Wechsel's Exogen 1 Backpacking Tent uses a similar cross pole design to the MSR Access, increasing stability in the wind and making the Exogen truly freestanding. Combined with a fly sheet which is cut low to the ground, this tent stands up really well to the wind and rain regularly experienced in the UK.
The Exogen uses a fully silicone coated flysheet which gives increased UV protection and tear strength but does mean it can't be seam taped. The seams are stitched in such a way that they should be waterproof but for use in extremely wet conditions it is supplied with a tube of silicone sealant so that you can seal the seams for additional weather protection. (It doesn’t take long to seal the tent yourself; I sealed this one externally using the provided sealant diluted 1-part sealant to 3-4 parts white spirit. You want the sealant to have the consistency of runny honey so it gets into the stitching.)
The Exogen is an inner pitch first design, but when combined with the footprint, the Exogen can be pitched fly first or fly only. Once you get the hang of it, it pitches very quickly. I found it a bit fiddly to attach the fly to the poles at various points as the silicone fabric ties are quite slippery but once complete it greatly adds to the tent’s stability in the wind. In the rain, I was glad of the footprint so I could pitch the tent fly first and clip in the inner from the inside whilst staying dry. The footprint itself covers the entire internal area including the vestibule so your kit is off the ground.
The door is easy to get in and out of and has a handy loop to hook over a trekking pole to make the door into a small awning. Great in the rain, you just need a spare guy line to attach to the pole to hold it out.
There are two vents, one at each end of the tent which can be secured closed with a Velcro strip to stop draughts or held open with a stiffened tab. This stiffener does have a tendency to want to push the fly towards the inner but it was never a problem.
Inside, the tent feels roomy, helped by the extra cross pole which increases the internal volume. It was plenty big enough to fit a wide 25” mat with kit along the side and above my head. I was able to sit up comfortably (on my mat) with plenty of headroom but I’m not that tall. The inner is mostly fabric with mesh panels at either end to help air movement through the vents and a mesh section at the top of the door. On a windy night it was draught free.
I experienced a bit of condensation with the Exogen but nothing worse than any other tent. One night it was misty with low cloud and a heavy dew so some condensation was inevitable. You notice condensation more with a siliconized fly sheet because the moisture remains on the surface whereas the PU coating on some flysheets actually absorbs some of the condensation. It’s easy to wipe off the moisture with a microfibre cloth. A quick shake before packing it and the remaining condensation is knocked off.
With the extra cross pole, fabric inner and low-cut fly, I would describe the Exogen as a 3+ season tent. It will cope with typical UK mountain conditions from Spring to Autumn. It would be a perfect tent for the Cairngorms as long as you don’t try to use it on the summits in extreme weather. I also plan to use it for lower level Winter camping but it’s not a mountaineering or full 4 season tent. If you are looking for a tent that will deal with the majority of year-round UK camping then the Exogen comes highly recommended.