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INITIAL REPORT: Titanium Goat Vertex 5 (Colleen)

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  • Emma Eyeball
    phew, was this a tough one! used 8 pictures. the text as reproduced here does not include the photo captions. i am (as always) having html issues, so the
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 21, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      phew, was this a tough one! used 8 pictures. the text as reproduced
      here does not include the photo captions. i am (as always) having
      html issues, so the test version isn't uploaded yet...

      ++++++++++


      Initial Report
      Titanium Goat Vertex 5
      February 20, 2005


      Manufacturer: Titanium Goat
      URL: http://www.titaniumgoat.com
      MSRP: $400.00 (US)
      Year model: 2005
      Listed weight: 2 lb, 2 oz (.96 kg)
      Tested weight: 2 lb, 5.8 oz. (1 kg)
      Tester: Colleen Porter
      (Tester biography can be found at the end of the report)

      Product Description: A single-wall, conical, floorless 2-person tent
      constructed of 1.1 ounce ripstop nylon with a DWR (Durable Water-
      Repellent) treatment. It has 14 stake loops, a single pole, a single
      vertical zippered entrance, a small zippered ventilation port at the
      rear base, and a removeable guyline system on both the left and right
      sides. Here is a table showing how the listed weights differed from
      the actual weights (as tested at my trusty local USPS postal office):

      Listed Weights

      Tent & Stuff Sacks: 19 oz / 1 lb 3 oz (539 g)
      Pole: 9 oz (255 g)
      *Stakes: 6 oz (170 g)

      *this is the weight of 12 stakes, but TG actually supplied 14

      Tested Weights

      Tent & Stuff Sacks: 22.8 oz / 1 lb 6.8 oz (646 g)
      Pole: 8.7 oz (247 g)
      *Stakes: 6.2 oz (176 g)

      *this is the weight of the 14 stakes that TG actually supplied.
      Their listed weight is only for 12 stakes.

      Initial Impressions: The Vertex 5 arrived with no retail packaging
      (which isn't surprising considering that Titanium Goat is currently
      the only seller of their tents), just stuffed into its storage sack
      along with the pole & stakes. The pole & stakes had their own sack,
      also inside of the main stuff sack. In the shipping box were two
      pages of instructions, one for pitching and one for care &
      maintenance. The day after it arrived, I was able to sneak out just
      before sunrise to the grove of Eucalyptus trees that makes up
      the "forest" behind my house. We had just weathered three days of
      heavy rain and our soil here in California was completely saturated.
      Using the pitching instructions supplied by Titanium Goat (hereafter
      referred to as TG), I was able to get the tent pitched pretty
      quickly - around 10 minutes, maybe less. The only problems I had in
      the pitching were due to the extremely wet and sandy soil I was
      working with. The tent is pitched by first staking out the front two
      loops, then the back two loops, one loop on the left side, and then
      one loop on the right side, so as to create something like a square
      on the ground. Then the pole is inserted, the canopy raised, and the
      remainder of the loops are staked out. When I raised the pole, a few
      of the stakes pulled free from the wet, sandy ground. I simply re-
      inserted them as deeply as I could, and raised the tent again with no
      further stake problems. The tent requires 14 stakes for a complete
      pitch.

      Once the Vertex 5 was pitched, I did a visual inspection both inside
      & out, and played with the features as much as I could. I was really
      impressed with the tautness of the pitch - there was very little sag,
      which can sometimes be a problem with single-pole shelters like
      this. Based on TG's online description I had assumed that only 12
      stakes were necessary to pitch the tent, and figured that the two
      extra were for the guylines. Alas, all 14 stakes were used in
      pitching the tent, and I had no way to pitch out the guylines. So I
      just pulled them out by hand to see how effective they might be.
      With the tent dry and pitched tautly, it was difficult to get an idea
      of how much help the guylines will be, but I have faith that I'll be
      able to test them in wet conditions soon. California has already
      received three times our normal rainfall for this season, and we
      usually get rains for the next two months. But I'll be sure not to
      camp in any landslide-prone areas.

      I opened up the tent and laid down my sleeping pad. I had pitched
      the tent over my 5' x 7' (1.5 m x 2.1 m) NeatSheet groundcloth, so I
      was able to get a quick visual approximation of the useable space
      inside the tent. Based on this, I concluded that the Vertex 5 could
      easily hold 2 adults comfortably, but with the pole between them
      there will be limited opportunities for canoodling with one's
      tentmate (and since I am most often out with my husband, we have been
      known to canoodle in the tent). I am 5' 8" (1.73 m) tall, and I fit
      inside the Vertex 5 with plenty of room to spare. As a solo shelter,
      this tent would be a palace. Another thing I really like about the
      Vertex 5 is that when the entrance zipper is completely open, the
      doors can fold out and the front stake loops can simply loop over the
      next set of stakes, requiring no hardware or toggles to hold the
      doors wide open. None of my other similar tents can do this - they
      all require either a tied or toggled cord to keep the doors out of
      the way.

