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Quest Preying Mantis?

Question:
Based largely on your recent review, I purchased a Quest Preying Mantis. Unfortunately, it came without any instructions. While it doesn't take a rocket scientist to set it up, but I do have a couple of questions that I'm hoping your reviewer might be able to answer. I would greatly appreciate it if you could forward them to him.

1) Is it recomended to leave the poles/hubs attached to the tent, front and rear? Mine were tied in place, but I'm tempted to untie them and make a quick-release attachment. I'm concerned about damaging the tent if I roll the poles up in it.

2) The tent came with three small nylon bags with elastic loops on them. I assume that these are used to cover the hubs if you leave the poles in place when you pack the tent?

3) How much seam sealer did you need to seal the fly and floor?

4) If you have the instructions handy, could you possibly fax them to me or mail me a copy?

Thanks for your help.

Brian

Answer:
I think you'll be satisfied with the Preying Mantis--our field crew still prefers it over many comparable tents for the vestibule space, ventilation, and weight. About the only time we don't fight over it is when we're soloing and want to go with a lighter-weight tent. We'll be posting our ultralight tent review soon; it appeared in the August 98 issue of Outfitter.

To answer your questions:

1. We advise that you do leave the hubs attached to the tent, rather than remove them to pack the tent. Retying them everytime would be a pain. You could rig some type of quick release, but we've found it unnecessary to do so. We've never seen any damage to the tent body from the hubs or poles. Quest has modified the Preying Mantis starting with the '98 models so that the hubs now attach via a hook and ladder strap. This simplifies assembly and allows you to stuff the tent and fly into the bag seperately from the poles and hubs. If you buy a Preying Mantis, amke sure you get a recent model with the new-style hubs.

2. The use of the small bags helps prevent damage to the tent body. The three small bags go over the ends of the collapsed poles to prevent them from digging into the tent when you roll it up. By combining the pole ends together, you can use the bags on groups of poles, i.e. one for the end of the rear poles, one for the side and spine poles, and one for the vestibule pole in its own stuff sack (or whatever arrangement you prefer). Then you align the poles (with bags attached) perpendicular to the sides of the tent so they just roll up with the tent. With the newer Preying Mantis models, with the detachable hubs, you no longer need to roll up the poles with the tent.

3. We've never seam sealed our Preying Mantis, and have never observed any leaks, even in driving thunderstorms. After three years of usage a small hole developed over one of the clips on the spine pole. I used seam sealer to patch the hole. (Put tape on one side of the hole, then apply a glob of seam sealer on the other side. Once dry, remove the tape from the back and put a glob on that side. The result is a completely sealed hole.) If you decide to apply sealer, I would just work on the rainfly applying a couple of thin coats of sealer to the inside of the seams.

4. I'll look for the instructions to the Mantis, but I'm not hopeful I'll find them. Its been three years since one of our staff purchased the Preying Mantis and I doubt we've kept any of the paperwork. You could contact Quest directly to see if they can fax or mail instructions. Their number is 800-613-1225.

Finally, one other point from experience. The weakest point on this tent is the dual zippers on the mesh tent door. After repeated use (abuse?) in sandy conditions, the sliders finally gave out. Its a good idea to rinse the zipper area (this applies to any tent/zipper) with water after every trip, especially in dry sandy conditions. Nothing like grit to wear down a zipper. You can also use a silicon-based lubricant to keep the zipper running smoothly (or Vaseline if you don't have anything else--we once used Chapstick with surprisingly good results.) We just had our door zipper repaired--it was only $20 so its not a big problem, but one that can be prevented or prolonged through proper care.

Hope that answers all your questions and that you'll get lots of good usage from your Preying Mantis.



Steve Mann



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