[Tent] Axeman Ultralight Single Layer 2P ~$100 <1kg

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[Tent] Axeman Ultralight Single Layer 2P ~$100 <1kg

Postby keithy » Wed 18 Jul, 2018 6:18 pm

I got this tent late last year, after reading a review of the double wall version here viewtopic.php?f=63&t=26160 .

Also from the same Aliexpress seller, this version is the single layer ultralight 2p that uses two hiking poles for setup. And again, for not much over $100.

I had been looking at various similar styled tents, but had not been keen on spending a lot of money before I knew if I could first live with this style - a hiking pole supported, non-freestanding, front entrance, <1kg. I had been considering similar styled Tarptent Protrail, Nemo Spike Storm, Zerogram Zero 1, a second hand Golite Shangrila, Yama Cirriform, as well as the side entry Big Sky Wisp and Zpacks Plexamid Tent.

Here are some pictures before I get into the review proper.
Axeman UL 2P Front.JPG

Axeman UL 2P Side.JPG
- pitched at Johanna beach on the Great Ocean Walk last year. It is pitched here with a cheapie 135g poly 1.8 x 1.8 groundsheet. The blue ground sheet is wider than required, so I use the grommet holes on one side and on the folded corner I make a knot and and add a guy line to secure it to a peg. I could trim the ground sheet down and make it lighter but I will use it for something else and I'll make a tyvek groundsheet at some stage.
Axeman UL 2P Inside.JPG
- This is the front and vestibule with my mat and quilt to show width. Front width of the bathtub floor is approx 1.3m - the rear width is about 0.8m
Axeman UL 2P Rear (2).JPG
- the rear view in NZ earlier this year - excuse my wet socks and boots.

Specs
  • Requires 2 hiking poles to erect
  • 130cm x 200cm x 80cm floor
  • External 20 D siliconized nylon both sides, waterproof index PU 2000mm
  • Bathtub floor 20 D siliconized nylon,bottom waterproof index PU 3000mm ;
  • It is a one piece design, with the external fly connected to the inner bathtub floor by a mesh net.
  • Weight: 830g total weight as advertised (actually 830g when weighed)
    - 680g (tent)
    - 150g (10 "Y" stake pegs, guy cords 2 storage bags for tent/pegs)
  • Height front peak 1.25m / rear peak 0.65m (these are estimates based on how my poles extended, I will try remember my measuring tape when I next pitch it.)
Construction
It is well constructed. The stitching on all seams and tie out points was top notch, and I couldn't fault it. The pole slots under the fly are reinforced, with guy out points at the front and back peaks. It wasn't seam sealed when I got it, but my first time using it last year before seam sealing was in the rain over 2 consecutive nights and there was no rain penetration.

Internally - there is only a one small mesh corner pocket in the bottom left hand side as you are looking out the entrance. I might stitch it up a bit more as the pocket tends to sag and contents fall out. There is no overhead hang point inside, but under the vestibule, outside the mesh door is a hook hanging point. I have found hanging my torch here has the advantage of attracting insects to the vestibule, rather than inside the tent. Still, I would have preferred an internal hanging point and an additional storage pocket inside the tent.

The bathtub floor is very waterproof. I found that out early on when I forgot to screw on my water bottle top overnight. It tipped over in the middle of the night and I awoke to a small pool at my head, underneath the mat. None of the water leaked outside through the floor.

I have now used this tent in non-stop overnight rain, and the side walls did not collapse or but did sag a little. The walls still did not touch my sleeping bag as I had firmly secured the mid point guyouts.

The front vestibule has enough floor space, but feels a little tight due to the angle of the opening. I usually pitch as shown in the first picture, with the left front vestibule flap down, as the inner fly door opens in a "J" from the bottom left to the top right. I use this tent solo, so my pack and kit mostly lives inside with me.

Condensation
This is pretty much standard for single wall tents, now my fourth single wall tent/bivy tent. The extra interior height compared with my other <1kg bivy tent shelters decreased the chance of wet walls touching my sleeping bag.

My second night mentioned above, in the rain storm I did have quite a bit of condensation build up overnight, and with no cross ventilation, the condensation built up on the underside. This only became a bit annoying, as the heavy rain outside dropping on the tent fly knocked the condensation off the underside of the inner, and made for a slight indoor drizzle. This was my only experience of this however, and I put it down to a combination of poor campsite, low and close to a lake.

Heavy rain nights aside, I have found that on nights where it wasn't pouring, I would sleep with one door flap rolled open to for ventilation and condensation management.

