IR Titanium goat Vertex 5 (Jim)
- This is posted over in the old group but as it's a cusp report (being
submitted during the transition) I will now look for edits over here.
Initial Report - Titanium goat Vertex 5
Name: Jim Hatch
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 185 lbs (84 kg)
Location: Connecticut, USA
Date : February 18, 2005
I've been backpacking and camping for 30 years (ever since I was a Boy
Scout). I'm out once a month for a weekend or more and for 5 nights or
more, 2 or 3 times during the year. Most of my backpacking is done in
the mountains of the East Coast (Appalachians, Whites, Berkshires,
Adirondacks) but I will occasionally camp as far south as the Florida
Keys or as far west as the Grand Canyon. Having tired of 60 lb (27 kg)
loads, I caught the lightweight bug about 5 years ago and am currently
carrying a base pack weight of less than 10 lbs (4.5 kg) before food
and fuel and rarely venture out with more than 20 lbs (9 kg) anymore.
I am now trying to develop a low-volume style to go with the
lightweight nature of my gear.
According to the manufacturer's website, "Vertex tents, by Titanium
goat, are lite weight, four season, Truly conical tents. These single
wall tents build on the proven performance of pyramid tents, while
addressing the negative attributes inherent to pyramid designs.
-1.1 oz DWR treated, breathable fabric
-Peak and tail vents
-Full length door zip
-Removable guy out system
-Sectional Easton aluminum pole
-Aluminum Y pegs
-Snow flaps/Sod cloth
-Additional guy outs
-Carbon fiber pole (The Vertex 5 was designed to use the Fibraplex
Pinnacle 62 carbon fiber pole)
Manufacturer : Titanium goat
Manufacturer's website : www.titainiumgoat.com
Model : Vertex 5
Year of manufacture : 2005
Height: 62" (1.57 m)
Measured: 62" (1.57 m)
Length: 108" (2.74 m)
Measured: 120" (3 m)
Width: 96" (2.44 m)
Measured: 102" (2.6 m)
Square footage: 54 sq ft (5 sq m)
Weight: 2 lbs 2 oz (0.96 kg) total weight
Measured: 2 lbs 4 oz (1 kg) total weight
Tent and stuff sacks: 19 oz (539 g)
Measured: 22 oz (628 g)
Measured Tent alone: 1 lb 5 oz (600 g)
Measured stuff sacks alone: 1 oz (28 g)
Pole: 9 oz (255 g)
Measured: 8.7 oz ((247 g)
Stakes: 6 oz (170 g)
Measured: 5.6 oz (159 g)
Pole: 5 section Easton pole
Shipped with: 14
MSRP: $400 US
The Vertex 5 is a two person, lightweight, single-wall floorless,
conical tent. It is a four-season tent based on the manufacturer's
discussion of snow loading features and the inclusion of "multi-point,
self equalizing, guy outs" that are "great for heavier snow loads" and
"high winds". The fabric is a 1.1 oz (31 g) breathable DWR fabric with
multi-stitched seams. The stake loops are grosgrain loops sewn to a
reinforced triangle on the tent body. The peak also has a reinforced
pocket for the pole to fit into. There is a main seam running side to
side about halfway down the back of the tent. There are two guy-outs
consisting of a daisy-chain on each side through which the guy line is
run to provide the "self equalizing" tension on the tent body (see
photo). These guy-outs are removable but all measurements include them
as I will be testing their use over the next six months. There is a
single zipper running up the front of the tent that has dual sliders.
This allows the tent to be vented at the top by unzipping downward.
There is also a rear vent at the base of the tent that unzips upwards
and has a fabric flap "roof" to keep rain from entering when the vent
is opened. There is a grosgrain loop at the peak to allow for hanging
things from the peak, a rod of unknown utility (see photo) and two
elastic cords running through cordlocks at the base on either side of
the rear vent used to tighten the tent fabric when the vent is opened.
The manufacturer calls this a "conical" tent because it has no flat
panels in its design (this results in fewer seams, ostensibly reducing
potential for leaks). However, this is not a cone of inverted
ice-cream cone type. Rather, it is a "pole forward" design where the
pole is placed closer to the front than the rear (53"/1.3 m front to
pole, 67"/1.7 m pole to rear). This is typical of the traditional
Tipis of the American Plains Indians. This provides a more vertical
front that allows (for tipis) better venting at the peak, easier entry
through a taller door and more vertical space at the front for
sitting/headroom. From my early use of the Vertex 5 it appears that
the benefits that accrue to the tipi design also apply to the Vertex.
