The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday 23 February 2008

Wendy's Third Outing

Glossary: For those who aren't already acquainted with her, Wendy is our Stephenson’s Warmlite 2R; a very lightweight and very sturdy tent.

Recap: Wendy’s first outing was on a campsite in North Yorkshire on a very cold and still night. Her performance was not assisted by a bad bit of pitching (well, it was her first outing and she needed practice at getting herself right) and by morning the inside was running with condensation, both on the single and double skin sections. We conceded that it wasn’t a very fair test as in the exceptionally still conditions most tents would have struggled to remain dry.

Her second outing was on a weekend of wet and stormy weather in Wales. We were jolly impressed at her stability and condensation was not a problem on this occasion. In fact, the only problem was that we had pitched in an incredibly bad position (the pitch having turned into a pond overnight) leading to us waking up in a pool of water. As much as I cursed Wendy when the water was first discovered, she was soon forgiven when the cause was discovered.

Latest Test: Her third outing was once again in very cold and quite calm conditions on 13/14 February. This time we chose a good pitch and we pitched her well (she’s getting used to the process now) and then we did everything we could to minimise condensation: we cooked well away from her and we sat outside until late in the evening when the cold got the better of us and chased us inside.

A breeze picked up overnight (although I’m not sure whether ventilation was affected by having pitched head to the wind).

In the morning I was disappointed to find that despite having done nothing in the tent that may have led to an excess of water vapour (no cooking and certainly no sweating as it was jolly cold; all we did was breathe) the double-skin section was once again damp with condensation.

I know that Alan Sloman has had excellent results with Wanda, his Warmlite 2C and the only explanation that I can give for the variance of results is that he uses Wanda solo whilst there are two of us in Wendy. I firmly believe that Wendy would cope just fine, even on a still night, with one person breathing, however, in cold conditions with two people it seems that she can’t quite cope.

That raises the question as to what will happen when it’s raining out and we have no option but to use the stove inside of her. Alan found that this wasn’t a problem, but again he was only producing enough hot water for food and drink for one person. We will have to double those quantities, which will put twice the water vapour into the confined space.

To date Wendy has not dripped on us. The condensation only causes a problem when we brush against it in our down sleeping bags or down jackets. Again, if there was only one person in the tent the space would be so vast that one could manoeuvre without touching the sides. With two people it’s difficult not to touch the sides.

All that may seem like doom and gloom, but I’ve still not given up on Wendy. The difference I see between our LEJOG and the test-runs to date is that (hopefully, at least) on our LEJOG the weather will be rather warmer. Hopefully those few degrees of warmth will be enough to stave off the condensation that we’ve seen to date.

The test period continues…


  1. Hi Gayle,Interested to read your reviews of the tent.Have you had any extras added to the tent and what does the cost of the 2R come out at.THANKS

  2. Hello there Trenthamwalker

    We went for the 2R with the large door and the wind stabilisers.

    At the exchange rate prevailing last August when I ordered, that came out (with delivery within the US, because I got someone to hand carry it for me) at £286.

    Undoubtedly the side windows would have assisted the condensation issue, but we went for less weight and less money instead of that extra.

  3. I'm not surprised by the results, in fact I'm very suspicious of any American tent. The USA is not the UK.

    If I was seeting out on a trip of more than 2 or 3 days, let alone a LEJOG, I would want a tent that is ultra-reliable in this respect. Imgagine being a few days into the walk and finding the foot of the sleeping bags all soggy!.

    Our Voyager never has condensation in the inner whatever the conditions. Even on cold and wet pitches in winter, when we are boiling up lots of water in the porch for hot drinks and a flask for the day, it remains bone dry.

  4. Are you going to be able to cope with it for all of that time?

    On the TGO Challenge last year I watched Alan cooking in Wanda -it did strike me that you would have to be very careful. I reckon I'd have sent the whole thing up in flames within a week !

  5. Geoff - Likewise, we have never suffered from any condesation in our Voyager either.

    The reason that Wendy is still in contemplation over the Voyager is the weight saving of the best part of a kilo - which even with the downsides is a very tempting factor.

    The Voyager is, of course, our other option for the big walk - or we may do a bit of mix and match between the two tents and see how it goes.

    Andy - Perhaps I just don't pay enough heed to safety factors, but (until now, at least!) burning the tent down hasn't been one of my big concerns (or at least no more than in the Voyager).