Here is the text version of my Hogback FR.
The HTML version can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/2f6nwar
TEST SERIES BY JERRY GOLLER
Image Courtesy Tarptent
INITIAL REPORT - September 20, 2010
FIELD REPORT - December 02, 2010
NAME: Jerry Goller
LOCATION: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 220 lb (99.80 kg)
I started camping with my father at age 6 or so. Ive backpacked and truck
camped, off and on, all of my life. Even in the Marine Corps, I was in the
Infantry. I consider myself a light weight backpacker with an average dry
pack weight of 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 7 kg), depending on the season and
terrain. I backpack year round. Most of my trips are 2 to 5 days long and in
Utah. I also, from time to time, take much longer trips lasting one to two
months or more. These trips are usually on the Appalachian Trail or the
Pacific Crest Trail.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Tarptent by Henry Shires
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: Tarptent
Listed Weight: 65 oz (1850g)
Measured Weight: 66 oz (1875 g) The weight includes six 8" stakes and
everything needed to put the tent up.
Floor width: 86 in (218 cm)
Floor Length: 86 in (218 cm)
Interior Height: 49 in (125 cm)
Floor Area: 51 sq ft (4.8 sq m)
Packed Size: 20 x 5 in (51 x 13 cm)
Since it is virtually impossible to get a consistent, repeatable, meaningful
measurement of something flexible like a tent, I'm quite willing to take
Tarptent's word for the measurements listed under "Other Details".
I want to compliment Tarptent on their choice of stakes to include with this
tent. Ultralight tent manufacturers, in an effort to show the lightest
weight possible, frequently send titanium "Shepherd's Hook" style tent
stakes. While there is no question that this style of stake is very light,
I've found it to be of very limited utility. The soil, terrain, wind, etc.,
must be exactly right for these stakes to actually hold. The provided stakes
have a much superior holding capability and the large head makes it easy to
push the stakes in with either my hand or my foot.
The Hogback is a very interesting design that accomplishes a goal I thought
unattainable: a weight of one pound (.45 kg) per person for a large tent.
Four pounds for four people in a tent with excellent rain and bug protection
is very impressive. The Hogback design is similar to what I think of as the
European style. That style seems to be the rule for European tents. That
design is the reverse of the traditional American design. In the American
design the tent body, with its poles, is put up then the fly is stretched
over the tent body and secured to it. With European style tents the fly goes
up, with its poles, and the tent body is clipped inside the fly. I find this
style of tent much more logical. Tents like the Hogback can be put up during
a storm and no rain will get in the main body because it is always covered
by the fly, which goes up first. To be honest, the American style never made
all that much sense to me.
The Hogback has a couple of interesting design features. The first one is
that it has one, long removable, collapsible pole running across the top of
the tent in an arc. The second feature is one Ive not seen on any other
tent. The four corners are supported by integrated, non-removable carbon
fiber poles. There are two poles at each corner and they form a triangle
when the tent is up. These two poles are brought together and rolled up with
the tent. These two features together make for a very stable, taunt, fast to
set up tent. Tarptent says it can be done, with a little practice, in less
than two minutes. Apparently Ive had enough practice after four or five
times because I can easily set it up in that time.
I love the inside height of this tent. I can sit up with plenty of maneuver
room overhead. We are going to be using it as a 2.5 person tent (my wife
Kate, my three year old son Jack, and me) and I think we are going to
appreciate the extra room when sleeping with Wiggle Boy.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The instructions are printed on a single sheet of paper that folds up to
form a 4 page booklet. The instructions have lots of pictures, are straight
forward, and are easy to understand. Setting the tent up is pretty intuitive
but the instructions make first time setup a snap. The only thing I did
differently than the instructions involve the order of stake out. Ive found
that, on pretty much any type of shelter, that it is faster, makes for a
taunt pitch, and eliminates the game of musical stakes if I place the stakes
in diagonal order instead of front then back or one side then the other. In
other words, I stake out diagonally opposite corners. If I start with the
left rear corner then my next stake is the right front. Once the first two
stakes are in it doesnt matter in what order you do the other two.
Hanging Interior, Front View, Side Vent, Opposite Door
From Left to Right: Hanging Interior, Front View, Side Vent, Opposite Door
TRYING IT OUT
So far all I have done with the Hogback is to set it up a few times and just
lay in it. While doing that I look the tent over to understand how it works
and what I think its strong and weak points may be. I may do this a couple
of times and spend half an hour or so each time just staring at the tent.
Among the things I noticed were excellent lower venting due to the side pull
outs and the door pull outs. These were balanced with two relatively small
vents at the top. Although nothing I know will completely stop condensation
under all circumstances, I am curious to see how well the small vents work
for controlling condensation at the roof peak. I also noticed the excellent
tub floor. The sides are quite high and I dont foresee any problems with
water from any rain we are likely to be out in. The interior seems quite
roomy and I foresee no problems with Kate, Jack, and me in it together. It
is large enough that even if we get caught in a rain storm it should be no
problem. If I hadnt weighed it myself, I would have a hard time believing
this tent is as light and as large as it is.
