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[at-l] Stephensons field report

OK, I used the Stephensons 2RSLD (yellow, more chartrouse I think, and 
purple) yesterday on a little overnight canoe trip.  Here are some firest 
field impressions after one real day of use.

This sucker is tiny for its size. I think it takes less space in my 
backpack than the Kelty Clark I took on the AT earlier this year. It 
certainly seems quite a bit lighter (as I recall the Kelty came in at 
68oz. I've not weighed the Stephensons but unless they're bad about 
weights too it should weigh 54oz, plus a couple ounces for the stakes, so 
maybe 56-57oz) than the Clark. Honestly, hefting both it feels like the 
Stephensons is more than 10 ounces lighter. I haven't gotten the tyvek 
for a ground cloth yet so I used an old, heavy and huge plastic one I had 
lieing around. That doesn't count as part of a real world test. 

Set up was quite easy. Took me about 5 minutes and I had only done it a 
couple times before in my yard so I consider this quite good. While the 
outer shell the tents shows to the world looked great I did have some 
sagging inside. I haven't figured out how to tension things so the inside 
walls don't sag quite as much (hints welcomed). The sag didn't cause me 
any trouble and it doesn't detract from the spaciousness of the tent, but 
it doesn't look as cool inside as I think it should..;). 

I tied off one window to two hiking sticks and that seemed to work 
alright. The view was pretty good, but it could have been better. Gotta 
work on tensioning the light line better. The other window shade I had 
lieing on the tent and that made for a big view (I did zip the inner 
window part of that up when I went to bed, but left the other window open.

Warmth. I was quite toasty. I believe the evening tempurature was in the 
mid 40s. I realize that my toastiness is, in large, measure, a feature of 
my sleeping bag but the tent never felt cold even when I was out of the 

I had amply room by the door to sit up and do things and there certainly 
is plenty of wiggle room in there. Ventilation was superb and I had no 
condensation anywhere either from the ground or from me.

I definitely will have to make some treads to prevent slippage. I noticed 
when I awoke this morning that my pad was no longer nice and straight but 
was angled towards the back-left of the tent. On a slope clearly things 
would slip more (and it might have slipped more except for the fact that 
my backpack was down by my feet - that, by the way, didn't seem to impede 
air flow from the foot vent).

Cuteness factor: high. My friends thought the tent was quite cool and 
cute. We all thought the way the firelight made the ends glow was 
fascinating. I got the bright ends so that I would be able to find my 
tent in the dark after those inevitable privvy or whatever trips. 
Clearly, that decision will pay off.

I did not time tthe packing up process but I think it went pretty 
quickly. Remove the stakes, then the poles from the sleeves, tuck the 
tent ends in a bit, fold in half lengthywide, fold end-to-end, then 
lengthwise, put the poles on top and roll the thing up (that's how I did 
it the first time before I read the Stephenson directions and I think 
they suggest the same basic approach).  The tent slips easily into the 
stuff sack (I wish my sleeping bag and especially my therm-a-rest were as 
easy to put into their sacs).

Oh, the canoe overnight with schmoozing around a campfire until 01:30 was 
a lot of fun. The drunken campers at the same canoe campsite were quiet 
drunks so that did not bother us. Even their two VERY BRIGHT camp 
lanterns did not bother me too much (I was worreid that they would keep 
me up since they made the inside of my tent quite bright, but that wasn't 
a problem).

  ** Ken **

**  Kenneth Knight    Web Design, IT Consultant, Software Engineer  **
**        krk@home.msen.com           http://home.msen.com/~krk     **

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