Wilderness Equipment: First Arrow Tent
Finding the perfect tent is not always an easy task. We here at Women Want Adventure know the hundreds of options out there for a variety of different tents suitable for mountain expeditions, multiday hikes or basic campgrounds. This means we know the importance of tent specifications, how durable it needs to be and how easy it is to set up and take down. With plenty of incredible tents out there, we have tried and tested some of the best to help you make your purchase decision and get you out on your next adventure.
2/3 Person tent
Packed weight: 2.28kg
Floor Dimensions 2.15m long x 1.5m widest
Colour: Apple Green
Pegs: 9 x 4 –Flute HT Aluminium, with pull cords
Poles: 3 x DAC Featherlite
Fabric: Siliconised 30d Nylon
This First Arrow tent came to us for review as a result of a trip to the South Island in New Zealand. At the time, our Team needed a tent durable for camping in high wind areas, ‘extreme conditions’ and light enough to carry on multi-day hikes.
By ‘extreme conditions’ we mean camping at altitude, in storms and being able to sleep well. Recovery and rest are important on any adventure, so we needed a tent to meet our criteria for hiking, unpredicted weather conditions and big enough to fit 2 people and our camera gear.
When buying a tent, you could easily go to K-Mart and pick up a $50 basic, that would do justice for a flat campground in predictable weather. If that isn’t your situation, and it certainly wasn’t ours on this trip, investing money in a high quality tent that can stand up to rain, snow and wind is an excellent choice.
The First Arrow is recognised as the premier, double-skinned, expedition tent for lightweight travel in snow, across exposed country and in severe weather. We re-named it our Green Monster, namely for withstanding the monstrous wind, snow and downpours we encountered during our time in Mt Aspiring National Park.
The First Arrow is the lightest two-person tent we've tried and tested so far. That's a big statement, but we were so happy with it's lightweight material, weighing in at only 2.28kg.
One of the unique features the Wilderness Equipment designers included into the First Arrow is versatility. While we used this tent in 'extreme conditions', it also served well on day hikes and in campgrounds.
The high tenacity, 30d Nylon 66 with 3000mm HHsil/sil coating gave the tent the best possible resistance for all types of weather we encountered. There were no compromises to it's life expectancy and it's defiantly a tent we trusted.
When camping in this tent while on a 3-day hiking trip, we ran into 3 days of rain and 2 nights of heavy downpour, and the tent held up very nicely while keeping the rain and wind out. With the tapered tunnel shape it gave the tent an excellent natural stability in high wind areas. Through the adverse weather conditions, the First Arrow stayed dry inside (even without a footprint) and stayed upright. Thank goodness!
Many times in a lightweight 2-person tent, space is often limited because designers try to trim weight and cut down on tent material. One of the ways in which Wilderness Equipment is able to get that extra space with First Arrow is by using large arch poles at the entry point and a lower cut away eve which pulls out the sides and increases the length, creating additional space inside.
One of the best additions creating space is the independent double-sided access points. There’s nothing worse than someone climbing over you in the middle of the night to go to the loo. Both ends can be unzipped for full ventilation so there are no smelly feet. This also allowed us to sleep at either end and still cover up our gear.
The Arrow also features a hanging loop at the top of the tent for hanging a light or head lamp. While it rained for 3 days we played card games and cooked inside the tent with no trouble.
At 2.28 kg it’s respectable for a multi-day hike. The integration of fly, ropes and body reduces bulk, making it quite tiny when packed, especially relative to its weight. We didn’t need to split the tent when hiking either. One of our favourite things were pulling the tent down quickly and being able to shove the tent away within 30 seconds. It’s actually quite remarkable how quickly this tent unfolds and packs away.
Tent Set Up
Three pegs are all you need. Three pegs! Six more will fully do the job. The first time setting the tent up, it took an extra minute or so, but after our first run it was a breeze. If the tent isn’t packed away well, it can get tangled with the ropes and fly. Spreading the fly and body out first is the easiest way for a quick set up. Thanks to only three poles, easy seemed corners and support ropes, we were able to set it up in less than three minutes.
Taking Down the Tent
Wilderness Equipment made a point to design this tent so that it was easy to take down. Everything is already attached, including the fly and body. These can both be detached, but we found after setting up the tent a few times it was easier to leave everything attached and pull the fly and body up and down together. One of the most noticeable features on the First Arrow 2-person tent is that the folded corners are not stitched. This is possible because the floor pan hangs freely from its attachment points to the outer tent, located well above ground level. This means that it’s easier to keep water from seeping in but when you take down the tent, everything folds in on itself easily.
How We Tested It
We tested this tent over six weeks on the trails in the South Island, New Zealand. The tent was soaked in rain, baked in the sun, shoved into backpacks and pitched on rocky ground. The most important factor for us was weatherproofing and being lightweight. Everything else is secondary to how a tent performs in the wet and wind. The fact it was easy to set up, pack and carry was a bonus.
Lightweight. Versatile. Waterproof. Spacious. The First Arrow met all our expectations and was a tent suitable for our expeditions in mountainous areas. A well worth it tent for high quality materials and reliability. We’re looking forward to taking the First Arrow to coastal areas in Australia and know it’s a tent that’s built to last whatever adventure we throw at it.