“Afar under the numerous stars
By far closer, my family”
– Haiku by Jijeon Jang
At GearLimits we pay a lot of attention to tents, but mostly of the small and lightweight type that fits in your backpack for those long, beautiful hikes we all love to go on. With 15 kilos, the Vaudé Torii is not exactly lightweight. But if when you consider that the 60-35 cm pack transforms into a 6 person tent with an inner tent area of 8.5 square meters, then it is a different story.
I used the Vaudé Torii during a holiday in the Pyrenees. Pitched in a nice wooded campsite we used it as a starting point for our climbing, hiking, MTB and other activities. So a real active family vacation. I was with my wife, two children (12 and 14) and a dog. The intention was to see if the Vaudé Torii would be a good base camp for us. Temperatures in that period were very high. During the day 30 degrees and more in the shade, and in the evening temperatures remained very high.
Right off the bat that was the biggest challenge during our review period, to keep out as much of that heat as possible. Fortunately we had a spot on our campsite with a lot of shade, so the tent had a lot of natural help. And what is really nice under these circumstances is the fact that the Torii is a kind of “convertible” tent, that is to say that on the middle of the tent a seperate roof section with pushbuttons can be attached or detached.
Under this detachable roof is a mesh that offers unobstructed views to the sky and also allowed for a bit of fresh air that came in from time to time. When the sun is down we removed the roof completely and notices that the tent can dissipate its built-up heat more easily. If you are sure that it won’t rain in the evening, you can leave the roof off all night.
I did notice that in the sleeping compartments (more about those later) the temperature remained noticeably higher than the middle space where the detachable roof was. Despite the two small tent poles on the outside of the tent meant to provide a ventilation opening to the 4-person sleeping compartment, it sometimes felt quite stuffy.
The only downside to this detachable roof was that the middle push button on the roof was difficult to reach and given how tight the roof is when attached it is difficult to secure the last push button.
Was the Torri a good base camp for all our activities? In short, yes. There are two sleeping compartments, a 4-person and a 2-person. My oldest son slept alone in the 2-person section, and I slept with my wife and daughter in the large 4-person compartment. Our dog slept stayed in the middle section in his bench. So there was enough space for all of us.
I have to say that when I imagine how it would have been with two extra people in our little expedition group, I get the feeling that it would be quite and even too tight.
Certainly at the temperatures we had, it would probably be very tight and super hot with 4 people in the 4-person compartment.
The problem with the 2 person compartment is that the inner tents can not be stretched taught towards the top of this compartment. As a result, the fabric was very loose and gave a feeling of very little space in this section.
In the middle part it is nice and spacious and high. With my 188 centimeters I could easily do what I had to do standing up. The square footage of the area of the middle section is quit good. In bad weather you can easily cook your food or sit together with each other.
Both compartments can be hung separately in the outer tent, and if you aren’t using one of them you can pack it away.
The Torii looks very nice first of all. The profile is like a trekking tent, but is still very high and spacious. Without having to tension the guylines (with which you can work away the last “wrinkles” of course) the tent stood like a house. The outer tent hangs within a partially exo-part internal skeleton of a total of 9 tent poles. It took me some time to understand how this skeleton had to be set up. On both sides along the length of the tent you can say two upright pole “gates”, which are joined together by the four poles that run over the top of the middle tent section.
The first few times it certainly took a bit of effort to put all that right and it’s not exactly a one man job. In our case the color indication of the pole sleaves didn’t correspond to the correct poles. Hopefully this is a mistake limited only to our reviewtent. And once I realised that, we were good.
If the skeleton is on tension, the tent is very sturdy. Clipping the rest of the tent to the poles with simple hooks helps tension the whole tent. Simple and effective. The tent has a large opening on both sides (which you can open towards one another for extra ventilation) and another opening at the head end that is available if the small sleeping compartment is not used.
Pitching and taking down the tent
As I mentioned before, pitching tent was difficult at first, but with some practice I did get the hang of it. The trick is to attach one of the two “gates” along the length side to the bottom of the tent on the ground loops, place the connecting poles to the other “gate” and then push it up into the tension of the first. Only then you can pitch the tent, without that counter pressure the poles will fall out of the joint pieces everytime. Which can be very irritating.
The Vaudé Torii 4 + 2 is a very good looking, light family tent, which with the “convertible” roof has a very cool and useful feature; it provides better ventilation and more light in the tent. It also adds to the feeling of space in the tent. It is made for 6 people, but if you want to make that work you really have to like eachother or conversely need eachothers body warmth ;-).