I was JUST in one of these yesterday! These are very nicely made and big, roomy tents!
The first thing I noticed when I slipped inside, was the neatly placed corner reinforcing. Clam, like Eskimo and Shappell and every other reputable brand now use a nylon ribbed tubing (have for several years now) to hold the ends of the fiberglass rods. The Rods Clam uses to hold the 1660 up are 11 millimeter rods as opposed to 10 mm rods used in smaller tents. That, two has been going on for years in popup with big, expansive roofs like the 1660 Thermal. Also, when stepping into the tent, while Clam uses that triangle door, it seemed to me that they lowered it a tad so that you don’t have to step so high to get in or out. Maybe I’m just shrinking, but it was easy enough to get in and out. Granted, I did not have big boots or may parka on since I was in a comfort controlled conference center.
The stitching on all the Clam tents was all even, the windows are now sewn in with what appears to be a bit more detail and finishing. They’ve also changed the plastic on the windows to the more rubbery feeling clear plastic. It has a really pleasant supple feel to it as opposed to the older harder stuff. This new plastic is not that new and has been around for a long time. It’s some kind of squishy German resin that flexes in all temp ranges that this tent would be in. In my experience retailing Clam tents with the sewn in windows, I have never had a customer come in with an issue. I expected there to be a TON of issues but never had that problem. I expe4ct the same with this better resin. Now, if that was in the tents last year, I can’t remember. Some of our customers actually think we open every box, set up each tent in a clean room and inspect it thoroughly with magnifying glass. Then we fold it back up perfectly, stuff it back in the bag, and stuff it back in the box without so much as piece of lint out of place. Newsflash: We don’t open the boxes and inspect anything and neither does any other retailer. That would be insane and we’d never get a tent or any other product on the Fedex truck. We’d be still stuffing it in the boxes and would need a coliseum with a roof to set all this stuff up. For this reason, there are buying shows that I attend to see the stuff set up in a veritable coliseum and learn about it. This knowledge of the things that actually matter about the product as opposed to the flashy packaging is what I impart to my customers.
To sum up the Clam 1660 Thermal – it is a beautiful, big tent. It weighs 63 pounds so it is not a lightweight product and weighs about twice as much as a non-insulated tent. Technically, a thermal is two tents sewn together with insulation in between. That’s why it weighs and costs more. Another thing that I noticed last year was that all the makers of insulated tents are now going to hydrosonic welds that are much tinier and more evenly adjusted. For a while there, Clam’s thermal tents would go through a hydrosonic welder and have a diamond pattern of spots that were about 3/32″ in diameter. If the spots were welded a little too hard, they would actually leak air and a lot of light through them. Now, the spots are about 1/16″ in diameter and adjusted consistently. This tent is not a black-out-interior tent like say, a Polar Fire tent by HT, but it is very consistent in the welding and will be a true thermal fabric.
If you need a tent for the family, groups or friends for on the ice or at a high-school track meet, this is an great unit. I would not hesitate one minute in owning a Clam 1660 Thermal pop-up.