The American Indian developed the slanting design (which Titanium goat
terms "racy") through considerable use & modification. It's nice to
see that Titanium goat recognized the virtues of the design and did
not opt for a simple inverted cone. The side view of the tent in this
photo shows the longer slanting rear with the more vertical front that
is a hallmark of this design.
The manufacturer notes that the Vertex tents can be heated using their
Vortex stove. Their larger Vertex 6 comes with a stove port and is
larger. That extra size allows for the addition of the stove. I don't
believe the room in the Vertex 5 is sufficient to include the stove,
especially when large or two occupants occupy the tent. If I were
considering the use of the stove in this tent I would spend some time
in discussion with Titanium goat before I assumed it was possible
despite the "stove compatible" comment on their website.
The tent ships with a single Easton 5-section shock-corded aluminum
pole. Titanium goat says that 8 oz (227 g) can be shaved off the total
weight by switching to the Fibraplex pinnacle 62 pole (a carbon fiber
pole) and Vargo ultralight titanium stakes. I found the pole to be
deceptively light at under 9 oz (255 g) and was impressed with the
supplied pegs. Rather than the 12 Y-pegs the website lists, I
received 14 V pegs. These 14 pegs weigh slightly less than the
specified 12 Y-pegs. The supplied pegs are aluminum Vs with a rod
running down the length of the V providing outstanding strength. I was
able to pound the stakes into frozen ground without any bending or
deformity. Each stake has a notch taken out of each "wing" of the V
which allows the stake loop to catch and hold (this means the stakes
should be placed with the open end of the V facing away from the tent
so the stake loops have something to hook into). The 14 stakes were
sufficient to stake out the 14 stake loops sewn into the tent (I'm not
sure why 12 are specified on their website unless they've made some
modification that included the addition of two new stake loops).
However, I will be adding another stake so I can provide another stake
to tie the rear vent flap to.
The tent comes with two stuff sacks - one for the tent itself and one
for the included pole & pegs. I doubt that I will be using these as I
prefer stuffing my tent into my pack to make the most efficient use of
the space and will just use a couple of rubber bands to hold the pole
sections and the stakes in a package. I usually keep my tent stakes in
an outside pack pocket since after the first day they tend to have
dirt and forest detritus clinging to them unless I spend more life
minutes than I care to cleaning them.
The Vertex arrived with a page of pitching instructions and one for
care and maintenance. The care page notes that the seams need sealing
and recommends a couple of different products (McNett Seam Grip or
Kenyon Seam Sealer 3). Not always a patient man, I decided to table
this exercise until after I found if it would leak. Inspection of the
seams showed excellent construction with tight stitching and
overlapped felled seams. I was willing to risk damp feet and put off
seam sealing until later. I turned to the pitching instructions and
after reading them decided to just do it. The sheet is well
illustrated with a photo for each major step and the text clearly
explains the steps involved in pitching the tent. A conical design has
certain stresses designed into it in order to keep the fabric taught
and staking the tent appropriately insures that these stresses are
distributed correctly. In a tipi, this is accomplished by many poles
as well as the stakes. Since there's only one pole involved here, the
stakes are critical. This does mean that the tent cannot be
free-standing and I'm unsure of how it will work in deep snow as
providing deadmen staking options for 14 staking points may prove to
A quick 10 minutes later I had the tent pitched with only a single
issue. One of the stake loops was folded under and sewn to the
reinforcing patch. This eliminated the loop portion of the stake loop.
I was able to finagle a stake between the loop fabric and the
reinforcing patch but this will need to be corrected before extensive
use of the tent is undertaken. The photos below show both the
correctly sewn stake loop and the inappropriately sewn one. I will be
contacting Titanium goat to identify an appropriate solution and will
report on the results in my Field Report.
As the photos show, the base of the tent can ride up or down based on
where the stake loops are placed on the stake. This allows for a
phenomenal number of venting options. The tent can have the base
fabric raised to allow venting under the tent on one or all sides or
the fabric can be pulled tight to the ground to seal the tent from the
weather. This flexibility is one of the virtues of tipi type housing.
I'm looking forward to experimenting with venting options over the
next few months.
