Wilderness Equipment Fist Arrow 2018

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Wilderness Equipment Fist Arrow 2018

Postby newhue » Mon 14 May, 2018 6:00 am

When companies go off sure to become more profitable, one would hope product development continues and the product gets better. Well after a decade of service using our NZ made tent in places it perhaps should not go, the time come to eventually upgrade. Sadly when we upgraded to the same model now made elsewhere, it was clear things had changed. So we upgraded again to another long running tried and tested brand and model, a Wilderness Equipment First Arrow. And I think with their move to overseas manufacturing, things have only got better.

Now I’m not the greatest up to date tech head, and weight its important, but loosing weight of my guts makes more sense than chasing every very expansive gram that can be purchased.
We wanted a four season tent that could do it all. From hot humid nights to snow, coupe with strong high mountain winds, lashing rain, reasonably light, spacious, have some nice storage features, and if we could support Australian brands all the better. I think we found it.

I’m not a huge tunnel tent fan because they are not free standing, but I can see merit in this one even if it takes a bit longer to pitch than our old trusty.

Upon initial pitching I thought wow there are straps, zips, and material every where. But this tent is simple though first appearing very technical. It has many options but then again that was what I was looking for.

Yes it true it does take a bit longer to pitch but in time I expect that will come down. Threading the three pre bent poles through a fair bit of material can hit a snag here and there. WE have thought a lot about this tent, as the poles bend around they create a fair bit of pull and resistance, but a looped strap is attached to the foot plate where the pole lands, so connecting the two becomes effortless. Once the poles are in its a its simplest it a 3 peg pitch, which is enough to create a sturdy large living space. Guy ropes to make the tent secure for aggressive weather are stored in their own velcro locked pockets, which is a blessing not having to unravel knotted ropes flopping everywhere upon pitching. The poles and pegs come in one bag with two compartments, so one less bag is always handy. The tent also comes with spare ropes for pulling the pegs out, and a emergency sleeve tube for bent or broken poles. If there is one down side to
the pegs is the head of them is aggressive on your hand to push in. So to make a start on harder earth a rock will be needed. My old pegs had a bent head with a flat surface to them, so they may live on yet.

The guy ropes are super easy to use, and don’t slip. WE have a very clever and again simple approach to it. A simple turn, adjust, and release then its job done. Its well appreciated, as I have been caught in the past many times fiddling around in the rain trying to retention the tent form alternative type locking methods. They look like they reflect in the dark, but I didn’t check that bit out.

You pitch the small end into the direction of coming weather. It has easy access from out side and inside, and can be fully opened up for ventilation, meshed or completely open. It can also be just slightly opened as it has an overhang strip of material that will keep rain out, but still allow for air flow if required. You’d easily fit boots, or perhaps a 60lt pack in the small ends vestibule.

The front section is really quite impressive, it’s certainly easy access from left or right. You can completely drop the fly, no see em mesh, or inner wall material if required. Or have any 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 combination your desire or all three walls. There appears to be a myriad of unnecessary zips, but it very possible if you get a side wind to have that side closed and the other completely open for cooking, or escape if it goes pear shaped. The vestibule is big enough for packs and if they have to sleep inside, and access height is great not having to require to get down on your knees for entry. There are tabs to grab thoughtfully placed in all the right places to make the zips work perfectly. And the front has the same overhang strip of material allowing for water proof ventilation if required.

The tent floor is medium weight water proof material that curves up on the sides. However the floor can be released off guy straps to lower it to a completely flat floor, perhaps if it were to used a 3 person tent. I presume the edges are lifted for when it pelting down rain. In my experience when it rains hard and for a bit, water splashed under the fly onto the inner, and eventually makes its way through the inner material. This way of lifting the edges on the floor stops this with no added material to keep weight low. Mesh inner tents usually have high sided floors, but if they don’t than the weight savers know all about what I am talking about if it rains.

The inner is spacious for two, and has left and right side pockets plus a hanging mesh shelf towards the lower end. Its easy to sit up in or spin around in. We wanted this for those days spent waiting out fowl weather, or in the snow you just have more, so a bit of space is welcomed. On the other hand the fly can be removed for weight saving on balmy walks, or if left on I feel air flow from food to head is a far better design than my old stand alone, where air flow was across upper body.

Wilderness Equipment rate it as 5 seasons, I’m not exactly sure what that is but time will tell. It’s a true advertised 2.3kg tent, and though pricey its similar in weight and price to European single skin tents. Its well made and we feel great value for money with so many options making it very versatile. I recall being horrified at the purchase price of my first tent, but after the years of use it boiled down to less than 20c a night, or perhaps even free.
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newhue
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Re: Wilderness Equipment Fist Arrow 2018

Postby Zapruda » Mon 14 May, 2018 7:56 am

Great review, thanks. The new incarnations of these tents need more love. I have been using a second arrow for the past few months and have been quite happy with it. An extremely well designed tent. I love the ventilation options.

My one nitpick is that the bottom zips on the vestibule don’t close to the bottom and create a lot of tension on the zip.

Cheers.
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Re: Wilderness Equipment Fist Arrow 2018

Postby Aardvark » Mon 14 May, 2018 12:04 pm

Now I’m not the greatest up to date tech head, and weight its important, but loosing weight of my guts makes more sense than chasing every very expansive gram that can be purchased.

That's refreshing. Some people worry about the weight of so many items. It's more important that the tent does what you want.
Sounds like Ian Maley is still involved with Wilderness Equipment.
Ever on the search for a one ended stick.
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Re: Wilderness Equipment Fist Arrow 2018

Postby newhue » Sun 20 May, 2018 4:27 pm

Zapruda: yes I noticed that.I have faith however these tents have been tested and evolving for serval years now. If it were an issue they would have rectified it.

Aardvark: Yes Ian is still involved in quality control and making sure the factory in Vietnam runs as it should. His son Henry runs WE in Perth embedded in Sea to Summit group. I had a long chat with him as my situation is not for off his when he was a boy.
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Re: Wilderness Equipment Fist Arrow 2018

Postby Al M » Sat 02 Jun, 2018 12:03 pm

That’s a nice designed tent. I love the front porch where it overhangs so water doesn’t drip inside when open and the roof gear storage mesh and seamless bath floor.

At 2.3kg it’s not the lightest but there’s generally no free lunch with tents, if one wants lighter it usually means less features, thinner less durable materials, less poles so less stability.
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