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IR - REI Cirque 2 ASL Tent - Tim Tessier

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  • Tim Tessier
    For your editing pleasure please find the Initial Report on the REI Cirque 2 ASL Tent. The link to the html version is:
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30, 2007
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      For your editing pleasure please find the Initial Report on the REI
      Cirque 2 ASL Tent.

      The link to the html version is:

      The text version follows:

      September 30, 2007


      NAME: Tim Tessier
      EMAIL: timothy_tessier@... <mailto:timothy_tessier@...>
      AGE: 50
      LOCATION: Greensboro NC
      GENDER: M
      HEIGHT: 6' 2" (1.88 m)
      WEIGHT: 221 lb (100.00 kg)

      Backpacking Background: I hiked as a child with my father and started
      hiking with my now 16 year old son 8 years ago. We now routinely take
      20 mile weekend hikes (2 nights) approximately once a month year round.
      Additionally, we take one, 5 - 7 day extended trip each summer. Most of
      our hiking is done in North Carolina, southern Virginia, Tennessee,
      Kentucky, and West Virginia. We go regardless of weather so we have
      experience in all types of conditions. We do not tend to travel very
      light, with a typical pack weight of 25 lb (11.3 kg) exclusive of food.



      Manufacturer: Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI)
      Year of Manufacture: 2007
      Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.rei.com
      <http://www.rei.com> ">>
      MSRP: US$249.00
      Listed Weight: 5 lb 11 oz (2.58 kg)
      Measured Weight: 5 lb 9oz (2.52 kg)
      Other details:

      The Cirque is a member of REIs new ASL (All-Season Light) family of
      tents. Per the REI website it is designed to provide a combination of
      light weight with the strength, space, and features you would expect of
      a true four-season tent. While not a serious mountaineering tent the
      Cirque is designed for cold-weather, wind, and light snow. The Cirque
      is available in both two and three person configurations. We will be
      testing the two person version.

      This tent features two doors (one on each side) and two vestibules. I
      especially like this design for two person camping as it makes it easy
      to keep gear organized and to get in and out of the tent without having
      to crawl across my camping partner.

      The tent arrived packed in its stuff sack with a simple cardboard hang
      tag on the end regarding the DAC Featherlite Poles. I noticed
      immediately the small pack size of the product. The packed size is
      approximately 5" X 18" (127 X 457 mm). The ripstop nylon stuff sack has
      a drawstring with a pushbutton tightener on the end and two compression
      straps that wrap around the bag with a handle in between. The stuff
      sack is large enough to easily get the tent back into when not folded
      perfectly or rolled as tightly as it comes from the factory, however, it
      is easily compressed into shape by use of the compression straps.
      Inside the stuff sack you find the following:
      The tent body, made from ripstop nylon with a coated nylon taffeta
      The rain fly, made from coated ripstop nylon
      A pole sack containing two Dac Featherlight poles, a short pole with an
      angled section, and a pole repair sleeve.
      A stake sack containing 6 aluminum 3-sided stakes and some extra guy
      The poles are .4" (10.2 mm) diameter and are generally orange in color
      with black tips on one end. They are in 17" (432 mm) sections and
      extend approximately 13' 4" (4.06 m) when fully assembled.


      My first impression of the tent was that all of the materials were very
      soft, supple and lightweight. Removing it from it's stuff sack we
      double checked that all of the required components were present. We
      then began to set up the tent, following the instructions step by step.

      We found the instructions printed on a label sewn to the outside of the
      stuff sack. We first unrolled the tent body itself and assembled the
      three poles. Then, per the instructions inserted the black end of the
      tent pole into the sleeve and inserted it into the black grommet found
      on one end of the tent. We then bowed the pole and inserted the orange
      end into the orange grommet at the other end of the tent. The poles do
      not cross at the top of the tent, but rather clip on the same side on
      both ends of the tent. It took us about a minute to figure out the pole
      design and get the correct pole into the correct grommet. There is a
      diagram on the directions (which I noticed afterwards). The reason it
      matters which end of the pole goes in which grommet is because the tent
      is actually higher on one end than on the other. In other words, it
      clearly has a head end and a foot end.
      We then unrolled the rain fly and placed it over the top, again being
      sure to line up the orange grommets on the rainfly with the orange
      grommets on the tent, and the same with the black. Looking around we
      noticed that we had a couple of pieces left over. One was the short
      pole with the angle section in the middle. The other was a six inch
      long piece of tent pole that is larger in diameter than the other poles.
      I began to look things over and found a grommet on the top of each door
      opening. Between these two grommets I finally saw a pole sleeve (which
      is the same color as the underlying fabric, so not extremely obvious).
      The short pole goes laterally across the rain fly and provides a peaked
      roof and holds out a flap over the top of the door opening on either
      side. This will make it possible to leave an opening in the top of the
      rain fly, even in a heavy rain.
      With everything all staked out nice and snug we began to really look the
      tent over. The first thing I noticed was the attention paid to

      There is a v-shaped opening in the top of the tent itself covered by
      no-see-um netting. This will allow you to open this for additional
      ventilation in warm conditions, or keep it closed in cold weather for
      extra warmth. There are zippered opening windows in each door. There
      are the aforementioned flaps over the doors of the rain-fly so you can
      partially unzip the tops of the doors, even in the rain. The rain fly
      is lifted up off the ground and is designed to be lifted off the tent by
      a breeze, providing the ideal low/high airflow. In short, I see no
      reason this tent won't ventilate extremely well.

      The second thing I noticed is how sturdy this tent should be. The rain
      fly actually attached to the tent poles themselves with grommets that
      slide over the ends of the tent poles. This design would make it
      virtually impossible for the rainfly to come loose in a high wind if the
      tent is properly staked down. The doors to the rainfly actually clip to
      the buckles on the corners of the rain fly so that they will not
      gradually unzip or pull open during a windy situation. The pitch of the
      tent is very taut which should keep flapping to a minimum. Finally,
      there are six additional tie-down loops which can be used in bad

      Third I noticed that there are really nice features. There are large
      gear pockets on either end of the tent. There is a clear plastic
      porthole in the roof of the tent, directly above where your head would
      be, which will allow me to like in bed and get a good look at the
      weather conditions outside, or to star gaze on a night while the rainfly
      is safely in place.

      The only negative I noticed is that the when me and my 16 year old son
      both got inside there is good headroom and the tent is plenty long
      enough, however, there is a lack of shoulder room. As my son says, "we
      can't both sit up at once". Indeed the tent seems to be narrow. The
      manufacturer specs say that the floor is 56" (142 cm) . However, I
      measured this at closer to 46" (117 cm). This is a problem at first
      impression. We will be sure to comment on this further during the
      course of our review.

      The floor of the tent features a full bathtub design. The seams are
      factory taped all the way around.


      Some tents are very intuitive in how they go together. You can pull it
      out of the stuff sack and throw it up in five minutes without ever
      really looking at the directions. This tent is emphatically NOT one of

      As stated previously, the instructions for setting the tent are printed
      on a label sewn onto the stuff sack. We found the directions to be
      somewhat hard to follow and the tent to be a little different to put
      together. As a matter of reality, I would have HATED to be setting this
      tent for the first time in the dark, or in a hurry during a rainstorm.

      The directions are fairly straightforward but not very complete. There
      is no mention of the short, angled pole which goes in the top of the
      rainfly. It took us a solid five minutes to figure out what the purpose
      of this item was.

      We found a card inside the stake bag that had some additional
      instructions on it. Only from this card did we find out the purpose of
      the short, larger diameter piece of pole material. The card states that
      this is a pole repair sleeve. Should you suffer a pole failure you can
      slide this over the break, tape it above and below the break, and it
      will get you through the weekend. Now that I know this it is useful.


      We have plans to take this tent on its first outing next Saturday night.
      We are planning to go to Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. This
      area is known for its high winds and unpredictable weather. Hopefully,
      we'll find the opportunity to put this tent though it's paces.


      I will be using this tent through the fall and winter months.
      Conditions in this area should include windy, rainy, and hopefully,
      snowy conditions. I will use this tent in the southern highlands in
      North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. I will begin the test series
      in the fall months but will not conclude it until the end of January,
      giving us ample opportunity to fully test its four-season capability.


      Our initial impression is that this is a very well engineered tent. It
      appears to be designed in such a way that it will withstand virtually
      any weather the southern Appalachian will throw at it. It's not the
      easiest thing to set up the first time but I'm sure this will become
      automatic with practice.

      I look forward to testing this product and I'm grateful to REI and
      Backpackgeartest for the opportunity to test this exciting product.

      This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
      Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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