Vango Blade 100
Product Review / Walking Gear Test
Weight: 1.72 gms
Features to Note:
- Pack size: 50 x 12cms
- Inner first pitching
- Outer tent: 70D Protex® Polyester, 5000mm waterproof, featuring Vango hexagonal pattern
- PowerLite® Alloy 7001-T6 poles
- Inner tent: Breathable polyester
- Polyester groundsheet waterproof to 6,000mm
- Line-Lok guyline runners
- Pole sleeve tension adjustment
- Rain stop flysheet door
- Flysheet vents with mesh covering
- Part mesh inner door
- Compression stuffsac.
I've been looking at backpacking tents lately - I've heard lots about Vango's Blade but have only now had opportunity to try it out.
It's a good pack size - I can easily get it to about the 50x12cms the manufacturer claims; at 1.7 gms it's light but actually a little heavier than my other backpacking tent but not greatly so.
Pitching is inner-first, which is a bit unusual and could be a bit inconvenient in wet weather although with a bit of practice I found that I can arrange things to minimise the risk of a wet inner. Aside from that it's pretty straightforward to get up. It has just one central pole running its length and once up it has a distinctly (retro!) ridge tent like appearance. It's shape means that you do have to be careful about how you orientate it in the wind when you'd definitely need to make use of all its 4 guylines and 8 pegging points.
Inside, there's certainly enough space for one. Because of its ridge-like shape, there's more space at the base compared with the top. To avoid touching the sides, you need to sleep down the middle which is fine as long as you're under 6'. It's not really possible to sit up. There's room for storage on the ground around the sides plus there are 4 small storage pockets in the sides. There are also a couple of hanging points. There's a small porch which was large enough to take my 40 litre backpack. I didn't have to try this - but it might even be possible to cook in that little porch.
There are a couple of ventilation points - one in the doorway plus one at the other end. One doorway, which can be opened to the left or right and unzips bottom to top.
Not tried it yet in significant wind, but I've had several very comfortable, condensation-free early Autumn nights (albeit without much wind) around the Peak District in the Blade and I'm looking forward to getting out in it again over the next few months.
By virtue of its shape, there's less available storage - and headroom - in Vango's Blade 100. However, for many multi-day walkers, this will be compensated for by the light weight and very competitive price of this well-specd, one person backpacking tent.
What do you think?
Have you got/bought Vango Blade 100 Tents?
We would love to hear what you thought of it - good, bad or indifferent. Perhaps you simply disagree with our verdict - or feel we've neglected an important feature.
Let us know by clicking this link - What I think of Vango Blade 100 Tents - so we can publish your important views below.
• I have always been a fan of Vango from the days of my DOE and my Banshee 200s. I have several tents for solo camping ranging from a Hilleberg Soulo for the winter to a Jack Wolfskin Gossamer bivvy tent for those barmy summer evenings (or was that Spain). I needed something to cover those unpredictable autumn/spring overnighters in the Fells. I bought the Blade 100 online from a company (now defunct) which arrived with a slight manufacturing error on the fly. Vango were brilliant and repaired it free of charge even sending a courier to collect and return it. I have used on a number of occasions now and, for the price, it's outstanding. Remembering this is a £60-£80 tent and 'you always get what you pay for', the quality and detailing are amazing. To the previous reviewer, it does hold up in a gale if you (traditionally) point the tail into the wind and it flaps and rattles a lot less than my £600 Hilleberg! Keeping the four guy ropes as long as possible helps stability too. If you want to take the risk, yes, you can cook in the tiny bay area but keep the door open and tied back to the pole and cook just to one side out of the wind. The good thing about the doors is either can be tied back if, or in most cases when, the wind changes. The bay will store boots, cooking gear and other items quite easily without touching the fly if you are the organised type. I am 5'7 so it's quite comfortable and, with a short torso like mine and even resting on a 7cm sleep mat, I can sit up in the centre of the tent at its apex. You can also sleep either way round too with plenty of room for a pack or pannier as a pillow and dry bags and other items down the sides. A zipped fabric cover on the inner door bug mesh is a nice touch for ‘trimming' the ventilation. This is a feature usually only found on more expensive brands. On the con side, very little really. Yes its interior is a little small with limited head room. Should it break, only one thin single pole with no repair sleeve could be a problem. Inner pitch first could be an issue for a UK climate but I leave mine attached to the outer and slide the pole under the fly in to the inner's webbing sleeve. This keeps the inner covered in the rain while you peg the base out first. A little more material on the zip storm flaps for when the wind and rain change direction would help too. But remember, even though it may not look it when pitched, this is still a budget tent. In summary: A triumph of material and design by Vango for the price. Quick and simple to pitch, sleek in the wind, a cosy inner space, light enough for cycle camping and backpacking providing you accept its limitations. Definitely a must buy for the camping cupboard.
Trevor Morgan, Cockermouth