ASI (FC) 3 man Extreme Survival Solar Tent Review

ASI (FC) 3 man Extreme Survival Solar Tent Review

 

Supplier:

AIRSOFT INTERNATIONAL EUROPEAN DISTRIBUTORS

 

I have been in talks with them about reviews for a little time and one of their new items that they wanted to promote was this tent. This was a perfect item to review, as I was heading to a campsite for one night on the Long Mynd in Shropshire and I would have a perfect chance to give the tent a thorough testing with the British weather at its best.

Availability:

This item can be purchased from most ASI retailers.

Packaging:

The tent was nicely packed in a box just big enough for the tent and accessories. The box was cut and folded down tightly to keep everything still. It was all then wrapped in layers of Clingfilm type parcel covering and plenty of Airsoft International branded tape. I knew from the moment I saw it there would not be any missing items or problems with this parcel.

ASI (FC) 3 man Extreme Survival Solar Tent Review

ASI (FC) 3 man Extreme Survival Solar Tent Review

ASI (FC) 3 man Extreme Survival Solar Tent Review

Postage/Delivery:

Delivered by UPS, there was never any doubt about delivery. Out of every delivery I have ever had from any delivery agent, UPS has to be one of the better delivery companies. It just took 3 days to be shipped to my door. This is a great service if you have a specially ordered in item, you know you can get it within a week.  I know this is important myself as sometimes you break something and need it sooner rather than later for your next game.

1st Impressions:

My very first impression upon opening the box was WOW this is one cool looking tent. I was immediately drawn to the red zip closed packet. Opening this was the solar panel and all its accessories for charging every device known to man that runs under 9.0v. You also get a very bright LED torch and a Mains adaptor for charging the power pack before you go out on your wild adventures. Opening the tent up I was thinking to myself where are the poles, where are the pegs to secure this tent, how easy will it be to put up as I cannot see any instructions but all of this became clear when I started to put the tent up.

 

Dimensions:

The dimensions of the tent are as follows:

Internal dimensions:

Length: 6’5″ or 196cm
Width: 3’11” or 120cm
Corner to corner: 7’9″ or 237cm
Height: 3’2 1/2 ” or 98cm
Working length: 6’1″ or 186cm

There are 4 inner pockets on the ends (2 each end) which are head height when lay down, 2 top pockets, 1 pocket at each end. There is a pouch for the solar panel. Each end there is vented mesh for breathability and a mesh net to hold all the solar panel accessories.

Ease of putting up:

At first I was going to just put this up in the back garden but I decided that it would be quicker to just erect it in the lounge and make sure that I was not missing any of the vital parts. Always better to test the tent in a familiar territory than to get out into the wild and find you are missing X Y and Z from the kit.

It goes up really easily. It is nowhere near as fast as the pop up tents but this is a three man survival tent so the equivalent size in pop up would be huge making this one a great package.

This is how I erected the tent:

I found that with the poles if you hold onto one end and then throw it upwards and out it will pretty much self erect itself into the long pole you need.

Put the main sheet on the floor and then feed the poles along the 2 channels (the poles go lengthways and not diagonally). Pop one end of each pole into the eyelet and then go to the other end and push it up into shape. When erect you can now peg each corner.

Next you need to put the main flysheet on and tie the two ends and middle into place (make sure the knots are inwards to prevent leaking).

Now you just need to decide which side you want the door as there are 2 entrances. Peg the one side permanently shut and you then have 2 pegs for the other door. Peg the guy ropes in place and you are done.

Carrying:

Carrying the tent is very easy; you have 2 carry handles on the top and 2 on the side. The side ones enable you to clip or tie this to a Bergen, day sack/ rucksack or just even loop it onto a belt. The solar panel and accessories takes up little room in your bag. It is a piece of equipment you could reduce in size if you could protect the solar panel and just take the items needed that you were going to need for that trip you were doing.

The size of this tent would make for a perfect backpacking/hiking/climbing holiday. It’s very lightweight so you can be sure it will not be noticed strapped to the back of your pack or on your waist.

Comfort:

The tent has 2 doors which come in handy for the comfort side of things, you can store all your items in waterproof dump sacks in the one entrance you are not using and then you can store any valuables in the tent with you.

The tent will take 1 person very comfortably, 2 people with some space to put some items in the tent with you instead in of the entrance areas but the tent will take 3 people if you sleep head to toe. This wouldn’t be very comfortable for holiday camping but if you are a 3 man expedition then it would be fine for that night sleep you need to recover.

I spent a few hours in the tent and it was very warm inside the tent compared to the outside temperature but as the sun went down it got colder in the tent.

Weatherproof:

The tent stayed reasonably dry during my first day and night of testing, with the tent up next to a tent I knew was weatherproof. It was late October and heavy dew fell that night so both this tent and the one we were staying in got wet inside and out on the outer fly sheet. Inside this tent was dry on the base, however if you had anything stored in pockets then they would be wet as the dew managed to penetrate through the inner lining to the pockets and soaked them. They did dry out quickly after taking the fly sheet off. I felt at this point maybe the tent might not be the best for backpacking and just like the supplier says that this is a survival tent (although I would have thought a survival tent would have kept out even dew).

I then did a week long spell of the tent erected in my back garden I checked this from day to day to see if it had been affected by dew/rain/wind etc. These tests showed that the dew was really hitting the tent hard. After a couple of days there was a puddle of water in the middle of the tent, where the solar panel and charger unit should go was soaked so the panel would not be working by now. By the end of the week there was mould growing from the other corner to where the water had pooled after a night of rain. I then decided this was the end of the test and I would not do what I was intending to do. I was hoping to spend the final night in the tent to see how warm it keeps you.

The tent does dry out well if hung up and left in the sun but this does not excuse it from leaking and also seeping up water from the ground where the mould was growing.

Conclusion:

I have to say that the idea of the tent and what it offers is great but the way it is assembled and constructed is poor.  If they seal the seams better, redesign some of the materials then this will make it a lot better. I think the solar panel onto breathable fabric is its let down. When I was opening the tent up after the 1st night I heard the dew dripping off the outer sheet, by the 3rd day I heard it dribbling into the tent like a tap was on, that is how bad it leaked.

The tent itself allows you to keep warm and dry on a one night out but prolonged use (for example a long back pack or a week long climb where wet ground is about) then you are not going to get on well with this tent.

The solar panel works fine but the charger pack does not charge up off either the mains or the solar panel so once the battery inside (which is lithium based) goes flat then you will have no more use out of this pack. I hope this is just my unit as the amount of adaptors and uses for this pack is great. I would use it not only just for camping, I would use the charger pack as a backup supply for my phone or Ipad should I be out and it die on me. Being so small it’s perfect for this.

Enough of the negatives though as if you just want a tent to take with you just as an emergency shelter should you end up not being back to your base camp in time then it will make a good tent.  That is why my ratings are as they are. The tent is sold as a survival tent so if you are in trouble and put this up you will happily survive the night, even a week but you would just have to make sure you keep the inside dry by taking the fly sheet off, drying it in the sun and then refitting it.

Ratings:

Weight and dimensions: 8/10
Comfort for survival: 9/10
Comfort for camping: 7/10
Weatherproof for survival use: 5/10
Weatherproof for camping: 2/10
Usability for hiking (emergency): 9/10
Usability for camping/backpacking: 4/10

 

Originally posted 2012-11-13 15:42:01.

Posted in Equipment, Reviews, Survival kit, Survival kit
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