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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Exped Aries Mesh Tent > Test Report by Kevin Hollingsworth

Exped Aries Mesh Tent
TEST SERIES BY KEVIN HOLLINGSWORTH

September 5, 2007

 CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT (JULY 3, 2007)

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG TERM REPORT (SEPTEMBER 5, 2007)

Tester Information 

Name: Kevin Hollingsworth
Age: 42
Gender: Male
Height: 6’ 1” (1.9 m)
Weight: 195 lb (88 kg)
Email address: kholling55@yahoo.com
City, State, Country: Williamsburg, Virginia. USA

I started backpacking and camping when I was in the Scouts. I spent 20 years in the military, which curtailed my personal outdoors adventures. While day-hiking, I normally carry a light load, a waist pack with mostly food and water, with a few other things. On three to four day trips, I will carry a pack weighing about 45 to 50 lb (21 to 23 kg). I prefer to hike in the mountains. I have been hiking in Colorado, Korea, Egypt, and most recently the Eastern part of the United States.

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INITIAL REPORT
April 23, 2007

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer:  Exped
Year of Manufacture:   2007
URL: http://www.exped.com

 Listed Specifications:
Capacity: 2 person
Season: 3
Minimum weight (fly, canopy, and poles): 4.9 lb (2.3 kg)
Packaged weight (minimum, 16 stakes, 8 lines, 3 sacks, 2 floor strap, and repair items): 5.9 lb (2.65 kg)
Packed size: 20 x 7.5 in (50 x 19 cm)
Area of Floor: 29 ft² (2.7 m²)
Area of Vestibule: 13 ft² (1.2 m²)
Max. Inside Height: 39 in (1.0 m)
Setup Time: 2 minutes

Note: All measurements are mine (unless otherwise specified)
Minimum weight (fly, canopy, and poles): 5.1 lb (2.3 kg)
Packaged weight (minimum, 16 stakes, 8 lines, 3 sacks, 2 floor strap, and repair items): 6.1 lb (2.8 kg)
Packed size: 20 x 7.5 in (50 x 19 cm)
Area of Floor: 28.4 ft² (2.6 m²)
Area of Vestibule: 13.7 ft² (1.3 m²)
Max. Height: 38 in (1.0 m)
Colors: Green
Warranty: Five year limited warranty on defects in workmanship and materials.
MSRP: $250 US

Exped Aries

The Exped Aries tent is marketed as a 2-person, 3-season tent that is ideal for backpacking, mountaineering, or spring ski touring. The design is derived from expedition tents. It has a polyurethane (PU) coated ripstop polyester rainfly that is UV-resistant and meets CPAI-84 flame retardant guidelines. It has a flame retardant, UV-resistant No-see-um mesh canopy with ripstop polyester roof panel to increases ventilation and to reduce condensation. The floor is made from a durable, taffeta nylon coated with heavy PU coatings; it has a waterproof rating of 197 in (500+ cm water column).

   Poles Slide    Zipper
The tent canopy is suspended from Exotec 8.5 mm 7009-T9 aluminum poles that slide through flat pole sleeve designed to improve the tent’s aerodynamics. There are double guyline loops in each of the pole sleeves. The YKK zippers have color coded, reflective, glow-in-the-dark pulls and are sewn smooth sides out to reduce exposure to dirt, which could cause premature wear. It has one large vestibule and the canopy can be unhooked and pushed back for extra floor space. Either the rainfly or canopy can be erected separately. The polypropylene guylines are ultralight and reflective. They come with their own trouble-free stuff sack. The guylines include adjustable tensioners, Tensionlock, which have cord guide grooves on both sides for quick and easy tightening of the guylines.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Tent Stuff Sack  

I received the Exped Aries Mesh tent is excellent condition and arrived packed in its own stuff sack. The stuff sack is a black, side opening sack made from a polyester type fabric. It has a draw cord and a plastic tightener for closing the sack. On the top of the sack, there is a handle with the name of the tent and what appears to be a sample of the mesh fabric attached to the handle.  Also attached to the sack were a manufacturer tag and three instruction tags. The instructions tags were the same; except for they were in French, German and English. The tags gave the tents features, the setup and use instructions, care instructions and service/warranty information. 

