Decathlon Ultralight Backpacking Gear?
After 3 weeks of testing and multiple nights of wild camping, I wanted to share my full review on this ultralight tent from Decathlon.
I will be comparing this tent to my old trusty 4-year-old R.E.I Passage 1 tent.
Which will give a better impression of the Forclaz Trek 900 materials, and its overall design.
Let's start off with the numbers.
Specifications (Forclaz Trek 900)
Lighter Or Less Durable?
As spent time with this Forclaz tent, I started noticing how not too much has changed over the last few years, especially in the ultralight camping market.
Everything is getting much lighter that is true, but at what cost?
Lighter materials are great for bringing down the overall weight, of these tents, but I think they are becoming less durable.
There are materials out there that are far stronger and lighter but that would drive up the overall cost.
Size, Weight and Locations
The Forclaz Trek 900 tent weighs in total around 1.3kg and when you pack it down its volume is 4.2 litres, so it's small and very compact which is handy.
It isn’t the lightest tent on the market but for the price, it is definitely the best one for sure. I can’t find anything that comes close to this level of quality for the price.
I would say that the selection of tents is slightly wider from R.E.I in the United States, and their durability might be slightly better.
But in Europe decathlon has the upper hand.
They have far more store locations to choose from.
As a result of this, the Forclaz tent is far more accessible to find and purchase, here in Europe.
Especially in countries like the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Norway, Romania and Italy just to name a few.
But as Decathlon expand its empire to America that could change in the next few years.
When it comes to pitching up the tent it's pretty quick it only takes about five minutes or so it's easy to set up
When the whole Forclaz tent pitched up it is 2m long, 60cm wide and 1m tall.
Materials and Durability
When it comes to the rainfly, decathlon state on the website that it can take 2000m of rain, and on the bathtub floor, 3000 millimetres of water.
We had one night where it rained very lightly for about 4 hours and the tent did a great job repelling water, this is probably due to the repellent coating that they've used.
The rain fly in the morning was incredibly dry especially when you compare it to my four-year-old tent.
We also had a super cheap amazon tent called the “wintertrials” which I do not recommend because it was soaking wet in the early morning dew.
I would highly recommend using a groundsheet with the tent.
Because the bathtub floor is not very thick.
The groundsheet costs an extra €20 and it also adds 150g to the total weight.
I was worried about the zips at first because they are so small. But over time I did notice how smooth and high-quality they were to use.
I would just be very gentle with the zips don't force them and they should be fine.
Comfort and Livability
For reference, I'm 173cm tall and my friend Pierre (the owner of this tent) is also the exact same height.
When I’m laying down in the tent I’ve only got just about 10cm above my head, and the same goes for at my feet.
I fit in the tent but if you are 6ft tall this tent really wouldn't be for you.
For average height and smaller, it's okay.
The room inside the tent is small but adequate and there is a vestibule where you can put your bag and other items you don’t need inside the tent.
I want to note that even though this is a three-season tent, it did a good job of trapping heat inside the room of the tent.
It is not recommended for winter but at low altitude, it would be fine.
Decathlon says that this tent is freestanding, but I would say it semi freestanding.
The aluminium poles that come with the Forclaz are strong and it's a clever one poll design, which only takes 5 minutes to pitch up.
But what I have discovered is that the tent is not fully freestanding, with the rainfly.
Rather it is a semi freestanding tent.
The tent does a decent job dealing with condensation but as I said it's not a full freestanding.
You have to stake out the rain fly and then the outer wall of the tent doesn't touch the inside room of the tent.
Storms and Wind Resistance
I was concerned whether the aluminium stakes provided with the tent would be adequate against, storms or heavy winds.
When comparing the aluminium stakes from my old tent, the hooks that are going around the top of the stakes are far longer on my old tent from REI.
The Forclaz stakes are very thin and difficult to put into the ground.
When you try to put the guide rope around the hook of the aluminium stakes from Decathlon.
The tent stakes seem to have no hooks?
I did notice a small hole had been pre-drilled into the stake to provide the guide rope with a place to anchor itself?
Honestly, I wasn’t impressed with the stakes provided with the tent.
I have received many comments from other owners of this Forclaz tent, most people say that wind resistance is pretty good.
I would say if you replace the tent stakes provided and you find the right angle to pitch the tent up, to allow the winds to flow around its slender design, it should be fine.
If you find yourself on a budget but want to try having an ultra-lightweight tent, either for backpacking, bikepacking or simply for camping.
I would highly recommend this tent from decathlon.
Decathlon does offer a 14-day return policy, so the great thing is, if you find that the tent doesn't fit you, then you can swap it, or return it and get your money back.
If you decide the purchase the Forclaz tent it also comes with a 5-year warranty!
For the price, you're not going to find anything better in Europe.
It's lightweight, has a nice neutral colour scheme and above all, it costs 4 times less than its competitors.
I would say it's definitely not an “ultralight” tent. There are other tents on the market that are far lighter than this tent. If you live nearby a Decathlon store, is definitely worth trying out.
As I mentioned before its durability is questionable and honestly I'm not too confident it will last more than 5 years
But honestly, all tents in this weight range suffer from very similar challenges. I would highly recommend my tent which is from REI.
I would say both the REI Passage 1 and the Forclaz Trek 900 have a lot of things in common.
The only differences I can see between my tent and the Forclaz tent is that it’s 200g lighter and it has slightly less room inside of it. When you do the math with the current limitations of the technology today, makes sense.
I’m always on the hunt for new innovations in the camping and outdoor market. I am testing out new equipment each month either from decathlon or amazon.
I love budget orientated outdoor gear and I think it's amazing what decathlon offer for the money. I think that Forclaz can make some improvements for the next model but it’s a decent tent for the money. Hope you enjoyed reading this review!
(Remember that's this is simply just my overall opinion. You will have to decide for yourself whether the product benefits you or not.)