We got our hands on the Vango F10 Project Hydrogen, one of the lightest double-walled camping tents around!
Long ago are the days when outdoor trips entailed lugging along with crazy kilos of gear. Nowadays, it’s all about going light. And for good reason, it is much easier and more enjoyable once you’re in the wild.
But, quite often, going superlight can mean compromising on comfort. In our quest to cut down packing weight Sarah and I have ended up exposed to the elements, freezing cold and feeling every small pebble underneath us as we slept…
The quest to go light comes with consequences.
However, the new award-winning F10 Project Hydrogen has something to say about that.
This Vango 1-person tent is 700g AND ticks the other boxes too with some pretty funky technology. After a few months of testing, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to know about it for your next lightweight backpacking, bike touring or bikepacking trips!
Keep reading or jump ahead to find:
- The F10 Project Hydrogen in a nutshell
- What it says on the tin (tent specs)
- How I tested it
- Field test results (liveability, pitching, weather protection, weight & size, uses, value, green)
- Our verdict, pros & cons
- Where to buy F10 Project Hydrogen
A big thank you to the manufacturers for sending us this product to test. The article may contain affiliate links, they will never cost you more money but helps Veggie Vagabonds keep making content like this – thank you!
The F10 Project Hydrogen in a nutshell
The Project Hydrogen is Vango’s flagship technical tent, using Airbeam technology, meaning it doesn’t have poles but has an inflatable single beam instead.
It’s actually the world’s lightest two-layer tent with this technology but still features good weather resistance.
Because of its light weight (700g) and ease of pitching, it’s aimed as a lightweight backpacking tent or for bikepacking/lightweight bike touring.
With all these perks, it’s picked up heaps of accolades, including the top UK Outdoor Industries Tent Award for 2020.
What it says on the tin (tent specs)
- Double-layered with Airbeam technology
- Protex® 7D Double Silicone Fabric – 2000mm HH, lightweight and strong
- 10D Ripstop Nylon PU Groundsheet – Durable and lightweight
- Packs down to 1 litre
- Schrader Valve for pumping Airbeam
- Usable porch
- Single door side entry
How I tested the F10 Project Hydrogen
I first got my hands on the tent late winter/early spring and it’s mostly been used for bike touring and backpacking.
Early on, I had a few nights where temperatures got down to -4°C and more recently I’ve had evenings staying around 14°C. I’ve not yet been through any storms but have experienced 20-25 mph winds and pretty hefty rain too.
All of these have been solo shorter trips and wild camps in varied English conditions. On the bike I’ve had a few panniers worth of gear, and backpacking I’ve had a full 60 litre backpack to store.
1. Liveability 4/5
For a double-walled tent of this weight, the liveability is awesome.
The inner tent is 240cm long and 90cm wide, which is definitely enough for me, a 6ft 1 man. There’s plenty of room to lie completely outstretched and space to keep valuable gear inside with you. It’s 90cm tall so you can get a good elbow up but there’s no sitting.
Inside the tent you’ve got two mesh inner pockets and a hanging line that runs under the Airbeam. All are handy and functional when you’re camped out.
The porch area is big enough to store a backpack or bike gear at the top and easily get out of the tent. The porchway also gives you decent room for setting up a stove and cooking with the fly down whilst lying in the inner.
You’ll find other 1-person tents with more living space but they can’t compete with the weight. Most beamed bivvy bags are the same weight and have no living space… I know which I’d pick!
Some more to explore for later…
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All Our Gear and Reviews
2. Pitching and inflating 4/5
Pitching the F10 Project Hydrogen is DAMN easy.
The inner and outer stay attached and I’ve found the easiest method is to inflate the Airbeam and then get going with the tent pegs. It’s really quick and easy. For the Airbeam, it’s quickest to blow up the first bit with your mouth (it’s only 4-5 breaths) and then top up with a pump.
You peg the tent on either side, 3 points at the top, 2 at the bottom and there’s a single carbon foot pole that keeps it all tight. I actually found the pegs it came with to be too small and easy to lose in longer grass, so replaced them with bigger pegs.
All told, the pitching is super simple and quick. It’s up in just a few minutes. There are 2 guide ropes and a number of pulley cords throughout the tent but it can take a while to get a nice, tight pitch. After a few runs, you get the trick of it pretty easily.
3. Weather protection 3.5
It doesn’t hold up well in the cold, but for it’s size and weight, the weather protection is still impressive.
In comparison, the only lighter shelters you can get are un-hooped bivvies and tarps. With bivvies you compromise the living space. With tarps you compromise the weather protection.
