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15/09/2016

Locus Gear Menkaura Sil Review

Menkaura camping high in the Pyrenees

I have long been a fan of single pole tents for both their simplicity and their weatherliness and like many our first was the Golite Shangri-la 3. Whilst this provided a comfortable home on extended trips it was not particularly light, the door zip always snagged and strapping trekking poles together as a centre pole to keep the weight down was an unnecessary faff.

Shangri-La 3 on the HRP

A search of the web will now reveal a myriad of " mids" constructed by cottage manufacturers around the globe using the latest gucci fabrics.
Locus Gear first caught my eye because I couldn't find a picture of a badly erected tent, testament to their cut and design, but initially their models were either too big or too small, that is until they came out with the Menkaura. At 270cm x 270cm it had great floor space for 2 and a height of 130cm meant only needing  a single trekking pole to set it up, but still plenty of headroom to sit up for breakfast in bed and getting dressed and generally hanging around in shitty weather.
In the real world this is a shelter that is up in moments whether using just the Sil Nylon fly or in combination with the mesh inner. Total combined weight of ours including stuff sacks, additional tie outs and a good set of pegs is just under 1500g (this includes the heavier PU Taffeta inner).


Menkaura with a view to Posets

Whilst I had high expectations for this tent they were very soon surpassed as we encountered storm after storm on it's first outing to the Pyrenees. The slightly lower profile and pyramid shape give the wind very little to get hold of, allowing a more relaxed approach to pitch selection. An 8hr storm with all the proper accompaniments will still be bumpy but I don't worry about the tent anymore.
It's very nice when the sun shines too!


Locus Gear Menkaura near Iraty Pyrenees

Menkaura mesh inner, Iparla Ridge
Down sides?..... as with any lightweight tent and mesh inner combination condensation can be an issue and I am not convinced the built in vent does much, however undoing the door a little from the top is pretty effective.
Sil Nylon holds on to water, so whether it is condensation or rain from last nights storm and you want an early start you are going to have a wet fly. I always pack mine in the compression straps of whatever sack I am using and if possible give it the chance to dry over a lunch stop, no big deal. Sil nylon is also more forgiving than cuben fibre when it comes to difficult pitches without even looking at the comparative costs.
So how good?..... this is about the only gear I have not changed in the past 3 years, in fact I have just bought another Menkaura Sil in another colour because we need something a bit more stealthy for a long trip next year, love it!

Our new Locus Gear Menkaura in Snowdonia 


Locus Gear Menkaura on a cold and snowy morning
Via-Alpina GR5 Mont Thabor French Alps

More snow for the Menkaura in the French Alps

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