With the Grasshopper in tow, I feel no dread approaching our campsite nowadays. I know that when I get there, set-up is going to be a piece of cake, particularly with a helping hand.
You take the Grasshopper out of its water-sealed bag, lay out the tent, peg in the corners and put together the three poles. One of these, the longest, is yellow, whereas the other two shorter ones are red. You slot the knobbed ends of the yellow pole into the eyelets on the pegged-in tent corners, then clip the tent to it with C-clips. Then you slot the red ones into the free corners, bend them over the yellow pole, and slip them into an eyelet at the top of the doors, before clipping in the remaining C-clips. Finally, you breezily line up the fly with the doors, velcro it to the poles and clip it in on the tent corners. This never takes us longer than six or seven minutes. The whole process is streamlined by colour coding on the poles, tent corners, C-clips and the fly’s clips.
Taking a step back from your creation, the name ‘grasshopper’ starts to make sense. You have an asymmetrical, somewhat gangly setup before you, thanks to the unusual pole system, which has the pole-ends suspending the tent mid-air. The logic of this isn’t immediately apparent, but once you’re inside, in the 1.2 x 2.2 x 1.8 metre space, you realise the innovative system creates extra headroom, and cleverly holds the teardrop shaped doors in place.
Getting in and out of these doors requires a bit of inevitable ducking. Although this tent is called a three person, two people is more comfortable; three would be a squeeze and necessitate late-night scrambling over others. Whereas there’s none of this if the Grasshopper 3P is used for just two people; both have their own exit.
Inside there’s a few handy pockets on the roof. We tend to slot a headlamp or two in here at night to illuminate the inside. In the important places, the fly is pegged away from the mesh (particularly over the doors), which makes for dry nights in wet conditions; also it leaves a big triangular vestibule of storage space under shelter on both door sides, to save you from bringing muddy boots or gear inside.
The floor is ultra lightweight, in fact it feels fragile, but we have used it on some rather nasty surfaces and it has held up alright. The longer yellow pole did bend in some horrific 70kph gusts at one point, but in full set-up, held down by the red poles, it becomes nice and straight again, so we’ve felt no need to address it (in fact, this flexibility possibly saved it from cracking).
The tent is well-ventilated, with wires enabling optional airflow on the roof, and the fly rolling right back to the poles to create a huge triangle of exposed mesh. Aside from fresh air, this lets in whatever view you’ve so carefully positioned yourself near.
At 3kg, the Grasshopper is light, but it’s no dainty-toed featherweight if you plan to hike with it on your back. However, considering it will be shared with two or more people, it’s still a very realistic proposition to shove into the hiking pack; your fellow camper can lug the sleeping bags instead. It’s a fairly squat 50 x 18 x 18cm packed up, particularly good by the same sharing logic. Perhaps best news of all, when the adventure is over, the Grasshopper packs down without any cussing, because of the reasonably sized bag, a true exception in this day and age.