“ Brand: Outwell / Type: Tent „
* Prices may differ from that shown
We were given this tent when a friend was having a clear-out, which was jolly nice.
Ours is different to the one shown in the picture above in some aspects, although it is the same model name. Ours is blue & grey and doesn't have a central window. Otherwise it's essentially the same.
The tent comes in its own bag, as is usual: a long round bag in the same sort of material as the tent exterior, with a zip across its length and webbing strap handles. When properly rolled up and arranged, the tent, groundsheet, pegs and poles all fit in neatly and the bag could be strapped onto a large rucksack or carried by hand without being obnoxiously bulky. It weighs a bit over 11 kilos, so it's not hugely heavy either. The tent itself is rolled around slimline tie-up waterproof bags containing the 3 tent-poles and numerous pegs.
Because ours was secondhand, there was no instruction leaflet with the tent - usually there's one sewn into the inside of the bag, but if there had been with the Arizona it was long gone. This was no worry to me, as I'm used to the dome-style tents and they all seem to go up the same way.
First you get out the main dome of the tent, and start feeding the poles into the sleeves that criss-cross the exterior. The poles of the Arizona are sturdy Duratec fibreglass, in sections for folding, with a strong elastic cord running through to connect them. You link them up as you push them into the sleeves: it's best to push as trying to pull them through could break the elastic and the sleeves of the tent catch in the gaps. One person could probably put this tent up, but it's easier with a second person to guide the poles and smooth out any rucks, while the first pushes the pole. I was pleased with the quality of the poles supplied with this tent, as we'd used a cheap family tent last year, with poles that were quite flimsy and one ended up breaking. In comparison, these look and feel of higher quality.
Once I'd got the two main poles in crossing diagonals, I inserted the front pole. You can tell it was different to the other two by the angled pieces in it.
After that, it was a case of creating the dome, by bending the poles against the tent fabric and locking the end of the pole into the corners with the ring-spikes - these are inserted into the end of the poles to hold them.
Voila, a dome! Then I pegged the exterior in each corner to hold it in position for the next part. This is where you go inside and attach the inner tent and its built in groundsheet that makes up the bedroom. When zipped up, creepy crawlies, beasties and flying things shouldn't be able to get in. Attaching it's a simple matter of pushing toggle through loop, and making sure the light inner doesn't touch the exterior wall of the tent, as that tends to let in condensation. Then it's onto securing the two with pegs.
The pegs provided with the Arizona are the bog-standard thin silver metal type, which bend quite easily with hard ground or dodgily aimed mallet blows. I always think one year I'll invest in some decent tent-pegs, as these ones aren't great. The guy-ropes are good quality and ours are a fluorescent yellow, presumably to help people avoid tripping over them. The zips are water-resistant and high quality.
The inner tent bedroom is the only part with a built-in groundsheet. It's a nice size and adults can stand up in it. It's supposed to be a 3 berth, and would probably manage that many people, but a little more intimately than I'd like. But that's the same as most tents, the manufacturers like to claim how many people can lie in there like sardines, not like starfish! It's a good sized tent for a couple, or maybe with their first child. It's ok for us if it's just me and the 2 kids going camping for a night or two as well.
The so-called 'living room' space, which is about a third of the area covered by the tent's dome, has a separate groundsheet, which you just peg down. I would describe it as a porch, rather than living room, as it's more open to the elements and insects. There's a bit of gap between the bottom edge of the tent exterior and the groundsheet.
It's tall enough to stand in, however, which allows adults to stretch their backs, and can be used for storing your stove and bits & pieces while you sleep. It's good for sitting in while you wait for your sausages to cook and gaze blearily out at the hillside of a morning. The porch area has three doors: you can roll up the front panel for a big main entrance and to get your blow-up mattress in and out (as I alway seem to pump it up outside the tent, realise I should have done it on the inside, and have to manouevre it in!). Theoretically you could use this front door as an awning, as it has the fixings for it, however you would have to buy the upright poles separately. The tent also has two curved side doors you can unzip, so you can have a smaller entrance for privacy or to open out of the direction of the wind. Alternatively, you can open the whole lot up and get plenty of air and sunshine on good days.
I like this tent a lot. It's proved to be watertight and weather-resistant when we've used it for camping. It has also spent several weeks in the garden as a den, and in that time never leaked or anything; the various toys, books and sleeping bags left out there for days and days and days took no ill. I like the height of it, which means you don't have to crouch and slouch to get changed or do things inside.
Packing up is quite simple as well. You can either take down the inner tent and take up the groundsheet or leave the inner tent attached (it can be put up again still attached), unpeg the dome and slide out the poles. Again someone to smooth as you push is handy and makes the whole things quicker. You bag up the poles and pegs, and roll them inside the groundsheet, then rolling the main dome around that. If it's done neatly enough, it slips back into the tent bag ready for next time (although it's a good idea to unpack it, brush off any dirt and dry it thoroughly before storing for any length of time, to prevent moisture rotting it or marring its appearance).
Online the price for the Arizona L tent is around £130. I think it's probably worth it, if you're looking for a tent that will last and that is well-made.
As available from the Outwells website:
Flysheet: Outtex 3000 with taped seams
Groundsheet: Double coated polyethylene
Poles: Duratec fibreglass 9.5/11.0 mm
Pitching way: Flysheet first or as one
Recommended for: For those preferring a traditional dome tent with a wide range of Outwell features
Pack size: 30 x 70 cm
Weight kg: 11.5 kg