My old Akto was inevitably going to fail sometime soon as its flysheet was showing clear signs of UV damage but my mistake hastened its end. Regrets? A few, but mainly I was glad it had failed in Glen Nevis, near a choice of gear shops, rather than on Mull.
This had been my second Akto and I did not like it as much as I had liked the first because of the arch over the door. My first, simpler Akto had lacked this feature. Sooner or later, complexity tends to cause problems with backpacking equipment, usually at the worst possible moment, and that arch did cause a couple of problems. However, this post is about my mistake, not Hilleberg’s. Let’s just say I wasn’t completely distraught when the flysheet tore catastrophically.
What did I do wrong? Tightened the guylines before walking away from the tent. I had woken to sleet and low snow on Ben Nevis just opposite the campsite. After only two days of cycling from Tain, I did not need a rest day but I did not fancy cycling in the prevailing conditions so I sorted out the tent, put on my waterproofs and hiked into town for some serious nutrition.
At about the halfway point on my hilly walk the rain stopped and a little later the sun came out. The day warmed up and the vegetation started to steam. By the time I reached Fort William, I was wishing I had put on sunscreen. The temptation to go back to the tent, pack up and cycle down to the Mull ferry at Lochaline was not strong enough to overcome the fact that I had already paid for another night on the campsite. Instead, I had a good lunch then walked back to the campsite.
The sun had completely dried my tent and tightened the fabric and guys. The tension had been great enough to tear the black end of the flysheet almost completely off. The damage was far too great for repair. I salvaged the good bits – the poles, pegs and footprint before putting the rest of the tent into the bin. Nearer home, I would have cut the groundsheet off the previously damaged inner and retained that too but there was a limit to how much I was prepared to haul round the North Coast 500.
I hiked back into town and bought a Wild Country Zephyros 1. Perhaps not an exceptional tent but great value. Once back home, a quick scan of my Photos album revealed numerous images of my Trailstar and Golite Cave but very few of the Akto. It seems I never did take to that second Akto.