Review: Vaude Power Tokee UL 1 person tent

Vaude Power Tokee UL Peak District wild camping
Vaude Power Tokee UL 1 person tent



“…despite some foibles I really like the Vaude Power Tokee UL. It’s a great solo backpacking shelter. It excels in many departments over other similar classed tents…”

Well, I’ve had this tent for a while and it’s had tough run out on the hills. It’s endured multi-day hikes and camps, calm dry evenings, batterings by gale force winds and of course good ole British rain has endeavoured to drown it too. And this lightweight one person shelter has withstood it all with impressive ease.

Essentially, this is a souped up version of Terra Nova’s Laser series tents – that much is obvious. So, some of you will be interested (as I was) to see how they compare. And overall, the Vaude tent favours well.

Vaude Power Tokee UL
Part of Vaude’s Powerframe System – outer pole clips on to make a sturdy
shelter along with an inner tension band.

Fling out the tent and you’ll find it’s pitch all as one (though the inner can be detached) and sounds like a bundle of tracing paper has escaped from an office drawer to have a play in the wind. But don’t be deceived by it’s delicate nature. The SilNylon fabric is strong. 20D in fact, so it will take a few years of regular ultraviolet light exposure and wear and tear before this flysheet fails on you.

You then insert two rods at either end, slip on the main pole to some of Vaude’s lock clips (their Powerframe system) and some pegging out later you’re good to go.

Vaude Power Tokee UL wild camping
40cm deep porch. You can also see one of the foot/head end vents on the
flysheet for airflow.

However, like most single pole tents you’ll need to practice to ensure a tight as a drum pitch – otherwise you’ll suffer some of the infamous (for such tents at least) flapping of the flysheet through the night in little in strong breezes.

Vaude Power Tokee UL wild camping Chrome Hill
Guylines at the ends and sides complement the tents surprising strength

The main arched alloy pole clips on snug to the fly whereby upon completion you lock them tight. It’s a little fiddly I have to admit (especially in cold weather) but this is really just a minor gripe – and depending on the weather conditions you’ll encounter, you may well find you’re grateful for their inherent strength.

Inside the tent you’ll discover Vaude’s tension band system which adds yet more strength to the main pole for stability during inclement weather. Fortunately, the cable itself doesn’t get in your way in any shape or form (unlike similar structured tents) and can easily be adjusted. Very clever positioning on the company’s part.

Vaude Power Tokee UL wild camping
Frost laden tent but I was toasty and warm inside.

The inner polyester tent is something to behold too – it looks and feels like silk. It’s translucent and highly water resistant but there’s not much room to manouver. You’ll find your sleeping bag will rub against the inner frequently from time to time and you can’t sit up comfortably when getting changed – more so if you use a thick insulated air mattress for sleeping. I’m 5’11.5″ and can’t sit up in it at all. Alas, this tent is after all about compromises. ie, weight, space for fast moving adventures.

Vaude Power Tokee UL wild camp
You can see how I’ve managed to tie the outer door back in this pic.

The light and airy feel is nice though. You don’t feel like you’re sleeping in a coffin and it all contributes to feeling in touch with the outside world despite shutting shop for the night.

The inner door unfortunately opens and ties back awkwardly from it’s right hand side. I’m ambidextrous so this doesn’t bother me, but some might find this a nuisance – more so given that if you don’t lie inside the tent the right way around (which isn’t always possible due to terrain and inclines etc) you get a face full of polyester. And to top that off, the outer tent door only opens up from it’s left side too – so depending on how you lay in your bed you may not get that room with a view you so desire.

Literally room for you, ya bed and to breathe.

Which reminds me of another niggle – the two way zipped outer door can’t be tied back. So, to remedy this I got hold of some dyneema cord, tied it to the zip handle and pulled this up and over the tent to attach to rocks or extra peg. Problem solved to a degree – but then what if you’re comfy in bed at night and it begins to rain? You got to get out and untie the cord. Alternatively, take along a clothing peg with you – roll the door back and stick on the peg – job done.