One thing that once concerned me with floorless tents (tarps) was the
possibility of getting soaked in the rain-not from water coming
through the fabric but from underneath the tent walls. By and large
though I've found that (at least with tarps) here in the forests of
the eastern United States rain will typically soak into the ground
very rapidly. I generally haven't found more than a 4 to 6 inches (10
to 15 cm) of the ground around the interior perimeter of the tarp gets
wet. I expect this will be true of the Vertex as well. Although I will
make myself a bit of a floor in the form of a Tyvek ground cloth, I
expect that I'll find it unnecessary and hope it will end up in my
discarded gear pile.
Pitching itself was simple enough by following the directions. I
staked out the front loops, pulled the back taught, measured in 1
stake length from the rear vent and staked the rear loops there. Then
I followed the side staking order by pulling out the side loop of the
two center loops and staked them. After unzipping the door and placing
the pole (placing the tip into the peak of the tent and swinging the
bottom inward until it was vertical) I re-zipped and placed the rest
of the stakes starting at the front and working backward. Then a quick
pull on the front door stakes backward to relieve some tension and it
was up and taught. I left the guy lines attached to the tent walls but
didn't bother to guy it out. Tight and snug.
Re-entering the tent and placing my gear allowed me to familiarize
myself with many of the features of the inside of the tent including
the peak loop (perfect for a small light), top venting zipper (which I
closed because it was due to snow and I didn't want it snowing on my
head), and the rear vent system. I opened the rear vent zip, tightened
the tensioning cords and reached outside to pull the vent flap over
one of the stakes (at which point I decided I really needed another
stake to center between the two used to hold the vent stake loops) as
the vent flap was canted slightly to the right to get its loop over
the stake. Rolling out my pad and bag I found there is plenty of room
to stretch out. I'm a bit worried I'm going to roll into that center
pole and have the whole thing fall on me. There's also room for my
pack and to kneel comfortably. There's also room for a tent mate.
Looking good here. I decided to unzip the peak zipper as it wasn't yet
snowing and I was able to lay there and see a slice of sky. Later that
night after the storm arrived I just sat up and zipped it back up.
Although the storm was a combination of snow, sleet, and freezing rain
for 6 hours, I suffered no leaks. In the morning there was a thin
layer of very wet snow on parts of the sidewalls but no problems with
the fabric stretching or dipping.
So far I'm very impressed with the quality of construction (with the
exception of the one stake loop noted above), the fabric is clean and
clear with no spotting from the DWR coating, the seams are tight and
well constructed, the zippers slide well, the pole pocket is very
sturdy, stakes are strong and light and the room is more than I
expected. I'm looking forward to using it over the next few months as
winter begins it grudging retreat. I'll be interested to see what
happens when the bugs come out and the skeeters hit the air. I'm told
that they tend to congregate at the peak in the warm CO2 laden air
that collects up there but I'm somewhat skeptical. However, the
flexibility in pulling the walls down to the ground in places and
upward in others will hopefully give me options of venting that
although open to air will confuse the flight patterns of winged devils.
I'll begin the serious testing of the tent with a trip next week on
the Connecticut/Massachusetts section of the AT. We're expecting a
fairly significant snowfall this week (4-6 inches/10-15 cm) on top of
what is typically another couple of feet (0.6 m) of base snow in the
hills so I'll be able to evaluate it more fully as a backpacking 4th
season tent. I'll be following up with trips throughout the spring and
summer at various locations in the Adirondacks, Appalachians,
Berkshires, and White Mountains for periods from 2 to 6 days. I expect
to spend about 20-24 nights in the tent over the next six months.
Temps are currently near 0 F (-18 C) and will undoubtedly hit as much
as 100 F (38 C) this summer. Weather will likely be everything from
more of the snow/sleet already experienced to high winds, rain, and
What I'll be watching
How easy will it be to set this up in various terrain -- forest vs.
rocky ground vs. snow?
How well will it handle high winds and wind-driven rain?
How comfortable is it for one occupant or two?
Does it suffer from condensation issues?
Will it be noticeably colder in this single-wall tent than my
double-wall winter expedition tent?
Do the potential venting options offered by moving the tent bottom up
& down the stakes really work well?
Will I become an involuntary blood donor for the mosquitoes?
How well do the materials, stakes, pole, guy lines, etc. hold up to
What I like
Ease of setup.
Solid quality construction.
Wicked cool manufacturer's name.
What I'm not happy about
Mis-sewn stake loop.
What's that small rod up at the peak used for?
I'd like to thank BackpackGearTest and Titanium goat for the
opportunity of taking part in this test.