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Gear Review: Vango Blade 200 Tent for Hikers

Gear Review: Vango Blade 200 Tent for Hikers

Vango Blade 200

So, is that tent any good? You bet it is!

I absolutely love it and am really happy with my decision to buy it.

Its weight and ease of use are superb. I tested it in Scottish summer – full of rain, bogs, and heavy winds. I can recommend it for any solo hiker out there - especially one on a budget.

There are lighter backpacking tents, of course, but they tend to cost twice or even thrice the price of Vango Blade 200 (UK)  at around £100. How can you beat that?
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Note

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General overview

Vango Blade 200  is a non-freestanding tent for two persons. It has just one pole for quick and simple pitching. It weights at 2,1 kg and the pack size is about 48 cm x 15 cm, but when you pack the pole separately, it packs much smaller.
Vango Blade 200 review: great budget tent for solo backpacking and hiking. awomanafoot.com
By contrast, a very popular MSR Hubba NX is only 1,54 kg, but it also costs three times more at about $400.
Another well-respected tent, a Hilleberg Akto fits only one person and weights 1,7 kg... the cost? $530!

That's almost five times that of Vango Blade 200!

I understand that there are probably some magical components and NASA-technology based fabrics somewhere in there. But I can think of quite a lot of good gear I could get for the difference between those two...

Fabric

The fly fabric is 70D Protex® Polyester featuring Vango hexagonal pattern, which is 5000 mm waterproof.

The inner is made of polyester and the groundsheet is polyester waterproof to 6000 mm.

The colors are orange (inner) and dark green (outer).

I would prefer something else than orange, as I dislike this color. But the green outer is perfect if you prefer to “hide” while wild camping.

You can see below that the tent almost disappears among grasses and trees.

Comfort

I was hiking alone, and this two-person tent felt almost palatial to me.

When I was considering various tents after some thought I refused the idea of a bivvy or burrow-like structures.

I needed room for myself, my gear and I wanted to be able to sit up with some headroom above me.

I knew there might be a time that I would be stuck in a tent for a day – how can you survive that without being able to sit up?

Well, check this out: I could easily sit, change clothes, pack my bag or read with the Vango Blade’s 100 cm inner height.

I am pretty sure two persons would sleep comfortably in it with some room for gear as well. I absolutely loved those moments where I could sit by the entry, cook my meal under the vestibule and look at the landscape in front of me. This tent is a green little TARDIS of my own.

It looks flat and small from afar - but is spacious and roomy inside.

This model has one front entry with double-entry vestibule over it.

It served enough protection to keep my boots or cooking set there. But I would be wary of leaving a backpack – the fly doesn’t go all the way to the ground so it could get wet.

When the weather is nice, you can roll up the vestibule from both sides or you can choose to roll just one to have a better wind protection.

Vango Blade 200 has some inner pockets for small items and loops at the top to hang a lamp or to dry something. Its flat A shaped construction makes it very spacious at the floor level – a lot of room for your gear and smaller items, with your sleeping bag moved more to the middle.

Vango Blade's Ventilation

The inner tent is made of breathable polyester and has part mesh inner door. There are small vents in the flysheet. I didn’t have any issues but am not sure about ventilation with two people in humid conditions.

Ease of set-up

It is supposed to be inner-first set-up, but after I attached the inner to the outer tent, I was pitching it together.

I could set it up in under 5 min even in rain with hardly any issues. The one-pole construction couldn’t be easier to set-up, although care needs to be taken to make sure it’s straight and symmetrical when stretching the guy lines. It is quite easy to over stretch one side, which makes the flysheet touch the inner tent on the other side.

Vango Blade 200 review: great budget tent for solo backpacking and hiking. awomanafoot.com

The tent came with only 12 pegs, which were pretty flimsy anyway.

I plan on buying a sturdier set of Y-shaped light pegs and add a few old ones for support. It should help with more even stretching and remove any issues of inner touching the outer tent.

Vango Blade 200's Weather resistance

I decided on buying Vango tent because I figured that a Scottish company should know how to deal with Scottish weather best.

And it was not a mistake! It survived heavy rains and storm-level winds on the Trotternish Ridge, where I had to use heavy stones to loop the guy liners around to hold it down.

The flatted A shape helps a lot with heavy winds – just make sure you are back to it and not sideways as I think it could behave like a sail then ;-).

The groundsheet survived with no issues being pitched over bogs and wet moss. Sides are high enough that no rain pooling around it got in.

The flysheet was fine in terms of keeping the water out but needed help with shedding drops and drying.

I had a high-absorbing sponge with me and had to use it each morning. After I took the drops out it was drying nicely and fast. The inner tent was fast drying, too. When it got completely soaked after I had to pack it in the pouring rain I thought I would have a wet night.

But the next evening I pitched it wet; I dried the floor and simply slept in the middle taking care not to touch the sides. The tent was completely dry (as was I) the next morning.

An additional plus is the completely waterproof stuff sack – I could pack the soaking wet tent inside it and safely pack it inside my backpack without getting everything else wet.

Shortcomings

  • The tent requires 16 pegs, but there are only 12 in the set. They are rather soft and bend easily.
  • There was some condensation problem - the ventilation could be better.
  • You might have some difficulty getting out from the tent if you don’t want to do it on your knees. It might prove especially annoying in rain.
  • 2,1 kg: it is not an ultra-light shelter.
  • The orange color! It burnsss ussss!
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Conclusion

So, do I think the Vango Blade 200 tent is any good? You bet I do!

So, do I think the Vango Blade 200 tent is any good? You bet I do!

I give it 4,5/5! Great bang for your buck!

Check out my other gear reviews and musings here.

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