“ Brand: Outwell / Type: Tent „
When I first started family camping, the Khayyam tent was the tent that embodied quality in camping. Since the time of the Kyahham quick erect, Outwell tunnel tents have taken over. Last year, after years of camping in cheap tents that swayed and rattled in the wind and tended to rip and break their poles in high winds, I invested in an Outwell Nevada M. I was looking for a smaller tent than I had previously owned - my criteria were that there should be enough room inside to put a small table and chairs inside in bad weather, and that I should be able to stand up in the sleeping area. The Nevada M seemed to satisfy every need and I spent £240 in the end of season sale, plus an Outwell Nevada M footprint for £35.
The Nevada M won the Best Touring Tent in 2011 and is a very popular buy for British families. It is usual to see several around any campsite in Britain.
~~Why is the Outwell different? ~~
Outwell tents add a little bit of luxury to camping, not only because they offer fitted carpets (only for city glampers) but also because the thinking and design that provides everything needed for camping, from plenty of convenient pockets for storage, to a separate groundsheet or footprint, that makes packing away a cleaner and easier experience - to the Duratec fibreglass poles. These poles are exceptionally strong, having a criss cross of fibreglass inside a protective casing - this stops breakages, a problem that most campers will be familiar with during high winds. In addition there are wind stabilizer attachments from the poles to the canvas, that prevent the tent from swaying around too much in high winds. These strong Velcro tabs wrap firmly around the poles and really give the tent stability. Another very high quality addition which makes me feel very secure in bad weather.
From my point of view the biggest advantage is the sealed ground system - a groundsheet that is totally waterproof and is securely attached to the canvas, preventing heavy rain from coming into the living area in flooding situations or if heavy winds bow the sides inwards. I have often woken up to find my shoes floating away outside my sleeping area - it is a huge relief to know that this cannot happen in the Outwell. I have tested the tent in very severe weather conditions - high winds and pouring rain, and the system was completely watertight.
Inside the sleeping areas the sealed system is just as effective - proved recently when my dog was caught short in the middle of the night. I can confirm that the large puddle of wee stayed securely inside my sleeping pod and did not leak out onto my sleeping neighbour in the next sleeping pod.
The Navada M is described as a 5 man tent. It has two bedrooms which are side by side and one large living area. One sleeping area is a little larger than the other and they are extremely flexible spaces; they can be unzipped to make one large area; they can be used separately; or one can be unzipped completely and collapsed to provide extra living space. Inside the sleeping pods there are mesh vents high up in the wall, although the door does not have a mesh curtain. There are large mesh pockets for storage. The height in the highest area of the sleeping area is 200cm (just over 6 feet) which means that standing up to get dressed is easy. Sleeping 5 in the pods is a squeeze, and the Nevada is more realistically a 3 man tent for adults. To sleep 5 all luggage would have to be stored outside in the living area. I find that the smaller pod is roomy for one person with an inflatable mattress and luggage. The larger pod is ideal for two people with luggage and mattresses. I prefer my luggage inside my sleeping pod.
Outside the living area is huge and packed full of quality detail. The living space is larger than the sleeping space; easily big enough for tables and chairs in wet weather, and with a fantastic head space of 200cm which makes it big enough for 4 adults to stand up and chat inside.
There are two rows of large vertically organised mesh pockets for organisation. There is a lamp hanger with cable tidies which lead to a cable entrance hole. For those who like an electric hook up this is a neat way of storing the cable and giving access to the inside - but I never use electricity so cannot comment on how well this works.
There are three doors for the living area; one huge one to the front, with both a plastic window and a mesh option for visibility in wet weather and ventilation in hot weather. In addition there are small doors to each side, both with window and mesh options. One of the doors has a small porch which would keep out rain if the door was open, but is not big enough to cook under.
The three doors make it very easy to ventilate the tent and air it out in the mornings. They also make the tent feel very light and airy and enhance the feeling of living in the outdoors with nature on your doorstep.