Wind
So far if pitched correctly, it seems reasonable for windy conditions but not ideal. I got caught out in the Grampians on that extra gusty weekend earlier in the year, and it was not my most pleasant nights' sleep. I think they reported gusts of over 100kmh that night. The walls did not collapse, I had put rocks on the side pegs to keep them down, but the wind not only pushed against the windward side, but got under the fly and the other side wall then acted as a sail. The supplied bungee cord tieouts I think were handy here in keeping the tent taut, but having enough give for the wind.

I have video of the inside being buffeted by the winds between 2am to 6am. I basically moved my sleeping mat/bag on top of the mesh on the windward side, to try prevent the wind coming underneath and into the tent. I was pleasantly surprised the tent faired well.

Here are some pics from NZ, where you can see Left - the leeward side and Right - the windward side being pushed by the wind. In this setup, the ridgeline was still taut, and the windward side midpoint guy was pegged out. But you can see how much the wind is pushing that side wall in.
Axeman UL 2P Wind.jpg

Here is another pic of the wind ward side featuring L&P. I reckon a mid point side wall tie out point could be added for more stability.
Axeman UL 2P Wind and L&P.jpg

Setup
This needs a lot of pegs.

I drew up a sketch to show the tent setup a bit clearer. The seller provided 10 pegs, but ideally I reckon 12 would be the minimum, and have used 14 (including the two front guy out vertical lines). From my sketch above, the inner guy out lines from the bathtub floor are marked numbers 1 - 8, and the outer fly guy out points are marked from 9 - 20.
Axeman UL 2P Tent Sketch.jpg

You can share pegs with a few guy points, and I might add a guy rope to inner points 6 & 8 so they can share the rear most peg with 12 & 20, thereby reducing the need for those 2 pegs.

You really need to peg out the interior bathtub floor guy points 1 & 4 and 5 & 8 because if these aren't stretched out, the midpoint of the inner bathtub floor sags to the ground, as they are being pulled out by the midpoint external guyouts at 10 & 14.

The front and rear guy points (12 & 16) pretty much hold the structure up, and keep the ridgeline taut. I needed the two front points 17 & 18 on windy days.

I mainly pitch with my front pole at an angle, so it doesn't impede entry via the zippered bug mesh entry door.

Likes
  • Price - for around $100-$120, it is relatively cheap.
  • Weight - listed and actually weighed at 830g, but realistically 4 more pegs needed, and after I add my DIY groundsheet, it is around 1kg.
  • Quality - Surprisingly good. I have taken this a few longer walks of between 5-10 days, and have not babied it to see how it would hold up. It withstood a gusty night in the Grampians when I thought it might not do so well. It has been very waterproof so far.
  • Interior space - you could probably fit two small people side by side, but the narrow foot box might mean see mats overlap and feet touch. I use this as a solo shelter enjoy the extra space inside the approx 2.1m² floor
  • Bungee cord used at tieout points is a plus to me.
  • Relatively quick to dry.

Dislikes
  • It would be nice is the rear to fold up to allow for through ventilation - I have pitched it without the number 12 guy point (from sketch above) connected to the peg. Instead, I attached it to the guy rope extending from the rear peak to the ground, allowing the rear peak to flap around. This allowed more ventilation through.
  • Limited interior gear storage, no interior hanging point.
  • Not enough pegs supplied.
  • All in one setup with mesh means that if you have to stow it wet, the interior is likely to be wet when you pitch it again.
Conclusion
Overall I am pretty impressed with this lightweight shelter, especially given the price. Perfect for a summer through walk. It will not suit everyone - eg. those who don't travel with hiking poles, or people over 190cm might find the overall length a bit cramped even for a solo occupier on an angle, and isn't suitable for platformed sites.

I would echo Dubna48K's comments in his review of the double layer version that if you are on a budget, and want a light weight hiking pole tent, this might be worth a gander.
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Re: [Tent] Axeman Ultralight Single Layer 2P ~$100 <1kg

Postby robbieb » Thu 19 Jul, 2018 9:07 am

I don't understand why there's 8 pegs just for the bathtub floor? Are they really needed? And if so, why aren't there only 4? I would assume with clever/well designed geometry the "inner" and "outer" pegs could be combined and still provide the right tension, maximum 10 pegs required
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Re: [Tent] Axeman Ultralight Single Layer 2P ~$100 <1kg

Postby keithy » Thu 19 Jul, 2018 6:03 pm

robbieb wrote:I don't understand why there's 8 pegs just for the bathtub floor? Are they really needed? And if so, why aren't there only 4?

