/ North Face VE 25 Seam Sealed (EU vs US version)
I've been looking at the North Face VE 25 but I keep reading conflicting things online about there being an EU and US version and what the differences are. Some folk seem to say it's just fly sheet material others seem to say the EU version doesn't have taped/sealed seams. Obvisouly if I'm paying nearly 700 pound on a tent I don't want to be having to immediately "fix" it by seam sealing myself. Can anyone clear this up for me? Any thoughts about the tent in general would also be appreciated.
For reference I'm after a tent that'll fit at least 2 people that I can use right through winter in Scotland in the Cairngorms without having to worry too much about my tent breaking in the wind/snow.
I had a look on the at the VE 25 on TNF's German and US web pages - they seem to have a slightly different style code but the fly fabric they list is the same. They say 1500 mm PU/Si coating on a 40D Nylon fabric.
They don't say whether the fly is seam sealed or not; normally this style of tent is seam taped, and they do list a PU coating, which is required for seam taping. But normally they would list seam taping the fly as a feature - which makes me wonder...
Seam sealing a tent fly at home with a liquid sealant is a bit of a pain - it takes a couple of hours and you have to let it dry at least overnight before you pack it. However there are some big advantages in designing a tent which is NOT seam taped.
First, fly fabric with a silicone coating on both sides (no PU coating) are very much more tear resistant. About five times more tear resistant than exactly the same fabric with a PU coating. The Silicone coating allows the yarns to slide, and the load is shared by many yarns at once, so a tear tends to stop, rather than continuing through the fabric.
Second, It is much more difficult to put internal features onto a tent fly which is seam taped. The majority of tents have the poles on the inner tent, and a fly that is thrown over it and attached at the edges. There are often no internal attachments in the middle of the tent fly, because they must be glued or have a more complicated construction to be seam taped. By contrast, a tent that is manually sealed can have pole sleeves in the fly, and the inner tent suspended inside the fly with lots of internal attachment points.. This is often a bit stronger, and lets you put the fly and inner tent up together - great in heavy rain.
These two reasons are why you will see a lot of premium tent brands use fabrics that are silicone coated on both sides (and which you have to seal yourself).
More mainstream tents use an inner tent that pitches with the poles because they can factory seam tape the fly (convenient for the average customer), and because it is simpler and cheaper to make a tent this way.
What kind of trips are you planning to do? When you say "right through the winter", are you planning to set up a base camp at one spot for a long time, or do you mean making lots of trips during the winter, including in stormy weather?