The Vango Spectre 200 2-person tent is designed to be a minimalist shelter with a minimalist weight and minimalist price – without compromising on quality. The result is a very respectable feature set that includes metal alloy poles, rather than the fibreglass poles that are used in many other low-priced tents. Like most Vango tents, the Spectre also features the Tension Band System (TBS) for extra stability.
The Vango Spectre 200 comes packed with the inner pre-attached to the outer. But in wet weather when taking the tent down, the inner can be removed and fitted after pitching the outer so that the inner can be kept dry. A nice touch is that the colour-coded poles add to the ease of pitching this tent. The pole ends slip through sleeves around the outside the flysheet and their ends are located into eyelets where adjustable webbing straps allow easy tensioning. The pegs create the tunnel profile and these pegging points are also adjustable, which again adds to the ease of pitching. Inside the tent the Tension Band System can be fitted under the central pole or it can be stored away to create a little more space. There is just one outer door, and this gives access to the porch area and inner tent.
On the hill
The Vango Spectre 200 pitched very easily and speedily. In particular it was noticeable how stable the tent was, even without the TBS system fitted or guy lines tensioned. It felt ideal for a wild mountain camp. The outer door only gets one zip so you cannot vent it from the top, which could be irritating. But at least when rolled upwards the door can be firmly secured with two toggles, so it sees none of that awful flapping and unrolling that some tent doors suffer from. Behind the doors there is a porch. But it is very narrow, and although it extends the whole length of the side it is a tight squeeze for a couple of rucksacks. The inner tent has a large midgeproof mesh panel with a zipaway door. Inside the tent the headroom is more restricted than others and the TBS system does get in the way a little when used (though it can be removed). The black and orange colour scheme is a bit depressing too. But on the brighter side the inner tent is very wide and you can tension up the TBS system from inside if you feel the tent flexing too much in a storm. Also there are zipaway panels that give access to porch areas at each end of the tent.
Design 3-pole tunnel
Pole shock-corded alloy
Inner 70D ripstop nylon
Outer Protex 40D ripstop nylon, 3000mm hydrostatic head
Groundsheet high-density nylon, 5000mm hydrostatic head
Internal dimensions length 220cm; width 140cm; height 85cm
Packed size 14x54cm
Made in China Stores in the UK 500+
Stockist details – tel. (01475) 746000; www.vango.co.uk
Verdict: The Vango Spectre 200 2-person tent is a good weight and price, with metal alloy poles; reflective webbing, TBS system and useful end porches. But it has a narrow porch and low headroom; and its inner tent is an uninspiring colour. If your budget is under £100 then it is hard to find anything better than the Vango Spectre 200 for backpacking.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine August 2009