The highest winds I’ve camped in so far have been 20-30 mph and the tent stood strong with little impact on the inside. I’d definitely advise pumping up the Airbeam sufficiently to keep the structure as firm as possible but it’s certainly better than similar options that use hiking poles for pitching.
In rain, the fly does a sweet job and I’ve not found any issues with seams or the outer zip. I’m yet to experience a crazy downpour, but so far so good.
For summer conditions it really excels. There’s great ventilation and even on warmer nights, completely zipped up, you don’t feel too clammy.
For winter conditions, I found the tent walls and layering too thin to properly keep you warm in serious sub-zero temperatures. On my -5°C evening I was cold, even with a suitable sleeping bag and mat.
Definitely a sweet 2 or 3-season tent but I wouldn’t take it out for winter use.
4. Weight & size 5/5
Without a doubt, this is the most impressive aspect. There are very few double-walled tents that come lighter and I don’t think they’d offer half the weather protection of the Project Hydrogen.
The listed weight is 696g which is damn light and it compresses to the size of 1-litre water bottle. This means you can easily fit it into any backpack or cycle bag. Conveniently for bikepacking, it can fit in frame bags and smaller pannier options too.
Though I’ve not tried it, I think you could also take our the tent inner and just use the outer as a glorified zip-up tarp.
Bike touring and Bikepacking
Whilst there are no specific bikepacking tents that I’m aware of, and though Vango hasn’t said this was their target, they’ve certainly ended up making one of the best bikepacking tents around.
With the weight, living space and weather protection, it’s awesome for bikepacking or fast and light cycle tours. With the Airbeam being pumped on a Schrader valve – and you’ll likely be carrying a pump on tour anyway – it’s a wicked accommodation option.
I’d say that for long haul tours, you probably won’t have enough room for your gear. Going for a 2-person tent would probably be better.
The only other thing I’d mention is the flooring of the inner is quite thin. If you’re going to be wild camping on all sorts of dodgy surfaces, getting the protective footprint would be a good option too.
Backpacking and hiking
For lightweight backpacking a fast multi-day hiking trips this is another awesome choice.
All it’s perks mean it’s neat ultralight backpacking tent option for people where weight is their priority.
The only thing I will mention is the Airbeam feature. By mouth you can pump it up easily to perhaps 80%. Getting more than this is tough work but is important if you’re going to be camping in high winds. Though hand pumps are pretty tiny nowadays, it’s another bit of gear to think about.
This could definitely be a good option for running adventures If you want more protection than a tarp and don’t fancy bivvying. You could also go for just taking the outer to cut down weight also.
All the features of the tent lend themselves pretty well to canoe/kayak/SUP trips. It’s pretty nifty in warm weather and, again, if you want to go lighter and more ventilated, you can ditch the inner.
6. Value 3.5/5
The F10 Project Hydrogen is priced roughly £550-£650, putting it at the upper end of the spectrum.
As a comparison, Hilleberg 1-person tents are £600-800+ but considerably heavier. Superlight Tarptent or Zpacks tents are a similar weight and cheaper but lack weatherproofing.
The F10 Project Hydrogen puts itself in an interesting position because there aren’t many similar tents to compare the price against. When it comes to value, I think a good tent is worth its cost as long as it stands the test of time. After 3 months of heavy use, the Hydrogen is going strong and I’ll update after 12 months.
7. Green 3.5/5
Vango is increasingly doing more and more to become a leading outdoor brand in terms of sustainability. Developing good transparency, they’re working with rewilding initiatives in the Scottish Highlands, have a section for post-consumer Vango camping tents and their Earth range focuses on using recycled plastic materials.
As a brand, they’re doing great, but, it would be nice to see some of these features hit their premium technical tents, like the F10 Hydrogen, too.
8. The verdict
If you want to go lightweight on outdoor trips but don’t want to compromise weatherproofing and personal space, the F10 Project Hydrogen is a seriously impressive tent.
The compressibility will blow your mind, you’ve got good living space for longer trips and it’s adaptable for different weather conditions.
With the Airbeam structure, it makes it perfect as a bikepacking tent or a bike touring tent for lighter trips. Even though you’d need the pump, I think it’s definitely worth consideration for backpacking and other adventures too.
- Super light
- Highly compressible
- Decent living space for size
- Impressive weatherproofing for weight
- Easy to pitch
- Great ventilation
- Needs a bike pump for best pitching
- Not good for cold conditions
9. Where to buy F10 Project Hydrogen
As a relatively new release, there aren’t a huge selection of retailers stocking the Project Hydrogen but below are some that do.