Vango Tempest 200 tent – Gear Review

Vango Tempest 200 Vango Tempest 200

Type: Tunnel tent       Price (2009) : £80 – £100

Berth: 2 man tent

Weight: 2.55kg

Pack size: 40 x 80 x 15cm

Inner dimensions : 215 + 105 x 130

Inner height : 85 cm

Colour: Vivid Blue (2008 model) or Pine Green

I did loads of research of tents before deciding on the Vango Tempest 200 as a cycle-touring tent. Budget was probably the deciding factor;  I find Vango give you a lot of mileage for your money. It is fairly  heavy at just over 2.5 kg, but I am happy to carry the extra weight for a more ‘solid’ feeling tent and also to have the extra berth. I hate being cramped into spaces so decided on a 2-man fairly early on. The flysheet is 3000mm hydrostatic head and has stood up to continual heavy rain with no leakage. Ventilation is good and I hardly had any condensation.

Although thin, the groundsheet is impressive; at one point I had a stream of rainwater form underneath it (the West Highlands of Scotland, where else?!) and it was totally dry inside.  The tent feels strong when pitched and although I have yet to sleep out in it during a gale I have no doubts it will stand it’s ground without too much ‘flapping’ noise.

With bike locked to tent pole - the usual set up.

With bike locked to tent pole - the usual messy set up.

The porch was also a deciding factor in buying this tent – it’s large enough to cook in when the weather is atrocious and the door is arranged so that a gap can be left for ventilation.  At night it’s perfectly roomy enough to stash 4 panniers, although I prefer to keep them inside the tent with me at night. Not sure why, but it feels warmer that way. I’m 5ft11″ and can just sit up straight inside (the sleeping length is perfect). I think any taller and it may feel a little awkward.

It takes me 10 minutes to pitch and about 6 or 7 to take down; no fussing about with fiddly stuff and it always fits back in the bag.  Attention to detail is good, with a hook for a torch and a good midge-proof inner door.

You can get a lot lighter and a lot smaller pack-sized tents, but I doubt you could easily find one at the price of the Vango. Until I start Mountain Marathoning ( fat chance!) and have the reddies to buy an Akto or Vaude, this’ll do me fine.  Good quality, good value lower-budget tent for intimate couples or solo travellers who need space to stretch out.


A change of name

I’ve changed to name of this blog due to realising that most of my posts thus far have relayed to running and not ( as I initially intended ) preparation for LEJOG 2010.
Sure, the running’s part of the prep work but the blog title “Land’s End – John O’Groats 2010” was a little restrictive and a bit misleading. Also it was dull.
I’m still going to be blogging my preparation for the big ride, and the fundraising that will go with it, but I wanted my blog to go beyond this. It’s hard having to write a brief and then fit the blog content around it; I’m just not that organised!

Weekly mileage – 26/09/09

Commute: 27 m

Bike@work: 24 m

Runs: 10 m

Total Joolz leg-powered travel : 61 m

 

Fairly quiet week, training-wise. Just a steady base of activity with nothing fancy added.

This week’s ‘long’ run/stumble/crawl…

I set out with the intention of running 7 miles…and managed to, eventually! Had to stop and walk twice, for a bit – and the massive hill at the end of shoesmy run was pretty testing, but I did it. Amazingly, I finished with no physical injuries, just incredibly exhausted and thirsty (depsite having consumed 700ml during the run).
However, one week later and I reckon I have what is known as shin splints; basically pain in my shin muscle/tendon area. Scheduled for tomorrow is my first 8-miler, and I seriously doubt I could run even one mile at the moment. Damn, blast and poo-pants. S’not fair!

I’m hoping a combination of stretching, ice-pack and ibuprofen will get me through it – I’m fitter than I’ve ever been in my whole life and mentally strong – trust my body to let me down…

Weekly mileage – 19/09/09

Commute: 68 m

Bike@work: 8 m

Runs: 9 m

Total Joolz leg-powered travel : 85m

I had a big, bad-ass commute on Monday, 25 miles each way to a training course. I’ve done it before,  and although this time my knees faired batter afterwards, my exhaustion-level was pretty bad! At 2 hours each way, it’s only half as fast to drive it,  so that’s not too bad going I suppose!

Monday’s mega-mileage took all my pizazz for the rest of the week, so I just stuck to one half-day on the mountain bike at work and two days of my normal 9 mile commute.

Sunday was the furthest I’ve ever run without stopping – 6 miles! woo-hoo! I ran it with about 70% effort, as it’s more important for me to just do the mileage on my long runs than to get some amazing time.  1 hour dead was the time, so I’m happy with 10min-mile pace.  The distance is going up by a mile a week, in order for me to have any chance of completing a half-marathon in a month’s time.  I’m having trouble with keeping myself hydrated now though – I bought a ‘Nathan’ lumbar pack bottle holder, but it bumps about too much and the belt doesn’t stay in place. I don’t like the idea of holding a bottle in my hands, as I like them to be free to blow my nose, use my ipod and fend off tramps/wild dogs/feral children. I thnk there’s another blog post in there…hydration systems for runners. If anyone is reading this and would like to comment, don’t be shy!

Weekly mileage – 12/09/09

Commute: 18 m

Bike@work: 83 m

Runs: 8 m

Total Joolz leg-powered travel : 109m

I’ve been riding my bike as much as possible, trying to get a base level of fitness to prepare me for the proper long-haul training. I’m lucky because I get to ride at work too, although on a mountain bike, which makes it hard-going on roads.

Have a front derailleur issue has prevented me from commuting every day this week, as well as working late on a Friday. I don’t want to cycle back home along dark country lanes knowing how many drunk drivers there are out there! Even with my huge, flapping (oi!) hi-vis vest, some people still don’t see me until they’re right behind me. I’m all for equal opportunities, but letting blind people drive is a little *too* lax, methinks.

I’m trying to get in shape to do a half-marathon in October, but knowing my knee/back issues, I won’t expect too much of myself. The plan is to run twice a week, with a long run on a Sat or Sun increasing by a mile a week. I don’t care how long it takes me, so long as I manage to get the distance in! So this weekend it’s supposed to be 6 miles….I’ve never run that far before, arrrrghhhhhh.

At least with all this exercise I get to eat as many donuts/crisps/pies as I want. Trouble is my thighs are getting rather well-developed…

Why this blog exists

A thought occured to me a few weeks ago…wow, fancy cycling Land’s End to John O’Groats; that would be crazy/immense/impossible/exciting/scary/dangerous/exhausting/all of the above.

Then the clincher; Well, if so many other people have done it, there’s no reason why I can’t!

And so the ball started rolling on what has inevitable become my next ‘project’. I believe the ball will keep rolling, in all directions and dimensions, gathering impetus and mass and occassionally stalling, until I have completed this challenge, all 1000 miles of it.

I’ve started this  blog up as way of recording my preparation for the trip.  I’ve been reading lots of other ‘End to End’ blogs and having found them informative, funny, touching and interesting I thought I might as well do one of my own.