*For the Non-camper*
I bought this tent on very short notice for a friends wedding reception (believe it or not). Neither my partner or I are exactly the avid camper, so i needed to get a tent that I could handle! I bought this tend from Sports HQ and it arrived within 2 days. IT was also on sale so I paid just £20.00 for it including postage and packaging! When this arrived it came n a flat square box, no more than an inch deep. I couldn't imagine what it was. When I opened it, the tend itself was a flat circle in a lovely green camouflage-pattern zipped case. And whats the first thing you have to do? Open it up!
*The tent itself*
We popped it open in the living room and actually it was surprisingly large! Two of us climbed in to it and had lots of room to sprawl flat out, our German shepherd then joined us and we found there was a lot of room around us. The floor of the tent was black with a build in ground sheet, so was quite soft even on our laminate flooring. There is enough room to sit up crossed legged in it without hitting your head. These come in many different colours, I chose the green camouflage as I though it was cool! It has two zips, once of them zips all the way round for the fly net (or to keep spiders away) and the other is the actual door.
*popping up and folding down*
So, popping up the tent was as easy as it says, throw it in the air and it does the rest, the sides pop out and all you have to do is help the positioning of it as it lands. Putting it away however, was not so easy. The instructions here were no use at all, it tells you to gather the 4 loops, easy enough, then it says stand the loops on its head and "twist" at a 180 degree angle. All this does it make the tent pop up in to your face! AS my other half was struggling with it, having given up on the instructions i You Tubed "how to fold away a pop up tend". Genius. I simply took the tent from him and it took me 2.5 seconds to fold it correctly. I really recommend that you watch how this is done if you are a first timer!
As easily as I can explain this to you: The tend has 4 large circles as the frame/structure, like hoola hoops, one at either end and two int he middle. Start at the end without the door, gather all 4 loops in one hand. Stand the tend on one end, with the large black cord (hold the tent together) touching the ground. Take hold of the top and tuck it under, literally hold it in your right hard (above your head) and bring your arm down in a large circle clockwise and then press down slowly as the air blows out, Guide it down until you and kneeling, press the remaining out of it and then use the black cord to secure. Pop it away in the bag. Done!
*our nights sleep*
This was mid October so it was freezing and I am really happy to say that this tend is warm and cosy! we had a small suitcase, 2 roll mats, 2 sleeping bags, 2 pillows and a large blanket in this tend and I have to say it really was not cold. With all the bits in the tend the size was a little misleading, it was pretty snug, more than enough room to stretch out, but our tend was by far the smallest 2 man tend there! Either way, we wanted to sleep in it and there enough room for that and I think the size really contributed to keeping it cosy. The good thing, for me, is that the tent lets in the light really well in the morning, so you can out your make up, inside the tent before anyone sees you and its as good as standing by a window.
Now, in the tend bag there were also 4 hooks, they look like ones from a croquet set, and a couple of string. "what do we need those for?" we said "we wont blow over with all our stuff in the tend". Wrong! That is not what they are for! During the night there was a gentle rainfall and it made the tend ceiling and walls sag in. In the morning i though that my pillow felt damp, I assumed it was just cold. Then I thought how the ceing looked slightly lower, i made the mistake of touching it and it as like standing in a cold shower! This tend is by NO means waterproof, to be fair I dont think the instructions specified either way. The ceiling had lowered so much that you could not even sit up. Word of advice, use the strong to avoid this happening to you.
The tent looks fun, big enough for two, keeps the heat in nicely, more than enough room for one or 2 nights. Just make sure you sue the pegs to avoid the unwanted shower the next day. Really does pop up and fold down with in a few seconds. Definitely watch how on You Tube first. With good value for money and a 2 days delivery, lightweight and easy to store away, I rate this tend 4 out of 5 starts.
I bought a Terra Nova voyager in june 2009 and less than a year later it was broken after only being used twice! For £280 that I paid for the Voyager tent I was hoping for a little more longevity! So I heard about excellent customer service and called and e-mailed them and was eventually told i'd need to have the flysheet replaced for £148! I was gobsmacked! I bought the tent for £280 in hope it'd last me 10 years but it's lasted me less than a year and on top of that £148 for a new flysheet which is friable to such an extent it broke being blown around in the garden! Furthermore the aluminium poles bent in the wind (all 3 of them!), though Terra nova did offer me a free replacement of these they wouldn't replace the flysheet. TERRIBLE!!!!!! NEVER BUY A TERRANIOVA TENT!!!!!!!!
Camping is great fun, I have just returned from a few days camping in Northumberland with my two teenage children.
Our tent is fabulous and I just had to write a review on it. It is the Vango Diablo 600, which according to the manufacturers sleeps 6. We are a family of 4 and find it very comfortable.
Specifications of the Tent
* Total Weight: 29.50kg
* Pack Size: 72cm x 42cm x 25cm
* Doors: 2
* Fabrics: Flysheet: Hytex Dura F/R Polyester(3000mm HH)
* Inner: Breathable F/R polyester with H²O repellent finish
* Groundsheet: Polyethylene F/R
* Poles: Fibreflex
* Pegs: V-pegs steel and hook/pin steel
* Features: Inner first pitching
* Durable, totally waterproof, reliable and fire-retardant Hytex Dura Polyester
* Seam taped flysheet and groundsheet for long lasting protection
* Colour coded poles and continuous pole sleeves for ease of pitching
* Integral groundsheet for internal comfort and protection
* Bath-tub inner groundsheet for total climate protection
* PVC windows with internal covers allow light into the tent
* Adjustable venting reduces the build up of condensation
* Detachable porch groundsheet for additional comfort
* Draft strips on porch area prevent drafts in living area
* 3-pocket valise style carry bag for easy packing
This is a large tent with two separate sleeping compartments, a large round central communal area and a "tunnel type" porch entrance where we keep our cooker, food, wet clothing, shoes etc.
