Hi folks, today we’re looking at an exciting new backpacking tent: The Naturehike Cloud Trace. There seems to be a constant stream of innovation happening over at Naturehike, with new tents and improved designs coming out regularly. The Cloud Trace is a great example of this – not so much reinventing the wheel as building on past success, while trying to improve key points like weight and waterproofing.
You’d think that with the Trace being part of the ‘Cloud’ naming convention, it might be a cousin of the Cloud Up – but you’d be wrong, apparently! In terms of design, the Cloud Trace is most closely related to the Naturehike VIK, given that it shares the same basic outer-pole design. Meh – what’s in a name anyway? Who even cares? Let’s dive in and look at the specs for the Cloud Trace!
The Cloud Trace features a single central pole that runs front to back of the tent, forking into a Y shape at the rear. Running perpendicular in the middle is a short cross-pole that clips onto the main one, to stop the roof of the tent from drooping inward. This being an outer-pole design, the entire tent is then clipped onto the two main poles. Much like the VIK, the Cloud Trace has the potential to be free-standing, or you can peg it down if you prefer.
The Cloud Trace is strictly a 1-person tent – definitely no room for best buds or significant others here. It has an openable vent at the top, and a mini half-door that can be used for ventilation or easy access to anything stored outside. The tent is single-skinned, and features a lone side entrance with a minimal gear vestibule attached. So far, so ultralight purist – we’ll go through size and weight more below.
The Trace is made from 10D Silicone Coated Nylon, with an HH/waterproof rating of 1500mm. That’s certainly not the most hardcore rating we’ve seen in a Naturehike Tent, on either measure. It also needs to be seam-sealed, so do factor that into the price and how soon you can use the tent.
It’s safe to say the Cloud Trace is made for fairer 3-season conditions, rather than pitched out in a blizzard somewhere. The poles are made from cheap, cheerful and lightweight Aluminium as we’ve come to expect from this style of shelter. The pegs pack a bit of a surprise though, as they’re actually made from not-so-cheap titanium. That’s certainly one way to shave some weight off. Speaking of which…
Size & Weight
The Cloud Trace comes in at a very respectable 865 grams (1.9 lbs) – but, crucially, this is without being seam-sealed. That weight also doesn’t include a ground mat, which many sellers on Ali Express are happy to include as a free gift (so it is with this tent).
The 10D SilNylon that the Trace is constructed from probably won’t stand too much abuse, so a ground mat is definitely advisable if you’re pitching on rougher terrain. Still, even factoring in a few hundred grams extra gets you a nice 1-man shelter at just over a kilogram. Not too shabby.
The pack size of the Trace is a very svelte 12 x 26cm (4.72″ x 10.23″). When pitched, you’ve got a footprint of 210 x 90 x 95cm (roughly 6’11 x 2’11 x 3′).
Naturehike Cloud Trace Review
Like most tents this small and simple, pitching the Cloud Trace is a breeze. First, you’d need to roll out the tent from the pack-away bag. Next, you’d peg the tent down in place, or if you’re going for freestanding then you can move on a step and clip the central pole in. Then it’s just a matter of putting in the cross-pole, and pegging out your guy ropes.
Space and Storage
The Cloud Trace is definitely aimed at the solo ultralight market, and there really aren’t any extra frills here. If ultralight is your bag, (or rather, your bag is ultralight) – then chances are the Trace will have more than enough room for both you and your gear.
There’s a small porch/vestibule cover by the side entrance big enough for a bag, and also an internal mesh pocket for essentials. No frills, but at this price and weight that’s pretty much the idea. It certainly makes the Trace light enough to carry on solo adventures.
As for human space, it’s going to be on the tighter side. There’s 95cm of head height, so taller people may feel their head brushing the SilNylon when sitting upright inside. 210cm in length is plenty, but with only 90cm at the head end tapering down to 60cm at the feet, you won’t have much space for tossing and turning in there!
Wallet & Weight
So how does the Cloud Trace compare with similar offerings from other manufacturers? It’s definitely at the pricier end of what Naturehike offer. The closest analogue we can find for the Trace does seem to be the Naturehike VIK. The Cloud Trace is slightly more expensive (around £20) than the VIK, for a slightly lower weight (~200 grams less). Definitely more incremental improvement than wholesale redesign.
Having said that, if you like the design of the VIK, but are desperate to save some weight – and don’t mind sacrificing one entrance and some hardiness – then the Cloud Trace is a solid option.
Naturehike Cloud Trace: Verdict
The Naturehike Cloud Trace is a great option for solo trekkers and those who really don’t mind shelling out some extra dough to shave off as much weight as possible.
Even though it’s at the higher end of Naturehike’s typical price range, it still costs a fraction of what you might pay for a similar spec tent from a ‘bigger’ name brand. Of course, if you’re looking to save some money, there are plenty of price-competitive alternatives from Naturehike and other Ali Express brands.
Well, that’s all for now folks, I hope you enjoyed this Naturehike Cloud Trace review. Got any tips or experiences from using this tent? Let us know in the comments! Don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more tips, tricks, and gear reviews from the trail. Until next time.
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