I bought my VauDe Hogan XT for cycle touring. However, for a long list of reasons which don’t really merit further mention here, the Hogan has become my go-to shelter and the one I have used most over the last couple of years or so. It’s too heavy for backpacking, although manageable for two when slimmed down for the trail, but is perfect for trips on the bike and for chucking in the car for a dirty weekend.
Measured weight complete: 8lbs 2oz. 7.2lbs trimmed down
Packed dimensions: 55cm by 25cms (at a push)
In the bag
Alloy pole ‘exoskeleton’
Four guys lines with runners
Tent stuff sac
The Hogan remains very easy to pitch, even in wind and rain on the fellside or at exposed campsites. It can be pitched outer first or all in one (the inner clips in), my preference for notoriously wet UK conditions.
Simply lay the flysheet out on the floor and secure the far corner with a peg. Fit the shock-corded pole structure together and align over the top of the flysheet. Locate the flysheet pins in the ‘grommets’ at the corners and erect the structure, taking care that the poles are properly secure as they can ‘whip out‘.
Once the structure is in place, simply clip the external cords over the poles. These are elasticated save for the one running along the ‘spine’, or ‘dorsal fin’ if you prefer (!).
Now the tent has taken shape and you have an almost complete freestanding structure. All that remains it to peg out the front and sides and make use of the guys if the weather is poor.
To give it a largely arbitrary pitching time metric, it takes less than five minutes. However, more important is that it is easy to do if you been hiking or biking all day.
The VauDe ‘exoskelton’ is a well proven idea that the German firm has employed it on several tents. It works extremely well. In ‘high’ winds it is, naturally, better to pitch the tent ‘nose to the wind’. However, in use, the Hogan has stood up to some seemingly heavy sideways gusts.
With guy ropes attached, the structure is rigid but the elastic cords allow the structure yield a little if conditions are foul. Overall, the system has proved effective, my only gripe would be the lack of a full set of guy lines for all guying points on the tent.
The VauDe has a ‘Polyamid’ silicone flysheet and consequently does not have taped seams. When I bought the tent I committed a schoolboy error and sealed with normal sealant. This has subsequently peeled off but has left a residue in the seam holes.
I should have used SilNet. However, the tent has never leaked despite my Heath Robinson efforts.
The bathtub floor did feel a little flimsy when I bought the Hogan, but, again, this has not let me down. I don’t use a footprint, but choose my pitch with care.
The Hogan has a main side door with bug netting and a front door which doubles as a vent. There’s a vent at the rear, too, with a corresponding mesh panel on the tent inner. If positioned correctly into the breeze, and with vents open, condensation is well controlled in the Hogan XT. The size of the tent helps too, of course, but things will get clammy if conditions are challenging.
As mentioned, the Hogan is a long tent. In common with my Hilleberg Akto, the inner dimensions are generous and there’s plenty of room for me as a six foot sixer. It can get a bit ‘sociable’ when sharing the tent with someone else, though this is more than compensated for by the huge porch which is great for storing equipment and bikes.
It’s a comfortable arrangement for and extended camping trip.
After using this tent for an extended period in a range of conditions, I have only one gripe. The shock cords in the pole structure are threaded rather tightly and the cord has a nasty habit of snapping which makes the tent difficult to use. It’s a pretty straightforward job to rethread them (and I carry spare shock cord at all times) but it’s a pain nonetheless. In really cold conditions, this shock cord can slacken, too, which can also make things difficult.
A note on cost
I was fortunate in that I sourced my Hogan XT through a friend and received a staff discount. On the web, you can currently pick one up for around £400. This seems steep to me and I’m not sure I would pay this kind of money now. Worth shopping around or waiting for the sales.
Excellent, strong, stable tent for cycle touring and extended trips. Long inner and excellent porch.
Shock cords poles need to be handled with care, heavy for backpacking (for two), expensive.