For bombproof three-man, four-season tents, most people sensibly prioritise durability and stability. Weight is always a consideration for any mountain equipment but compromises must be made, especially for a tent of this size.
I’ve been long aware of both the 66˚North and HEIMPLANET brands for being all about high quality and clean, elegant design.
I’m also a sucker for the Icelandic approach to outdoor gear and was not disappointed by the striking design of The Cave XL when we got it up in the wilds of the Cairngorms. The geodesic shape is seriously something to behold; you feel a little cooler simply by association as The Cave XL turns the landscape into a set by Ridley Scott.
We reckoned that a four-season tent designed for the wildest Icelandic weather should be a good fit for what Scottish winter can throw at you.
We decided to take The Cave XL up on to the Cairngorm plateau in mid-March to spend the night, conditions were clear and dry but cold with wind definitely picking up through the night.
We left the cars at about 4pm and spent a couple of hours hiking up on to the plateau. With one recent Covid patient, this was pretty slow going. Dusk brought a beautiful pinky light casting across the snow-capped hills. The views opened up as we made our way up the shoulder towards the Cairngorm plateau. We saw Loch Morlich glittering way down below us as the last of the day withdrew.
Between the three of us, we divided the inner and outer shell which meant weight was distributed without too much grumbling.
Normally these would all be clipped together from the outset, to allow a super-fast erection but we felt it would be good to check how long it would take to put it together from scratch, especially on a cold and windy evening.
Summiting up onto the plateau in an exposed location gave us a good feel for how the tent performed in some of the UK’s harshest wind and cold.
Our specific site was a mix of shallow, icy snow and tough earth.