I've used the Venus II Extreme for car-camping, hiking, showshoeing/cross-country skiing, and mountaineering.
- Extremely stable design in wind/nasty weather
- Well-thought out ventilation system
- Vertical side walls give great head/shoulder room when two people are sitting side by side.
- Attention to detail in design (e.g. vent opening struts contain a pole repair sleeve)
- Versatility of being able to set up in different combinations of fly/inner/groundsheet according to conditions
- Ultralight version saves weight if main use is to be 3 season hiking, etc.
- Heavy for an all-round hike tent (but in summer you can just take the fly and ground sheet to save heaps of weight)
- Sil-nylon fabric does sag when wet, ensuring all guy ropes are pegged out tight solves the problem.
This tent would probably be my favourite piece of outdoor gear. The design has delivered useability and ergonomics without compromise. After a long day's walk or climb, setting up the Venus II and getting inside feels like home. When used with just the fly and groundsheet (without the inner), the tent can easily accomodate 3 people, or even 4 at a stretch, so in summer I use it in this configuration to save weight for the group. In wet weather, the fly can be set up first (very quickly), then the group can get under the waterproof shelter and set up the nylon inner from the inside, ensuring it (and they) stay completely dry. Four people can comfortably sit around under the fly for meals, etc, when the inner is not set up. One winter I spent 3 days inside the tent during a nasty snow storm at Blue Lake. The weather observations when we got back showed we had been hit with 130 km/hr winds at the peak of the storm, and the tent had not sustained any damage!
Dom has spent a few years with Mountain Equipment, floating between Chatswood and the City stores like a loose lily in an amber stream. Half Ninja, half honey-badger, half poet-laureate, he's 1.5x the outdoorsman. He enjoys climbing, hiking, canyoning, mountain biking, and carrying heavy packs uphill through the snow, barefoot, carrying a wasp's nest in his teeth. Dom's future will see him settling down to a quiet life of Sudoku and taxidermy, but until then, there is gnar to be shreddeth. Quote: "The first rule of climbing: Looking Good."