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  #1  
Old 18 Sep 2011
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Appy Trails Mark III tent, 30 day euro trip review.

Hey guys, I just got back from a 30 day European backpacking trip and wanted to post a review of my Appy Trails tent. I think I camped a total of 10 nights with it and was very satisfied.The tent is very light weight at 1 lb and 10 oz which includes the poles and stakes too. There is also a surprising amount of room inside the tent which could easily sleep 2 people with all their gear.

This is definitely a minimalist style tent because there is no floor to the tent, so you have to bring your own ground cover. The tent is essentially just a sheet of waterproof fabric that is held in place by 2 vertical poles and tent stakes. One negative aspect of the tent is that every morning condensation built up on the inside of the tent, but after the first couple times you learn how to avoid touching the inside of the tent in the morning and how to disassemble it without getting any water on your gear.


Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best and that is what I found with this tent. Not having to carry an extra 3 lbs on my back was definitely worth it. On a motorcycle the tent would be great because of the compact size that it folds down to. I will post a picture later to show it.


The other best part of this tent is the price. It is only $99.95!
Fancier ultralight tents like the Black Diamond Hilight and the Golite Xanadu were $300.

Here is the website for Appy Trails tents:
Backpacking Tent by Appy Trails
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Old 19 Sep 2011
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Under a kilo for a two person tent certainly sounds like a great help if you're backpacking - I'm all for lighter packs and enjoying the hike rather than feeling you're on an extended outdoor weight training session. Past experience though would make me a bit wary of a few of the Appy Trails's drawbacks under some circumstances. When I first started camping separate groundsheet tents were the norm and I spent about five years using them as there wasn't an alternative. In good weather and in a suitable climate I'd be happy to use one, or no tent at all, again but for general use they have too many drawbacks for me.

Firstly you need to add the weight of a groundsheet to the mega light sticker weight of the tent. OK it's not much and it can be used for other purposes but it's still needed. More importantly though, the gap between the tent and the ground, no matter how well the tent is pegged out, lets stuff through.

I've woken up in the middle of the night with "torrents" of water coming through despite it being dry when I fell asleep (and had to be pulled out of the tent once when sleep came via an excess of cheap Spanish !). I've had "clouds" (it felt like it!) of mosquitoes find their way inside in northern Italy and even once had rats inside in an overnight stop in the Pyrenees. Being flooded out of a campsite in the Ardeche in 2004 was the last straw for me. I've now got three ultra lightweight festival type tents that cost around £10 / £15 each for use in minimalist circumstances but otherwise I'd rather take the weight hit on something more substantial.

After the clouds of mosquitoes episode above we were so annoyed with the tent that after the last night we took drastic action to make sure it was never used again -

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Old 19 Sep 2011
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Oh wow! rats inside the tent with you! That would be enough to turn me off too. I definitely would not use this style of tent anywhere there are snakes or spiders.

I think it rained 3-4 nights on me but I managed to stay dry inside my tent. They were not the torrential kind of rains you are talking about though. I had a few mosquitoes get in but I really did not find them to be a problem in Europe compared to the North American kind.

When I was in Peru my Canadian riding buddy was using a tent similar to the Appy tent. He did not carry poles though and simply tied the corners to the side of his bike so he had a rain cover on his bike too. I guess you have to be really careful with where you park your bike using that method. I wouldnt want a heavy R1200gs falling over on its center stand and crushing me in the night.
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Old 19 Sep 2011
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The rats episode was on a trip back to the UK from Morocco. It's a 2000 mile trip and we were running short of time to be back and we were just riding till we were exhausted, sleeping and starting again. In the mountains in the dark we just pulled over at the side of the road where there seemed to be a bit of flat ground and put the tent up. Some scratching sounds woke me up in the middle of the night - a quick look and it was a couple of rats. We hadn't put the tent up that well and there was a gap between the side wall and the ground and they'd got under. In the morning the reason why we'd been invaded was obvious - the flat ground was a rubbish dump for the local village. We'd just been too tired to notice or care.

Re tying the tent to the bike - you mean like this:





That was me broken down in the Sahara and just sleeping where I'd stopped. Being a warm starlit night I thought I'd just put a tarp on the sand and sleep on that whilst admiring the heavens. That idea lasted about 20 mins till some great black bug thing crawled over me. That wasn't so bad but I started wondering if there were scorpions etc coming along in its wake. Probably just "desert fever", but without protection it was going to be tough getting to sleep. Just tying the inner tent to the bike and crawling inside gave me enough peace of mind.
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Old 19 Sep 2011
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I slept without a tent in the Australian bush for a few months, and surprisingly never had anything that deadly crawling over me - although did have a lot of run-ins with Huntsman spiders - vicious little critters!

For my money I wouldn't take any other design of tent than full inner plus outer fly - no wildlife getting in and as long as you pitch em right the condensation forms on the fly and leaves the inner dry.

I was going to take a bivvy bag on my next trip but have decided that 4 years in a tent will be bearable, 4 years in a bag would suck - no refuge from the elements other than for lying down with fabric right on your face
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