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.
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.