There are two large windows in the living area - both with curtains that close with toggles. These toggles allow the curtain to be opened either fully or half way - giving lots of privacy options.
Erection of the Nevada M is fairly easy although it does take some practice. The inner tent stays attached to the outer flysheet and is folded up in the bag. This means that once the outer tent is erected there is no need to spend time fiddling around inside to put up the sleeping compartments.
The first time I erected the Nevada M it was a total disaster, despite a lifetime of camping. I had never erected a tunnel tent before and found it difficult both to balance the poles and to stretch the outer flysheet so that it was smooth. When I returned home I watched the instruction video and this did help a bit. It took another holiday and another watch of the instruction video to get it right.
Three poles are inserted into colour coded sleeves. This is the easy bit. The back of the tent is then pegged and the hoops held together. Ideally two people hold one side of the hoops each and slowly walk forward, stretching the tent as they go and then pegging the very front guy rope to hold it. The secret of this tent is then to tighten the adjustable peg straps to make a smooth exterior canvas.
I would find it very difficult to erect this tent on my own, both because of the hoop tunnel design and because of the weight of the sleeping pods, which make the tent quite heavy to manipulate. With two people and after a couple of practice runs, it becomes easier. It is certainly very quick to erect - much faster than other large vis a vis tents that I have owned.
There are too many advantages to list in this fabulous tent, but the main one for me is the space and light. I love to be able to stand up in a tent and have room to store everything - I also love being able to look outside and really feel that I am in the outdoors.
For a large tent this is fairly light to carry at 18.2kg. I often have to pack on my own, and I find that I am able to carry this to the car fairly easily as it is lighter than other large tents I have owned.
I love the quality design touches in the tent such as the window curtains that can be toggled half way up or all the way up - making the window half visible or completely shut.
Lastly I like the flexibility in the design - it shows real thought. There is an incredibly flexible inside space - one of the sleeping compartments can be completely detached and collapsed so that the living space is increased, leaving just one sleeping compartment and a very large living space. I have never seen this in any tent before.
One last thought is the footprint - a separate groundsheet that can be bought for just over £30. Using this really helps when you take the tent down. Instead of spending hours wiping mud off the integral groundsheet so that you can pack it away cleanly, you can just pack the tent away and put the footprint in a separate bag - all muddy and dirty, ready to be cleaned down at leisure at home. This really speeds up the packing process and means that the tent itself does not get muddied from a dirty groundsheet.
Surprisingly there are still a few small disadvantages to my Outwell. The main one is that the sloping walls of the outer tent mean that you can only open the small door with the tiny canopy when it rains - otherwise the rain pours straight into the door and (because of the water tight sewn-in groundsheet) quickly makes a small lake inside. You have to be very careful to keep the doors tightly shut if it looks at all like rain may come, or you get caught out. Due to the lack of large canopy you cannot cook outside if it is raining. I dislike cooking inside as I feel it is dangerous and also can make the inside greasy. As a result I have had to spend over £100 on a canopy extension for my tent - more money and more space taken up in the car.
My second niggle is that the sleeping cubicles are side by side - usual in most tunnel tents but not as easy to use with strangers. I have always shared a tent with my son and his teenage friends. In the old vis a vis tent I felt I had plenty of privacy as the sleeping space was in between us. I could shut out their private night time conversations and I could change clothes with a feeling of being separated from them. In the Nevada it was very obvious that we were all sleeping side by side with only a thin canvas wall in between us. If I rolled over in my sleep I found myself pressed up against a strange teenage boy - not something I enjoyed! The design of the sleeping pods make it just a bit too intimate for non-family camping.
The last niggle is the erection of the tent. I am very used to putting up all types of tent with ease, but I had to watch the video three times - with experienced camping friends, and we still had some issues with getting the canvas taught and the shape correct. I think the fact that there are so many instruction videos out there speaks for itself.
Of course! This is the best tent I have ever owned. Ideal for a small family tent or a large couple tent - it drips with good design features and quality. I am sure that it will last a lot longer than my old family Sunncamp. I feel safe and secure, warm and dry.