We're huge fans of Vaude tents here at Active Traveller and think they're much underrated in the UK. With options to suit every budget and adventure, but always with decent build quality it's well worth checking out their range. On test is the Taurus UL 2p. UL standing for 'Ultra Light' and a total weight just a shade under 2kg confirms this moniker. Shaving weight is not something Vaude are new to, and they do it as well as anyone else with some clever designs meaning that functionality and practicality are still retained.
Lightweight tents can often be quite fragile due to their thin materials, but the Taurus utilises a 40d ripstop flysheet fabric which has been siliconized on both sides, making it stronger than a comparable PU coated fabric. A tear resistance of 8-11kg compares very favourably with PU coated which can have ratings as low as 2 to 3kg, making it more susceptible to wind damage. The bathtub floor is also 40d ripstop and has a hydrostatic head of 10,000mm, many others in the lightweight market have a 20-30d floor with hydrostatic heads as low as 2000mm.
Pitching the Taurus is a doddle and requires little to no input from the instructions, provided you're familiar with common tent design conventions. There are two lightweight poles both running inside the tent, rather than externally, into 'dead-end' pole sleeves meaning they can easily be located and tensioned into the eyelet at the other end by a single person. With corners pegged and poles installed it's a simple case of raising the sewn in corner poles at the foot via adjustable webbing straps and pegging out. Surprisingly for a lightweight tent enough pegs are supplied for all pegging and guying points. As pitching is outer first there are no issues with the inside getting wet if you're unlucky enough to be making camp in the rain.
We were also surprised to find thick cord guylines which feel much sturdier than the thin whisps of fabric usually supplied in the lightweight arena, and absolutely love the innovate guy runners. We've never seen this type before but they're intuitive to use and result in a rock-solid lock - even in high winds. We did experience some side deflection of the tent in blustery conditions due to the tunnel design, stability would be improved slightly by adding a guyline to the front.
Head room is great at the vestibule end, I'm over 6ft and can sit up with a good few inches to spare above. Although the tent tapers in height and width towards the foot end you can still top and tail two 50cm wide sleeping mats for a slightly more private night's sleep, otherwise it's a pretty cosy experience. Length is also good meaning there's little risk of touching the inner fabric with your sleeping bag unless you're on a hill and the 40cm or so of spare room is valuable storage space. Vestibule sizing is generous enough for a backpack and boots and we love what we call the 'infinity zip' which allows unlimited opening combinations including having the front end fully open for al fresco living and star gazing. This is also the main point of ventilation with a rain peak at the top of the vestibule allowing you to crack the zip open slightly without letting the wet in. Air then flows to the inner through a zipped mesh section on the main inner door.
Inside the tent is a cosy place to be in biting winds thanks to a full material construction rather than mesh, or partial mesh inner. And this is probably a better option for fickle British weather, even if it does make it feel a little more claustrophobic, as it helps stop the wind howling through.
Storage is good for two with identical large and small pockets on each side as well as a pre-installed gear line running half the length of the tent.
It's worth noting when comparing this to other lightweight 2p tents that the solid, rather than mesh inner and high denier fabric as well as coating on both sides all add to the overall weight, and while there are lighter 2p options out there they may not have the durability or weather protection of the Taurus.
Lightweight tents ain't cheap and this one sings the same wallet busting song at £465 direct from Vaude but the quality is there, the pack size is suitably small and the space inside, for the weight is good. On that basis, and with our knowledge of Vaude build quality, we would recommend taking a closer look if you're on the hunt for a new place to put your head in the wilderness.