VANGO STELVIO 200 review…
There are plenty of tents aimed at motorcyclists. Most are small, even uber small, but then there’s the bigger and more featured end. The Vango Stelvio 200 is such a product. Let’s take you through the main features:
• Simple 3 pole (colour coded) tunnel design.
• Separate internal bedroom.
• 3 Doors – two full height to get your bike in/out.
• Separate groundsheet for the main area if needed.
• Bright colour guy ropes for less night-time accidents.
• Reflective tabs on key points for ease of night-time location.
• Patented Tension Band System
• Taped Flysheet and Groundsheet.
• Taped seams
• Protex 70 Dernier polyester flysheet
• Waterproof roll-top carry bag.
• Inner tent pockets.
• Flysheet vents are mesh covered (breathability, less bugs)
• Fully fire retardant fabrics; meets Euro EN5912 regulations.
Weight: 6.6 Kg
Pack Size: 55cm long and 21cm wide.
The speed of erection can be rather important when the weather is against you, so we had a couple of practices, and then made this time lapse video to give an indication of installation time. From start to zipping up (excepting guy ropes) was 18 minutes. Apologies for the nosey dogs 🙂
There was a slight breeze but we felt that with practise and two people we could halve this…
But it’s not the easiest to manipulate single-handed for sure, and two people would negate many of the handling issues…
TOP TIP: The main structure of the tent is designated by a rectangular set of fixed straps with 6 fixing points (you can see them in the bottom pic), find those and peg them out in an even shape you can before doing anything else!
It’s worthy of note that being a tunnel design, and not ‘dome’ it’s a lengthy process to adjust the direction or angle of the tent once it’s started to be fixed; dome-style tents are much easier in that regard.
As you can see, my 2015 V-Strom 650 fitted in comfortably (we reckon that you could leave your panniers/top box on as well) and didn’t touch the flysheet, so a goodly amount of space; but we were concerned that if a ‘proper’ screen was on the bike (e.g. high-rise touring) then that may well have started to touch the flysheet. Similarly, GS and GSA owners might well be just too long, so check the dimensions carefully!
So plenty of room for the bike and luggage, and better still is the ability to have enough space to drip dry wet jackets and trousers – even if they are just hanging off the handlebars.
The bedroom is a simple clip and toggle system (these are colour coded to make it obvious) and to be fair, it is a little cosy in there if there was two of you, particularly if foldout beds were involved, but none-the-less, the bedroom is big enough and the pockets dotted around the interior are always handy for storing torches, snacks and other sundries.
The taped groundsheet outside the bedroom looked OK – it doesn’t have any way of fixing it in the centre and so it can flap about and a potential tripping hazard, but it looked fairly strong and having the flysheet door right in front of the bedroom* conjured images of late night drinks staring at the stars or easy mornings watching the sunrise waiting for your water to boil on your stove for that all essential cuppa. It would have been great to have a porch that could be held up like a door (shade from sun and light rain) but that’s extra poles and extra money…
It was pleasing to see a good amount of mesh around the bedroom; all helps reduce the inevitable condensation from two occupants.
Vango’s patented Tension Band System (TBS) is a really good idea. These are diagonally crossed internal bands that you can tighten to give the whole tent better shape and rigidity should the weather demand it; a much better plan than simply relying on pegs and guy ropes.
Further to all of that is the addition of coloured guy ropes and reflective tabs at key areas on the tent – all of which will help not only actually finding your tent in the middle of the night, but also go some way to mitigate the inevitable tripping over that happens in low light (and high alcohol intake 🙂 ).
Seasoned campers will know that sometimes getting all this stuff back into the manufacturers’ supplied bag can be problematic – but not with the Stelvio! Plenty of space there for even a non-Scout to pack up but I did struggle to make the roll-top roll over far enough to make a decent finish that could then be considered (probably) waterproof. But I suspect that it’s my ineptitude and since I plan to carry my sleeping bag and fold-out bed as well, I’m looking at Ortlieb’s 109 litre Dry Bag to bundle all my camping gear together – so no problem!
My only real gripe would be the tent pegs. Whilst I’ve seen worse, they are still the weak point of most tents, but in the grand scheme it’s easy to resolve; but marks lost there.
Overall then, this is a well thought out and manufactured tent available at a pleasing RRP of £200.
Primus BiFrost H4 £388.
Redverz Atacama £329
* In contrast to other designs which can have the bedroom door opening onto the ‘garage’. I do like the idea of waking up to the morning scenery rather than a closeup of the bike!
NOTE: The Stelvio isn’t made anymore. Vango have updated it for 2015 and it’s now called the “TOUR 200” – identical specifications as far as I can see, again at £200 and available in blue only.