Luxe (sil hexPeak) in the Field

2nd to 4th April 2014

So I finally got to take the Luxe sil hexPeak out into the fields for a test.
Now, this could have been just to a local location, but it wasn’t.
It went to the Monadhliath Mountains between Newtonmore and Aviemore.
It was thus going to encounter wind and rain.

Since I got it, as you know, I have had a couple of issues.
Mainly with the inner tie points.
I have made these changes and also repairs myself, because rather than just send it straight back, I wanted to test it.
Also, since I have already seam sealed it with my own sealer, and also changed all of the main tent guys to 3mm, and sewn on the top loop properly, I did not want to have to go through all that with a NEW replacement.
So, I have NOT hassled Bob (yet), and taken it out to properly check.

It is actually going off to the lake District again next week, for a further test.
At the time of writing, it is ok.

So, first the repairs.

Note that although slightly annoying, these were minor repairs to slightly iffy stitching (predominantly on the inner tie points), and not fundamental flaws

The tie points on the inner were coming loose and the stitching pulling away on 3 of the ties.
Plus the outer loop on the top of the main tent.

These have been repaired by hand sewing, and seam sealing.
OK, the neatness of the sewing is not good, but the seams and tie points are now held on, and withstood test 1.


One of the original inner ties


Another repair and seal


Biggest repair was on the back tie. Here I have also added 3mm shock cord to stop so much strain being put on the tie point


Original stitching is NOT straight, and in some cases, also NOT even. This is on both inner and in places the outer,


Tie point had come away at edge on bottom, so I have re-sewn it on, and sealed it with silicon

As well as repairs, I have also added shock cord onto all the guy line of the inner.
This means that when they are tensioned up and especially in wind, the give is in the elasticated shock chord rather than against the tie join.
Rather than replace all the cord as I did on the main tent, I have just added an elastic loop at the end on a running knot.
This is fixed to the peg, and then the tensioner is adjusted as normal, but now the tension pulls to a triangle and this makes for a better shape and a more upright tub.


When putting the tent up, it is important that you first secure the main 4 side points and the mid points, that forms the inner rectangle.
I have attached the black ties that come with the tent, and these help to get the width about right, before you put in the poles.

Then add the pole via the door.
I keep the door partly zipped.
Get the poles the correct height, and then peg the front and the back.
You will probably have to fiddle with peg positions to get it correct.

I initially use a single pole at 140 (so set to 145) Remember 5 cm is in the ground!!!!
(and NOTE, most poles only go to 135 which in my opinion is NOT high enough).

BUT before I tension down the outer properly, I use a second pole of the same height.
In a high wind, I think it is essential to double pole this tent.
In fact, I think it is necessary to double pole it ALWAYS.
You can either use longer than normal poles.

I use Black Diamond Syncline
Or get a specialist Pole from Bob.
Or get a Pole Extender from Bob either 14 or 16 (Not available for Flick Lock Poles at the moment)
However they will be coming soon.

Once the Outer is up correctly, you can easily put in the inner.

Best method (I have found) is to do the following sequence.

  1. Attach the front most inner guys
  2. Use a small peg on the front outers where the hoops are, and also in the middle.
    This is personal choice bot works for me.
  3. Now attach the back mid point and then the back outers
  4. If you can tension them up form inside
  5. Attach the inner to the top hook
    Can be fiddly with 2 poles so I added a bit extra coloured cord to the hook to be able to pull it down.
  6. Fine tune the tension on the inner, and check the tension on the outer

And with that done, I have found the tent a super little Pyramid shelter
Strong and stable in wind.
Next to NO condensation.
Good amount of room for me, and a BIG porch area.
I take a small groundsheet for that.


Pitched along Dulnain in Monadhliath. A small amount of ripples in sides before final tensioning, but she was strong in wind and rain later that night. Didn’t budge at all.


Main guy line ropes changed to 3mm. I have colored them as well. Back Blue, Back sides RED, Mid points light blue, Front 3 Yellow. Makes it much easier to work out which are which in higher winds


Pitched alongside 2 Trailstars. She looks good.

