My new Vaude Hogan XT arrived yesterday and, in between the showers, I pitched it in the garden to check it over.
I’ve purchased this tent for my LeJOG trip on the basis of its huge porch swallowing a bike. It does, although I will have to remove the front wheel when I put the bike to bed every night.
So what are my first impressions?
Well, for its 3kg-ish weight, the XT is an enormous tunnel tent. The fly is 40D polyamid ripstop 240T, and siliconised, while the bathtub floor is the same material, but laminated. Fly seams are not taped due to the silicon so I will seal them as a precaution. I thought he floor looked rather insubstantial, but compared favourably with my Akto. I’ll still use a ground cloth of some description, though.
Pitching is very simple… possibly the most intuitive tent set up you are likely to find.
Like a good many models in the Vaude range, the XT uses a skeleton of poles for its structure, which is essentially self-supporting. The poles intersect at alloy bosses, which appear sturdy, and this entire pole set is connected via shock cord. Establishing the flat pole structure is therefore speedy and straightforward. Shock cording all poles raises concerns about long-term durability and making repairs in the field, though.
To erect the tent, simply lie the fly and inner connected on the ground and orient the pole structure correctly on top. The pole ends along the side of the tent locate into pins which cause them to bend and form the long tunnel shape. Alloy hooks then locate on the intersection bosses while plastic spigots and both ends locate into grommets on the fly, which provide apexes for both vents.
To finish, elastic cords are stretched over the pole frame and located into hooks and additional guy ropes attachments wrap around the poles if required. Although the tent was not pegged down properly, it felt very stable and taught.
All this sounds quite involved, but it is a very straightforward process. Attaching the elastic cords could be difficult when wearing gloves, though.
The XT has two doors: one on the side which is additionally protected by a ‘bug door’ and one on the front, which doubles at the front vent. A second zippered vent is located at the other end. The vents do not have netting, but feature protective hoods created by the spigots and grommets on the poles and fly. This allows the vents to be open during rainfall.
The inner has a standard ‘D’ door and features a full mesh door for warm evenings. Mesh is also sewn into the foot of the inner, marrying with the zip vent in the fly. The inner comes fitted with an integrated washing line along with small pockets for odds and ends.
In addition to the cavernous porch, the inner tent is very long indeed. Lying down there was plenty of clearance above my head and feet… and I’m 6ft 6ins. The inner door is vertical, too, maximizing inner space and headroom, is excellent, despite the fairly sharp ridgeline.
The inner is connected to the fly with a series of quick release straps. These are important as they help to keep the inner tent taught, as there are no mid fixing points along its considerable length.
Breaking down the tent is also simple, although watch knuckles when unhooking the elastics. Care is also needed when breaking down that pole structure.
All stuffsacs are ample, although the main roll-closure sac does feature a heavy plastic lip, which seems a bit surplus to requirements. I’ll use this for storage though, as the tent will eight be split between panniers or rucksacks.
The tent is supplied with sufficient guy lines and, as always, fairly rudimentary pegs. These will be swapped for some titanium stakes.
Overall impressions, then, are good. Build quality is excellent, in the Hilleberg class, and the XT looks like it will perform well for cycling and backpacking trips when shared with another walker.
I’ll add to this review after it’s first use in anger.