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FR - REI ARETE ASL 2 TENT - Mark Thompson

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  • Mark Thompson
    Derek, Please find my FR below and at:  http://tinyurl.com/arete-2-asl-fr-met   Awaiting your edits, Mark     REI ARETE ASL 2 TENT TEST SERIES BY MARK
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 30, 2012
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      Derek,
      Please find my FR below and at:  http://tinyurl.com/arete-2-asl-fr-met

       
      Awaiting your edits,
      Mark
       
       

      REI ARETE ASL 2 TENT
      TEST SERIES BY MARK THOMPSON
      FR
      January 12, 2012
       
      TESTER INFORMATION
       
      NAME: Mark Thompson
      EMAIL: markthompson 242 at gmail dot com
      AGE: 47
      LOCATION: Parker, Colorado, USA
      GENDER: M
      HEIGHT: 6' 0" (2.10 m)
      WEIGHT: 190 lb (86.20 kg)
       
      Outdoor adventures started for me at an early age, my passions have grown to include backpacking, rock climbing, hiking, hunting, fishing, canoeing, cycling, skiing and snowshoeing.  Most of my adventures presently take place in Colorado's amazing Rocky Mountains.  For trail hikes, my pack typically weighs 15 lbs/7 kg (summer/fall), 25 lbs/11 kg (winter/spring) and trail speed ranges from 2.5 - 4 mph (4 - 6 km/h) depending on elevation gain.  For backpack trips, my pack weighs 40 - 45 lbs (18 - 20 kg) and my trail speed drops to 1.5 - 3.0 mph (2 - 5 km/h).
       
      FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
       
      Since receiving the REI Arete 2 tent test, I have ventured out into the mountains on three backpacking trips and one car-camping trip.  All of the trips have been within the colorful State of Colorado, all in winter conditions and all without liquid precipitation.  Also, I experienced very little wind during these adventures.  The lack of rain and wind are personally pleasing to me (I really dislike both) but the absence of each leaves out the ability to test the tent in those conditions. Below are the particular trips where weather and environmental conditions provided the most opportunity and placed the greatest demand on the tent:
      Location: Lost Creek Wilderness
      Date: 2 - 3 Dec 2011
      Elevation: 8,500 - 10,000 ft (2,591 - 3,048 m)
      Product usage inclusive: one night
      Weather: cold! 4 to 14 deg F (-16 to -10 deg C) and snowing - approximately 8 in (20 cm) in 9 hours
      Location: Rocky Mountain National Park - Two Rivers Lake
      Date: 24 - 25 Dec 2011
      Elevation: 8,500 - 10,700 ft (2,591 - 3,261 m)
      Product usage inclusive: one night
      Weather: clear and cold 4 to 26 deg F ( -16 to -3 deg C)
       
      PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
       
      Setting up the tent is fairly straight forward and can be readily performed by one person.  The manufacturer advertises that the rain fly can remain attached to the tent during set up and take down.  I did not find this to be practical as the rain fly must be pulled approximately one-third of the way off to gain access for the removal of the 3rd main tent pole.  I simply found it easier to remove the fly completely.  I also noticed that the floor of the tent did not become taut with all three main poles in place.  The 3rd pole seemed to over-power the two diagonal poles preventing the rear two thirds of the tent from being out-stretched.
      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1">>
      The tent is advertised as "free standing" which technically may be true, but to effectively utilize the rain fly, no less than 5 ground attaching points must be utilized (two in front, one on each side and one in the rear).  The tent is advertised as an "All-Season" tent, however, the included stakes are undeniably useful in only two or three seasons.  During one trip I used rocks and "deadmans" for tie downs as the ground was frozen solid and the stakes were simply no match for the hard soil, and in another I used a tree limb and my trekking poles (I suppose I should have learned after the first trip and bought a set of snow stakes).
       <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 2">>
      I found on one trip that the design of the tent creates a near flat spot on top which allows for the accumulation of snow.  The 4th tent pole did a sound job of keeping the vents open, but the area between the top of the 3rd pole and the 4th lacks sufficient slope to cause snow to slide off the fly.  The poles seemed sufficiently strong to withstand this weight but it did cause the fly to come in contact with the tent.
      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 3">>
      On each of the trips I have taken thus far, I have used the tent solo.  The inside of the tent is small, but commensurate with the overall weight of the tent.  Surely, I would want to be very comfortable in close quarters with any tent mate when sharing the Arete 2!  I would not want to carry extra weight for a larger tent, so I am quite happy with its size to weight ratio.
      Even being solo, I have noticed a significant amount of condensation accumulation on the inside of the tent.  At first I attributed this to my improper vent settings but I obtained similar results with the top vents being wide open.  My verdict here is that I have used the tent in such cold temperatures (with little to no wind) that the condensation is freezing on the inside of the tent too rapidly for all of the water vapor to escape and that any tent would have the same effect.  The pic here shows a fair amount of condensation on the under-side of the rain fly (which is where it is supposed to accumulate) but I found that I had nearly as much on the inside of the tent as there was on the fly.
       <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 4">>
      The large front vestibule has certainly been a pleasure.  On the right (as viewed from inside the tent) there is a handy pocket which I used to stuff the "front door" in when at its fully unzipped condition.  This pocket is miles ahead of the normal tie and clasp found on other tents!  Although expressly not recommended, I did on one occasion cook inside the vestibule, with the front door securely tucked into the pocket.  The design of the door is such that when fully open, there is no material vertically above the vestibule so heat and gases can readily escape.  Again, this isn't a recommended practice, but something I did against the manufacturer's warning.  For me, this worked very well.
       <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 5">>
      The wide opening of the front door made it easy for me to get in and out of the tent.  I did notice, however, that since I was solo, it was easier for me to get in and out of the tent with my feet at the door instead of having my head at the door.  I would simply unzip the doors, turn around, sit down, close the front door (the zippered door on the fly, enclosing the vestibule) and proceed to take off my boots.  Then I would simply slide back, close the door on the tent.  This made it so I didn't have to do the sit and turn around maneuver.  Obviously this wouldn't work with two people as the tent is wide at the door then widens for shoulder space and then significantly narrows in the rear.
       
      SUMMARY
       
      The REI Arete ASL 2 has performed well, but honestly, has not fully met my expectations.  The tent is well made and packed with features but falls a little short in a couple key areas.  As mentioned above, I have not had the opportunity to test the tent in rain or wind so at this point, I am unable to comment on how it will perform in these weather conditions.
      Likes:
      - sturdy and well made
      - well designed ventilation
      - useful pockets in key locations, including pocket for the "front door"
      - good size to weight ratio
      Dislikes:
      - the design intent of keeping the fly on the tent during set up and take down is awesome, but it doesn't work well
      - the tent accumulates snow on top between the 3rd and 4th poles
      - the included stakes are not "all season"
      - the fly requires 5 ground attaching points
      A sincere thank you to REI and BackpackGearTest.org for affording me the opportunity to test the Arete ASL 2.  Please check back in a few months for my Long Term Report.
       
       
       
      This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
      Copyright 2012.  All rights reserved.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Derek Hansen
      Mark, Great report! I loved the photos; thank you for including them. The only thing of significance I could find is that one of your images is outside the
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 30, 2012
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        Mark,

        Great report! I loved the photos; thank you for including them.

        The only thing of significance I could find is that one of your images is outside the recommended resolution of 1024 x 768 (the image showing the vent). Please fix this and you're good.

        See you in a few months.

        Best,

        ~derek


        On Jan 30, 2012, at 8:00 PM, Mark Thompson wrote:

        > Awaiting your edits,
        >
      • Mark Thompson
        Wow, Awesome Fast!  Thanks Derek. ... From: Derek Hansen Subject: EDIT - FR - REI ARETE ASL 2 TENT - Mark Thompson To: BGTers
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 30, 2012
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          Wow, Awesome Fast!  Thanks Derek.

          --- On Tue, 1/31/12, Derek Hansen <derek.hansen@...> wrote:


          From: Derek Hansen <derek.hansen@...>
          Subject: EDIT - FR - REI ARETE ASL 2 TENT - Mark Thompson
          To: "BGTers" <backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com>
          Cc: "Mark Thompson" <markthompson242@...>
          Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 3:18 AM


          Mark,

          Great report! I loved the photos; thank you for including them.

