After a lot of comparing of tents from various brands (including Vaude, Vango, Terra Nova), procrastination and deliberation we have finally (Apr 2010) decided on and bought our Christmas present....namely a new tent for our backpacking trips.
We settled on a Vaude Mark ii Light, much like the standard Mark 2 but the best part of a Kg lighter. Light is good :) Having said that, if weight is your primary focus on tent buying you may want to look at other tents, despite being branded 'light' this Vaude Mark ii is a lot heavier than many backpacking tents. It is spacious though.
Our first attempt at putting it up was a mixed bag in terms of success, using the instructions sewn into the tent bag we couldn't figure out how the poles should attach to the ground sheet at the corners.
A bit of searching online turns up a video on youtube showing someone putting up the standard Mark 2 ready for a show. It turns out the metal things at each corner of the material don't get pushed into the ground like pegs, which is what we initially thought, but instead are inserted into the bottom of the bent pole.
Once we sorted out the issue with attaching poles to corners, the rest couldn't be any easier.
- bend poles into shape + push onto metal spikes at corners
- pull the eyelet of the porch onto the pole
- clip flysheet to poles using 2 hooks above porches (this tent has 2)
- clip flysheet to poles using 2 clips on ridge
- wrap cord round pole to attach rest of fly on ridge, then down sides/ends
- pegs/guy ropes as appropriate for conditions
The porches (there are 2) are of good size, the shoes there are size 10 trainers. Enough room for 50 litre pack plus boots in each end I reckon, will confirm later once we've had it out in the field.
[additional 24 May 2010]: Having taken it out for a walk I can confirm we had 2 large packs (60 litres each I think) stashed in one porch, the other porch housed our shoes and was our way in/out for the night. Room for cooking with boots in porch (not recommended - tent material burns very quickly!).
When pitched the headroom is good, I can sit up comfortably and I'm around 5'10" / 180cm ish tall. Sleeping length is adequate. I can lie down straight rather than curling to avoid rubbing tent material.
In the image of the porch you can see I've left the top of the door slightly open, this is for venting the tent. Doors can be zipped right up to top if required, equally there is a cover over the top of doors so you can leave venting open when raining.
With a little practice I think we should be able to get the tent from pack to up in under 3 minutes. This has now proven the case, several times we have arrived at sites where other backpackers are already in the process of seting up tents and we can get the Vaude Mark ii up before they have finished setting up their TN Lasers etc.
Our mk.ii light hasn't been really tested in strong wind yet, but it has had a few good soakings and it's done very well at shedding the water. Some minor ingress through the seams, but as I haven't sealed them that is to be expected.
We had a swamp/river of rain under the tent and the groundsheet kept us dry.
Vaude Mark II 3 Person Tent on Amazon Please note that link to Amazon is for the standard Mark ii, not the Light version. Same tent but bit heavier (stronger?).
Vaude Mark ii Light tent