Jeremy Drobnick Please Read - Re: OWNER REVIEW - Wenzel StarLite Tent
- PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!
Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner
Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. Do
not worry if nothing happens with it for several days. All our
Editors are volunteers and your report will be subject to an
official edit within fourteen days. If you have not had a response
from an Edit Moderator via the Yahoo Groups list within this
timeframe, please let me know directly at jdeben@....
To assist in this process, if this is your first Owner Review we ask
that you post only ONE Owner Review for edit at a time. Our
experience is that it is more efficient for both the Editors and
yourself, if you post your first review, have it edited, approved
and uploaded before you post your second and subsequent reviews.
This way we can work with you on addressing any standard BGT policy
edits which you can incorporate into your second and subsequent
reviews before submission.
If you are new to BackpackGearTest.org, welcome to the community!
The Editors will work with you, within their own time constraints,
to get your first two Owner Reviews approved and upload in a timely
manner. Once these first two Owner Reviews have been approved and
you have submitted your Tester Agreement you will be eligible to
start applying for Tests. If you'd like more assistance or guidance
with the process you can request a mentor by sending an email to
Jennifer P, the mentor coordinator, at (jennifer.pope@...).
You may receive edits or comments from other members of the group.
These edits and comments, while not official, should be considered
carefully, and if you find them substantial, revise and re-post your
review. Incorporating member edits and re-submitting to the list
will usually result in a better review, as well as making things
easier for the official Editor. Please put REVISED in the subject
line of your re-submitted review, if you take this route or make any
changes to your review BEFORE the review has been taken by an Edit
Additionally, it is important for you to monitor the Yahoo Groups
list to keep track of the progress of your Owner Review. Once an
Editor has taken your OR and made the necessary edits they will post
their comments to the list with EDIT in the subject line. Once you
have incorporated these edits into your review please use REPOST in
the subject line. When your OR has been approved by the Editor they
will use APPROVED in the subject line.
If you'd like to keep track of the progress of your OR, the entire
Owner Review Queue is posted to this yahoo group list on Fridays.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask via
the list or contact me directly.
Edit Administration Manager
- Dear Jeremy,
Please don't misunderstand--BGT has no problem with negative reviews.
Despite the various edits, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.
However, the problem I see here is that your use constitutes one trip
in one example of the tent, predictably disastrous because unsealed,
and another trip in a sealed version. Even counting this as two uses,
this is really under our usage criteria. It hardly seems fair to
subject you to a third round of torture!
With the second trip, it's unclear to me if the leakage was again
along the seams, or elsewhere. Or was it an unacceptably high level of
condensation? In any case, in addition to the usage criteria, you
don't have anything on ease and method of setup, and much other
information that is standard in a tent review.
I will consult first with my editorial colleagues, but I feel it
likely, with some regret, that we must reject this review on the usage
criterion. I will get back to you on this, but I'm virtually certain
that this will be the consensus.
At the same time, I do think you write amusingly, and I would love to
see you as part of the BGT team. I'd like to suggest that, working
with a mentor, you submit an OR for another piece of gear. It doesn't
have to work well, but it should have more than two uses in the field.
To get assigned a mentor, contact Jennifer Pope
our esteemed head of the mentor program. I don't think it will take
much to get you on track. Please do go over my edits, and (if you have
not done so) take a look at
BGT OR EDITOR
> Wenzel StarLite Tent - Ultralight Solo
Heading should be
Wenzel StarLite Tent - Ultralight Solo
Date: November 28, 2006
>### EDIT: since you use abbreviations elsewhere (as we prefer) please
> Reviewer Information
> Name: Jeremy Drobnick
> Age: 30
> Gender: Male
> Height: 6' 0" (1.83 Meters)
> Weight: 190 Pounds (86.36 Kilograms)
use them above, e.g.