          The only thing of significance I could find is that one of your images is outside the recommended resolution of 1024 x 768 (the image showing the vent). Please fix this and you're good.

          See you in a few months.

          Best,

          ~derek


          On Jan 30, 2012, at 8:00 PM, Mark Thompson wrote:

          > Awaiting your edits,
          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Derek Hansen
          Mark, I was just made aware of a new policy about image sizes in our reports, so I need to append my edits. The new maximum for images is 800 pixels wide at 72
          Message 4 of 5 , Jan 31, 2012
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            Mark,

            I was just made aware of a new policy about image sizes in our reports, so I need to append my edits.

            The new maximum for images is 800 pixels wide at 72 dpi.

            Please adjust your images to this standard and upload (the 1024 size is an old reference that is being removed).

            On another note, I wanted to make a point about "free-standing" tents that you may want to address in your FR or in the LTR as you see fit. As I was told, "free-standing refers to the support structure of the tent itself." In other words, the tent does not require stakes to create the structure; the poles do that. The stakes help keep the rain fly rigid, but it isn't necessary for the structure of the tent body.

            A simple solution may be to separate your description of the fly from the main tent body and to separate the term "free-standing" from the rain fly.

            Let me know if that makes sense.

            Thanks again for your efforts. I'm extremely jealous of all that snow!

            Best,

            ~derek


            On Jan 30, 2012, at 8:18 PM, Derek Hansen wrote:

            > Mark,
            >
            > Great report! I loved the photos; thank you for including them.
            >
            > The only thing of significance I could find is that one of your images is outside the recommended resolution of 1024 x 768 (the image showing the vent). Please fix this and you're good.
            >
            > See you in a few months.
            >
            > Best,
            >
            > ~derek
            >
            >
            > On Jan 30, 2012, at 8:00 PM, Mark Thompson wrote:
            >
            >> Awaiting your edits,
            >>
            >
          • markthompson242@sbcglobal.net
            Hi Derek, I ll make the adjustments. Thanks, Mark Sent from my MOTOROLA ATRIX™ 2 on AT&T ... From: Derek Hansen To: BGTers
            Message 5 of 5 , Feb 1, 2012
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              Hi Derek,
              I'll make the adjustments.
              Thanks,
              Mark

              Sent from my MOTOROLA ATRIX™ 2 on AT&T

              -----Original message-----
              From: Derek Hansen <derek.hansen@...>
              To: BGTers <backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com>
              Cc: Mark Thompson <markthompson242@...>
              Sent: Tue, Jan 31, 2012 18:51:16 GMT+00:00
              Subject: Re: EDIT - FR - REI ARETE ASL 2 TENT - Mark Thompson

              Mark,

              I was just made aware of a new policy about image sizes in our reports, so I need to append my edits.

              The new maximum for images is 800 pixels wide at 72 dpi.

              Please adjust your images to this standard and upload (the 1024 size is an old reference that is being removed).

              On another note, I wanted to make a point about "free-standing" tents that you may want to address in your FR or in the LTR as you see fit. As I was told, "free-standing refers to the support structure of the tent itself." In other words, the tent does not require stakes to create the structure; the poles do that. The stakes help keep the rain fly rigid, but it isn't necessary for the structure of the tent body.

              A simple solution may be to separate your description of the fly from the main tent body and to separate the term "free-standing" from the rain fly.

              Let me know if that makes sense.

              Thanks again for your efforts. I'm extremely jealous of all that snow!

              Best,

              ~derek


              On Jan 30, 2012, at 8:18 PM, Derek Hansen wrote:

              > Mark,
              >
              > Great report! I loved the photos; thank you for including them.
              >
              > The only thing of significance I could find is that one of your images is outside the recommended resolution of 1024 x 768 (the image showing the vent). Please fix this and you're good.
              >
              > See you in a few months.
              >
              > Best,
              >
              > ~derek
              >
              >
              > On Jan 30, 2012, at 8:00 PM, Mark Thompson wrote:
              >
              >> Awaiting your edits,
              >>
              >



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