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LTR - Golite Xanadu - RebeccaSE

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  • Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd
    Uploaded report is here: http://is.gd/K5y LONG TERM REPORT July 1, 2008 For Long Term testing, I used the Golite Xanadu on a trip to the Lost Coast of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2008
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      Uploaded report is here: http://is.gd/K5y

      LONG TERM REPORT
      July 1, 2008

      For Long Term testing, I used the Golite Xanadu on a trip to the Lost
      Coast of Northern California. The Lost Coast provided a perfect
      testing opportunity for the Xanadu. It was a four day, three night
      trip on the remote, rugged coast. Only about 25 miles (40 km) long,
      the stretch of Lost Coast that we hiked took four days due to tide
      considerations and the slow-going beach hiking that is the terrain for
      over 50% of the distance. Each of the three nights provided wildly
      different conditions and terrain, making each tent pitch an exercise
      in creativity and patience. I'll break down my experiences with the
      Xanadu by each night, since they were all so different:

      Night 1: Wind at Punta Gorda Lighthouse

      We hiked the Lost Coast from North to South, and the north end of the
      stretch is usually quite windy due to the way that the coast angles.
      Our campsite for the night was at a rather elaborate driftwood beach
      shelter, where we crammed in several tents to keep them out of the
      wind. The sand was somewhat damp and packed, allowing for the use of
      the regular stakes provided with the tent, and due to the wind I chose
      to use every availablel tie-out loop. The tie-out points were tied to
      driftwood logs and rocks in the shelter using a few different styles
      of reflective rope. Even in the relative protection of the shelter,
      the wind was blasting and the tent needed to be as secure as possible.
      With the stakes in the sand, and the tie-outs used, the Xanadu
      remained in place through the blasting wind, and was even sturdy
      enough that I was able to fall asleep easily - usually a wind-shaken
      tent keeps me wide awake. I never needed to reset the tie outs or
      restake a stake - everything stayed put quite securely. I was very
      happy with the wind-worthiness of the Xanadu, especially since this is
      usually my biggest concern when heading to the Lost Coast. The
      picture to the left shows the Xanadu set up in the beach shelter on
      this night, and how I tied out the various lines to rocks and
      driftwood.

      Based on my previous problems with dust blowing into the Xanadu I was
      a bit worried about eating sand all night. Fortunately, the sand
      granules were big enough that they weren't blown through the mesh like
      the finer dust I encountered on a previous trip.

      I woke around 3 am to find that the wind had stopped but a light rain
      was falling. By morning, we were clouded in and a light rain/mist was
      continuing to fall. I wiped down the Xanadu with a pack towel and was
      surprised at how dirty it was! I didn't see all that dark dust even
      on the yellow and light grey exterior. I think it was remainders of
      the fine dust from my previous outings. The Xanadu was packed away
      still a bit damp, but I knew I'd be setting it up soon in the next
      campsite.

      Night 2: Rain at Spanish Creek

      We arrived at the next campsite with the rain still drizzling. Most
      of us were soaked to the bone since it was that coastal misty rain
      that seems to get into everything. It was also pretty chilly, around
      50 degrees F (10 C). The wind was still blowing but much milder than
      the previous night. We were also able to head a few hundred feet up a
      canyon to get off the beach and out of the direct wind, also allowing
      us to pitch on normal dirt and not sand.

      My goal was to get the tent set up to have a place to lay out my wet
      gear, get into some dry clothes, and warm up. I'm pretty quick at
      setting up the Xanadu now, but due to the way the doors work, it is
      difficult to keep things completely dry on the interior during my
      quick setup. I had also had this problem when getting in and out of
      the tent in the morning when it was wet. The top of the door and
      vestibule leans back over the mesh wall, so if it is jarred even
      slightly when wet, which it is every time I'm opening the door (it is
      wet either inside due to condensation, or outside due to rain), it
      drips into the tent. When setting up the tent, I kept all of my gear
      put away until the tent was completely set up, then I used my pack
      towel to mop up the drips that had gotten inside before unpacking the
      rest of my gear. The drips are annoying and inconvenient at worst, but
      I haven't had the Xanadu out in a downpour yet - I'm sure it would be
      more than inconvenient to have to open the vestibule to that, only to
      have it all come in the mesh wall.

      Night 3: Sun and Sand at Shipman Creek

      The third day dawned warm and sunny, and in no time the Xanadu and the
      rest of my gear was mostly dry from the previous day's damp. We
      packed up and hurried to our last night's campsite, which was at a
      creek mouth where there was a small break in the narrow beach. This
      last stretch is tricky with high tide, and we needed to camp at this
      small area to keep ourselves out of the high tide water. Usually, the
      Lost Coast is a remote, lonely, unvisited place, but since this was
      over a holiday weekend we encountered an amazing amount of people.
      Given the limited camp space along this last stretch, we got moving
      early to secure the final campsite, with plans to relax in camp that
      afternoon.
      We arrived at Shipman Creek and found space to camp above the high
      tide line. Not only was it a good campsite, the sun was shining and
      we took the afternoon off to enjoy the beach and the sun. The only
      tricky part of this campsite was pitching a tent. The Xanadu can be
      set up mostly free-standing, but given the finicky winds of the Lost
      Coast I didn't want to do this. Fortunately I had thrown in a few
      snow stakes in case I had to pitch in soft sand. I used the snow
      stakes on the four corners of the tent, then tied out the vestibule
      using Kelty Trip tease, rocks, and driftwood.
      In order to dry out the last bit of remaining damp in the tent and my
      gear, I opened up the Xanadu for the afternoon, letting the sun work
      its magic. When the sun got a bit intense, I retired inside the tent
      with my book, enjoying the view from my 'front porch'. As stated in
      my Field Report, this is my favorite thing about the Xanadu - it opens
      up so well, becoming an airy and bright shelter, perfect for these
      conditions.

      The first photo below shows the Xanadu opened up to air out, and the
      second photo is my 'front porch' view from the Xanadu when the wall is
      down and the vestibule is open.

      Conclusions

      The conclusions of my Field Report still stand. I feel that the Xanadu
      is a compromise between a robust four season shelter and a lightweight
      single walled tarptent style tent, but it doesn't really fit in either
      niche. For a trip like the Lost Coast, where I had some brutal winds
      to deal with, I felt much safer and comfortable in the Xanadu than I
      would have in one of my light weight shelters. But, for the most part,
      the trips I take don't fit well into this niche. I'm either going to
      carry a much lighter weight tarptent-style shelter, or I'm going to
      carry a more robust four season shelter (see my field report for more
      information on the Xanadu's winter storm worthiness). However, for
      simple overnight winter trips where I'm not expecting a storm, or for
      coastal trips where wind is an issue, the Xanadu will be my shelter of
      choice. Thanks to Golite for allowing me to test this interesting
      shelter.
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