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Nice Ice and Dice

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Eskimo Outbreak 250XD

So I unpacked it and did a quick set up in the backyard.  The set up went smooth and the new pole hub design function very smoothly.  Not once did I thought the hubs would resist or felt like there was a need to be forced into deployment.

Well for the shelter material, I think they've finally got it right and there is no pinhole lights coming from the thermal welding/stitching of the material.  The exterior material does not have the thermal welding/stitching.  It is not like a Fatfish design so the walls are more on the normal straight up even though it is listed as wide bottom and flared some on the bottom.  The full door design is great and I see the benefit of it.  Being just about two feet should be wide enough for the sled to just slide in.  I however have the Jet Sled XL that comes in about 31" width and that's much wider.  the Door will have to be pushed a bit.  There are grommets on the skirt and on reinforce strap material. 

I will say that the pockets for the poles are probably sewn in short as since I have multiple poles on the bottom all bent out of shape.  The two stability poles for the door are also bowing at set up.  Of course I am hoping the material will stretch out in time to accommodate a better fit but still this could also go the wrong way and the the material may shrink some and that's going to be more counterproductive.  The skirt has a coating of sort on the underside.  May work out for the first season but I see potential wear.  Reminds me of my old Eastman Ice Cube shack and after years of use it has worn out with much material crack and pinholes since it was a polyurethane coating.  The bag has the same coating and that will be expected in the future as well.

The reflective material sewn onto the side of the windows looks stylish.  However are just going to be condensation or snow traps on the window.  I still like the idea that they put some gear net liners on the side but once again I still don't understand the big side opening on them.  I expect to not put much of anything in the gear net except for maybe my gloves.

The six ice screws that comes with the package are of lesser quality compared to previous Eskimo ice screws.  They are not as sharp.  There is two tie down straps.  I'm also seeing a lot of zipper teeth misalignment already. I didn't expect that on the straight alignment but it is there every few inches.  Hoping that this will not become a future issue.

Overall the design is well though out and the shelter material looks wonderful.  There is however a need for better quality control as since mass production does sometimes yield such results as I noticed with my shelter.  Now just waiting for conditions to give it a real field test.

Day 1 of first field test. 

I will say again that the hub deployment is much easier on the new style hub with ball and socket.  The best deal about the XD is that Stormshield fabric with no condensation forming on the welded stitching.  They've done it right with this insulated material.  My temps ranged today was 20F to 29F and there was a slight breeze.  Shelter stayed completely dry, except for the windows when I turn the heater on and they fogged up.

I totally forgot to take pictures of the horrible poles bowing and contorted.  As I was thinking that the poles were so bent out of shape that if the shelter material didn't stretch out some, the pole would still be bowed and contorted.  Well after turning the heater on and warming up some, the shelter did give some and most of the poles got close to straightening out.  I think a few more uses and the break-in period will get the shelter material to stretch out properly.

As for the big door, that's still small but really great access.  I am beginning to see how easy it would take to kick slush and water onto that zipper to cause it to freeze up in cold temperatures.  Since I didn't even bother to bank any snow, which I almost never bank snow on my hub shelters anyway, I didn't see any excessive air gap from the skirt of the shelter.  Perhaps it because there is enough quality snow on the lake I was at.  The Outbreak XD series are definitely on the recommend to buy from me.  Now it's just more field testing.

 

Day 3 of field test.

 

I purposely went out to ice fish in the rainy wet snow and suffered quite a drag of sled dragging in semi slush wet snow.  Since I was using my Fringe Sled Harness and Hillsound Trail Crampons it helped a lot. 

So the Stormsheild fabric did a pretty good job.  The water beaded off the outer shell pretty good.  The window design with that lip around the frame really does collect water and it just drips to the inside of the shelter through the velcrow.  Yeah so happens that there's just equipment right under there that got constant water dripping onto.  At first I thought that the hubs were letting water inside as since that was the connection point to the exterior.  Was not the case as was probably just from the initial set up where it made contact on the slush beforehand.  The moisture was just dripping from that only.  Aside from that the interior did no show any sign of moisture seeping through.

The carry bag however easily soaked up moisture.  That was obvious during my outbound sled drag.  When I went to take the shelter out, I was dealing with a damp bag.  There was some wind too and judging from it, I was expecting like performance similar to the 949i.  Actually the 250XD performed much better.  On the initial deployment it held it's position well and wasn't being carried or felt like parachuting.  Perhaps it's a combination from previous windy set experience and also a slightly smaller shelter to catch less wind compared to the 949i dimensions.  Not once was I feeling any shelter shake, once all four hub anchor points were installed.  And yes, I did buy an extra two straps and anchor kit just for this.

Take down wasn't bad either.  I'm getting more use to it and the rolling up of the shelter was much easier this time.    Currently the shelter is set out to ensure proper water evaporation.  Came back afterwards to put the shelter back away fully dried out.

 

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