4.7 out of 5
Exped Venus II - features unexpected
May 15, 2011
The tent has so many features that when you read about them and then see them for what they actually are you become engrossed in the tent's philosophy. For instance, the color coded poles quickly tell you what poles go where but this is not really necessary because there are only 3 poles, 2 long and 1 short. No way could you use the long poles in the short sleeve. The tent did not come with an owners manual so it does take time to figure out how it goes up. My wife is 6'-1" and she immediately realized that the tent was plenty long for her (a major concern). The mesh pockets in the inside corners open from the top and not from the side thus articles don't fall out (a small but welcome feature) and they are large. The mesh gear loft is so large that it has a support strap sewn in the top of the tent to keep it from sagging from stored items (who would of thought of something like that except someone who has bumped their head against it - another small but welcome feature). The repair kit and the tent pegs have their own separate zippered compartments which are part of the pole bag. Clever storage feature. All the peg straps are extra sturdy and well secured to the tent with extra sewing reinforcement. The fly has adjustable straps in the corners to make it tight to the tent - every tent has this nowadays but this attachment is well thought out with it's own special buckle. The tent pegs are color coded - one can only wonder why until you realize that there are the those pegs which are used for the basic installation and the others are for extra support for windy conditions. Makes counting pegs easier when disassembling. Another unnecessary feature but nice to have all the same. This is almost a free standing tent, but not quite. Six anchor points are mandatory, four corners plus two vestibules. You could sort of get by without putting the corner pegs in but then if a wind came up during the night there would be noise from the walls flapping. A tent like this begs to be use where the weather is a factor. It's strong and well thought out design would furnish a valuable shelter for the adventurous tripper. However, when one is at higher elevations, 12,000 to 16,000 feet, where the ground tends to be rocky the tent pegs would have to be exchanged for boulders to secure the tent. Because the tent is not self standing, I see this as its only drawback. The tent with its foot print is over 7 lbs. For some people this would be considered too heavy. However, the weight is there because the materials are as strong as they can be without their being overly strong. It is my personal experience that I will invariably encounter a strong wind (30 mph+) or heavy rain on every outing. I want a tent that will give me a good night's sleep and shelter. This tent can do the job. I estimate this tent could last ten years. Do the math - it's worth it.Pros: Great design, Build quality, Lasts forever, Performance, Great value
Waterproof, rugged, and roomy
June 27, 2007
I recently spent almost two weeks kayaking in the back country of Alaska. While the Exped tent is heavier than most of the other tents, mine held up to wind and rain far better than anything else (but it did need to be staked). It has AMAZING vestibule space and was the envy of everyone on the trip. This is probably the easiest tent I have ever pitched. It was great that the inside part of the tent was attached to the rainfly in such a way that I didn't have to mess around with trying to get a tarp over a mesh screen in heavy downpours. When I signed on for the trip, I was advised to also get a ground sheet despite the fact that the folks at Outdoor Research in Seattle told me I wouldn't need one. Well, the ground sheet is well worth the purchase... as a TARP when trees are available near the tent for additional coverage. On the wettest days, even those when I could not set up the groundsheet as a tarp, not an ioto of water got inside the tent. Additionally, the tent packed up nice and dry provided I removed the inside part of the tent from the rainfly, prior to packing it up (I'm 5'3" and was able to scramble around under the rainfly to unhook everything). I found that when setting up the tent, it is easiest to peg the 4 corners before inserting the poles. There are way too many features to
Tough but not perfect
January 21, 2009
Bought this tent for a bicycle trip around Iceland. The tent withstood Iceland's notorious wind but it couldn't handle the rain. The seam along the top of the fly leaked. I had to lash garbage bags over the seam whenever it rained. The vestibules are huge, allowing my wife and me to store all of our panniers with room to spare for entry/exit and food prep. Setting up the tent is easy although to truly make it wind proof we had to stake out all of the guy points. It was nice to be able to remove the inner tent while remaining sheltered under the fly when raining. The tent offers plenty of headroom and ample space thanks to the tent's Prius-like shape. I highly recommend this tent but caution the buyer to seam seal the main seams before adventuring in foul weather.
