Live from sunny Brighouse, new tents, new packs and a bizarre-looking new sleeping bag design too
A few weeks back we descended on the Vango roadshow in sunny
Brighouse for a sneak preview of some of next year's hardware. This
is stuff that won't be in the shops till Feb/March next year.
There's a lot of evolution rather than revolution in the tent
ranges, but perhaps the most significant development is that the
company has responded to criticisms that their kit is on the heavy
side, with a lighter weight option in all their main tent ranges.
Plus a weird new sleeping bag design and some neat rucksacs.
Force Ten Tents
New Force Ten Assault with
lighter fabric for 2003
The top-end Force Tens which appeared last year have had a number
of detail changes. They're intended as high performance expedition
tents, so the top Vortex and Spindrift models now have fold-back snow
valances for better performance in, well, snow.
Meanwhile, there's a new 2/3-person geodesic based on last year's
Ascent. The Assault gets a totally new, high performance lightweight
fly fabric - catchilly called Hytex SPU-SL66 plus all the other Force
Ten features including a 'Gothic Arch' entrance. Nice.
The fabric has a silicone elastomer coated outer surface and a PU
coated inner for insurance. Usable weight is a claimed 3.8 kilos.
Big news for semi-geodesic Hydra fans is the new for 2003 Hydra
250 Duo. It's a trekking / backpacking mid-range tent, which is the
first Hydra with a dual entrance making it easier to cope with
changes in wind direction, sudden urges to rush outside. Sleeps two
to three people and weighs in at a useable weight of 4
NewPhantom 150 ultralightweight
New Phantom 150 - £170.00
The Phantoms are Vango's minimalist ultra lightweight tents aimed
at racers and weight freaks. The new 150 is a 1/2 person single pole
tent complete with the same lightweight high performance fly fabric
as the new Force Ten Assault, plus some neat new, lightweight alloy
pegs that weigh in at 8 grammes compared to the old ones 12 grammes,
they look good too.
Claimed useable weight for the 150 is just 1.3kg, so that's 650
grammes each if you're prepared to be friendly...
The popular lightweight single-pole Micro tunnels get detail
updates rather than huge overhauls, corners are raised to improve
internal volume for example. We've got a 200 on test now and we'll
let you know how we get on with it.
Vango have been hard at work updating their sleeping bag range.
The Venom down bags, which used to look a bit, erm, how can we put
this, 'disco inspired' have discovered a new, lightweight, rip-stop
shell fabric for next year and now come with compression stuff sacs
The real star of the show though, was the new two-footed Yeti
range. Filled with Inulite synthetic insulation, what marks the Yetis
out is the comedy foot construction. It's a two-piece, fleece-lined
box affair with a space for each foot. Vango claim that the separate,
square foot compartments make for a much less restrictive bag and the
fleece lining offsets any loss of insulation efficiency by upping the
What can we say? Clearly if you dread foot restriction but want a
bag with a mummy-style upper for torso and head warmth, the Yeti has
to be worth a look. Three different versions from 2 to 3 season
rated, priced at £50, £60 and £70. Shake your
More developments here. The New Arc series uses the same orange
rip-stop look as the Force Ten tents and is designed for minimal
mountain use. It gets a curved, ergonomically-shaped fixed-length
back system, lots of storage pockets, reflective piping and zip
pulls, plus classy looking water-resistant zips and belt
New Vango Arc mountain
The packs, in 34, 42 and 52-litre sizes, look more finished and up
to date than previous Vango packs and cost £40, £50 and
£60 respectively. You can get an all-black option if you don't
fancy the orange.
The other interesting new development is the Fury, a
small-capacity fast-moving sac with a modern zip-opening compartment
(the zip's a water-resitant one), the Vango Air Blast back system,
which holds the pack away from your back, and, like the Arcs,
hydration system compatibility. Capacities are 14, 18 and 22 litres,
priced up to £45 and they honestly look very nice indeed.
For more details about Vango's current range, contacts and
stockists, see the Vango