BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Exped Andromeda II Tent > Owner Review by Jerry Goller

EXPED ANDROMEDA II TENT
OWNER REVIEW
BY JERRY GOLLER
March 28, 2011

Main Image

Image Courtesy Exped

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Jerry Goller
EMAIL: jerrygoller@backpackgeartest.org
AGE: 64
LOCATION: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 220 lb (99.80 kg)

I started camping with my father at age 6 or so. I’ve backpacked and truck camped, off and on, all of my life. Even in the Marine Corps, I was in the Infantry. I consider myself a light weight backpacker with an average dry pack weight of 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 7 kg), depending on the season and terrain. I backpack year round. Most of my trips are 2 to 5 days long and in Utah. I also, from time to time, take much longer trips lasting one to two months or more. These trips are usually on the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Exped 
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: Exped
MSRP:  N/A
Listed Weight: 8 lbs 4 oz (3.95 kg)
Measured Weight: 9 lbs 2 oz (4.14 kg) This weight includes all accessories and guy lines, some quite long, for all guy out points. 

I’ve used this tent for 1.5 winters and 1.5 summers. I’ve developed a good feel for its strengths and weaknesses. At between 8 and 9 lbs (3.6 and 4 kg), this is not a light tent. But this tent is to common tents as a HumVee is to a car. There is simply no comparison. I have had this tent out in heavy snow, heavy rain, and heavy wind. That generally takes a heavy tent. I am a light weight backpacker and I’ll be the first to say this isn’t my general use shelter. But if I think it is going to hit the fan then I pack the Andromeda II. I love this tent in winter and it is the best rain tent I’ve ever had. In winter I have plenty of room to sprawl and my gear sled will fit in the vestibule. In the fall (Utah monsoon season) I have that same vestibule for cooking and eating while sheltered from the rain. LEGAL WARNING! ALL TENT AND STOVE MANUFACTURES STRONGLY DISAPPROVE OF USING A STOVE, ANY KIND OF STOVE, IN A TENT OR TENT VESTIBULE!! That said, with the right tent and stove, I do when it is raining. Always. This tent is also extremely easy to set up by one person even in the dark and a snow or rain storm. Unfortunately, I can attest to this through personal experience. The tent uses capture pole sleeves with adjustable pole receivers on the other end. The receivers have a pole repair sleeve inside the webbing so the pole simple can’t come out, if the adjustment strap is tightened, period. The manufacturer states that the tent can be put up with only 4 stakes. If I'm not expecting high winds or reasonably heavy snow, it can be. I’ve set it up with only 4 stakes more often than I have fully guyed out. But, if necessary, this tent has guy line pull outs all over it. It can be fully staked out and will handle very serious winds.

FIELD USE

WinterVestibule

Winter in the Uintas

My winter use of this tent has been mostly in the Uinta Mountains of northern Utah. Temperatures have ranged from highs of 20 F (-6 C) or so down to lows well below 0F (-18 C). Altitudes have been between 6,000 and 9,000 ft (1830 and 2750 m). I was usually on 20 to 30 ft (6 to 9 m) plus of snow. I’ve had snow as heavy as 2 ft (0.61 m) over night. I have also experienced high winds with snow. This tent has easily stood up to all of it. It is quite roomy and, for one person, palatial. I carry it in a large dry bag strapped to the top of my gear sled. That way I can set up the tent while the rest of my gear stays dry and out of the snow in the sled. Once the tent is up I can slide my sled under the vestibule side, out of the snow and wind. I can then unpack at my leisure. It helps me stay as organized as I ever get when camping by myself. The procedure is just reversed when I leave. None of my gear is ever exposed to the elements. The vestibule provides a great place to take my over boots and rain suit off. All that gear stays in the vestibule so melting snow never gets inside the tent body leaving everything dry and clean. 

Storm setup 

Ready for the coming storm

My summer use of this tent has been at similar altitudes as the winter use. Temps have ranged from the upper 30s to the lower 60s F (-1 to 15 C). I have experienced heavy rain on the order of 2” (5 cm) in a few hours. I experienced very little condensation, winter or summer, and what did form didn’t prove to be a problem. I had no leaks. The large vestibule was very nice for storing my pack out of the way and the weather and for cooking and eating (see LEGAL WARNING) out of the wind and rain. I’ve also experienced some pretty high winds on the order of 50 to 60 mph (80 to 97 kph). As long as it was well staked out I had no problems. I also never pitched it on any bald mountain tops…..

THINGS I LIKE

Pole loosePole tightPole receiver

Pole tension adjustment is loose in the left image and tight in the center image. The right image is the pole receiver.

I especially like the way the tent poles work. The pole sleeves are sewn flat so the tent pitches tighter with less stress on it. The sleeves are capture sleeves. That means I can just set, or stand, on one side and feed the poles in the sleeves. The pole will be guided into a reinforced pouch on the other end of the pole sleeve so I don’t have to fiddle with the far side or worry about the pole popping out of a grommet before I can get the pole fully installed. The feed side has a receiver pouch that accepts my end of the pole. This receiver is adjustable so it can be made loose so the pole fits in easily then the webbing can be drawn tight and tighten the whole pole sleeve. The receiver uses a pole repair section sewn into a webbing pouch so the pole is held very securely. This also helps relieve stress on the receiver. The poles are all the same length and both ends of the poles are identical. Very handy for setting up in crappy weather or at night. I also like the large vestibule with side entry. It just makes life easier. The gear pouches on the non-door side of the vestibule are very handy for getting gear up and out of the way but still very handy.

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

Pole sleeve opening

The pole sleeve opening is the gray diagonal strip just above center

There are a few things about this tent I don’t care for. The rear support system seems too complicated to me. But I must admit that I can’t think of a better way of doing it. I would really like to see the binding tape at the opening of the pole sleeve be made out of white reflective tape. As can be seen in the image above, the opening is gray on gray. This can be very hard to find, particularly when I am tired, it is dark, and it is snowing or raining. It would be a simple fix and would make the tent even easier to set up in adverse conditions. The stuff bag is hopeless as far as I am concerned. It is touted as an easy to use side stuff bag. In actuality, it is a loose piece of fabric vaguely in the shape of a bag. There are no compression straps, except sort of one in the center, so there is no real way to compress the tent or hold it in as I stuff it. I never use the provided stuff sack because of that.

SUMMARY

All in all, this tent was much more than I bargained for. I got it for winter use and it does that exceptionally well. I didn’t expect to be using it in spring and fall for rainy weather. But it works so well in that situation that I was willing to take the weight hit when the weather was going to be bad. This will be my go to tent for winter camping for the foreseeable future. Or until something better comes along.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Read more gear reviews by Jerry Goller

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Exped Andromeda II Tent > Owner Review by Jerry Goller



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson