FR - REI Cirque 2 ASL - Tim Tessier
- Please find my FR on the REI Cirque 2 ASL. I have posted the complete
test series so far in the test folder at the following address:
Following find the text version of the Field Report only:
Field Report - January 1, 2008
To date we have spent 5 nights in the Cirque. On each of these trips I
was accompanied by my son, Greg. Again, I am 6' 2" (1.88 m) tall and
weigh around 220 lb (100 kg). Greg is almost 6' (1.83 m) and is a slim
140 lb (64 kg).
I have found that the tent fits very neatly in the bottom of my pack.
The poles are slightly too long to fit sideways in the bottom of my pack
but if I remove the poles from the stuff sack I can easily scrunch it
down to fit across the bottom of the main pocket of my pack. I then put
the tent poles, in their stuff sack, on the outside of my pack
vertically mounted through two side compression straps. In this manner
the tent fits very neatly in my backpack.
Our first trip was to Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. We
carried it up approximately 1,400 feet (427 m) elevation change to a
campsite at around 5,000 ft (1,524 m) elevation. It was a cool evening
and the wind was relatively calm which is unusual for Grandfather
Mountain. As this was our first outing with this tent we carefully
followed the instructions while putting it up. The issues we had
initially (not understanding the purpose for the short angled pole) were
of course no longer an issue so the set up process went smoothly.
As we placed our sleep mats, and sleeping bags we noticed immediately
that there was a lack of space in the tent for the two of us. As stated
earlier, the floor of the tent is cut 56" (142 cm) wide, however, it is
turned up on both sides to form a bathtub design and so the net flat
floor space is only 46" (117 cm) wide. Height is not an issue neither
is length, but width is a definite problem for the two of us. We were
not confined to the tent for anything but sleeping on this trip so this
space problem was not a big issue. It is, however, very close quarters.
The tent features a zip open roof panel with a skylight through the
rainfly above it. I partially unzipped the roof panel and we also
partially unzipped the windows on both sides, and partially unzipped the
rainfly on both sides in order to provide ventilation and avoid
condensation. In the morning the only visible condensation was on the
skylight, directly above the unzipped area of the tent ceiling. This is
not bad as is, but it did mean I had to lay the rainfly out to dry when
we got home.
On another trip to Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in southern
Virginia we had cold weather and a stiff breeze (approximately 12 - 15
mph/ 19-24 kph). On this trip we actually had the tent "buttoned up"
more than we had at Grandfather Mountain, in an attempt to keep the heat
in. Interestingly, we had no visible or noticable condensation the next
morning on this trip. I expect the breeze did a better job of keeping
the air moving through the tent, therefore avoiding the condensation we
had seen previously.
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On this more breezy night we noticed how absolutely tight this tent is.
During a breezy night we did not hear or feel any popping, shaking, or
vibration in the tent. It is tight as it can be. As it was cold we sat
by the fire and did not get into the tent until we were ready to go to
bed. As I have stated previously this tent, by design, is taller at one
end than the other. As this was the second time I had used this tent I
hadn't paid any attention as to how I set it up. Well, when we got in
and laid down it took me about a minute to understand that our heads
were downhill. The easy solution to this problem was to simply turn
around. However, due to the cramped quarters there was nothing simple
about turning around. It required that I climb completely out of the
tent while Greg turned our sleeping bags around, then I climbed back in.
As the doors zip in a "C" shape I was also aware that the door zippers
seemed awkward to operate because we were in the tent backwards.
On another night it was cold and breezy outside and we were in an area
where campfires have been banned due to the drought and fire danger. We
sat in the tent with our sleeping bags around our legs to talk and play
cards. We noticed that with both of us sitting up there was not only a
shortage of floor space but also shoulder space due to the contoured
shape of the tent. We were able to alleviate this somewhat by unzipping
the doors which allowed our shoulders to stick out into the vestibules.
This would not be an acceptable solution on a buggy summer night.
During this past weekend we had a chance to truly test the weathertight
qualities of this tent. We set the tent up on wet ground, on a cold and
breezy night in the Great Smoky Mountains Nationa Park. I awoke about
5:00 am to hear rain falling on the tent. I rolled over and went back
to sleep, awakening two hours later. We got up and had our breakfast
etc. The rain continued to pick up intensity, however, the inside of
the tent stayed nice and dry. There was no seepage, or problems with
moisture whatsoever. After we finished breakfast we had to finish
packing and get ready to go. We went, one at a time, and sat in the
door of the tent underneath the rain fly with our pack in the vestibule.
We were then able to stuff our sleeping bags directly into the packs,
roll our sleep mats, and generally pack everything up ready to go while
sitting in a dry spot. In order to close up my pack, loaded with
everything but a wet tent I shoved everything into the main compartment
of my pack, including my sleeping bag encased in a plastic bag.
When we had the tent emptied out we pulled the corner stakes and carried
the tent underneath a large rhodedendron which provided some shelter
from the rain. We then disassembled the tent and rulled it into its
stuff sack. I then put the wet tent in the sleeping bag compartment in
the bottom of my pack. It fit well and this arrangement prevented water
from the tent from getting into my sleeping bag.
There are large pockets on both ends of the tent. These are a
remendous help in staying organized given the tight confines of this
tent. They also did not allow any seepage, or their contents to get wet
during the rain.
We have been very pleased with the Cirque. It is extremely tight and
seems very strong. We feel very secure inside it in bad weather. It is
weatherproof and has a number of convenient features. I am very
confident that it will stand up to truly bad weather, and has been
seemingly impervious to bad weather so far.
I am very impressed with the small pack size and light weight of this
tent. Additionally, the set up is quick and easy after doing it a few
times. By myself I can set it up in less than 10 minutes.
When setting the tent you need to be sure to put the "head" end of the
tent uphill as there is a definite difference in headroom. The lack of
interior floor space is more of a nuisance than an issue for my son and
I. However, there is no way I could share this tent with another man of
Things I like about this product:
1) It is very well constructed and sturdy.
2) It packs small and is lightweight.
3) The large storage pockets are very convenient and useful.
Things I don't like about this product:
1) The narrow floor size make it seem cramped for two people.
2) The definite head and foot mean you have to be careful about how you
3) The lack of shoulder space.
This concludes my Field Report. Please check back in early March for
the Long Term Report.
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