Height: 6' 0" (1.83 m)
Weight: 190 lbs (86.36 kg)
> Email address: jeremy.drobnick@...### EDIT: Date may now be removed from here
> City, State, Country: Charlotte, North Carolina, US
> Date: November 28, 2006
> Backpacking Background: I started backpacking eight years ago.What initially started as frequent, relaxed weekend trips has evolved
into more aggressive backpacking in increasingly harsh weather
conditions, trails, and duration. I love winter camping; the more
snow and ice, the better. I am gaining a growing appreciation for
lightweight backpacking, but am not afraid to pack on additional
weight for extended and/or winter trips. The equipment I use has to
be tough; I will treat it well, but expect it to perform to high
standards. I usually hike between 50 and 300 miles each year.
### EDIT: If you could list your packweight, before consumables, this
would be helpful for readers (please put in both lb and kg). Also, "50
and 300 miles" needs to have a conversion after it: (80 to 480 km)
>have specs on this tent, the product information provided below is
> Product Information
> (Note: Purchased from Campmor. Since the Wenzel site does not
according to Campmor)
### EDIT: This is a problem. I would prefer that you omit all the data
except that which you have measures, unless you can get confirmation
from Wenzel or by measurement. In other words, omit listed weight,
tent dimensions, tent area, internal height and pack size. All of
these, BTW, would need metric conversions. The only exception would be
the fabric specs. There should be no mention of a retailer, be it REI,
Campmor or whatever, in the review.
>### EDIT: Please provide a metric equivalent in kg. Also, specify what
> Manufacturer: Wenzel
> Year of Manufacture: 2005
> Manufacturer URL: http://www.wenzelco.com/
> Listed Weight: 4 lbs. 8 oz. (pkg wgt); 3 lbs. 8 oz. (min wgt)
> Weight as Delivered: 4 lbs min
you mean by "min" in this case. What's included in this weight?
> Tent Capacity: 1-2### EDIT: small point, but the words don't have to be capitalized in
> Tent Dimensions: 4 ft. X 6 ft. 10 in.
> Tent Area: (Sq. Ft.) 25
> Internal Height Front: 3 ft., Rear 2 ft.
> Pack Size: 6 in. X 19 in.
> No. of Poles: 3
> Pole Size / Material: 9.5mm, fiberglass
> No. of Doors: 1
> Hooded Fly: Yes
> No. of Windows: 2
> Floor Material: 1.9 oz. Nylon Taffeta with 600mm Coating
> Wall Material: UV Armor 1.9 oz. polyester 600mm Coating
> Roof Material: UV Armor- 1.9 oz. Polyester with 600mm Coating
> Netting: 40 Denier No-see-um
> Color: Silver Grey Roof/Walls, Black Floor
> Style: Single Wall, Frame Bivy
this manner. The first in each line, maybe.
> Use: 3 season### EDIT: MSRP: US$30
> MSRP: $30
>lighter and smaller items to replace my traditionally heavy/bulky
> Field Information
> As I have "evolved" in my approach to backpacking, I have sought
items from the days of shorter hikes, and general apathy about the
amount of weight on my back.
### EDIT: I'd drop the "and general apathy about the amount of weight
on my back." Alternatively, put that thought as a separate sentence.
The Wenzel StarLite Tent - Ultralight Solo (hereafter referred to as
Wenzel, StarLite or tent) tent was one purchase made as I began to
consider this better way of backpacking. I bought the Wenzel in
summer of 2005 for three reasons: relatively lightweight, small pack
size, and economics.
>unfamiliar arena by seeing what I can get for the least amount of
> When I personally need to make a purchase, I generally approach an
money. Sometimes that approach is beneficial and sometimes it isn't.
Having only owned one tent prior to this one (also a Wenzel tent) and
having no problems with it (note: all previous experience was
fair-weather camping), I was plenty content to avoid more expensive
brand names and see what I could get for $30.
>be the case on my StarLite.
> Sometimes I am destined to learn things the hard way. That would
>### EDIT: drop "from Campmor."
> Upon receiving the tent from Campmor,
I was disappointed to find that it appeared to be a good deal smaller
than anticipated. I went back to the website to double check what I
saw. First, the information provided above comes from the product
specs table traditionally on the right side of the page. This is
what I had used to make my decision. This data appears to be
supported by the graphic of the floor plan 6' 10" x 4'. However, in
the information bullet points (on the left side of the same page),
there is a specific piece of information that bears attention: Floor
size tapers from 4 ft. in the front to 3 ft. 1 in. at the rear. The
rear of the tent is just 3 feet wide and 2 feet tall!
