Barry Shaw: Kayaking Adventure with F10 Xenon UL2+
We had the pleasure of spending a month with the Vango Xenon UL2+ on a sea kayak journey around Ireland’s coastline in the summer of 2017. Days on the water were long and demanding so our “off the water” time was most definitely a time to look for some comforts to prepare ourselves mentally and physically for the following day. The tent, in our minds, was something critical to get right. After much deliberation in the preceding months, it was the F10 Vango Xenon UL2+ which caught our attention and after the rigours of the trip, our choice was most definitely affirmed as a good one.
Barry Shaw at east coast camp, south of Greystones
There were certain priorities of design we looked for, knowing from past experience how these would have an impact on our day to day living. Number one was weight and volume which the Xenon certainly delivers on at a sleek 2.4kg. The outer and inner compressed down beautifully into one reasonably small drybag, easily fitting through the hatches of the kayak. Secondly, the poles had to be reliable. We searched high and low for a spare set to take just in case, but our Xenon’s poles did not let us down, neither through strength nor simplicity in configuration.
F10 Xenon UL2+ east coast Ireland
Finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, we wanted a tent with the option to put up the outer tent first and of course, by default, to be able to take down the outer tent last in the morning. This was paramount to our needs. Landing on wild stretches of coastline, tired and hungry, we were able to get up the outer in as little time as possible and get something hot to drink on the go inside. Then, at our leisure, we could clip on the inner tent as will and energy slowly returned to our bodies.
Barry dries out the F10 Xenon UL2+ on a quick break, east coast
Our alarms went off every morning at 5am. We then went through the rituals of taking apart the camp nearly always leaving the outer tent pitched until the last possible moment. On countless mornings we found ourselves under the outer tent while we packed away all the paraphernalia of camp life. We would get fully dressed and cosy before finally emerging to quickly take down the outer tent and then jump in our boats. It worked wonderfully, keeping ourselves warm and dry for the maximum amount of time.
The F10 Vango Xenon UL2+’s generous porch
Sheltering from the rain in the outer tent
By far, however, the coolest feature of the F10 Vango Xenon UL2+ is its enormous porch with two doors. I wasn’t expecting this feature to become so important to us, but I can honestly say that I don’t think I will ever use a tent for a kayaking trip again that doesn’t have one. On landing for the night, we both filled 3 blue IKEA bags to take to the camp spot. At night, these ALL lived in the porch of the tent holding all our wet gear and countless drybags. Even with all this stuff in the porch, there was still plenty of room to pass through both doors into the inner tent. Apart from keeping everything we had dry through the night, it gave us peace of mind to know that our belongings were safely stowed out of sight. We also often sat in the porch out of the wind cooking with the stove just sat outside.
Kayaking the second half of the Irish coastline awaits us this summer in 2018 and the F10 Vango Xenon UL2+ will be first on the packing list. We can’t wait!
Barry Shaw and the F10 Xenon UL2+ on Dursey Island
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