When packed the bag contining the tent and poles is fairly large and heavy but is manageable by one person however you do need at least two to erect the tent.
It is not difficult to erect, all the poles are colour coded so there is no doubt where each goes. The inner tent is erected first, which if it is raining is a slight problem, but it does not take long to complete and get the outer tent over the top. We have even managed to put this tent up when it is very windy, but as said before you do need at least two people.
The inner tent has a bathtub ground sheet which stops any water getting into the inside and it also comes with a separate groundsheet for the porch entrance.
The outer waterproof tent does dry of very fast if and when it gets wet.
One of the main advantages is that you can stand upright in this tent in all areas except the sleeping compartments, this makes life very comfortable when you reach an age when you do not want to be crawling around on your knees when on holiday!
There are two doors one at the front and one at the back and window flaps in each of the sleeping compartments as well as two windows in the main living area. All windows have insect nets on them so you can have then open for ventilation safe in the knowledge that no flying insects will get inside.
We love our tent and I would recommend this one to any family, it is easy to erect, it has plenty of room and drys quickly when wet, it is also fairly warm in cooler weather due to the inner tent/outer tent construction style.
When I was little I remember my friend used to go camping with her family and her Dad used to get their big frame tent out to air before they went so we were allowed to play in it.
I used to love the whole feel of being in the tent and having to do the zips up to get in and out and all the different compartments in the tent.
Since then I have always wanted to go camping but we as a family used to go in a caravan for a week with our extended family having their caravans too.
When I met my husband he told me of camping trips he took with his aunt to Norway, Holland etc and I was hooked again. In 2006 we bought our first tent and took my two sons up to North Yorkshire for a long weekend and it was ok, we went to Castle howard and we went exploring the countryside.
In the summer of 2006 the four of us booked 10 days in Devon and it was fantastic! We went to a campsite in between Totnes and Newton Abbot called Dornafield and the site was lovely with the best hot power showers!
Since then we have bought another 2 tents so we have for a tent for different occasions ie weekend with just the 2 of us or big family holiday. We had a family holiday last month in Cornwall and if you remember the rain our pitch was like a bog under our tent but we turned it into a laugh and it will probably be one of our most memorable holidays we have had!
The tents we have are:- Family tent - Outwell Hartford XL, a big 3 bedroom dome tent which is approx 7.5x7.5m. It has said 3 bedrooms and a big living area with lots of windows and roof lights, this is massive and is great because of the space. It cost us £330 but is now about £190ish. Our weekend tent - Outwell Oregon twin, a 2 bedroom tunnel tent, with a bedroom at either end and the living area in the middle with 2 big windows, this cost us £130. Then we have our 2 man pup tent which my eldest son uses to have his own space.
We have a caravan on a seasonal pitch which is great but I dont think you can beat the feel of camping. When you wake up early in the morning and make a brew and just sit there outside the feeling is great. It is also a cheaper way to have family holidays and its a great way to see our beautiful countryside. I love it and always will.
The tent that's more like a home away form home
A BIT OF BACKGROUND TO START WITH:
One spring afternoon may other half and I decided to take our first holiday. We booked for 4 days and 3 nights into a hotel in Paris. 4 days and 3 nights later we were back at our respective homes, still talking to one another, still happy together and with no blood spilt, talking about how we really ought to do it again. Now I'm no fan of beachy type holidays, going to bed at 7am and getting up at 5pm, preferring instead to be a bit more down to earth and peaceful, for me a holiday should be about recharging the batteries, seeing some interesting sights and enjoying good food and drink (not grabbing a quick kebab on the way home from a night drinking vodka cocktails although this approach does have a few merits occasionally).
What better way to have a peaceful holiday than to go camping, you arrive at a campsite, see everyone else's tent already set up and feel the pressure. Decide that your tent will be perfectly set up also and that your instructions on how to attain such perfection of tent erection are so right you don't have to look at the instructions. What then follows (if it all goes according to plan) is that the person you are travelling with has a strop and goes and sits in the car to save an act of violence from occurring on the first day of your holiday. You, feeling smug, finish putting up the tent (with a sneaky glimpse towards the instructions) make up with your partner who now gets out of the car and retire for the evening (regardless of your arrival time at the campsite, the light is normally fading by this point).
In the night it starts to rain and a gusty wind gets up, you startle awake and begin to worry, did you peg everything in? Will the tent stand up to the weather? You didn't. It doesn't, and the following morning the tent is in the bin, you're on your way to an expensive hotel booked at very short notice and the violent act occurred on the second day of the holiday.
Having spoken to a few of my friends I have come to the realisation that these incidents actually do happen. Fortunately they have never happened to me (although it was a close run thing with the barbeque). Perhaps I am a calm kind of person (although I do tend to be right most of the time) or maybe we just have a fabulous tent that is easy to put up, take down and is sturdy and dry in all types of weather.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce to you the Lichfield Madrid 5DLX .