Compared to Nemo AR or Airjet 2
August 28, 2009
Living with Venus...I have had four tents for solo kayak touring in 10 years. I take Venus all over the Pacific Northwest coast and backpacking/light mountaineering. The Exped Venus II is by far the best tent of the four for all but full on mountaineering, a true 3.5 season tent. It is superior to the Nemo AR in that it has ample space for gear outside the inner tent/sleeping area, as a result, inside area is not consumed. It has double door ventilation, which can be open in rain, not sacrificing water sheding which my AR cannot (The kids love it as the head area canopy, though fun for star gazing is exposed when the fly is not fully zipped up. The Venus 2 gives a roomy, vented feel when stuck for long periods in stormy weather. Cooking under the fly/vestibule cover feels safe. The VERY fire retardant fly is a plus (avoid cooking on the sm. door side with the gear loft. With second door open, gas stove fumes dont get trapped as much as they do in my Mt. Hardware Airjet 2 (a single wall/single door tent. You dont need to bring a large tarp for an outside kitchen with the Venus 2. Setup in wet conditions is a plus. Stake x3 the tent out first, and then insert poles. The sheathed tubes are in the fly, so when wet, guide/push them carefully - slow, remember the rain does not get in to the tent as the fly is quite water proof. The attached 'inner tent' need not be removed unless you get a damp fly and it makes sense to pack the two separately (in order NOT to have a wet tent the next night). No need to pack all the pegs either (6 will do), though when kayaking. I found it good to have 'parachute' fabric anchors which utilize the beach ground materials on ie: sand/pebbles/rocks. The fly has lots of pre-attached, pouched string anchors that help in various wooded or log jam beach areas. Pack the tent in a smaller than supplied stuff sack; separate the tent poles/pegs and you will fit the fly/tent attached in to a bag the size of a 2 liter pop bottle. Note I keep a second bag for when I remove the fly if wet.. This I stake out first with 3 pegs separately when it rains, and attach the tent afterwards, reconnecting each peg a second time...slower but much dryer in big rain... I coat my poles in LPS3 rust inhibitor, let dry and wipe off all residue (thin film keeps the anodized finish, even when rinsed). This tent is superior to my AR and Airjet in all ways except two: The Venus is side entry and in tight spaces stakes out a bigger footprint difficult on beaches with lots of logs, finding a big enough spot is a bit of work. The AR and Airjet though staked do not need as much space and have a 'front' door only etc. and are about 1 to 1.3 lbs lighter than the Venus 2. Recently my Airjet=2 started to delaminate (glue welded seam design failures etc.) and I have opted for either a Mt Hardware EV2 or Direct (as the dealer will trade up for additional $$). I have had no problems with the Venus 2 on exposed west coast of Vancouver Island: 30 knot winds, near horizontal rain, and 2 inch runoff under the tent etc. (do seam seal the tub with McNett). I do recommend the ground sheet, but have had to makes some mods to that as it is not quite as well thought out (uses elastic fasteners with no specific anchor points defined, and tends to be time consuming etc.) I will advise if/when I come up with a modification worth mentioning.
August 11, 2009
I love this tent, easy and fast to set up, so many great designs, and seems very durable. I just spent a few nights out in NH white mountain range and this tent stood up really well. Also when it gets dark I appreciated the ease of set up. One thing I didn't like was the choice of color for inside, they are yellow and I just didn't like that (I prefer more earthy colors to match the outershell which is green) anyways this is a great tent and you will be happy.
It's an amazing tent!
June 12, 2008
This is an amazing tent. I and my kids have owed many tents (MSR, Marmot, Eureka, Sierra Designs, etc.) and this is my favorite. Its so versatile youll be wowed by the design. Just a few high points: (1) left and right walls of the inner tent stand straight-up vertical, creating huge inner space for no extra weight, (2) two very large vestibules allow gear stowage for two hikers with room to spare (really!) (3) tent can pack down with the rainfly attached, allowing for totally dry setup in torrential rain in less than 90 seconds (really!); (4) if you pack the poles separately, the tent & fly cinch down to about two-thirds the size of a two-liter bottle; (5) great ventilation with no condensation even in the rain; (6) Im 64 and fit with a little room to spare both sitting and lying down, even using a Big Agnes or Exped inflatable pad in the snow; (7) green and amber colors easy on the eyes, (8) has about a thousand tie-down points (maybe not a thousand, but a bunch) so its not going to lie down in the wind, even on the beach. This is the ultimate kayaking tent and its great for hiking too. Stands up to the snow and has convertible doors. Issue: Its not really fully free-standing, you need to stake the doors to support the tent body, but thats only a total of two stakes, and youre going to stake them anyway if you use a fly. Nothing compares except maybe the Marmot Swallow, but the Swallow takes up double the packsize volume, weighs many pounds more and doesn't have two full vestibules.
Green and Terracotta.