We opted for the Alpkit Ordos 2 tent at the last minute becasue we were let down by a tent supplier for our trip to the Altay mountains in Asia. Left without much time and having sold our Terra Nova Laser competition 2 tent (because it wasn’t that great see review) we opted for something from Alpkit with limited time to spare and not much cash we bought the Ordos 2.
I have mixed opinions on Alpkit equipment. It is affordable kit but sometimes I’d rather spend a bit more and make sure it’s not going to let us down in the middle of nowhere. The bike packing and camping kit I’ve used from them previously has been mixed, I won’t list what I’ve used and either sold or now leave at home, but I’ve been underwhelmed by a few things. However they do get decent reviews it seems, so assuming I had previously just had bad luck I went for the Ordos 2 tent. I test kit and use kit pretty hard and have pretty high standards so how did it stand up?
Firstly this 2 man tent is impressively light for the space you get and the fact we paid just £200 for it. At 1.3kg it is at about the upper limit of weight for a 2 man bikepacking tent for me (Our plan A option weighed 950gms). However at this price it’s pretty unique to be this light but still with a trusted design and materials. Talking of the design it is based on the US manufacturer GoLite’s Imogene UL2 and UL3, a tested design that Alpkit acquired after Golite went bust apparently. This was sold as a positive thing, but I was left wondering why they went bust, did they make bad tents?
On opening the tent up I realized that to save weight and cost, a lot of plastic parts are used to clip the poles in at the ends and to clip the fabric to the poles at crucial parts. They scared us and a quick Google revealed that in high winds these have broken for others, but we had no choice so I kept an open mind.
I’ll start by listing the negative issues we found with using the tent over our 3 week trip;
1. The tent is fiddlier than some to erect. Lots of clipping and velcro to keep things in place. Not easy in the rain or dark. The poles are all attached as one so needs to be opened out like a spider, then installed the right way up so the clips face the right way, if you forget you have to unclip the poles, twist and start again!
2. The tent outer is hard to get taut and in the rain can pool with water but seemed to hold up OK in the wet generally.
3. The lower end of the tent moves all over the place under stronger winds, The spine compresses and the hanging cross brace bobs from side to side. No big deal but not as stable as some. It really isn’t a 4 season tent, the amount of mesh means nights can get chilly and snow would be a big no no with the shape at the lower end being flat on top allowing snow to build up. With two of us in we were fine to just below freezing in 1kg down sleeping bags, but I wouldn’t want to go much colder nor with more wind chill.
4. The fabric has an OK static head in terms of waterproofing at 3000mm, but it is very thin, you’ll need to add a few grams more by using a footprint.
5. The front outer door only has one zip and the zip only goes across one side so hard for one person to climb out over the other!
It wasn’t all bad as the tent did perform adequately on this trip, the positives for us were;
1. For this low weight the space is impressive, being 6ft4in means sitting up in a tent is a big positive. This was a pleasant surprise and welcome after smaller tents we’ve used at this weight.
2. The porch and sides fitted all our bikepacking kit fine. With bigger bags it might be tent with little room inside the tent.
3. Venting is good with a vent above the door working effectively and condensation was not bad at all and much better than out Terra Nova Lase Tent we used in Tibet last year.
4. Pack size of the fabric with the poles stored under the bike’s cross tube is very good and it easily fitted in 17l saddle pack with sleeping mat and clothes.
5. Lets face it most people will get this tent becasue it is half the price, at least, of competitors tents making it pretty impressive.
Overall it’s OK and as expected to be honest. It survived the trip to Asia, but except for some relatively strong winds and a few cold nights it got off quite lightly. A footprint to use underneath was essential on the rocky ground. It’s a delicate feeling tent compared to our past, more expensive offerings but with no heavy rain or storms we can’t fully conclude on it in really extreme conditions. We’ll keep it for now but I do think the difference with a more expensive equivalent is noticeable in terms of design and fabric used. The plastic attachments showed themselves to be fine and we got used to the fiddly erection but it never got slick and the plastic attachements never got a severe testing.
To be honest it’s probably the best performing Alpkit equipment we’ve used to date. Function on a budget – tick.
Total weight: 1300 g
Flysheet: 400 g
Inner: 426 g
Poles: 320 g
Pegs: 92 g
Guylines: 30 g
Tent bag: 18 g
Pole bag: 8 g
Peg bag: 6 g
Packed Size: 42 x 13 x 13 cm
Outer: 100% Nylon ripstop 15D x 15D/186T x 154T PU3000 mm
Inner: Mesh: 10D polyester No-See-Um; Panels: 15D Nylon R/S
Floor: 20D Nylon R/S 3000 mm PU/Sil
Poles: DAC TH72M-6 Aluminium
Pegs: DAC TH72M-6 Aluminium J-Stake
Other: Buckles: Duraflex; Zips: YKK