The Madrid is what is known as a 'tunnel' tent. This basically means that it is tunnel shaped, with an entrance at one end and 2 bedrooms at the other. The front door can be zipped out completely, leaving a gaping mouthed tunnel, or part of it can be rolled back and tied to one side, leaving a smaller, yet still fairly large gaping hole.
The main attraction of this tent to ourselves was the overall size. As it's name suggests this is a 5 man deluxe tent so there is plenty of space for a couple. There are 2 bedroom areas, one which we use as the master bedroom that should sleep 3 people, and another that we use as a wardrobe/changing area that sleeps 2 people. Personally I wouldn't recommend that 5 adults go away for any length of time in this tent, unless you were very good friends and regularly slept together in very close quarters. Outside of the bedrooms there is a reasonably large dining area for use when it's raining. I say reasonably large as we can fit 2 large lounging chairs and a round patio table in this area and still have room around the outside for games and food etc. Apparently the tent is about 3.5m wide and about 5m long in total, although over 2 metres at the back is devoted to bedroom space. The front of the tent can be moved backwards about 1.5m to create a sort of porch like structure at the front. Very handy for wellies and things if using the tent in the rainy season. One thing I will say is that when packed into its storage bag this tent is really heavy (I struggle to lift it out the car) about 35kgs I think, so it's probably not suitable for one adult to move around on their own.
LIGHT, BRIGHT AND AIRY
There are a few windows around the tent. The front of the tent has 1 largish window and 2 smaller triangular windows. All of these windows have darker coloured 'curtains' which help keep the morning sun out. Each side of the tent, either side of the door, has a large window which while not having built in curtains does offer privacy due to the plastic frosted glass effect on them. The tent also has some air vents at regular intervals around the tent (a total of 5 in all). All of this means that the tent is light (obviously not at night time), bright (obviously not when it's dull) and airy (obviously when not .in a vacuum?) and that you are able to conserve precious gas from your lamps for real darkness.
PUTTING IT UP
This is when you may regret buying that dead flashy all singing, all dancing tent that looked so great when it was erected at the shop. When you first see a tent that you want to buy look at how it has been put up, it may be really complicated. The Madrid 5DLX is very easy to put up. It consists of 6 poles, 4 of which are made up 0f 3 separate parts. In total in the pole bag you should have 8 steel poles that go with 4 carbon fibre ones. This makes the basic frame of the tent. Running along the insides of the tent are 2 longer poles which keep the whole thing rigid. There are also 2 poles for the side door. So, firstly you peg the back of the tent so that it stays in the intended position, secondly my advice is to thread the frame poles through the pockets (on the outside of the tent) without joining them up. Next you should join up the 3 sections of the back pole and pull the tent upright. Follow this procedure for the other 3 frame poles and then pull out to tighten the canvas. There is a strap system employed which will go under the groundsheet and keeps the poles spaced correctly, basically you then have to go round and make sure each corner of the strap is poked up the bottom of the poles (sound interesting I know). Next you just thread the internal long poles through the loops and add tension to the length of the tent. Tighten the tension straps, peg down the rest of the canvas, spread out the guide ropes and put down the groundsheet then connect the inner tents. Congratulations, you have now erected your home from home. If you want a side door you can lift up a door flap and secure it with poles and guide ropes. What I will say however is that I wouldn't attempt this with just one person. Have a person on either side putting the tent up evenly.
TAKING IT DOWN
To take the tent down again you just reverse the process. Simple really, although you then have to try and fit it back into the bag from whence it came. To do this I would remember exactly which bit came from which part of the bag. The bag has 3 sections (the pole and peg section is quite easy to remember, 2 of which are around the same size and fit in the groundsheet and inner tents and the canvas respectively. If you try to put the canvas back into the wrong section of the bag you will likely get very mad and swear lots! Another bit of advice would be to fold the canvas on the groundsheet to prevent extra dampness and keep it relatively clean.
STABILITY WEATHERPROOFING DURABILITY
The tent is really stable and doesn't feel as if it will fall over in the slightest of winds. It has never leaked in the time we have had it and doesn't really suffer from major condensation. What I would make sue of however is that you tuck the 'mudflaps' which go around the whole tent underneath the groundsheet to ensure that no rain comes in at all. The bottom metre or so of the canvas is made from a rubbery kind of material which provides extra security against dampness as no water comes through, even if things are against the canvas. In terms of durability we have used this tent for around 3 years now and it is still near perfect (if a little dirtier). Nothing has broken on it or dropped off and we are completely happy with it. In fact we shall be checking it in the next few weeks ready for our next trip to France.
VALUE FOR MONEY
This tent has been a real bargain as we paid around £200 for it, we have taken it abroad for 6 weeks holiday and it has been used for extra sleeping space at home for family. Adding campsite charges and ferry costs we (as a couple) have enjoyed 3 years main holidays for around £1500, including accommodation! How ace is that.
If you are contemplating buying a tent, or don't really know what to do with yourself at holiday time I couldn't recommend this tent more. It is easy to put up and comes in a compact if ridiculously heavy bag which makes packing easy. It is big enough for a family to use or is luxurious for a couple. We always get comments about this tent from people and envious looks as we're cracking open a beer after about 45 minutes of tent erection, whereas other people are still arguing after an hour and a half. A fabulous tent which offers great value for money and will last a lifetime.
