weight, stability, ease of pitching and the living space make the Force Ten Helium 100 a good choice for a solo backpacker. It won Trail’s ‘Best in Test’ accolade.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine July 2013