      I got out of the tent to play with the rear vent and its rain cover.
      The vent is a zippered opening about 18" (46 cm) long, with a
      traingular panel swen over it to keep rain from getting in through
      the vent. About halfway down the zipper, on the inside of the tent,
      there is a cordlock attached to the zipper seam on each side.
      Through these cordlocks runs cord that is sewn into the next stake
      loop reinforcement. The cord can be drawn through the cordlocks in
      order to pull the vent as wide open as desired. I know it's hard to
      imagine it from a verbal description, so let's see if some pictures
      can do it justice.

      There is a second venting option, at the top of the entrance zipper
      at the front of the tent. The zipper is a double slider, so the tent
      can be unzipped from the bottom or from the top. When the tent has
      been zipped shut, the top slider can be pulled down to begin opening
      the zipper from the top. A hollow plastic tube has been ingeniously
      sewn into the zipper seam, and there is a tiny corresponding webbing
      pocket sewn into the other side of the zipper, so the end of the tube
      can be placed into the pocket and create a "spanner" to push the
      zipper opening wider than it would be on its own. This doesn't
      strike me as a very useful option in rain, but rather for times when
      the weather is warm but privacy is needed or wanted.

      So far, I think I will like the Vertex 5 quite a bit. It's very
      cleanly sewn, pitches tautly, and seems to be very functional. I
      can't see any reason why two adults won't fit comfortably in it.

      Test Plan: When I submitted my application to test the Vertex 5, I
      had a fair number of questions that were answered fairly quickly with
      this first setup of the tent. But of course, just as many questions
      have been raised! Here are the main evaluation points I will be
      looking at during my testing of the Vertex 5:

      Setup. Setting it up in my backyard is one thing, but what about
      setting it up in pouring rain? What about areas where a non-
      freestanding tent might become a problem, such as extremely rocky
      ground?

      Construction. The Vertex is constructed differently than any tipi
      or pyramid tent I have seen before. While other tents of this ilk are
      constructed out of geometrically-shaped panels (think of eight
      identical triangles all leaning together at the top), the Vertex is
      basically a flat half-circle rolled into a cone. The good folks at
      Titanium Goat took their inspiration from the traditional plains
      indian tipi, which is also constructed in this manner. I can't
      emphasize enough what a stroke of genius I consider this to be.
      Fewer seams equal less weight, less possible failure points, less
      seam sealer needed, and that the peak of the tent is not riddled with
      messy seams joining together occasionally imprecise panel alignments.
      All of my similar tents have EIGHT SEAMS meeting together at the
      peak, while the Vertex has only one. While the Vertex appears to be
      a very well-sewn tent, only time and use will tell.

      Materials. The Vertex is not made from coated nylon, but from 1.1
      ounce ripstop with only a DWR (Durable Water Repellant) finish. What
      this means is that technically the Vertex is not waterproof. This is
      what makes things very interesting indeed. One's first thought would
      be "Well, what's the point in a tent that isn't waterproof?" But BGT
      recently finished testing a tent from Black Diamond that is also made
      with a fabric (Epic) that is not truly waterproof, and Bozeman
      Mountain Works is offering tarps made from Spinnaker cloth, which is
      also not waterproof. The interesting thing that I am hearing from my
      hardcore ultralight do-it-yourself friends is that these water-
      repellant fabrics, when stretched taut and with nothing behind them
      to increase the pressure of water pushing from the other side, are
      functionally as waterproof as coated fabrics. The OTHER side to this
      coin is that an uncoated fabric is breathable. The greatest drawback
      to single-wall shelters made with waterproof fabrics is the insane
      amount of condensation they can generate in certain conditions, even
      with built-in vents. So in theory the Vertex will keep its occupants
      dry, while preventing the buildup of condensation inside the tent.
      But even Titanium Goat admits that there are "limitations to this
      Utopia." They state that heavy downpours can result in the DWR finish
      being compromised, resulting in a slight condensation buildup
      inside. But just how much condensation is "slight?" Will the Vertex
      5 really and truly keep me dry? Will it really minimize or eliminate
      condensation?

      Performance. This is, of course, the concern that can only be
      assuaged by field use. In all of my test reports, I will include
      details about the terrain and weather conditions that the Vertex was
      used in. Triumphs and failures will always be reported in the
      contexts in which they occurred. The durability of the lightweight
      materials involved will also be evaluated and reported on, as will
      construction quality.

      Likes
      easy, taut pitch
      2 vent options
      seems well-made
      spacious interior
      light weight

      Dislikes
      pole between tentmates
      minimum of 14 stakes required to pitch

      Thanks so much to both Titanium Goat and to BGT for the opportunity
      to participate in this test series.

      Tester Name: Colleen Porter
      Gender: female
      Age: 30
      Height: 5'8"/1.73 m
      Weight: 150 lb./68 kg
      Backpacking Experience: I have been hiking for fifteen years,
      backpacking for eight. I've only been serious about it in the last
      two and a half years. I mostly hike on established trails –
      bushwhacking is rarely planned. I like gear to be simple and light,
      and I do make some of my own equipment. On my own I pack pretty
      light (about thirteen lbs/6 kilograms base weight) and am always
      trying to get lighter, but I am often on family trips with my two-
      year-old son and the weight usually doubles. My 3-season backpacking
      haunts are the San Gabriels, the Sierra Nevada, and the Grand Canyon,
      and winters find me in the Mojave and Colorado deserts.
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