Our Mountain Hardwear Skyledge 3 tent (three person, ~2kg) has died a slow death on our Alleykat Adventure. At a guess we've used this tent more than anyone else on the planet. Our tents lifespan has been about two years, but we suspect we've spent 400+ nights in it!
We were still using it up until a few days ago, but just received a warranty replacement, an upgrade to the latest model, the Skyledge 3 DP.
We snapped a pole early on in the piece. At the time I was tipping dirt out of the floor, so I was probably not being careful enough with how I was holding the tent. A snapped pole is no big problem; we soon found a camping store and replaced it with a random section of pole.
Two Months Ago
The central issue with our tent is that it shrunk one day… and then continued to shrink! The interesting bit is that it's done it before, on two occasions, but by the time we set it up again, it had returned to normal size.
This time was different though; what started as not being able to clip ONE hook from the inner onto the poles, ended in not being able to clip FOUR hooks on.
As a result, additional stress was put upon the poles and hooks, leading to a series of failures which you'll be able to see in the pictures below.
We also wanted to show you the wear and tear that a tent like this receives. You can see the delamination of sections of seam-seal (repairable) and the UV damage to the fly (actually quite minimal considering the use).
Take Home Message
The main thing to take home is that ultralight tents are brilliant for multi-day, even multi-month use, but they aren't cut out for multi-year use! They simply aren't built for it.
When we buy our next tent for a multi-year trip, it will be built with heavier, more sturdy materials. We will be looking at tents with more poles, heavier flys and heavier floors. This will of course come at a cost; the same size freestanding tent from Hilleberg, the Staika, is TWICE the weight!