In our search for ever more exotic forms of existence, Darlingest and I have decided that we need more holidays. Now that we have two small Nollyettes (actually called Eleanor and Rosie), holidaying can be a very expensive process. I myself cannot spare a couple of grand every summer in order to find a beach on a deserted part of the Cote d'Azur (oh, alright then, Skegness). We therefore needed to think laterally, and I don't mean on our backs! I was very dubious when Darlingest suggested we buy a tent. My mind was struck by memories of big, ungainly and awkward tents à la 'Carry on Camping', the kind of thing that needs an engineering degree or the strength of fifteen men to erect, or the miniscule canvas thingies that I had shared with one other when in the cadets 20 years ago. Therefore some research was in order. Upon researching the matter, it would appear that there are 6 main types of tent- Folding Camper (obviously one for contortionists), Frame Tent, Ridge Tent, Dome Tent, Hoop Tent, and Geodesic (apparently clears headaches as well as accommodates). Therefore we had a good look. There is a camping shop near us that, luckily, has a number of tents in their erect states (this is full of innuendo, I must say), to allow you to choose what tent you actually need. We looked around and decided that we ideally needed a dome style tent. This is a tent that uses two or three flexible poles to create a freestanding tent with reasonable headroom (handy when you're six foot seven like me). There are two main manufacturers as far as I can see, Coleman and Vango. I may be wrong, but that's the impression I got. They both seem to offer similar quality and similar styles of tent, and being a camping virgin, I was totally mystified and asked a nearby man for advice. We opted for a new tent style, called the Coleman Bi-Space 500. The 500 bit means that it will accommodate 5 people in relative splendour, if not
actually tickling my feet with a stick of celery (but what I get up to in my spare time is my business). It appears to be a big tent with a bit on the side, which makes it a hybrid known as a 'dome and tunnel tent'. The recommended retail price of the tent is £250, but we got ours for £215, which I thought was a good deal. I was just worried about getting erected, which is something that preoccupies me from time to time. Using the Blasted Thing =================== We decided that we had to do a test run. We asked my in-laws whether we could use their back garden for a night, to see how we existed as a family in our new acquisition. They said yes (the fools), and we thought it would be fun. Do you remember how hot last summer was? Do you remember that there was almost no rain whatsoever? Well, we arrived at the garden and Darlingest looked after the girls while I said I would try and get it up (the tent, you mucky lot). You must remember that it was the first time that I have tried this, and Darlingest told me that it didn't matter if I couldn't manage it as it happens to lots of people. However I was resolved to have a bash at it and take the matter in both hands. The tent itself comes in a very nice case with three compartments- one for the groundsheet, one for the flysheet, the groundsheet and inner tent (the sleeping compartment) and the poles and pegs. The way you put up the tent is by feeding various colour-coded poles through colour coded sleeves and then putting the ends of them into the holes ready and waiting for such insertion on webbing straps in the correct place. In other words it took no fewer than a few minutes to get it up, so to speak. Once the poles are in position, and the structure is as rigid as it can be, it's time to fix it to the ground. For this, plenty of pegs are provided, and the guyropes, luminous in case you decide to pitch the tent in fog, are already attached to t
he tent, which I think is jolly nice. You then have to fit the groundsheet, which covers the living area of the tent. The sleeping quarters are an all-in-one inner tent which attaches to the outer flysheet. All these various bits also have mosquito meshes and are green in colour, which apparently does not attract insects. The tent has two doors and two poles to allow the gazebo effect, as I term it. There is loads of headroom in the dome, so much so that I managed to stand up straight. Sometimes I do have a little trouble getting myself to stand to attention, but in this tent it was no bother at all. But on this long hot summer, how were we to test the waterproof aspect of the tent? The tent has a hydrostatic head of 3000mm. This means that it would take a stream of water 3000mm long to penetrate the waterproofing, which seems to me to be plenty for a family tent, as we were not, I repeat not, going to be camping up Mount Snowdon. We were also blessed by the fact that we chose the one Monday in August when it chucked it down with rain. It was soaking wet outside, but inside the tent we stayed warm and dry. So the tent gets a thumbs up from me on that score. However I was unable to cook the family supper, due to the pouring rain, and therefore our first ever camping supper was fish and chips! As the rain was very hard and persistent, it took a while for the tent to dry, but when it had we dismantled and packed it away. I am the only one who can carry it as it weighs in at 15.8kg (35lb), but it appeals to my machismo, and is about the only thing that does! Conclusions =========== It was a great buy. We love camping in the tent. It's spacious, warm when we need it, and cool enough when we require ventilation. It will happily accommodate 2 adults and 2 small children with room to spare, and means that our future holidays will be somewhat cheaper than they had promised to be. Happy cam
ping Neil Specifications =========== Weight: 15.8 kg Pack size: 60 x 39 cm Poles: Shock corded glass-fibre Materials: Flame-retardant Polyester Flysheet; inner breathable nylon; polyethylene groundsheet Dimensions: Overall 488 x 298 cm (height 204cm max) Sleeping compartment 268 x 220cm Company Website: www.coleman-eur.com
