So this weekend was a weekend of firsts.
My first wild camp in the peak district, first wild camp with friends (i.e. not solo) and first wild camp with my Alpkit Ordos 2 tent which I got for my birthday way back in February.
Some colleagues and I are taking on the Welsh 3 peaks challenge in June this year and we have planned a few training trips; this being the first of them with a hike up Kinder Scout.
One of my colleagues suggested we went up the night before for a wild camp at a spot he found whilst out on a run once and we all agreed. A chance to test out my new tent! See my brief review below.
I bought the Alpkit Ordos 2 tent with foot print plus extra pegs.
When I received the Alpkit Ordos back in February, I was amazed how small and light it was. In fact my wife took delivery of it and asked the delivery guy “are you sure this is a tent?”. Upon opening it up I then became alarmed at how thin the material was. It felt as thin as a bin bag. I set it up initially in the lounge to check it over and my confidence in the fabric immediately grew due to how stretchy it was. I began to think that it would take quite a bit indeed to cause any kind of tear in the material.
After the initial obligatory set up in the lounge I then went for the obligatory set up in the garden.
Pitching the tent is really easy. The poles are a bit of a faff to unfold the first time because they are all connected together (i.e. a single assembly) and fold out into an I shape. Plus you have to get them the right way up. However I quickly got the hang of it and the poles have a clever fixing mechanism which makes them easy to seat in place and make the tent free-standing. Although it’s so light weight, I wouldn’t leave it without pegging it down for very long for fear of it blowing away.
The floor of the tent is also very thin so I recommend buying the footprint with the tent for added protection. The inner tent’s floor is a bathtub floor and I’ve pitched in very wet conditions (with the foot print) in February and had no problems with moisture getting through. The floor of the inner does have a seam running from left to right almost in the middle of the floor however it is sealed.
The Alpkit Ordos tent is a pitch-inner first tent and this is probably my biggest concern overall with the tent. I also have an Alpkit Kangri mountain tent which is also pitch-inner first however the Kangri’s inner has a DWR coating and the mesh is quite thick and when I’ve pitched the Kangri in the pouring rain, I’ve not had any issues with water coming through in the short time between pitching the inner and fitting the outer. However, on the Ordos, the mesh is much thinner and I’m not sure there is the same DWR coating so I am concerned that when I do finally have to pitch the Ordos in the rain, I may get a little bit wet.
The pitch-inner concern is, however, mitigated somewhat by the fact that it is very fast and easy to pitch and to fit the outer fly sheet. The outer fly has some clips on the inside to fit it to the pole ends in certain positions and velcro tabs for extra mid-pole fastening. Overall (from memory) here are 3 clips and 3 velcro tabs.
I’m impressed with the pegs that come with the tent. They seem very strong and hold the ground very well. However, to fully peg out the tent you’ll need at least an extra 3 pegs. I bought some Alpkit ti-pins to keep the weight down since I bought this tent with the intention of going very light but in relative comfort (i.e. a tent instead of a bivvy).
Inside the Tent
There are two good size pockets either side of the inner’s front door. There are also 3 loops above for hanging things like a lantern. Despite being a 2-man tent, I would never use it as a 2-man tent. It would be just too cramped and I like my space and I like to keep my luggage if not in the vestibule then in the tent with me.
The vestibule is big enough for my boots and my 40-ltr rucksack however I usually bring the rucksack into the tent with me so I’m not moving it out the way every time I want to get in or out of the tent.
I’m not very tall (about 5’7″) but I find and I find that the length is more than ample. I can sit up straight in the tent underneath the arching pole. I’ve slept in both directions in the tent; with my head at the narrow end and at the wide end and both I found were fine but I prefer with my head at the wide end next to the door.
It is a bit tricky getting in and out due to the short porch however I do like the fact it has a porch since this will keep rain water from dropping into the inner tent.
The door zip arrangements are very basic, presumably to keep the weight down. In contrast, my Alpkit Kangri has an excellent zip arrangement on all doors and I did miss this a little bit.
The colour of the tent makes the inside very bright and warm-feeling on a sunny morning. I found this very pleasant. Clearly the colour isn’t the most covert of colours but I found that in twilight it was very hard to discern the colour of the tent. So long as you’re pitching late and leaving early, it shouldn’t be a problem. My Alpkit Kangri is bright red and I’ve never had an issue with that tent.
I’ve not had any issues with condensation, ventilation seems very good. If anything, it can get a little breezy inside.
On my last trip, I was very restricted with where I could pitch: there were very few flat, bump-free spots. I found a spot that at least allowed me to sleep with my head up hill, but it did however mean that the tent was side-on to the wind. There isn’t much support in the design for side-on wind however in the evening the winds got up to 20mph and the tent was absolutely fine. I had pegged the tent out fully and made sure the fly was slightly stretched and tight.
I’ve not yet had to use the tent in anything other than a light shower so can’t really comment yet on the waterproof performance of the fly. However, I have pitched on very soggy ground and the floor and foot print kept any moisture well away.
In summary, I’m very pleased with the tent and my confidence in the thin fabric is growing each time I use it. It’s very light and I can fit a whole wild camping trip’s gear in a Lightwave Fastpack 40 ruck sack. In fact I have so much space in my rucksack now, I can take along the luxury of a camping pillow and my down jacket for in the mornings.