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Old 03-11-2011, 09:34
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Default Wychwood Solace Flexi-Rib Shelter by Paul Hiom

Wychwood Solace Flexi-Rib Shelter by Paul Hiom




Until recently, I'd been on the look out for a shelter to replace my old JRC Stealth Brolly, which suffered an untimely death at the hands of the floods, which ravaged my house and garage back in 2007. I had been getting away with a bog standard brolly for the past season and a bit, but it wasn't ideal for the odd overnighter that I like to do every now and then and I wanted something more stable than the stealth brolly.

There are without doubt a lot of shelters currently in the market place; most of the carp branded suppliers have a version or two and many of them are very good shelters indeed. I was looking for a shelter that was quick and easy to erect, stable in high winds, as light as a brolly and one that gave suitable cover from rain when the need arises. Oh yes, and it had to fit in my small quiver. It also had to be of reasonable quality, although I had no intention to hand over large wads of cash for something that would probably see no more than half to a dozen overnighters in a season, mainly in summer and with the recession biting hard at my wallet, my budget was limited.

Some shelters on offer simply don't have enough cover and wont pack down to the size of a brolly or fit in a small quiver. Having checked out products from Korum, JRC and Chub, I felt that their shelters did not suite what I was looking for as they either didn't offer enough protection or didn't roll up small enough. The three shelters that did interest me were products from Trakker, Aqua and Venture Carp. In fact, I had more or less made my mind up to buy the Trakker A-lite bivvy shelter as it did seem to fit my requirements, but the local tackle shops did not stock them and I wanted to see what I was buying first rather than just order one and take a chance.

I put the idea out of my head until very recently when Daniel Vallis in Hinders explained that they had just had a stock of Wychwood shelters arrive, which he felt would be ideal for me and he was right. The Wychwood Solace Flexi-rib Shelter seemed spot on for my requirements. It is light, it rolls up to the size of a small brolly, It offers good protection and being of the pram hood style is incredibly stable and easy to erect. But how does it perform on the coalface?




I have used the Flexi-rib shelter on at least three occasions now including one very wet overnight session and my initial view at such an early stage, is that it is pretty much perfect for what I need it for. It takes around a minute to unravel and get the poles into place using the useful Slotlock system and around another minute to erect the shelter and fit the centre frame support poles, before securing with pegs. I haven't bothered with the ground sheet so far; to be honest it is a very light material and I doubt it would stand up to much abuse, especially on rough ground, but this is by no means a reflection on the shelter itself, which is made from good quality hydrostatic polyurethane material. It weights around the same as a normal brolly and is around the same height when rolled up, but it is lighter than my previous stealth brolly, which makes it very suitable for lugging to distant swims.

The shelter can be pegged out and adjusted into two height positions (by altering a strap at the base of the shelter) to give you good views of the lake or river or good protection from rain and wind in the lower position. In fact, I would say that it offers better protection at the sides than some of the other shelters that are currently available. It also has a 2inch skirt around the front edge, which prevents rainwater dripping inside and comes with a protective waterproof sleeve so that you can easily slip it into your quiver. The fact that you can buy the winter skin at only 49.95, to convert it to a zipped up bivvy for really dull weather is an added bonus as far as I'm concerned. The shelter isn't small enough for those tight little swims on rivers such as the Teme, but I would say that it is suitable on medium and large rivers with a bit more bankside space.




It is early days to do a long-term user review, but I'm impressed enough with this shelter to want to share my enthusiasm for it. Lets hope it stands the test of time, but if it doesn't, I won't be losing too much sleep. With an RRP at around 65, I would say it was worth taking the risk.






paul (wurzelagain) hiom
sep 2009
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