### EDIT: Because of the exclusion of the Campmor data, the paragraph
above is going to have to refer to your own measurements. Sorry about
>dismayed. Anyone who might have considered using the 1-2 person
> As I looked at the tent set up in my living room, I felt somewhat
capacity for 2 persons including me would be at a dreadful loss.
This tent was absolutely not suitable for anymore than one 6-foot
person. I pondered the return-to-Campmor option,
### EDIT: returning it to the retailer,
but since I had actually paid less than the MSRP during a sale, I
rationalized that perhaps I couldn't expect anything more than what I
received. Into the closet it went to wait for a solo trip.
>arose to make use of my StarLite. I headed to the Smoky Mountains
> Seven months passed and in January 2006 the first opportunity
(NP) on a winter trip. The forecast in Bryson City, NC was 30% chance
of showers and mid-30s. I planned to head to Gregory Bald roughly
4000ft higher in elevation (5000ft)
### EDIT: metric equivalents, please. Space between measurement and
unit. Also temperature needs to be stated as "mid-30s F (around -1 C)"
F and C DO get capitalized because the units are based on names.
where I had a good chance of snow. While this tent was clearly not
a winter tent with its fiberglass poles, I figured a few inches of
snow would be no problem (considering the short length of the poles).
>freezing and nearing dusk, but there wasn't a cloud in the sky. So
> Upon arrival at the bald the wind was blowing hard, it was near
much for the chance of precipitation or so I thought. The tent
setup was fairly easy four stakes, three poles and four guy ropes.
The wind had little impact on the tent with the low profile.
>steadily falling rain. The temperature remained just above freezing
> All was well until 10pm that night when I woke to the sound of
and a very, very cold cloud cover engulfed the mountain. As I
listened, I heard an echo-drip to the raindrops on the tent. I
flipped on my flashlight to investigate. To my utter horror, I
watched tiny droplets of water soaking through the seam down the
center ridge of the tent above me, and falling onto my sleeping bag.
I looked around further and found to my amazement and disgust that
each and every single seam on the entire tent was absorbing rain and
spewing a fountain of water into the tent.
### EDIT: A comment here. Most tents (including some that are
expensive) need seam-sealing. This is pretty standard procedure. I
would not have expected a tent in this price range to be seam-sealed,
nor would I assume any tent to be seam sealed unless explicitly
stated. Though somewhere, in the recesses of a closet, I own one that
I use for car camping with my kids, I am no fan of Wenzel tents.
However, it's unreasonable to expect that an unsealed tent would not leak.
>center of the tent sank down and matted against my sleeping bag like a
> Additionally, as the weight of the rain bore down on the tent, the
wet blanket. The two guy ropes on the side of the tent did little
more than contribute to this sagging process. Upon trying to
stabilize the tent several hours later, the upper front fabric pocket
(for the poles) ripped and I was left with further leakage and sagging.
### EDIT: This seems to be fair criticism. It sounds like the fabric
saturated, and that is a valid issue.
>the opportunity to test the waterproof-ness of many articles of my
> The whole experience was quite illuminating, and while it gave me
camping equipment (more stories for another time), it qualified
hands-down as the single most miserable camping/backpacking experience
of my life.
### COMMENT: I bet!
Needless to say I have a new appreciation for the value of a
quality-made tent. At least in the category of tents, I have revised
my economic approach. Money may not be able to buy happiness, but
spending some extra cash can certainly buy a dry patch of fabric and
avoid the fallout of a saturating experience on an unexpectedly rainy
January weekend in the Smokies.
>simply needed to be sealed, I decided to submit myself to another
> Postscript: In an effort to validate whether or not the seams
potential round of torture. I purchased and applied liberal coats of
seam sealer 3 external coats and 2 internal coats to be exact to
every seam on the tent. Four weeks later, I went back to the Smokies
with my father and faced another weekend of winter weather. He, too,
had purchased the same model tent (before my previously-described
experience) and now sealed the seams on his tent. Once again, the
results were terrible. While the leaking was less (maybe just because
it rained less), everything in my tent was thoroughly soaked. My
father's tent performed slightly better (better sealed or inconsistent
results from the factory?) but still let an unacceptable amount of
water into the tent.
