To give you some idea of how small the solo is packaged I thought I would choose something that most people could relate too...Cheers. It really is a small lightweight tent. You would have no issue packing this in any daysack / rucksack/ floatation bag etc.
The carrying bag also contains some basic instruction about how to erect the tent and safety matters this is all sewn in to the bag so you will not lose the information nice touch.
|The head end of the Solo with fiberglass pole.|
Once the inner is pegged out then the poles can be pushed through and the alloy ends located into the brass eyes. The inner is then erected. I had no problems erecting the inner all was simple and straight forward. It was clear to see that in the Summer months or warm climates it would be a good mosi tent, just the inner.
However once the flysheet has been placed over and pegged out here comes a bit of a niggly bit on the inside of the flysheet are two sewn on tags. two at the head end & two at the foot.
|Sewn tyes that need tying to the poles!!|
You are then to tye the tags around the fibreglass poles. It is awkward and actually even when tied tight they move which allows the flysheet to move around slightly. Definitely an issue in high winds. Maybe the next time it will become easier? It is an area that I will pay attention too on the field test.
I did like the side opening of the tent. However, due too the tight inner size of the tent even not out in the field it is clear that a right hand side / front opening zip sleeping bag would be preferable (Oops mines a left).
Once the whole tent was erected and pegged out the detailed matter of assessing the space inside the inner tent was explored. I am 5'9 and got into the tent just about right. Anyone much over that sort of height will be suffering for room. It did seem a tiny bit claustrophobic but i will get used to it. There is a tiny bit of room for perhaps a daysack in the tiny porch. The side entrance can be rolled up and secured by 2 toggle and loops at the top of the tent. A set of clothes as a pillow will just about complete the space in the tent.
Given some advice that we should carry out a garden hose assessment we did so. We gave the flysheet a thourgh soaking. The water beaded and cleared the tent well. There was no water ingress to the inner and no leaks from the seals. Ii should bead well it is new and states it has been tested on the tent sheet.
The packing away of tent was the complete reverse and took very little time to collapse. The only thing that I would say is that it took longer to try and get the tent and its component parts into the small tent bag (quite difficult but you will get quicker over time).
I was pleasantly surprised with the lightness and ease of erection of the tent (15mins approx) but the tying of those fiddly tyes was the downside. The Gelert Solo is not advertised as a high altitude expedition tent, but a weekender. There a couple of areas that I will be interested to see perform in the field as outlined above. First impressions are good. A good product at a very sensible price £22.93p. A good alternative to the basha. The field reviews will follow in time watch this space.
Update 12 December 2011.
I tested the tent some time ago but never got around to writing a report. I have to say that the tent performed really well on a miserable wet and windy weekend. The points that I outlined in the Garden review in most cases were not issues.
The tying of the tent to the poles was not an issue and the flysheet stayed were it was supposed too. I think that was just me fingers and thumbs for a first time put up.
The issue of the large gap underneath the bottom of the flysheet and ground did for me cause an issue the wind really got under that gap and gave a really cold draft when sleeping.
There was absolutely no room inside the tent for anything other than yourself, sleeping bag and a small pillow of clothes but I sort of knew that. I am 5,9 tall and was just a snug fit. You will have to leave everything else out. I think the tent would suit perhaps more a canoe type outings where you can store the remainder of your kit away.
In final summing up:
Great tent for the price, very small for the sack, not all season maybe 3 at a push, low level. If you understand its limitations its great value for money. The overriding question would I buy one again yes. Thanks for reading.