Inside the tent, there is ample room in the porch, and for me at just over 5′ 10″ there is good room in both porch area and also inside the inner, to get all my gear in easily, and also cook.


Double poles (no inner). Sorry about the thumb in the photo


Inside with inner down


Looking up with inner attached


Inner from inside porch (me lying in porch)


Looking inside inner through door


Plenty of space in porch area. Could easily sleep a second person there in a bivi bag

It rained quite a lot that night, and even though the inner is half mesh all round, I was warm in just an old sleeping bag that only goes down to just above zero.

The tent was rock solid, and once pitched correctly, the inner did not touch the outer.
Indeed not only that, but there was NO condensation at all inside the outer, and I do get that on my MLD Trailstar, and on my Warmlite 2R


The spec on Bob’s site is approx 1100g

I would say, that with Change of Guy lines, robust seam sealing, and bigger better pegs, plus a bit of extra guy line (just in case) it comes in at closer to 1550 g in my spec.
I also added some sil nylon groundsheet for the front, and a couple of spare pegs just in case, and mine came in at approx 1700g 

So, in conclusion ……

This for the money, (£159.00) from Bob, appears to be a pretty good little shelter, which would easily do as a single skin with a groundsheet and bivi bag.

However, Luxe need to look into the manufacturing standards on the inner, and improve them for peace of mind.

Definitely double pole it, and if you have shorter poles, then get an extender from Bob, or a purpose built Pole.
I prefer the poles method because I don’t want to carry another pole equivalent just to put a tent up

I would also like to see 3 mm cord all round, and maybe the inner done with 2 mm shock cord rather than static cord.

Finally, better pegs. The purple 4.5″ (approx) pegs that come with it are just too short.
You need 6″ decent pegs minimum.
I used

MSR Blizzard stake at the back

CLAM CLEATS Tornado pegs on the rest.
I also used some of Bobs small titanium skewers to peg the inner at the front.

Now, with all those things fixed and done this would be a great little budget shelter.

It is NOT a Trailstar (with an Oookstar inner)
It is NOT a Golite Shangri-La 3

But if you want a good value tent, it is definitely worth a look.
But check out the sewing.

Will I be taking it on the TGOC this year?


Not because of the tent, but because I own a Trailstar and a Warmlite,
and I want to use this some more on shorter trips.

But, if I did NOT have a tent, and wanted to have a go with a Pyramid Tent, and my budget would NOT run to MLD or GoLite Gear costs, I most definitely would.

In fact, as I said, it is off to the Lake District next weekend.




Did I mention coming back through customs on the way home from France?
We had as you know if you read the last post, taken Harriet’s boyfriend Reece with us.
If you take someone under 16 abroad, and they are not related, then you have to have a letter signed by their parents, giving you permission, which is fair enough.
So we did, and on the way OUT OF THE COUNTRY, we were not asked for it.
On the way back in, we were. So it was rather unfortunate that Lucy had packed the letter in the bottom of a bag, in the bottom of the boot, assuming it would not be needed on the way back.
It was!
So that was fun (NOT).
A bit of advice
Best not to have a laugh with customs people while you wife is looking for the letter by saying
“We weren’t expecting to bring him back, but we couldn’t find a buyer”
Just sayin………………………………
And now, all the good things (for me)
Olly got his results this week, on his return from another holiday in Portugal (him not us), and all is good with the world.
Well, all is good in Olly’s World,
because he has his place at Moulton College in Northampton.
This is an excellent thing, because he can now do his Advanced Diploma in Sport, which is an A level equivalent, as part of the Rugby Academy, which is of course his passion.
So all in all, EXCELLENT.
Olly is No 25, playing Open Side
And also he had his first run out for Shelford Nomads (2nd XV ) this afternoon.
He had a good match, and Shelford won which is a bonus.
Ok, not the best game and a bit ragged in places, 
but first outing of the new season, and a win is a win.
So successful rugby, although tough taking photos in the never ending rain.
This next bit is for Catherine, who has for some reason taken exception to the fact
that in my 2011 Day 4 Cannich to Ault Na Goire write up, where we passed through Bearnock for something like 15 minutes, inc coffee stop, that instead of writing about the people and history and social aspects of the area, I mentioned it briefly, and fleetingly.
Apparently, this made my blog entry, pretentious and pointless, and I need to get a life.
Well, you cannot please everyone can you.
Pretentious Me (probably), 
“but nowt wrong we mi life tha nas”, Catherine
So, this posting has therefore nothing to do with the life and times of the people of Bottisham, Cherry Hinton, or Shelford, all places I cycled through today fleetingly on my way to the rugby to watch Olly.
And as such it is of course flippant, pretentious rubbish, and not worth reading or writing.
Catherine of course does not have a blog as far as I know.
If she does, I am sure it is Shakespearean, or Dickensian in its social and literary content.
And back to the plot.
It rained a bit today in Cambridgeshire.
Rather a lot really.
Thunder, lightening, sleet and hail.
It rained on the way there, a lot, I know I was on my bike.
It rained during the match.
In fact at one point they had to come off for 15 min, because there was no visibility.
AND I can definitely testify that it rained on the way back.
Lots and lots and lots of it.
So much that I had to stop twice and spend 40+ minutes in bus shelters.
Yes, I could have cycled, but it was so heavy, that I was more concerned about the visibility to motorists.
Eventually I did make it back, but was quite surprised having cycled through the A14 underpass, to find that by the time I got half way through, the puddle was actually over 2′ deep.
In fact, it was nearly to the top of the wheel at one point, and damned hard to cycle through.
Suffice it to say, that when I eventually got back home I was rather damp.
And so, to the cloud pictures at last, taken from our house, looking out across the fields.
Wonderful moody stuff.
I like clouds, you might have spotted that,
and so here are some especially pretentious ones 🙂

