A bit like the new coalition government, Vango’s plan for easing the burden of carrying a one-person tent is to strip out wasted weight. According to the manufacturer, everything that is good in the classic Vango Force Ten Helium is apparent in the new Helium Superlite, but you now have a new lighter groundsheet and inner tent. The result of the cutbacks is a saving of 1150g to 980g, with a price hike from £190 to £230. But is that a good deal for the backpacking society of Britain?
Some lightweight tents are definitely challenging in terms of getting them pitched correctly, but there were no such problems here. It pitches outer-first, with the main pole sliding through a sleeve on the flysheet, and there is a short vertical pole at one end to give extra internal space. Ladder-lock cords are provided at the main pegging points, while the inner is attached to the same pegs using elastic bungees.
Inside the tent you get Vango’s Tension Band System for added stability, and this no doubt helped the Helium Superlite appear instantly stable. It felt like a tent that would provide good protection in typical British wet and windy weather.
The outer door has a double zip so you can ventilate it from the top, and inside there is one small vent at the foot. But I’d like more venting than this for anything other than warm summer weather, as condensation could be an issue. This tent is very small too, and at 6ft tall I could not sit up properly inside. The inner was also rather dark.
At 980g and £230 for a one-person tent this is heavier than the lightest options but also lower in price. For example a 720g Terra Nova Laser Photon Elite costs £330. But equally the original Vango Helium is just £190 for a 1150g tent. So it all really depends on how important those extra grams or extra cash saved are to your pack weight and bank balance.
Sleeps one person
Design single hoop side entry
Poles shock-corded 8.5mm aluminium alloy
Inner 40D ripstop nylon
Flysheet Protex 20D nylon, 3000mm hydrostatic head
Groundsheet Protex 20D nylon, 5000mm hydrostatic head
Internal dimensions length 210cm; width 90cm; height 85cm
Packed size 40x10cm
Made in China
Stockist details – tel. (01475) 746000; www.vango.co.uk
If you want to save weight on a medium budget then this is an ideal option to be considered alongside lower-priced tents or lighter tents of similar design.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine August 2010