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.
Weight: 1.44kg (1.56kg with footprint)
Waterproof rating: Flysheet: 4000mm HH; Floor: 4000mm HH
Structure: Y-pole design
Price: R1799 (at time of writing)
3-season, 2-person ultra-lightweight tent
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.
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 most 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.
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.
In the Field
This is what Naturehike users had to say about its durability and performance in bad weather:
Dusty: “I purchased the lime green 2 person tent and I tested it over the Easter holidays at Injusuti in the Drakensburg. We had heavy rain and it stood up like a champ no leaks. When putting it up one just needs to attach the fly sheet from the front first and line it up with the poles so all the seams line up with the poles. For the price and quality and from China, what a bargain. You will pay 7 times for the same thing from the USA and it won’t be 7 times the quality. Weighing in at 1,5 kg’s it’s a pleasure to hike with. I definitely recommend this tent for hiking.”
Robyn Owen (robynkime.wordpress.com): “Awesome to see Naturehike is being brought into SA now! Can’t beat it for an affordable, lightweight 2nd home! We’ve found the tent very durable. After a few years of camping frequently on rocky surfaces, the floor of our tent is no longer waterproof, but the rest is 100% good.”
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.