I had cycled through that lot.
Well, at ground level.

I did fiddle with the colour balance on this one

This is my favourite (but I love B&W)

Probably second favourite.
Very Close Encounters

All pictures taken with a
Samsung NX10
& 50 – 200 OIS Lens
+ Massa Polarising Filter

This posts music is
#98 by Matt Corcoran
I couldn’t find a U Tube clip so you may not get a controller for it.

WHERE AM I TODAY & Fenland Hill Fitness

SAT 7th May 2012


Do you know where it is yet?
Well I can tell you.
PADNEY, which is between Wicken Fen and Ely.

Yes I know, what on earth is that? There are other signs with even more languages like this.
I have NO idea what it says but I think it might be something to do with driving slowly because there are children.


This does pose it’s own problems, what with the complete lack of contours.
But since I have lived here for the last God knows how many years, and done quite a lot of hills in my time, I guess I must be doing something right.

My only means really is running and cycling, and a bit of time in the gym.
I say the gym, but I mean the garage because that is where all the weights are.
Only problem with that is that Olly (no 1 son), always has far more weight on any of the bars than I can actually lift now, and if I change them he gets annoyed.

So apart from weights, I try to run at least 30 to 35 miles a week.
Cycling I split into 2 type, although on a longer bike ride, I will mix it up.

On the bike I always try and get a fair bit of off road into a bike ride, because this make it harder work. On foot, it is always off road.

If I cannot get a lot of off road when cycling, then I use two regimes.

Ride type one, is to only use the large ring at the front, which on my bike is a 44 tooth.
And then restrict the rear gears to the bottom three, which are a 14, 13 and 11 tooth.
This means that regardless of the terrain, I am always pushing a big gear which helps al lot with quads, and hill fitness.

Ride type two, is a cadence ride, where the idea is just to keep going at a constant cadence (revolutions per minute) regardless of the terrain.
For me this is usually trying to maintain about 90 revolutions, which is good as a cardio and endurance session.

The bike also save the pounding on the knees, which have been beaten up over the years, especially with Squash and Tennis.

So that is it.
If I lived in the Lakes, it would of course be very different.
Ullswater to Ambleside and back via the Kirkstone Pass and the Struggle either gets you fit as a fiddle, or kills you outright.
If I tried it now, I suspect the latter.

So today, I just did a 32mile ride in restricted big cog mode, to take in a few places of interest (to me at least ).

