cover photo

Yann Muller

yann@darkriver.net


  
When I travel on my motorbike I usually spend the nights in campsites. It is cheaper than hotels or B&Bs and I get spare money for a nice meal. And sometimes the location of the campsite is just fantastic. I have pitched my tent on the seafront in Ireland, at the top of Welsh cliffs, in the French hills and many more beautiful places.

I have been using a Vango Halo 200 tent for several years. Unfortunately during my last trip in the Alps I somehow made a large tear on the flysheet. I tried to repair it but nothing seems to stick very well to the fabric. So I started looking for a replacement.

My friend lent me his tent to try out. It's a hiker's tent by Decathlon. It is light and packs very small while still being a decent size. There is nothing wrong with this tent but I would have to change my habits. The porches are too small to hold my motorcycle panniers. I am used to having access to all my things without going out of the tent. But the little thing that annoyed me is that to keep a door open you have to tie it up to the side otherwise it falls back closed. I just don't have the patience for that sort of things. I decided to replace my old tent with the updated version of the same model.

The current model of the Halo 200 has gained a new Pro moniker and is a lot more expensive. It is not obvious why. The flysheet uses a stronger fabric and that is a clear improvement after the demise of my previous tent. Vango claims that the poles are more eco-friendly but does not elaborate. Not a word on whether they are as strong as before. Considering that the ends are now made of plastic I would guess not. Also the poles are longer than on the old model when folded. That is incredibly annoying as pack size does matter.

I can't be sure that the groundsheet is thinner than it used to be but it does feel like it. The fabric is a bit translucent and appears fragile. I hope it doesn't get damaged as soon as I pitch the tent on rough ground. In other disappointing changes, the plastic ring on the inside that was so convenient to hang a little torch is gone. Instead there are two minuscule fabric loops at will of course serve the same purpose but they are so impractical. Also impractical is the packing bag. The opening along the length of the bag is supposed to make it easy to pack but the bag is just too big so it is almost impossible to pack small. The new flysheet is a very dark grey and I am a bit worried that it will make the tent very hot in the sun.

This is almost the same tent as I used to have but not quite. Overall it seems like a downgrade. There has been a fairly obvious cost-cutting exercise. I will soon find out how the tent holds up on the road.
 travel  gear