The Vaude Monolith Ultralight.
|Puddle forming on the roof of the tent.|
This was fifteen minutes after we drained the roof.
When I first discovered this tent at Zwerfkei it seemed to be the ideal tent for us. Although the inner tent was a bit on the small side it had more head room that the Citadel combined with lower weight and smaller pack volume. True there were some inexplicable design features which meant that although you could theoretically set the outer tent up first the idea was to put both inner and outer tent up together.
On our first trip we camped in Germany for a night and it rained. On waking up we found that there was a big puddle on the flat section at the top of the tent. This puddling occurred at the main seam across the top of the tent and hence water had made its way onto the top of the inner tent. Not a good start. We tried re-jigging the tent to see if the water ran away but nothing we did made the water drain off.
Our second trip to Leerdam was (fortunately as it turned out) also wet. We woke again to find a litre of water above our heads gently seeping onto the inner tent. We got rid of most of the water but within fifteen minutes it had started filling up again. This was not good and to cut a long story short we took the tent back and after a few visits finally Zwerfkei offered us a refund. With an enormous sigh of relief we bought a Helsport Fjellheimen Camp 3 which had none of these problems.
The Monolith Ultralight was such a disappointment that I didn't get round to taking any photos of it. So you'll have to make do with these pictures of water puddling on the roof. The original Monolith (made from polyester fabric which is stiffer) apparently did not suffer from this problem. We assume that the fact that lightweight nylon behaves differently was not taken into account when Vaude made the Ultralight version. You live and learn, but it was a shame that it took so much of our time up in the spring of 2008 when we could have been out on our bikes.
ConclusionThe idea behind the Vaude Monolith Ultralight is a good one. There is space inside to store your bikes if you wish and plenty of room in bad weather. At just over three kilos and with a small pack volume well suited to cycle tourists. The length of the inner tent would be a problem for taller people. If you encountered lots of mosquitos then it would be quite hard to live in the inner tent due to its small size.
The big problem is the way water puddles on the roof. You could solve this by making a supplementary fly sheet about two metres by one metre. But it was not something we were prepared to do with a new tent costing almost Eur 500. However if you find one going very cheap or a good one second hand it could make a fine tent with that extra fly sheet. I might just do that I bump into a Vaude Monolith Ultralight in the future.
The dip in the roof. It was clear that this would happen every time it rained. We thought there was a design fault as the seam across the tent was shorter than the fabric at the top of the tent. Thus you could never get the fabric taut at the top of the tent which lead to a puddle of water forming. The tent was sent back to Vaude who returned it saying that it was built according to the specifications. This problem could have been solved by adding another fly sheet to the top of the tent, but we wanted a tent that worked properly for our money.