Wednesday, 01 June 2016 08:36

Jack Wolfskin Skyrocket II tent tested and reviewed

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Jack Wolfskin are makiong a big push to grow their market presence in the UK and as part of that a group of journalists were invited to their new UK HQ in Northamptonshire last month. Overnight accomodation was their Skyrocket II dome tents, which we then took away to fully test.

 The Skyrocket II is marketed as a summer 2 man tent with "simple pitching and innovative ventilation".

 Jack Wolfskin Skyrocket 3

Self standing inner

What the manufacturers say:

The SKYROCKET II DOME is a lightweight, free-standing dome tent for two people. Its stand-out feature is the innovative ZIPVENT door ventilation that can be precision-regulated. Combined with the roof vents, it creates a chimney effect which effectively draws fresh air into the tent. This summer tent is very well suited to trekking. In very warm weather, you can even forget about the flysheet and just pitch the inner tent on its own because it is fully self-supporting. The inner tent has three pockets and a GEAR LOFT to store kit so you can locate it quickly.

Jack Wolfskin Skyrocket 2

Features:

  • Doors: 1
  • Persons: 2
  • Inner Tent Measurements: [L x W x H] 220 x 140 x 105 cm
  • Vestibule depth: 65 cm
  • Packing size: 55 x 18 cm
  • Weight: 2490 g (stripped down: 2170 g)
  • dome design
  • 1 inner tent, 1 flysheet
  • 1 vestibule
  • 1 entrance
  • 1 ZIP VENT door vent, 2 roof vents
  • 3 internal storage pockets, removable GEAR LOFT
  • 12 pegs, 4 guylines
  • reflectors on zip tabs and guying points
  • Flysheet: lightweight, robust, fast-drying and UV resistant fabric with PU coating (POLYESTER 75D, water column rating: 4000 mm)
  • Inner tent: soft, breathable and fast-drying fabric (POLYESTER 68D BREATHABLE)
  • Groundsheet: durable, waterproof coated fabric (HYDROFILM NYLON 70D; water column rating 5000 mm)
  • Frame: very light 9 mm aluminium tent poles (DAC ALUMINIUM 7001)
  • roll-top pack bag

 

On Test:

Looking at the main marketing points of simple pitching and innovative ventilation first we have to admit they're spot on. The pitching system is essentially that of the best selling MSR Hubba; a traditional 2 pole dome structure with a short cross pole. The two dome poles are combined into a single unit with a central plastic bracket at the centre which makes it virtually impossible to get the main support wrong. The short cross pole, which provides the tension for a porch, simply clips into place with pole pockets on the inside of the flysheet. The result is a freestanding dome that can be pitched in less than 2 minutes.

Jack Wolfskin Skyrocket 4

Note the short cross pole

Ventilation is catered for by a combination of vents on the top of the dome and internal mesh triangular panels along with the zip-vent door and in practice it proved very efficient in a mix of conditions from dry, still, mornings to prolonged summer downpours in the Lake District. How the zip-vent door helps with ventilation, however, was beyond us. The door is essentially a single-zip, curved door with a storm flap and a single press stud closure at the bottom.

Jack Wolfskin Skyrocket

Skyrocket II with roof vets open

In terms of stability the Skyrocket II coped admirably from the minute the pole assembly was erected and once guyed proved a solid base for 4 days at Keswick, despite a few larger tents suffering various stages of collapse on the second night. Internally the Skyrocket II is a true two man tent as opposed to a "2 very good friends" tent, with a good 10cm gap between sleeping bags even at their widest point. Without the gear loft pocket space inside is a bit limited compared to some 2 mans and with the gear loft in place headroom is a bit restricted, but having the option from purchase rather than the gear loft being an optional extra is a nice touch.

Jack Wolfskin Skyrocket 6

Internal pockets

The Skyrocket II comes, as many tents seem to these days, with a tube of seam sealant and like most people we just left this in the bag; the tents were pre-erected at Jack Wolfskin's base for our first use and for the Lake District testing we had it available but never got around to applying any. When the heavens opened on the Friday night, and continued through the night, however, the Skyrocket II proved water repellent without additional sealing. The flysheet shed rain without any problem and the twin vents operated perfectly, preventing condensation under the pressure of prolonged occupation and even cooking. The performance in the rain, however, was not completely trouble free!

If there's a problem with the Jack Wolfskin Skyrocket II it's the door. The use of a single zip combined with a curved profile and the press stud closure made it almost impossible to exit the tent without getting water inside. The single direction zip means it can only be opened from the base, starting with the press stud - with the flysheet tabbed for releasing the press stud from the outside only. If you haven't got your face/head wet from struggling with the press stud then zip the angle of the flysheet at the door means that on opening the door flap it naturally falls inwards - shedding water droplets onto and into the inner. If you're luck the Velcro patches may catch the door but on practice the result was water getting inside 3 out of 4 times.

Jack Wolfskin Skyrocket 5

External press stud fastening on Skyrocket II door

At 2.5k the Skyrocket is a medium weight 2 man tent rather than a lightweight offering but its inner first pitching does allow easy load splitting with one person carrying the poles/inner with a partner carrying the flysheet. Porch space proved more than adequate for one person with room for a pack, boots, food box and room to cook but with only a single porch/door it could get a bit crowded with two people in wet weather and this is when the gear loft really comes in handy.

Reviewing the Skrocket as a summer trekking tent, in line with its marketing, its working well within its limits. The low profile, study, dome will handle full 3-season use rather than just summer and the build quality gives you confidence it's going to prove durable. The outer, PU coated, 75D polyester feels noticeably thicker and more substantial than many of today's 3 season tents and no doubt accounts for the additional weight over what could be possible with the design. The door design aside, it proved very capable of shedding large and continuous amounts of water and was solid enough in winds to see barely a flicker on a UCO candle lantern. Reflective guys and zips make the Skyrocket ideal for campsite use, and this is perhaps where it's best suited. The self standing design makes it easy to relocate or re-orientate and the small footprint, combined with quick setup, means it will fit almost anywhere on even the most crowded sites, although its low profile can make it hard to find in a sea of larger tents. At a list price of £200 and a street price of £155 the Skyrocket is entering a very crowded marketplace and while the zip-vent is marketed as its selling point after testing we'd say the durability of its fabrics is its strongest asset. It's not the lightest, is single rather than double porch but when the wind's blowing and the rain's falling it feels solid, secure and ideally suited for the UK's climate.

 

 

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 22 November 2016 22:43