### EDIT: This, perhaps, should have been the experience you were
reviewing. If a tent leaks after sealing, that's a bad business.
>find yourselves impressed with all the fancy names (i.e. 1.9 oz. Nylon
> Post-postscript: For those of you who are new to backpacking and
Taffeta with 600mm Coating) for tent fabrics, consider this fair
warning. Not all tents are created equal. And features such as
factory taped seams and bathtub floors are critical in wet weather.
While more expensive tents may also leak, my experience with this tent
is that it arguably keeps out about as much water as a sieve.
>Solo is unacceptable for inclement weather and is truly a solo tent,
> Based upon my experience, the Wenzel StarLite Tent - Ultralight
rather than the 1-2 capacity listed on a popular reseller's website.
>of inclement weather
> Relatively lightweight
> Small pack profile
> Economic savings
> Possibly a good choice in drier climates
> Not for inclement weather or situations where there is a chance
> Materials (i.e. seams, fabrics) are not suitable for anymoderately rough treatment; this is a fair-weather, light-treatment
> Floor size tapers2sq ft of window)
> Middle of tent sags; guy ropes do not help (even in fair weather)
> Getting in and out of tent is difficult due to front guy rope
> Rear "window" of tent is a triangle about 3" height x 4" width
> Not freestanding
> No bathtub floor
> No factory-taped seams
> Somewhat claustrophobic without more window coverage (only about
> Single-wall designemail and get things done faster.
> Check out the all-new Yahoo! Mail beta - Fire up a more powerful
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Just to confirm, the owner review isn't acceptable in its present
form. The main point is not enough use. Also, unless Wenzel neglected
to state that seam sealing was required in the accompanying
literature, that disastrous first trip is not what we would consider
fair use of the product (the point I made in my edit of that section).
It's such a standard procedure, unless the literature informs one that
the seams are taped. Few are.
Please don't be too discouraged. At least a couple of us got a chuckle
out of your vivid account, and that speaks to the fact that your
writing style is lively and interesting. Again, get a little
mentoring, draw up a new OR (not a tent or pack--these are technically
demanding), and you'll be ready to roll. Try to choose something that
is still in manufacture, too. Good luck!
- Ted -
Thanks for your feedback.
Looks like I bit off more than I could chew this first round. While
I did actually use the tent a third time (I did not mention it in
the review due to perceived space constraints), it sounds like there
are several other reasons not to attempt a revision on this product
(no longer manufactured, seams not taped/fair use, etc).
Back to the drawing board. I will get a mentor as suggested and
give it another shot, with another product.
--- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "edwardripleyduggan"
> Just to confirm, the owner review isn't acceptable in its present
> form. The main point is not enough use. Also, unless Wenzel
> to state that seam sealing was required in the accompanyingconsider
> literature, that disastrous first trip is not what we would
> fair use of the product (the point I made in my edit of thatsection).
> It's such a standard procedure, unless the literature informs onethat
> the seams are taped. Few are.chuckle
> Please don't be too discouraged. At least a couple of us got a
> out of your vivid account, and that speaks to the fact that yourtechnically
> writing style is lively and interesting. Again, get a little
> mentoring, draw up a new OR (not a tent or pack--these are
> demanding), and you'll be ready to roll. Try to choose somethingthat
> is still in manufacture, too. Good luck!
Thank you for taking my edit and suggestions gracefully! I really
don't think you will have too much trouble getting a good OR together,
especially with the help of a monitor.
--- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "jeremy.drobnick"
> Ted -
> Thanks for your feedback.
> Looks like I bit off more than I could chew this first round. While
> I did actually use the tent a third time (I did not mention it in
> the review due to perceived space constraints), it sounds like there
> are several other reasons not to attempt a revision on this product
> (no longer manufactured, seams not taped/fair use, etc).
> Back to the drawing board. I will get a mentor as suggested and
> give it another shot, with another product.
> Thanks again.