Disclosure: the tent was provided by the distributer for review purposes only. I did not field test the tent on an overnight trip, but pitched and inspected it carefully.
3-season, 2-person ultra-lightweight tent
The first thing you notice about the Cloud Up 2 tent is how small and light it is when packed, weighing in at only 1,5kg (or 750g per person). It fits squarely in the ultralight category which, by necessity, renders a compact design and uses high-tech lightweight material. The second thing one notices is the ultralight price. At only R1799 (at the time of writing) the tent’s specifications punches far above its price category – similar tents from European / North American brands will cost at least double the price.
The first question I had was “what is the catch here?”. The price seems almost too good to be true. Naturehike is a new brand in South Africa (even though the company was established in 2005), and is Chinese owned and manufactured. I have seen comments on a hiking forum where the Cloud Up 2 is likened to one of the designs of specialist ultralight manufacturer Big Agnes. Time will tell if the brand lives up to expectations, but it certainly is an exciting new choice for the South African hiking community.
What is in the bag
Tent inner, flysheet, interlocking tent poles, footprint, pegs and guy-lines.
It is a double-wall tent with an interlocking 1.5 y-pole configuration. The interlocking poles give a single pole crossing, but saves weight compared to a normal 2-pole design – this structure is employed by some of the established ultralight manufacturers, and has proven to maintain acceptable 3-season stability. The tent will however have to be properly secured with guy-lines if pitched in wind, as it is vulnerable to side-on winds.
The official dimensions are: 2,1m long by 1,25m wide by 1m tall. The vestibule adds an additional 0,6m to the length.
The tent’s functional space is considerably less than that implied by the 2,1m length. I am 1,9m tall and two of me will certainly not fit comfortably in the tent. Arno’s 1,8m frame filled the entire length of the tent (see picture below). It is functional as a 2-person tent for only small and medium sized people, which seems to be the norm with ultralight designs.
Tent, pegs and guy-lines: 1,44kg
Add footprint: 1,56kg
The tent inner is made from B3 ultralight, highly breathable mesh to keep the bugs out. Add 20D silicone-coated nylon (4000mm waterhead) for the bathtub-design floor and you have a potent weight-saving combo. The footprint is important however, since the floor’s lightweight material will be more prone to punctures and tears than that of regular tents.
Flysheet and seams
The flysheet is made of 20D silicone coated nylon and has a waterhead of 4000mm. It is double stitched and seam sealed, and has tags to which guy-lines can be attached.
The grey-white colour (officially designated as “light grey”) allows for calming, soft light when waiting out inclement weather, and would be highly visible in all except icy or light sandy landscapes.
Vestibule and entrance
The vestibule is situated at the front and is a decent size given the tent’s design – a larger vestibule will require more pole support and hence the pay-off between weight and usable space is also at play here. The vestibule could be used for cooking only if the cook sits inside the tent, and is adequate for stashing shoes and backpacks.
The 7001 aluminium poles are the gold standard for hiking tents. The interlocking y-pole system is well constructed and was discussed in the design section.
Value Rating: 5/5
Performance rating: Not rated due to insufficient use
Pros: Ultra-lightweight, easy set-up, high-end materials, comes with a footprint, low price
Cons: Usable space less than implied by tent’s dimensions, brand not well established
The Cloud Up 2 Tent is an exciting addition to the fast-and-light hiker’s arsenal. This tent is not made for car camping or extreme weather, but will provide reliable shelter in normal conditions whilst taking up minimal space and weight. If you’re a weight conscious or fast-and-light hiker, this tent should be on your buy list.
For more info, check out Naturehike Africa’s website: www.naturehike.co.za