Content  Poles

Opening the stuff sack, I found the tent, and two additional small stuff sacks. The one sack contained two sets of sectional poles held together by shock cord. The poles are smooth and each of the tip ends are rounded to a smooth finish. The other sack contained twenty stakes (6 heavy duty v-shaped and 14 lighter u-shape), 9 guyline packs (guyline, adjustable tensioner, and individual mesh stuff sack), 2 zippers (1 large and 1 small), 3 pieces of repair cloth (one each for the floor, rainfly and netting) and a pole repair piece.

Pole strap

Following the instruction on set up, I secured the aft end of the tent with two stakes.  I then ran the two poles into the poles sleeves. On one end of each of the pole sleeve, there is a tension strap. I had to loosen this tensioner, put the pole into the slot, a canvas like pocket, and then tighten the strap to ensure that the pole is tight in the sleeve. I then stretched the tent out, staking the tent as I went. The final thing to do was to stake out the vestibule and make sure everything was tight.

Inside Pocket

Inside the tent, there was plenty of head room. I am 6’ 1” (1.9 m) and I while sitting, I never hit my head on the ceiling. Inside the tent, there are two mesh pockets by the door and a red cord running down the center of the ceiling. This cord is adjustable by using a plastic adjuster. The floor is reinforced at all four the corners and where the poles attached in the center. There are two red adjustable web straps running beneath the mesh canopy, to assist in stability when I use just the rainfly.

Strap  storage
The canopy and the rainfly are attached together by web loops and plastic toggles. Between the canopy and the rainfly, there is approximately 6 in (15 cm) clearance, so no part of the tent is in contact with the rainfly. There are two sets of zippers at each door. At the end of each larger zipper loop, there is a small plastic glow-in-the-dark piece.  The doors can be easily open and rolled back for storage. The door of the vestibule can also be unzipped and stored in a pocket located on the left side of the vestibule wall. When the vestibule doors are closed, there is a flap covering the zipper to prevent moisture and wind from coming in through the zipper. This flap is held in place by some Velcro-type fastener running along the zipper.

Mats

So far, I  like everything about this tent. But I do have one concern though. Once the tent was erected, I put two of my sleeping pads into the tent. The pads fit perfectly at entrance end, but at the other end, the pads slightly overlapped each other. This does seem to be a problem at the moment, because this is the foot end the tent. I will address this concern in my field report.

SUMMARY

 I would like to thank both, BackpackGearTest and Exped, for the opportunity to test the Aries Mesh Tent. This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.


FIELD REPORT 
July 3, 2007

 

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I took a multi-day trip to Shenandoah National Park. The terrain was mountainous with the elevation around 3000 to 4000 ft (900 to 1200 m). The weather was initially cloudy with some scattered showers. The weather cleared at midday on the second day and the rest of the trip was sunny. The average daytime temperature was 60 to 75 F (15 to 24 C), dropping to approximately 55 F (13 C) after sunset.

I also took a multi-day trip to the Smokey Mountains National Park. The terrain was mountainous with the elevation around 2000 to 3000 ft (609 to 900 m). The weather on was cloudy with scattered showers, mostly in the late afternoon or evening. The normal daytime temperature was 75 to 85 F (24 to 29 C), with a drop to approximately 65 F (18 C) after sunset.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Overall, I am quite pleased with the performance of the Aries Mesh tent. In all the trips, the setup went really smooth. It only took a few minutes to unpack the tent, stretch it out and insert the tent poles into the poles sleeves. The only problem I had was when it came to staking out the tent. The terrain where I camp was extremely rocky. When I was staking out the tent, the stakes would hit the rocks after a few inches in and then bend. I could not arrange the tent so all the stakes went in smoothly. I ended up using some spare wire stakes that always I carry. This was the only problem that I had with the setup.

 Stakes

The teardown went without a hitch. The only thing that I did have to remember during teardown process was to push the poles from the sleeve instead of pulling the poles. If I pulled the poles, the poles would separate, and make the pole removal difficult.