Raclet Bermudes Trailer Tent Before we had the girls we used to pack up our tent and head for the hills every chance we got (usually on bank holidays) to enjoy the great outdoors and drink beer. Once they arrived we stopped camping, not really a conscious decision, more a no money left to go anywhere decision. Then a few years back, with the girls getting old enough, we decided to try the adventure again and have never looked back, they loved it. Our first trip had been in our old ridge tent but half way through we decided to go for a big dome for more space and finally, after two weeks in France in 2002, decided we needed even more space and bought the Bermudes trailer tent. A tent in it's own trailer! It wasn't an easy decision. There are, for those of you who know nothing about camping equipment, many different brands of trailer tent and each has it's own good and bad points and each does things slightly differently and therefore suits the differing needs of users. There are also folding campers, which fit between trailer tents and caravans and are slightly more luxurious. Sounds complicated? It is. Research, which tent? We started by gathering brochures from the various manufacturers, studying them in detail to see what the plusses and minuses of each were, followed by many trips to camping showrooms to see the tents in the flesh (or canvas) to help us decide. We narrowed it down to two, neither of which we eventually bought! The Raclet wasn't even on the list to be considered until we saw it and I dismissed it despite the enthusiasm of my family (should know better by now) but on closer inspection, recommendations from other owners, and the Raclet reputation for longevity and quality, it was the Raclet we got. The Tent The first thing to note about this tent is that it is huge! In common with others of it's type, it folds into it's own trailer. Two 'wings' folding out, one either side, for
m the base of two double beds (king size) with mattresses permanently attached so that erection of the main cabin takes just a few minutes and can be done by one person although it is easier with two. The Raclet system means that the bedroom interiors fold out automatically when you open the cabin up and if you've left your sleeping bag or quilt inside, the bed is up and ready to go immediately, useful for overnight stops with just the main cabin if you're on a long trip abroad. After this operation comes the more time consuming part. Fitting the frame and awning. This is similar to putting a frame tent up except that it attaches to the main cabin and is considerably larger. Admittedly we were greedy and bought an extension as well making the overall floor area of the tent 8x5m, but even without this the tent provides a lot of space for those inevitable rainy days in the UK. The canvas zips onto the main cabin, gets slung over it while the frame is built and attached to the main cabin as well. The canvas is then dragged over the frame and the lengthy procedure of pegging out begins. Next the roof linings (like an Arabian tent) are clipped in place, along with the kitchen and toilet and wardrobe. Now you know how to put it up I'll tell you why we went for this one. There were a number of factors involved in the decision, one not taken lightly as a result of the cash outlay involved. We got a good discount on this end of line model and £1000 of free extras but still had to hand over £2800 before they let us drive away with it. Good Points Beds The beds on this model are very large and solidly built: thick, insulated base boards provide strength and warmth and the mattresses that sit on top of this are a full 4" thick as opposed to the best of the opposition at the time which offered a paltry 2" of foam, no use to me at all. My 12 stone soon squashed that flat and I felt as if I was back sleeping
on the ground. No such problems with the Raclet. Canvas A major part of any tent! This is a heavy gauge Ten- Cate material, widely acknowledged as the world's best tent canvas, also as it turns out, pre-shrunk, so no problems with it getting wet, shrinking and then not fitting the frame next time out. No worries about waterproofing or UV colourfastness either. Raclet use the same gauge canvas for the sidewalls as most manufacturers specify for the roof and an even heavier one for their own roof. There are lots of windows complete with curtains and plenty of mesh vents, which allow air through but keep the bugs out at night in case you get too hot. Awning layout This is an area on which many decisions are based, the layout of the awning and its compartments and flexibility. There are many permutations among the different manufacturers concerning layout. Where you can fit front panels, which parts of the awning can be assembled in different ways to from different living areas etc, but the Raclet won for us as a result of having a wardrobe, kitchen AND toilet areas built into the inner linings. The toilet in particular is a great benefit, no more trips across dark sites in the middle of the might to use the site loo; you have the luxury of having your own private facilities! The front awning panel can also be taken off and refitted half way inside the awning giving you an enclosed area and a canopy to sit under without being totally inside. The left hand side can also be totally rolled up or used as a canopy. There is also space for another inner tent under the left hand double bed, which, when provided with an inflatable mattress, means the tent can accommodate 6 people. Or you could simply erect a small dome tent inside one corner of the awning if you felt like it! Storage space The Bermudes has two full-length lockers inside the main cabin, which hold an amazing amount of camping gear and clothing despi
te the wh eel arches intruding into them. One other design we saw had the wheels outside the body but these lockers are so large that this really isn't a problem. When travelling, the well between the beds in the centre of the trailer can also be used to store kit. The main awning and poles fit easily, leaving space for our barbeque and other bits and pieces. It also holds the kitchen unit base and legs. There are also numerous storage pockets inside the wardrobe, toilet and kitchen areas as well as the bedrooms and main awning so plenty of places to stash bits and pieces. The main problem is to remember which pocket you put things in, much time is spent searching various pockets but that's down to bad organisation, no the fault of the tent! Storage is also available under the main cabin and this is generally where all the bits and pieces used in transit are stored till its time to pack up. Kitchen This tent is equipped with it's own kitchen which swings out from the rear of the trailer. It has 2 burners and a grill, a sink and loads of storage space in the form of two large cupboards and two baskets, which fit under the worktop extensions either side of the main unit. It's a great little unit and provides everything you need with the exception of a tap, which is easily fitted if you feel the need. (My next job.) It's also light and easily removed by one person so no problems lugging it around. A folding table is also provided as part of the standard kit, easily big enough for four to sit and eat at. Trailer The trailer on this model has a neat feature called up-two, (don't ask why I've no idea!) but it means that with the easy removal of two pins, the whole tent body can be lifted off the trailer leaving it free to be used for other things, motorcycle trailer, trips to the dump or DIY shop to collect fencing etc. I have to admit I haven't had cause to use it yet but there's time and it's