SUMMARY of INITIAL REPORT
The Hogback is the largest, lightest family backpacking tent of which I am
aware. Fortunately for us, Henry Shires at Tarptent wanted to take his
family backpacking so we now enjoy the fruits of his design for his own
family tent. Thanks for sharing, Henry! Since Henry is a designer of serious
tents in the true lightweight class, his design of a family tent is equally
serious. We can have some pretty harsh weather in Utah but I have great
confidence that the Hogback will serve us well, no matter what we run into.
Our first trip with the Hogback will also be Kate and Jacks first
backpacking trip. I think this tent is the perfect family backpacking tent
and should make their first backpacking experience a fun and memorable one.
Its first trip will be into the Uinta Mountains of Northern Utah. After that
I imagine temperatures and, especially, snow levels will keep our trips to
Southern Utah. Fortunately, that area is a great favorite of both Kate and
Jack. I can hardly wait for their first views of the interior of
Canyonlands. Up to this point our trips there have been limited to day
hikes. The Hogback is going to allow us to greatly extend that to multi-day
back country trips.
Let the fun begin!
In the High Uintas
In the High Uintas
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Our first backpacking trip, both for the Hogback and my wife and son, was to
the High Uinta Mountains in Utah. That trip lasted two nights and just over
a total of 2 days. Because Jack is only three and a half and Kate has never
backpacked before, I planned our campsite to be about ¾ of a mile (about 1.5
km) in on a fairly up and down trail that was at just under 9,000 (2,700 m)
altitude and just rugged enough for them to feel like they had hiked.
Although they are both experienced day hikers, this was their first trip
with packs on. The weather was very nice with cool, sunny days and clear
nights with temps a few degrees above freezing. We started out late in the
afternoon on a Friday and came back Sunday morning. We used the same
campsite both nights. Although the general area tends to be a bit rugged,
the particular area we set up in was reasonably flat and clear of rocks. I
wanted their first trip to be as fun and easy as possible for them so they
would want to do it again. Both Kate and Jack enjoy truck camping, Jack more
than Kate, so it wasnt all completely new to them. I carried most of the
gear so their packs would be as light as possible.
Our second use of the Hogback involved just Jack and I. Because I received
the Hogback so late in the season our second trip was truck camping on a
trip to South Padre Island, Texas and back. Jack was only with me for the
return leg but we still got one night out in the Hogback. We stayed
overnight at South Llano River State Park just outside Junction, Texas. The
park is at an altitude of 1,700 (about 500 m) and is one of my favorite
overnight stops when I am in the Hill Country of central Texas. The night we
stayed there it was mildly cold with temps five or six degrees below
freezing. It was a pretty standard primitive tent area state park campsite.
The hike in was only a few hundred feet (60 to 90 m). It was the only
night on the return trip that it didnt snow. During that trip period Utah
and Colorado experienced three blizzards. Although I am going to end up
testing the Hogback in snow I wanted the first time to be by myself.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I continue to be surprised that a tent this large is as easy to set up as
the Hogback has proven to be. Most of the times Ive set it up in the field
have been in the dark and it was a snap. The floor size of the tent is
perfect for me, my wife, and my son. I use a 25 (762 cm) wide Large
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir. Kate uses a Regular 20 (610 cm) wide Therm-a-Rest
NeoAir and Jack uses a Small 20 (762 cm) wide Therm-a-Rest NeoAir. The
three pads fit easily inside the Hogback and still leave enough room to not
have that crowed feeling. This is particularly handy when sleeping with
Barnacle Boy. Lets just say that Jack appears larger than life sometimes. I
didnt have a Kestrel meter with my on either trip so I have no idea what
the humidity was on either trip but we experienced no noticeable
condensation of either trip. Weve had no failures of any kind with the
tent. There are a few minor things I would, or did, change or add to the
tent but I will cover that in my Long Term Report. So far, my experience
with the Hogback has been very positive.
Camping without the possibility of snow, even when truck camping, is no
longer possible during the Hogbacks test period in Utah. One of the
features of the Hogback is that it was originally designed with the
possibility of adding three more poles for added strength when in reasonable
levels of snow. That is what the rings at the corners and the straps with
hooks in the center of the tent are for. I dont think the tent is going to
require the two corner to corner X poles but I do want to add the center
pole that runs at right angles to the single standard pole. Tarptent has
agreed to send me a suitable pole to try. This, and a little weather
prudence, should allow me to test the Hogback in southern Utah in late
December to late January. This will satisfy the test period and use
requirements of this report. Although I dont plan on setting it up to fail,
I am very interested in seeing how the Hogback deals with snow. I do not
plan on going out of my way to get it in heavy snow but the possibility is
always there in any of the areas I camp or backpack.
Check back in late January for my Long Term Report
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