APPLICATION: to test Black Diamond Mesa Tent
- Please accept my application to test the Black Diamond Mesa Test. I have
read the BackpackGearTest Bylaws, version 0609, including Chapter 4, 5
and 6 and appendices. I agree to comply with all requirements including
the minimum (5) nights. My BGT agreement has been received and is on
file with BGT.
Name: Wayne Merry
Height: 1.8 m (5' 10")
Weight: 95 kg (211 lb)
Email address: wayne_merry@... (replace user with yahoo)
City, State, Country: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
I started backpacking four and half years ago, although I did day walks
in childhood. I hike in various terrain from moderate/hard track walks
to some off track (including river walks). I generally like the
temperature to stay at least above -5 C (23 F). I enjoy going on multi
day walks including multi week adventures. I carry a moderate weight
pack to enjoy a few creature comforts at camp and use tents as shelter.
I walk a moderate amount. I would normally do at least 2 overnight or
multi-day walks every three months, in addition to a number of 20 km (12
mile) or so day walks. I generally walk in groups, but sometimes walk solo.
During the test period I have the following overnight or longer walks
Dargo River - Eastern Victoria, 3 nights off track/in a river, elevation
around 200 m (650 feet) to 1500 m (4900 feet), with temps from 10 C (50
F) up to 35 C (86 F). Humidity will tend to be low, but could vary
widely. There is a moderate chance of rain during the walk. The Dargo
drains from near Mt Hotham southwards towards the Gippsland lakes. A
good amount of time in this walk will be spent walking along the river
bed (in the water). Opportunities for getting fully wet abound. The plan
is only up to waist high. On these types of walks, not all things go as
planned.... Due to fires in this region in the last few months, this
walk may be replaced with another walk at the same time.
Tumut River - Jagungal. Snowy Mountains New South Wales, 4 nights off
track, elevation around 1000 m (3300 feet) to 2000 m (6600 feet), with
temps from 5 C (41 F) to 20 C (68 F). There is a moderate chance of rain
on this walk, with some chance of snow. For more information about the
Jagungal area, refer to the wikipedia entry at:
The VMTC 100km 24 hour challenge. This walk will take place over 24
hours in a location that I am yet to find out about. This walk is
arranged by the VMTC every two years as some kind of sadistic dare to
see how far someone can endure hiking. I'll see if I can do the full 100km.
Wyperfeld National Park. Northwestern Victoria, 3 nights on/off track,
elevation around 50 m (160 feet) to 100 m (330 feet). Humidity is
expected to be low to medium with a moderate chance of rain on this
walk. Wyperfeld is a mallee scrub/woodland area in the Wimmera region of
western/northwestern Victoria. For more information see the Wikipedia
entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyperfeld_National_Park
Wilsons Promontory National Park: 3 nights on track, elevation from sea
level to 400 m (1300 feet). Humidity expected to be medium with a strong
chance of rain on this walk. Wilson's prom is the most southern point of
mainland Australia. It consists of rocky mountains with large amounts of
scrub and forest. This walk will be the traditional southern circuit
including Roarding Meg, South Point, the lighthouse, Waterloo Bay and
This list is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all overnight or
longer walked planned during the test period. Depending on when the test
period starts, other walks planned for mid July or later may also be
My test will feature use of the Mesa during late autumn/fall and winter
in the southern Australian environment. For some walks I will be walking
solo, or using the tent solo so I will comment on my experiences using
the tent alone. At other times I hope that I can carry my son who is a
few months old at the moment, so he will be in with me, and it may well
eventuate that both my wife and son can come. Based on the
specifications on Black Diamond's web site, it appears this tent has
sufficient space for this use with packs placed in the vestibules. I
will comment on all of the various usage that I make of the tent.
My testing will focus on the following areas:
- The weight of the tent is reported as 4 lbs 8 oz (minimum) and 5 lbs 2
oz packaged. I will report on minimum weight, and weight including pegs,
sack and the weight of the fly and main tent separately. It may not be
practical for my test period to include a time of testing the tent
without the fly as rain could occur in south eastern Australia at any
time (even at times of drought).
- Does the floor area of the tent closely match specifications?
- Does the centre height closely match specifications? What is the
height in other areas of the tent? How close is the ceiling to the head
and feet? Does the tent have a claustrophobic feel?
- What is the height of the ceiling in the vestibules?
- What kind of stakes are supplied with the tent? How many? How many
more stakes than supplied are required to fully stake out the tent?