Venting for air flow comes in the shape of mesh panels that sit at the top at both foot and head ends of the inner and outer plus some mesh along the top half of the inner door. Do these work? In truth I’m not too sure. Yes, the tent is small and will be prone to condensation issues (all tents are anyway) but I’ve found over many trips and nights out that moisture build up occurs rapidly within the confines of the tent.

For one or two nights, I wouldn’t really care in truth. Most wouldn’t either to be fair (weekend trippers and so on). The weight saving, strength and room you get for this shelter is excellent but on multi-day hikes? It becomes problematic if you’re keen to keep condensation off your sleeping bag for example or for breathability too. The inner and outer getting damp from packing night after night doesn’t do it no favours. Yes, you could detach the inner and so on but that’s just a pain in the rear when you’re knackered and just want to pitch for the night. Another solution would be to use a camping towel to mop up excess moisture but there’s only so much that can remedy.

The 3000mm HH flysheet sits low to the ground which is likely a factor in all this and you can’t adjust the height either due to how tied in the whole structure is. It’s almost like Vaude have considered all worst case scenarios this tent could encounter with regards to the weather (ie storms) and dismissed any care for folk who could use this tent for long trips out. Obviously, for the odd night out it’s not too much of a concern and perhaps this was their aim? (I’m thinking mountain marathons)

The groundsheet has proven durable though there really isn’t a bathtub lip around it and to be fair on most solo tents in this class there usually isn’t one to be found anyway – and in truth if you pitch carefully when out on the hills then flooding encroaching around your home for the night shouldn’t be of much concern. It’s worth noting the 10,000mm HH is resistant to formic acid. Not something I’ve ever had an issue with admittedly (think nasty stinging ants).

What many folk forget with such tents as the Power Tokee UL is they’re supposed to be erected longest sides into the wind – hence the tension band system. And with this in mind and all the above it really does come into it’s own.

Vaude Power Tokee UL Peak District
This is what backpacking is all about – and the tent will suit
most folks needs

Sure you get the flapping associated with these shelters (no more or less than a Terra Nova Laser series) but Vaude have done a fantastic job of making it pretty ‘bomber’. I’ve had this tent out in wind speeds in excess of 45mph and it’s performed exceptionally well indeed. Come the morning, there’s been no signs of wear, tear or friction burns on the flysheet. Aye, I may have had a noisy night within but I was sheltered, warm and dry. I  have to say I didn’t use the lightweight toothpick pegs that come with Power Tokee UL, instead using my own V pegs and other types.

One recent night up on the Roaches where I encountered strong winds did I come across some damage – a slight curve in the main ridge pole. Nothing dramatic but enough to appreciate the tent’s limits. I think this boils down to how tough the tent really is – it just won’t give! And it’s worth remembering such poles are designed to accommodate some eventual curvature anyway (though usually to contribute towards it’s strength).

It’s nice to see the sleeves the end rods slip into are reinforced, too. A place where wear and tear is first to show after regular long term use. For example, I’ve had to seam seal new patches of nylon onto my Terra Nova Laser Competition in such places (though I’ll admit it had been out in some silly winter weather more than once).

The porch is a bit on the small side at only 40cm depth at it’s widest point. It tapers rapidly after that. Even so, there’s enough room for some gear and careful cooking (I usually chuck my pack in the tent with me and use it as a pillow or foot rest). So, on that front it’s famous competitor from the UK still has a larger porch all round.

PROS

– Great weight at 848g all in (not including my own pegs) and small pack size for a 2 skin solo shelter.
– Ideal for adventure racers and weekend breaks out on the hills.
– Superb stability. This tent is very strong for a single arch pole design.
– Tough and durable for a lightweight shelter.
– Pitches quick and all in one. No faffing about or getting the inner soaked in rain.
– Comes with a repair kit.

CONS

– Restricted options on how you like to position yourself in a tent for that ‘room with a view’.
– Outer door cannot be tied back, you’ll have to do your own modifications.
– Prone to condensation at times being a small tent.
– For regular backpackers it’s perhaps a bit too small in dimension.

Overall, despite some foibles I really like the Vaude Power Tokee UL. It’s a great solo backpacking shelter. It excels in many departments over other similar classed tents but then shoots itself in the foot with others. Condensation in our maritime climate can be a problem is the main gripe – otherwise it’s a top bit of kit.

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