nice to have t he option. Towing. The whole thing has a maximum weight of 495kg, which is light enough for even small family hatchback to haul around. The trailer itself weights in at around 350kg giving you a good margin of 145kg for luggage. Never having towed before we were a little worried about the lack of power in our 1.4 litre car but it has proved to be unfounded. It comes unbraked but there is a factory option to have them fitted, It's not really necessary on such a lightweight trailer though. Bad Points Effort On the down side trailer tents in general, do take a bit more effort to erect than frame or dome tents. After practice, we generally take about 1-½ hours from starting to sitting down with a beer, which I don't consider too bad for such a large tent. We used to take an hour with the large dome tent but it wasn't such hard work, keeps you fit?.. Frame The frame could have been a little better made, the tubes are standard size at 25mm so no benefit in terms of choosing other models there but they still feel a little wobbly. Hasn't broken though and I know nothing about designing steel tube frames so there you go. Cost These are expensive bits of kit. You need to be sure it's what you want. Either that or take advantage of the people who decide it's not for them after a season and sell up. There are many second-hand bargains around. Storage Bags On a tent costing this much I'd have expected to be provided with decent bags for the awning poles. The canvas is well protected in nicely made canvas sacks but the poles are in a sort of plastic Hessian which will need replacing next year after 5 trips since April. We also got the hundreds of metal tent pegs supplied in a plastic bag, wouldn't have been too much trouble to proved an nice canvas sack for these too. A small niggle but there you go. Storing the unit itself
You will need a place to keep this thing. Brackets are available to flip it onto it's side to make it easier to store but it doesn't make that much difference and unless you're prepared to turf the car out of the garage unless you have a double, you'll need to be able to secure it somewhere. We would have space in the garage if we didn't have the traditional pile of rubbish in there as well! There's another job. Overall Overall we are extremely pleased we went for this tent. The size, comfort, ease of use and build quality are all excellent. It's added a new dimension of luxury to our camping. I'm sure there are problems to come and we?ll discover what the weak points are with more use but we managed five weeks holiday in five months of ownership and only broke a spring clip (easily put back together) and bent a frame pole through inexperience so no complaints. For the price of a fortnight in Florida we hope to get many more family holidays from this tent. It easily gets five stars. Some pics available at www.bigtent.fotopic.net
I came accross this web based shop after quite a thorough scan of sites dealing in camping equipment.Navigating the site was very easy,even for a beginner.Everything is arranged and catalogued well.Pictorial and graphical detail is excellent with no long waits for new screens opening.After comparing the various combinations and makes of tents i proceded quickl the checkout where i was even able to purchase using my humble SWITCH card.The goods were promptly despatched and delivered on the promised day(only two days later).Communications with the company were excellent, so much so ,I wrote and thanked them personally for their politeness ,manner and switness in dealing with the sale.I would have no hesitations in recomending thi deightful company to anyone.
Terra Nova is a manufacturer of high quality mountaineering tents. They were originally called winter gear and then wild country. To avoid confusion Wild Country still exist and still make tents, but they sold off their tent business to Terra Nova about 7 years ago and then recently started making their own tents again. I own two tents and one bivvy bag made by Terra Nova or their predecessors. The bivvy bag is approx 15 years old, winter gear goretex zip bag I have a trisar (small two man backpacking tent) approx 8 years old and a Quasar (big brother to the trisar, 2 man base camp tent) 2 years old. I give all three pieces of equipment serious abuse, exposing them to rain, UV light (aka sunshine), snow and wind. I use at least one of them every weekend. GENERAL COMMENTS: Terra Nova tents tend to be pricey. I however believe that the quality of materials and the lifetime guarantee justify this. The poles of any geodesic or dome tent are the weakest and most easily broken part. The poles of a cheap tent are made from fibre glass whereas Terra Nova poles are made from aircraft quality Easton aluminium. I have as yet not suffered a brokien pole on either of my tents. The material is one of several different types of ripstop nylon. The material "weathers" well although I have noticed some fading on the trisar. One of the guy wire attachment points recently broke on the Trisar probably due to the fabric being weak due to old age. I sent it to terra nova who fixed it for free! The general design of the tents is superb. They tolerate strong wind, heavy rain and snow well. The poles are flexible so they bend in the wind but both my tents feel stable. The design of both tents has harly changed in the last 12 years. Although they added an extra (optional) pole to the trisar a couple of years ago. Both tents are easy to erect in less than 5 minutes. They are assemble
d inner first then outer. If its windy and raining this can sometimes be a problem as the outer must be laid over the inner to protect it from getting wet during erection. TRISAR Cost: £300 Weight:2.2kg Pros: Excellent wee backpacking tent. Lightweight. Good if you're on your own. Cons: There is only a porch/entrance at one end so for two people it can be awkward climbing over a pile of gear to get out for that pee in the night. Storage of gear is a problem as space is limited. I get round this by putting rucsacs etc in a large plastic bag and leaving it outside the tent. Would be very cosy for two large people. QUASAR Cost: £350 - £400 Pros: Excellent and popular 'base camp' tent. Has been around for 12 years so tried and tested. Will last a long time if taken care of. There is a large porch at both ends so plently of room for gear etc Very spacious for two people. Cons I can't think of any except its a bit heavy to carry as a backpacking tent. I would recommend a Terra Nova tent to anyone who enjoys hassle free camping and is looking to invest in a tent that will stand the elements, and last a long time.
