The very first time Muz and I went camping on our motorbikes, everything we took with us was an experiment – including our 3-man Eurohike Avon tent.
While the Avon isn’t that big packed away, it’s not that small either. The other people we met up with were mostly in a similar position, with a couple of exceptions. One of those exceptions was a friend with a Coleman Phad X3, and we were so impressed with it that we bought our own for next time.
The Phad X3 is classed as a ‘backpacker tent’ and designed to be uber-light, with slim aluminium poles and tiny but surprisingly sturdy aluminium pegs meaning that it weighs in at an impressively tiny 3.95kg. It also packs down very small – to a stated 56cm x 23cm.
With headroom of 104cm, it’s not the roomiest of tents, but it does manage to include a porch, so it’s plenty big enough for two people plus gear providing you don’t want to play frequent games of Twister.
Each pole slides into channels with closed pocket-style ends, which makes erecting the tent a doddle, easily managed by one person while the other goes in search of Pot Noodles. The inner tent fastens to the outer with a fairly standard toggle system and is easily left in permanently to allow for fast, simple pitching/packing.
The top quarter or so of the inner tent door can be unzipped to reveal a no-see-um mesh panel, so you can have some ventilation, but perhaps not as much as that found on most tents these days. However, the porch has a door on either side of the tent, and a further semi-circular zippered opening on the very front, should you want to encourage extra airflow, so it’s not a major drawback.
The flysheet has a decent 4000mm hydrostatic head, and is made from polyester ripstop with PU coated, taped seams and UV detailing so you can find your tent in the dark with minimal effort. The groundsheet is my only real gripe – it’s nylon with a 5000mm hydrostatic head and PU coated, taped seams, but on a recent trip I found that after a couple of days of solid rain the material itself is so fine that it’s started to allow some water ingress – in as much as the groundsheet itself seems to be sucking up water. I’m going to take a secondary groundsheet with us next time we use it.
Summary: Small and light, big enough for two plus luggage and bike gear. This is a brilliant tent for travelling, be it by motorbike, pushbike or on foot. I’d rate it five hammers if it weren’t for that groundsheet.