Looks impressive doesn’t it, until you notice that the highest point is 16m above sea level.
The other thing is that Quo appears to be unable to comprehend below sea level.
And again at one point I was about -3m

I also wanted to give the NX10 another go.

I am mostly loving this camera, BUT the jury is still out regarding the challenge.

Not because I like the photos from my Optio WG-1 better, but because the Optio comes in at 165g all in, which is a 500g saving at the least, and is fully waterproof, and will GPS tag the photos, and I have 2 spare batteries for it.

I would love to take the NX10, and I will certainly take it on the Daunder in the Lakes later this month, but in order to keep pack weight to under 26lb which is my goal this year, I think it may have to be the Optio.

So, anyway, here are a few points of interest to me from today’s little jaunt.

Wicken Fen (again)

A proper working Windmill at Wicken.
And not an access road or 100 tons of concrete in sight

New planting near Upware
Stretham Old Pumping Station.
This was one of the original early pumping stations for this bit of the Fens

Stretham Old Engine info click left or above for more info

After a bit of a circuit, I eventually ended up returning via Denny Abbey

Denny Abbey

View along the river at Waterbeach

Old Barge at Waterbeach.
How long before it sinks

Rape Seed fields and east Anglian skies near Horningsea
And if you missed the Hadrian’s Wall post it is HERE.

And a bit of Music
And since I started on a foreign theme.
This is Conceiving You by  Riverside
One of the best bands to come out of Poland.
You should check them out!

A Bit of a week at work in Walton – Part 2 of 3

Well, Friday was a BLOODY Long day, and another 7.00pm finish.
I managed to get some stuff from Tesco in Carlisle and so it was time for another shuffle around the neighbourhood to see what lay in the other direction.

Tomorrow I planned to walk along Hadrian’s Wall East as far as I could get by midday, and then drop down to the valley for the return leg.

Typically again tonight I was going to not get back in daylight.

I headed off in the opposite direction to yesterday

The weather was rather nice and when I left the sun was still about, and the views rather fine.

Wandering Route Fri eve

I started out this time heading east along the road, and then over the river and up the hill the other side. It was quite a nice little run, and the midges were not too bad. On the other hand, they were not too good either.

I went out past Walton Mill and then up the road further.
By the right turn at the end, there was a small kennel by the side of the road with a sheepdog in it, and several cows wandering across the road.
There was also a signpost that said To the Breaks.
Seemed like a plan (not so as it turns out) and so I headed off West.
It did not look that boggy, and it had been quite dry

The cow was more sensible than me

BUT …  It was that boggy.  Nay it was even boggier than that.

It may have looked firm underfoot, but when you put your foot onto some bits, knee deep and beyond, and I DO have the tee shirt.

By the time I had gone about 600m into it, and had rather wet feet, legs and almost other bits, I was beginning to realise the folly of my way, and why the cows were all over by the road.

At the red marker on the map above, I turned back and decided that MAYBE, the other way might prove to be less moist.

Also, it was getting a bit darker, and I was thinking BE SENSIBLE.

In fact it got dark quite quickly after that.
I headed down the track to Walton Rigg, and then wiggled across and down by the river, before cutting back into Walton.

Now, just a bit past the Pub which sadly is no longer a pub, you can see the path of Hadrian’s Wall that goes back to the bunkhouse.

Yes, you can see it quite clearly can’t you?

I did not spot this though, since I was looking elsewhere and just not concentrating.
And, that is why I carried all the way down the road to the track that goes up towards
Campboglana, and then up to Sandysike.

And that is why we should carry MAPS!

This was the very same track that I drove down on Thursday morning rather than going round the road.
Seemed like a good idea at the time.

And it is, if your car has ground clearance, and is a 4×4.
Mine is a little Mitsubishi Colt on silly lower profile tyres.
And this track is probably best avoided in such a vehicle.

How I managed it, I know not.
Probably just sheer luck.

Anyway, it was time by now to head back up to the bunkhouse, rustle up some food, finish off that bottle of wine, and get some kip.

I had a walk planned for the morning, weather permitting.

NOTE.. I have introduced vetting of Comments now, because I have advertisers posting.
              Sorry about that peeps.

Continuing the Bonzo’s Theme