We're just back from the sunny Midlands and a sneak preview of
some of the stuff that's new from Vango for the Spring/Summer 2002
season, which means that most of it won't be in the shops until March
or so next year.
To be honest, we don't expect cutting-edge design from the
Scottish company - if you're after sound kit at a decent price,
they've always been a good option - but some of the top end tents for
next year look like they'd hold their own with the best.
Incidentally, as we reported a couple of weeks back, sister-name
Phoenix is now just a clothing brand. From the Spring 2002 season,
all the tents, sleeping bags and packs will be badged as Vango. Got
it? Okay, enough stuffing, here are a few of the more interesting
items from the range...
The new Vango Ascent with SL66
fabric, geodesic contruction,
Gear Loft storage and new LineLok tensioners on guys -
With the Phoenix tents gone to the great trash can in the sky,
there are now three top-end Force Ten expedition/mountain tents -
prices from £280 to £400. And if Force Ten reminds you of
old scout tents, don't worry, these are serious geodesic,
all-singing, all dancing jobbies with a load of features.
TSS - two extra poles
triangulate the main
tent pole to give additional stability on
the £350 Vortex and £400
The two things that really stand out are the new SL66 fabric on
the two-man Ascent and the TSS pole support system on the larger
Vortex and Spindrift designs.
SL66 is a new Du Pont flysheet fabric that's claimed to be lighter
but stronger than previous fabrics. It uses a dense weave that feels
smoother than the other Vango fly fabrics and is also used on the new
Vango Phantom ultralightweight tent aimed at backpackers, cyclists
TSS stands for Tri-Support System. It's a stabilising gizmo that
provides extra support at the base of the main poles using a pair of
mini support poles to form a stable tripod and increase the overall
rigidity of the pole - it looks a little unusual, but you can feel
the additional stiffness in the poles and the additional weight
should be minimal.
Sleeping Bags Again it's goodbye to the Phoenix brand and
those whacky metallic bags and strange diagonal zips. They're
history. Instead everything's Vango and, as we reported a couple of
weeks back, all the bags in the range are being tested for
temperature rating in a top French laboratory, so what you see on the
label should be what you get.
Predator - cunning 3D
construction with box side-walls
to mimise heat loss
The most interesting of the bags is in the shops already. Called
the Predator, it's a synthetic bag using two different types of
insulation - DuPont Thermolite Extra in the body and side areas and
Thermolite Micro for the base section, which is compressed when the
bag is being used.
The Predators use 3D construction, which means there's a seperate
sidewall, which helps to surround the body more effectively than a
'flat' bag and prevent dead air spots, say Vango. Interesting idea.
The warmest 2.2 kilo Predator 400 is comfort rated down to minus 18
degrees C, but priced at £90.00.
If you're a weight-saving freak on a tight budget, keep an eye
open for the new Venom range which use goose down, a hlf-zip and
lightweight fabrics to keep weight down and pack size tiny, with
prices ranging between £70 and £100.
Packs It's mostly tweaking rather than revolution on the
pack front with the big Denali, Pumori and Canyon packs all getting
hydration system compatibility built in for next year. Brilliant, we
reckon there's no excuse not to.
Super Canyons - sound like an
ice cream, look
like classic winter day sacks but with
adjustable back lengths - neat
The other sacks that really caught our eye were the new Super
Canyon 40+8 and 50+10. They're pretty much no nonsense technical
day/weekend sacks - the smaller one looks like an ideal Scottish
winter mountaineering pack - but they're unusual in that they have an
adjustable back system, which is unusual in a relatively small
capacity pack. At £55 and £45 respectively, they look like
they're going to be in the classic Vango no-nonsense, good value