Possibly, with a different design, such as the point of stitching the mesh to the exterior fly. If the mesh was sewn to a point a bit higher up from the bottom of the fly that might solve the bathtub side wall dipping.

My first setup, I only used four pegs for the bathtub inner, connecting them to the same peg as the outer fly - so from my sketch, 2&9, 3&11, 6&13 and 7&15. This works ok, but as I mentioned, the bathtub inner side walls spread out almost flat, depending on how far apart you peg the outer fly points 10 & 14. This is fine in dry conditions, but I think it would could potentially allow water ingress from the ground if it was wet.

Here is a quick sketch on the vendors pic to show what I mean. I'm sure a different design would fix this, but I am reviewing the tent as it is.
1809272-01_20180719155016392_wm.jpg
inner floor wall

For the rear peak, I'll try this setup next to see if I can get away with not using those extra two rear pegs - I will tie a single guy rope from point 4 to 5, and pull that back to the rear most peg.
Axeman Tent sketch alternate (2).jpg
Alternative rear peg setup
Axeman Tent sketch alternate (2).jpg (42.33 KiB) Viewed 3083 times
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Re: [Tent] Axeman Ultralight Single Layer 2P ~$100 <1kg

Postby Ms_Mudd » Tue 24 Jul, 2018 8:24 pm

Thanks for the very thorough review.
Is that an Aliexpress Aegismax down bag also? How do you find it?
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Re: [Tent] Axeman Ultralight Single Layer 2P ~$100 <1kg

Postby keithy » Wed 25 Jul, 2018 12:01 am

Ms_Mudd wrote:Is that an Aliexpress Aegismax down bag also? How do you find it?

Well spotted. That is indeed the Aegismax down quilt I got a little while before the tent - again after seeing someone else post here about the Aegismax sleeping bags.

Before these orders, I hadn't had a lot of experience ordering with Aliexpress, and had been hesitant to order stuff from there.

The one I've got is with the vertical zip in the middle you can pop your head through and wear it as a "poncho". When I got it, there weren't as many reviews on it out there, but there are quite a few more now so I hadn't bothered to do an indepth review.

I got the Aegismax as a lightweight summer bag, with the initial intention of maybe later restuffing it with goose down from an old 1.3kg NZ made sleeping bag. I currently have a great Polish Cumulus Liteline 300 goose down bag, which I've used for down to -5C and it's working well for me, but didn't have a light weight summer solution since I sold my polyester fill Snugpak summer bag.

The Aegismax quilt has actually faired quite ok. It did shed down on first few uses, and the vertical (top to bottom) baffles are sewn through, meaning that down can get distributed unevenly leading to cold spots. The middle zipper isn't flapped, so I expected a cold spot there, but it was ok. I've only taken it down to about 5-10C and it was comfortable, but I do tend to sleep warm.

But for the price of about $120 I am quite impressed again. I have a mate who can help me put some horizontal stitches in so the down doesn't move too far to the foot or head of the quilt, and as mentioned, I might open it up and use the down from my old bag to fill it up and make it a warmer quilt.

It weighs 440g, and comes with a nice silky storage bag, as well as a great 40g lightweight compression sack. My Cumulus Liteline 300 bag in comparison weighs around 680g.

I tend to use it as a blanket, and maybe just cinching up the footbox to keep it on me when I toss and turn, but I'm almost certain that I could easily be converted using sleeping bags to using quilts instead. I love my Cumulus bag, but I think I'll pick up an EE or one of undercling mike's quilts for winter use.
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Re: [Tent] Axeman Ultralight Single Layer 2P ~$100 <1kg

Postby Ms_Mudd » Wed 25 Jul, 2018 8:57 am

keithy wrote:
I got the Aegismax as a lightweight summer bag, with the initial intention of maybe later restuffing it with goose down from an old 1.3kg NZ made sleeping bag.
I tend to use it as a blanket, and maybe just cinching up the footbox to keep it on me when I toss and turn.


That is exactly what I was thinking for it too and my eyes lit up when I saw it in your tent.
I would also use it as a quilt with just the footbox enclosed, so am pleased you have had success with using it that same way. I guess the sewn through baffles in Summer shouldn't present too much of a problem.

I have a scrumptiously lofty Tier Gear quilt (-12c) as I am a cold sleeper and although it packs down to nothing and weighs <800g it is still waaaaay too much quilt for warmer weather. I have been looking at the Aegismax bags for a little while as my confidence has been buoyed by some Aliexpress purchase successes :lol:
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