We bought this tent (a Terra Nova Polar Lite 2 Micro) for three reasons:
- An outer pitching tent that’s light enough to carry on your own, but large enough to take either a large Labrador or a large Boxer with you as well.
- Light enough to use solo if out in snow. (The wonderful Enan is not designed for snow.)
- Possibly for me and Geoff to use together on trips, trying to keep the weight down, thinking especially about Arctic Sweden next summer.
It is a small tent though and it’s a while since hubby and I have shared a small tent. Rucksacks will have to be left outside – so need protecting if the weather is bad – and the porch is not big for wet gear etc. Last weekend, with its forecast of snow and wind, seemed like a fitting time to try it out.
Friday evening then, saw us waiting for daughter and son-in-law to arrive, as they had kindly offered to look after the dogs for us.
So shortly after 6pm, we set off in the dark and headed up hill for a couple of miles to a wonderfully exposed spot around the 430m contour, near South Head and Mt Famine.
The tent was pitched and I inflated Xtherms and sorted gear, while Geoff went off to filter water.
It was already quite chilly with a smattering of hail on the ground, but nothing much.
We did get a bit of a battering overnight, though. A couple of hours of snow followed by totally manic winds. The tent stood up to it all well mind, looking just as good in the morning as it had done when we’d pitched it.
And so far, not an argument in sight between us.
The rucsacs were both buried under a load of snow by morning, but still dry as we’d wrapped them in their waterproof covers. Packing them took a little organisation with me inside, passing stuff to Geoff outside, who dutifully packed them both. Of course all my stuff was then packed in a different order and in different places to how I do it – but I didn’t moan.
We set off, with no fixed idea of where we were aiming for.
We decided to drop into Dimpus Clough, then pick up the Edale Cross track and contour around under Kinder Low End.
Making a bee-line for the east end of Kinder Reservoir, we stopped for a lunch break on the way across and Geoff decided to use his new Minimo to make us a hot cup of tea – which was nice.
By this time, we’d decided to head for a spot next to the Kinder River for the night. This would be a real test for keeping warm – lower down (around 300m), in a valley next to the river, it was very likely to be a bit of a cold sink. We’d both brought what we loosely class as our ‘summer’ sleeping bags, just to see if we could manage, as this is what we’re planning to take to Arctic Sweden next summer. This summer, I’d taken my winter bag to Sarek and had found it to be total overkill for the conditions in August.
It was a bit chilly to be sat around outside in the late afternoon, so we spent quite a few hours this evening and night in the tent. Another good test….. We still didn’t have any major arguments, but he wouldn’t let me sing when he was reading…..
At some point once it was properly dark, Geoff saw -7C on his Suunto watch, so it certainly tested the sleeping bags out. Amazingly – I thought – we were actually very cozy overnight. I’d taken some Prism trousers to sleep in if necessary, but although I started with them on, I did in fact get too warm and have to take them off in the early hours.
About 3am, I had to get up for a call of nature and found that the 2 litre platypus that we’d left full of water outside the tent was totally frozen. A platypus ice brick. It must have been quite cold out there.
Over breakfast the next day, we inevitably fell to discussing what we thought of the Tiny Tent.
There was no doubt, we did really like it. We’d managed all the necessary chores and spent a good many hours chilling in it, without killing each other. We thought it would be a brill tent for the pair of us if we were off to Yosemite or The Cascades, to wander around in the sun (in the main) for a week or so, where you could cook outside and only really use it for sleeping. But we also decided that a week in Arctic Sweden, where it might conceivably rain for the whole time, might test close living to its limits.
So we came to the conclusion that the bigger one we also have – the Polar Lite 3 – is probably going to be the tent of choice for next summer. Yes, it’s heavier, but on the other hand we could rattle around in there for hours and hours if we felt like it, without feeling at all cramped or getting on each other’s nerves. (That’s the theory, anyway…)
The Tiny Tent should still gets lots of use, however. We’ve both already used it on our own with Tilly (the big Labrador), when it was absolutely spot on. And Geoff’s planning on taking it for himself in February, when he and a mate are hoping to walk the Arran Coastal Way. By next spring, I’m hoping to start taking Pebbles (the big Boxer) out in it, too. It should definitely fit the One-Person-Plus-A-Dog niche very well.
But back to Sunday. Today’s plan now, was to wander back home on a slightly circuitous route, calling in at Millies (a new cafe in the village) on the way, for a mega, slap-up, all-day breakfast.