Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Review : XPG Ridgelight XST

Well where to start. I had heard a few things about this tent. I had heard that it had a tendency to sweat and leak a little water thru the vestibule. For this review I took it backpacking with two of my children. I figured it would fit us all and it's only a pound plus a little heavier then my single person ultralight. It's a little more bulky, but thats to be expected when stepping up from a single person to a three person. Set up was more then easy. My daughter could set up this tent by herself in less then five minutes. Lay out the tent, extend and attach pole structure, set stakes and your done. I was very impressed on how quickly this went up. I could see that in heavy wind or bad weather it would be much easier then a multi-pole design. With the joined pole design it made set up very fast because there was no threading of poles thru the tent. Set the pole exo-skeleton over the limp tent and attach. I'm not sure of the long term durability of the design but it stood up very well in the wind we had both nights we used it. There's a lot of adjustment for taking up slack in tie downs. Which I did in the middle of the second night. The wind was whipping the tent a bit so I tightened it up to lesson that some. It worked. For myself and two kids we were able to fit all three of us and our packs inside. With three adults that would have been very tight, but doable. We set up the tent both nights so that the doors faced the direction of the wind. I'm not sure if this was a good thing or not. The tent's large door vents kept everything very well ventilated. If I could do it again I'd set the tent up so that a end faced the wind so we didn't get as much thru draft in the night. While it would have been welcome if it was warmer it wasn't that warm at night so the draft wasn't needed or appreciated. The zippers all worked well and the layout was very good. I am pretty impressed with this little tent. I'm not sure who this tent is made for. It's not really a four season backpacking tent. Too much ventilation and with no way to shut down the draft thru the tent it wouldn't be a winter tent at all. It did stand up very well in the wind. I'm not sure if it worked any better then a ultralight three person tent would have. Still I like the tent so far and am looking forward to more outings with it.
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