(Normally extra stakes are required these days!) How practical is it to
secure the tent when it is not possible to stake out the tent?
- How does the shock-cord perform over the test? Does it stretch? Does
it make assembling the pole segments straight forward? Is it difficult
to prevent the segments coming together in an uncontrolled manner? Do
the segments come apart easily while the tent is being assembled, or are
the joins easy to keep secured?
- How easy is it to get the pole ends into the grommets, especially on
sandy and wet surfaces? Can they easily slip out when I don't want them to?
- How easy will I find putting up in the rain alone? What about a full
on storm? Does it take a lot of work to prevent poles getting caught in
the thread through sleeves? Can the tent be pitched fly first, rather
than inner tent first? If so, how much extra time would this take?
- How easy is it to get the poles out of the grommets?
- Do the pole segments come apart easily while the tent is being taken down?
- Do the poles appear under additional stress during disassembly of the
tent compared to when the tent is erected?
- How practical is it to prevent the inner tent from becoming wet when
taking the tent down during rain? Can I take down the inner tent first
before taking down the fly?
- While tent manufacturers in unison recommend that one should never
cook in a tent, is it practical to cook in the vestibule, or is the
ceiling too low? How practical is it to have a door open to light the
stove and then bring it into the vestibule?
- Does the slope of the vestibule ceiling leave large amounts of the
vestibule unusable for anything other than flat items? This has been
experienced with other tents, although some tents overcome this by
supporting the vestibule with it's own pole. I notice that the Mesa does
not have a third pole to raise the ceiling in the vestibule. Should be
- Are the doors easy to use? Are any drip lines from an open door over
the inner tent. Can the down wind door be fully opened in the rain
without the inner tent getting wet?
- What is the general ease of getting in and out of the tent?
6/ INTERNAL EASE OF USE
- What is the general ease of changing clothes inside the tent?
- Do the zips operate smoothly? Are there any points along the zip line
where one hand is required to hold fabric to prevent zips getting stuck?
Does an open outer door fly hang close to zip lines of the inner tent
resulting in material getting caught in zips?
- How forgiving are the fabrics to the stresses of tent use?
- Are there any gear loft loops? Where are they located? Can these loops
handle a decent load. Can I use them to hang a light.
- Where are the storage pockets located? Are any of these pockets
vulnerable to water splash?
7/ RAIN, WIND & CONDENSATION PERFORMANCE
- How does the fly perform in the rain and in storms? Does the fly tend
to flap around in light or strong winds?
- How far is the hem line of the fly from the ground? How far from the
inner tent. Are there areas where water splash from the fly hitting the
ground can enter the inner tent?
- How high is the "bathtub". Can it help keep water splash out? How well
does the fabric deal with water splash?
- Is the optional ground sheet supplied for the test? If so, how much
area does the ground sheet cover. Does it allow water to get between the
the main tent floor and the ground sheet?
- How well does the main tent floor keep water out?
- How well do the vents aid in ventilating the tent? Sometimes vents can
be poorly placed.
- Do the breathable fabrics help reduce or prevent condensation? How
much condensation forms on the inner side of the fly? How well do the
vents act to prevent this from occurring?
- How do the fabrics perform during times of high wind? Do they appear
under stress, or flap around too much?
8/ INSTRUCTION MANUAL
- How easy to read is the manual? Is it easy to work out how to assemble
and disassemble the tent from the instructions given in the manual?
- How comprehensive is the manual?
- How easy is it to remove dirt, leaves, etc from the tent in the field.
- Are the tent pegs easy to clean?
- If the tent becomes significantly soiled during the test, how do I go
about giving it a comprehensive clean at home?
Any other material matter related to the tent that arises during the
test will also be included in the test reports.
Currently monitoring tests:
Current tests in progress:
Flatword Orikaso Solo Set (November 2006)
SealLine Storm Sack (November 2006)
Currently also applying for:
OR Element Bucket (please note that this test has been deferred until
spring this year).
Eureka! Wabakimi Tent
Recent Owner Reviews:
Roman Ultra Lite Trek Sleeping Bag; http://tinyurl.com/y7n4ot
Coleman Exponent Feather 442 Stove;
Other Owner Reviews written:
MSR SideWinder Tent
My reports and reviews can be found at;
Please note that due to the recent birth of Simon, I did not apply for
any tests from July through December last year, but now things are
settling back down, I'm getting back into it.
Thank you for your consideration.