especially when its your first time camping with them, Callum 2 years 8 months and Lucy 10mths (fast crawler!). This was also the first time my husband had put up this Eurohike 455TS tent, and it was late and we were both tired hungry and irritable and so were the kids. Now add wind to this scene as well and me having to hold on to the tent whilst hubby knocks in the pegs and if I had been watching instead of doing then I would probably have been in hysterics. The tent though, getting back to the subject on hand, is a brilliant design it goes up very easily and my husband reckons that he will be bale to do it on his own next time, which is good news for me) The features of the Euroike 455TS are: UV nylon coated fabric (SPF30) Taped seams 7 Shock corded fibreglass poles flysheet(outer) first erection 2 inner tents gear pockets colour coded pole system large living area with groundsheet all this for £199.99 but we got it for a reduced price of £159.99 because of foot & mouth and retailers encouraging people to go away in Britain. The best things about this tent is the enormous living area, in the living area even my husband at 5' 11" can stand upright. The whole family could have a meal round a table in the living area, the two inner tents were perfect for us as we are only a small family. As well as for small families like ours this tent would also be perfect for group camping, say two couples. I would really reccommend this Tent,although I am still not sure about camping, but this excellant tent made in more bearable for me. By the way we are going camping again in it again soon,so it can't be that bad can it.
The Vango Equinox 350 is a brilliant, versatile tunnel tent. Being very easy to pitch with the 3 colour-coded 'powerflex' poles it's useful for short or longer camping trips (I managed to ptich it the first time in 10 minutes in the pitch dark, without reading the instructions, in 3ft grass - honest!). The 350 can sleep 4 people comfortably, although it's designed for 3 and a half people (well, 3 and a child) with plently of room in the separate porch area for bikes, rucksacs, the kitchen sink... For those who want a smaller or larger version, the Vango Equinox also comes in 200, 250 and 600 sizes. The 350 is usually prices around £230, but I managed to pick mine up at an end-of-line factory sale for £70. Watch out for ads in papers for these sales - they can knock up to 60% or so off the retail price - sweet. Being 5.5kg it's not the lightest for walking or cycling, but managable if split between people - I think it's worth the extra weight purely for the large storage capacity. It's very sturdy too - the tension band system works wonders in windy weather and is a sinch to adjust. Inside there's enough room to sit straight upright (120cm high) and 220cm wide in both the sleeping and storage compartments. It has the essential fully-tapered ground sheet to keep the bugs out as well as a fly-mesh over the door. For the real techno-boff campers; the flysheet is Hytex 6000R and the groundsheet is Hytex 8000. I dunno what it means but it's green, light and keeps the rain out. During the day it's possible to open up the tent to air it, but if it decides to piss it down without warning you can seal the place off in a matter of seconds. The door flaps can also be pegged out (with some sticks and a bit of improvisation) to make wee canopies for shelter while you're cooking your bangers on a calor gaz stove...ahh....the great outdoors.
Ooer missus!! No, this is not going to be any of that! This is going to be about my camping activities and my little tent in particular! A few years ago now I purchased a Eurohike 220 Dome tent for £39.99 from Milletts outdoor/camping store for the purpose of my music festival-going activities. At the time I thought I was being clever by buying a red one – “unusual” I thought “everyone else’s will be blue or green” I thought. On getting to the campsite at Reading Festival I realised it may just not be so easy to find my little red tent among the mere 10,000 or so other red tents among the 50 000+ campers – dammit! I was so jealous of the leopard print tent I spotted (pardon the pun!) Back to the tent itself – a two berth (at a squeeze) of simple construction and a breeze to put up so long as you don’t find yourself on dry, stoney ground where you cannot get the tent pegs in! The tent has an outer waterproof skin, with an inner tent/skin which includes a sturdy built-in groundsheet – so no messing about with multiple pieces of canvas. The basic construction is of two large, flexible plastic poles which contain thick elastic and are assembled in a cross shape through the loops of the outer canvas bringing your tent to a little dome shape as you tuck the poles into the four corner loops. You then clip the inner tent in place inside and – Voila! – that’s all there is to it – it takes me about 10-15 minutes to put it up, allowing extra time for banging in the tent pegs if you’re on hard ground. It stayed put in wind and sun and rain – and remained waterproof although I have yet to experience prolonged downpours or storms in it. Make sure it is securely attached to the ground in case of wind though! It also has a top vent flap which you can unclip to let the air in, cool it down (tents get very hot on a sunny day!) and avoid condensation. <
br> The tent and its accompanying poles and pegs all fold and pack away neatly into a zip up matching canvas bag for easy transport. It’s quite a knack getting it to fit back into the bag but you need to use a “roll and squeeze” technique! After use it is best to rinse down your tent – I hang my out on the washing line for a couple of days to give it an airing too to make sure any captured bugs and dampness disappears – otherwise the canvas may rot. So far my festival camping activities have been an enjoyable success with this little tent. Probably the best sort to buy for short camping breaks for it’s sheer good price, practicality and design.
