On test – Vaude Power Tokee UL, Norrsken mattress and Bivi

Vaude Power Tokee UL

And so as the winter months fast approach, some new gear has landed on my doorstep for testing over the coming period. Some of which will prove to be very handy.

Needless to say, I won’t submit any review for each product for quite some time. I like to give each bit of gear at least 3 months of heavy use – which is reasonably easy given how long and often I’m out and about.

Anyway, first up is Vaude’s Power Tokee UL tent.

On my scales it comes in a total of 847g’s all in. Not bad, eh? Pegs are more akin to toothpicks, mind – so I’ll likely ditch most and use my own as per usual. It’s roomy enough inside for one person though the porch is a bit small and restrictive. There’s not much room to cook and venting possibilities leave a lot to be desired. You can’t even tie back the main door to give that wide view of the world, either.

So, I’ve taken some spare dyneema guyline and made a loop and tie to remedy this minor irk.

Otherwise, it pitches quick and easy and seems no less or more stable than a Terra Nova Laser Competition, in my opinion. We’ll see how it gets on, eh?

Handy push/pull/twist valve on Vaude Norrsken mattress

Next up is the Norrsken mattress which has a comfort limit of -17c. It’s slightly narrower than the Exped mats I’m used to but no less comfy either.

As for warmth? Well, I’ll soon find out about that but on the specs front there’s some Primaloft infinity synthetic insulation laminated inside each chamber. What I do like so far, is the tubes are overlapping – a la shingle construction – to prevent heat loss.

It does require the user to blow the mattress up which doesn’t take long (though this is a size ‘short’). The nozzle is pretty cool, too. No faffing about here.

You pull gently on the nozzle, blow, then press it back in to seal and twist slightly to lock. So, none of that huffing and puffing and then slipping your filthy fingers into your mouth in a race to seal the nozzle closed.

Mattress weighs 500g on the dot just as advertised, too.

Vaude Bivi 1 – roomy and with easy access, unlike most bivouacs

A Vaude Bivi 1 has arrived, also. Something I’ve taken a liking to already. Namely due to side entry (though there’s no mesh alternative door) and nice headroom once laid down inside.

Even so, as with most bivouacs the depth is a little too short to accommodate you, a sleeping bag and a thick inflated air mattress – ie, the Norrsken.

You’ll likely end up unwittingly compressing any loft in your sleeping bag against the bivvy. Something I touched upon recently when reviewing the Rab Ridge Raider.

Given the season ahead, I’ll probably opt for a self-inflating mattress when using this bivvy – which comes in at a total weight of 950g’s on my scales.

And then a couple of bits from Merrell, too.

At home on the hills

Merrell Chameleon Evo Mid Syn GTX boots, which at a size 10.5 come in at under a kilo and have done around 50 miles already in the past week.

So, far they’ve proven to be comfy, kept my feet dry and not too hot either. Grip has been good, too.

The “Derbyshire Hoff” I’ve been nicknamed
by Jamie at Trekking Britain!

I’ve been trying out a Merrell Intercept synthetic jacket, too. Weighs 480gs for a size large, has two external hand pockets, small interior security pocket, and no hood.

It’s water resistant and so far apart from looking like a smart and fashionable jacket – it’s proven to be quite warm, too. Not something for heavy winter use, mind. But when out walking it’s been OK.

It has a large pocket within where you can stuff the jacket away and transform the garment into a camping pillow, too!

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Martin Rye says:

    500g for a winter sleeping mat is superb. Tell me more.

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  2. Terry, interested to see how you get on with the Tokee. I have its bigger brother- the Power Lizard. I really like it.

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  3. That Vaude looks sweet shame theres no mesh door, like to see how that mat performs too

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  4. terrybnd says:

    @Martin Rye – LOL It's a good mat. But can't tell if it lives up to it's R Rating to be honest. Will see in the coming weeks. Packs small. Bout size of my Exped Synmat UL (but Norrsken is a short).

    @Markswalkingblog – I'll tweet bits about it when out on my trips mate. Like it, but got some minor points with it that only a trip out will address.

    I like how the mesh vents are above ground level at the foot and head ends of the tent. Unlike the Laser Comp where they go almost flush ground level.

    I had a flood creep in through the mesh last winter in the Laser Comp, for example.

    But it doesn't seem any more stable or less 'flappy' than a Laser Comp so far. As I've said….field testing and all that LOL

    @Paul AKA Themuss – me too mate LOL. The lack of a mesh door on the Vaude Bivi was a bit of a surprise. It's quite tricky to insert the poles, too. Otherwise, it's all dandy. The fabric has quite a coating on it, mind. Not sure how that'll affect breathability when inside. But there are at least three standard venting options, too – so I suppose it aint that breathable after all LOL 😉 We'll see….

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  5. Neville says:

    How did they manage to make the bivi that small, no inner mesh door, and still come out a couple of hundred grams heavier than the Power Tokee?

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  6. terrybnd says:

    @Neville – Different materials mate. And price reflects, it too

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  7. Maz says:

    I just could not get on with the Vaude Power Lizard – so many small things annoyed me about it and the Tokee looks similar. Laser Comp seems to me to be the better shelter. Be interesting to see how taut you can get it – I found the Power Lizard took all sorts of fiddling to get it taut and I know you have some arcane ability with the Laser Comp 😉

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  8. terrybnd says:

    @Maz – LOL Well, it's true. I have no issues with pitching the Laser Comp. I don't expect any with the Tokee either after a quick play in the back garden.

    I'll reserve judgment as always until some field testing has been done. Often something I think is great transpires to be not so great after a bit of heavy use – and vice versa.

    So, we'll see. On first impressions, I like the tent….

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  9. GeoffC says:

    The Norrsken looks interesting. I would go for a long version for winter which is 600g, quite a saving on the current Exped.
    I assume the Tokee is a slightly smaller incarnation of the Lizard, at any rate all these types turn out to be around a kilo with decent pegs.

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  10. terrybnd says:

    @GeoffC – The Tokee is the equivalent of the TN Laser Photon to the Laser Comp, mate. Yes, it's smaller. I've not inspected the materials proper yet. I'll likely take the tent with me for a soiree in the Lakes next week though.

    The mat looks good – but I'll believe how warm it is until I've slept on it out in the field for a while. I'm always cautious of R Values. Bit like comfort ratings on sleeping bags.

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