Thursday, January 12, 2012

Five new Exped 3-season tents for spring 2012!

We're very excited to introduce five new 3-season tents for 2012. Available in March, these innovative tents are designed with the summer adventurer in mind. We have a very strong group of bombproof 4-season tents that have been very successful for many years, so we thought it was time to set to the task of creating 3-season tents with signature Exped features, the Mira and Gemini groups. Here are several of the key concepts we used as guidelines when designing these tents:

* Careful balance between light weight and durability

* Generous internal space

* Continuous pole sleeves for increased stability and quick set-up (no clips)

* "Rain shadow" entrances: no dripping into the interior of the tent

* Main guylines attach directly to poles

That first point is worth discussing for a moment. We certainly have access to any fabrics we want, but sacrificing reasonable longevity just isn't the right move for this line. Our company name, Exped, is short for Expedition Equipment and we make design choices with this in mind. For comparison, our 4-season tents employ stout 10,000 mm (water column) floors to make sure this critical area will be waterproof and wear well in extended use situations. For the Mira and Gemini tents we've chosen to use 5,000 mm floors, which allows us to strike a balance between light weight and durability.

Another important difference between these tents and other 3-season tents on the market is the pole sleeve design. Rather than clips, we use continuous pole sleeves, which have several important advantages. The first is increased stability because of the tension distribution across the full length of the sleeve. Another is an increase in headroom that results from the lack of low spots between clips. And finally, each pole sleeve is closed at one end, allowing very easy and rapid set-up. The pole is inserted into the open end of the sleeve and pushed through until it stops at the far end. That's it! One person can set up any of these tents with a minimum of walking around and bending over.

When we say we're excited about these tents, we're serious. During the development phase, most of us got a chance to use each tent. Some of the fun places we tested the tents include cross-country backpacking in the mountains of Tajikistan, paddling on the coast of British Columbia, Canada and backpacking along the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington state's Cascade mountains. These and other testing trips have helped craft what one independent tester called "The best 3-season tent I've used in my 20+ years of testing tents." It's been a really fun process and we think our customers will agree that Mira and Gemini strike a great balance between comfort, light weight, ease of set-up and durability.

One last thought for this post. The two groups of tents are designed to deliver different things to the user. The Mira series falls on the lighter side of the equation and Gemini is designed to provide greater interior space.

Quick specs:

Mira I - minimum weight (poles, fly, inner tent) - 1.3 kg/2.9 lbs.

Mira II - min. weight - 1.8 kg/3.9 lbs.

Mira III - min. weight - 2.2 kg/4.8 lbs.

Gemini II - min. weight - 2.2 kg/4.8 lbs.

Gemini III - min weight - 2.55 kg/5.6 lbs.

We'll do more posts on these tents as we get closer to the March delivery window.