I love camping (not the 'ooh, ducky' type, the tent type) Its that feeling of protection from the elements, hiding under your thin sheets of nylon. There are so many choices of tent maker, model, size, cost, style available these days. How do you pick which one is right for you? Firstly, when are you likely to go camping? Summer only? Earlier/later in the year? All year round? Secondly, where are you going to camp? Safe, sheltered sites? Out in the wilds? High up mountains? Thirdly, how many people will use the tent? Just you? 2? 3? The whole Everest expedition? These factors are the most important guides to your choice. Once you have 'identified your needs' you are ready to start looking for types of tent. The earlier categories listed above require the least of the tent, the later ones require a lot more tent (and also, a lot more money) Styles of tent. Nowadays, tent shapes are generally divisible into; Hoop, Semi-geodesic, Tunnel, Cross-over dome and Geodesic dome. There are others but most are variations on these shapes. Geodesic and semis are the strongest geometric shapes, followed by the tunnel. The majority of tents which are designed to withstand extreme (ie High Mountain) conditions are geodesic domes. These tents are fully freestanding and very strong, capable of withstanding buffeting from every direction. Hoop tents are usually only used as solo tents as they cannot be very large without the wind-resistance being severely compromised. Tunnels are very wind-resistant when pitched end-on to the wind, these tents can be very long allowing a lot of room to live and store gear making them a good choice for cycle-touring. The old fashioned ridge tents (the one your parents probably had, triangular in cross-section) have all but vanished from the market place as they offer a lower space/weight ratio than more modern styles. Once you ha
ve identified the requirements you have for your tent and therefore have some idea of the style, the choice becomes much easier. Size and weight are just about all there is left to choose (except colour!). Specialist outdoor-equipment retailers should stock a variety or tents from a range of manufacturers and will be able to advise you further. Whatever you want your tent for, choose wisely and enjoy the great outdoors!
The Mutts Nuts! These things go up & down in minutes (or at least the 2 man vector does!) stand up to all sorts of weather (I've used mine in a hailstorm in gale force winds in Biarritz!!) & they are pretty light. They also came in all shapes & sizes which are variations on the basic Dome. When new you just fix the inner inside the Fly & that's where it stays, the tent is almost free standing when the poles are locked straight although like all tents it is important to stratch the peg rubbers when anchoring it down & apply the Guy lines if expecting rough weather. Even with the Guys in place this tent only uses 12 pegs! I've been touring on a mountain bike with one in France numerous times & the simplicity when you have to keep putting up / taking down is great. Mine's also made from a ripstop nylon, which helps when it's run over a car in St Malo (as mine was!) Although I bodged it together for the rest of the trip you'll be glad to know that parts were readily available on my return & the prices weren't bad either!!! Mine is the older door each side design which has since been changed to a door with single zip on the opposing side - not as usefull & a shame in my mind. My sister has replaced the fly on hers with one of these new models & although not as good as the two full doors it is still better than most. Weighs about 2kg or just over I think & pack size is sausage shaped measuring approx 500mm long with a 200mm Diameter which just about fits on a pannier rack or in a pack. There are many tents in the Khyam range; the Vector is about the smallest going right up to a double bedroomed affair which has living space, where it is tall enough to stand in the middle. One of them will suit you... Vectors go for about £100 - £130 & the biggest ones are about £375
The vango hydra 300 is a pricey enough tent but when it comes to buying tents you get what you pay for. The hydra 300 is a three pole geodesic tent. It is light weight and suitable for four seasons use. The hydra 300 is a three man tent but there is also the hydra 200 hundred available which is a two man tent. However I have discovered that the hydra 300 actually sleeps four people fairly comfortably. It is designed for use by hikers. Its probably necessary to split this tent up when packing it, this should cause no problems if there are three of you. The fly sheet and the inner tent are made from ripstop nylon and the groundsheet is made from nylon. The poles are aluminium and the pegs are also made from a very light metal. This makes the tent fairly light overall and fairly easy to carry. The hydra 300 is very easy to put up. The poles come colour coded with the tent so it's obvious where to put them. I put the tent up on my own a few times and it doesn't take very long. The inner tent can be put up before pegging it so it can be moved before finishing it. The outer tent can be put on first so the rest of the tent stays dry. There is plenty of ventilation in the inner tent. The door on the inner tent is a double door allowing one layer to be opened leaving a mesh covering it so plenty of air can circulate but it keeps out the flies. When it comes to storage there are plenty of little pockets and a gear loft in the tent. The porch isn't great but there's enough room for a few things. This is the problem with sleeping four in it, the gear has to be kept outside. The tent has a special water proof coating on the nylon which needs to be activated when you first buy the tent. This is very simple, it just involves putting the tent up and spraying a fine layer of water over it. The only problems I have with this then is that in strong wind it blows about a lot, it should be ok if the guy ropes
are put up properly though. There is also a flat area on the roof and if it snowed then it could collect there. Other than this its a great tent for use on hikes.