 The tent was very waterproof. During the first trip, there wasn’t much rain in the evening, it had stopped by midday. But the ground was still damp when I was set up camp. I did not notice any moisture coming up through the tent floor. When I was packing up, my sleeping mat was dry as bone.  During the second trip, it rained every day in the evening for a few hours. The rain would vary from a light to a medium intensity. After the rain stopped, there would be a sort of mist in the area for the rest of the night. But throughout all the rain and misting, no moisture ever came through the rainfly or any of the seams.

One thing that really impressed me was the tent’s ventilation. In both trips, there were two occupants in the tent and the vestibule was zipped closed all night. During the night, there was no buildup of humidity or moisture on the inside of the tent. I slept comfortably all night. On one occasion on my second trip, I did feel a couple of drops of water on the inside of the tent, but could not find where they came from.

 The space on the inside was adequate for two occupants. I am 6’ 1” (1.9 m) and the second occupant is 5’5” (1.6 m). Our sleeping pads did cross at the foot of the tent, but that did not matter, there was plenty of room to sleep. The vestibule was large enough to store our packs and a few other items, such as boots, and there was some more storage space at the foot of the tent. On the inside of the tent, the side pockets were perfect for a headlight/flashlight and few other small items. The inside cord was perfect for hanging a small light and drying things like socks. 

SUMMARY

So far, I am pleased with the performance of the Exped Aries Mesh Tent.

This concludes my Field Report.  The Long-Term Report should be completed by September, 2007.  Please check back then for further information.

 


LONG TERM REPORT 
September 5, 2007

 

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I took a multi-day trip to Shenandoah National Park. The terrain was mountainous with the elevation around 3000 to 4000 ft (900 to 1200 m). The weather on the first day was cloudy with rain. The rain switched between a light drizzle and heavy showers. The weather cleared at midday on the second day and the rest of the trip was sunny. The average daytime temperature was 75 to 85 F (24 to 29 C), dropping to approximately 75 F (24 C) after sunset.

I took a multi-day trip to Jefferson National Park. The terrain was mountainous with the elevation around 4500 to 5000 ft (1372 to 1524 m). The weather was clear, with some occasional patches of clouds. The average daytime temperature was 75 F (24 C), dropping to approximately 60 F (16 C) after sunset.

 PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

 I very pleased with the Exped Aries Mesh Tent. It is a great tent.  What really sealed my view on the Aries Mesh was my most recent trip to the Shenandoah National Park. It was raining on and off all day. After we setup camp, it started to rain heavily. This continued for a good half hour. After the rain subsided, there were large puddles everywhere, including inside the other tents of my group. The Aries withstood the rain without a single drop inside the tent or vestibule. Not only did the tent prevent the rain from coming inside, but during the night no moisture formed on the inside from condensation. The Aries is both waterproof and very breathable.

 The setup and teardown always went smoothly. Although the manufacturer gives a setup time of 2 minutes, I could never match this. It always took a little longer, at least around 5 minutes.

 Not being used to a tunnel type tent, getting in and out of the tent took some getting used to. But I like the design of the tunnel style tent. The inside still had plenty of room for two people. The vestibule had enough space to get in and out of the tent easily, for two sets of boots, a 3930 cu in (65 L) pack, a medium sized daypack and to cook in if weather demanded it. The glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls really did help finding the zippers at night. Once found, the zippers operated smoothly, without any snagging on the material.

Hole in Mesh 

The only problem that I found with the tent was on the last trip. I found the mesh area on the inside, near the zipper, was starting to pull away from the stitching. I don’t know how this happen, but it seems repairable with a little sewing.

SUMMARY

Overall, I am very satisfied with the performance of the Aries Mesh Tent. I plan to continue to use the Aries Mesh tent for most of my backpacking activities.

I would like to thank both, BackpackGearTest and Exped, for the opportunity to test the Aries Mesh Tent.

 



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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Exped Aries Mesh Tent > Test Report by Kevin Hollingsworth



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