5 man Arctic

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The 5 Man Arctic tent is a popular option at East Wind training events but not so much at East Wind itself. It is a light weight tent owing to it's low side walls, small size and Sateen material, not that bulky to pack and own, and heats well due to it's relatively low interior volume.

The joke about the 5 Man Arctic is that it's called an "Arctic" tent not because it is great in the Arctic but because it is completely unsuitable for anything but Arctic weather. With only the single door for venting and no mosquito netting even on that one, the 5 Man Arctic can become a real sauna in even moderately warm weather.

The 5 Man Arctic is almost always fitted with a liner.

The hexagonal floor plan of the 5 man arctic is smaller than the 10 man or the GP Small but ends up feeling close to the same due to the steeper roof line and the more taut side walls. We have slept 8 men comfortably in a 5 Man Arctic with a stove in it, I am not sure we could have effectively many more than that in the 10 Man Arctic.

Selecting a 5 Man Arctic tent

The 5 Man Arctic tents are all made of tightly woven cotton Sateen material which is light in weight but not as durable as duck canvas. Tears are common, and it is an unusual 5 man arctic tent indeed that is not speckled with small patches. We have found that in most cases, we can effect repairs using Seam Grip generally right over the tear or hole without a patch just bridging the gap with the Seam Grip itself. Larger tears obviously will need a patch, structural tears generally require sewing but since the Sateen material is fairly light weight it can easily be sewn by common household sewing machines.

When inspecting an Arctic tent the big thing to look at other than the obvious physical condition is the state of the thread that is used to hold the sateen panels together as well as hold the little hangers for the liner inside. The sateen material is quite long wearing but the thread frequently will dry rot and start to fail on an otherwise quite sturdy tent. Give the thread a good looking at when you are shopping for an Arctic and if you suspect it at all, just plan to use Seam Grip the full length up and down every major seam to mummify the thread in place and keep everything together.

Components required to put up a 5 Man Arctic tent

Tent fabric

center pole

24 stakes (minimum 12 inch)

Tent diaper

Lessons Learned Living in the 5 Man Arctic tent

The 5 Man Arctic is a sturdy tent but is entirely reliant on it's stakes to keep it's shape. Poorly staked out, it droops oddly losing a great deal of interior space then flaps wildly in the wind. Take the time to get stake positions right so that the tent shapes well and be certain to have the doors closed and clipped when drawing guy lines tight or you will end up with a difficult or impossible to close door.

The door guy lines are very long in order to allow you to stick a pair of skis mid way down them in order to better shape the doorways. We do not usually have skis at East Wind but careful selection of a suitable forked stick does go a long way towards having a doorway that shapes better and a guy line that you hit you head on a lot less.

Layout wise, people tend to want to set bunks up along the edges of the tent which limits the amount of racks you can install and nearly promises that people in cots will get flogged by tent fabric when the wind kicks up. Better results are generally had by orienting sleeping positions radiating out from the center pole like spokes on a wagon wheel.

During hot weather, it helps a great deal to orient your 5 Man Arctic tent's door into the prevailing wind in order to help with ventilation.

In cold weather, the 5 Man really hits its stride. It takes very little to heat a 5 Man Arctic and the sock lines allow you to super heat and dry clothing in short order.