* Prices may differ from that shown
Choosing a tent can prove to be quite an arduous task, and I guess it was around this time last year that I decided that my old three man Vango was not sufficient to our needs anymore. The kids were getting bigger, we needed more space. It was getting old and a few holes were appearing. I wanted more space anyway, and I was getting annoyed with having to crouch down all the time as it was only about five foot high.
When looking for a tent, I suppose the first thing you have to decide is what you want from a tent. I usually like to take the kids camping around three times a year and go off on my own with my mates another couple of times a year, with my other tent. As my kids are starting to get older I decided this year to buy a bigger tent for us. Borgette, my daughter, is now eleven so needs her own room and 'space,' so I wanted a tent with two rooms to cater for her privacy. Borgeth, my son, could sleep in my room. We would also use Borgette's room to store clothes as well. I also wanted a tent which was easy to put up on my own, if need be and felt that a tunnel tent was the best option. I had a look around various camping shops, website and looked at other tents on campsites and fell for the Vango Icarus 500.
This tent fills all our camping needs when I am on a camping trip with my kids. It has a sawn in ground sheet as well, which is great for keeping out the elements. It has 3000 HH which means it can withstand a lot of rain before it starts to seep through. We went to Hawkshead in the Lake District recently and stayed for four nights in the new tent. Borgette gave me a hand to pitch the tent and it was all pretty easy, though the poles were tricky to put through at first, but I think this was just the newness. There are three poles which you feed through the holes and a separate bedroom attachment. The bedroom has a partition wall, but you can remove it to make the room into a big room for five people. The living room is nice and big and you can stand up in it. There are the usual shelves in the bedrooms, but there are five shelve (about 8 inches square) sawn into the tent by the bedroom compartment as well. I found this very handy for storing stuff like shampoo, deodorant and toothbrushes, etc.
The tent has a window to the left of the tent as you look at it and a side door to the right as you look at it. There is also a big main door at the front. What is quite handy about these doors is the fact that they have attachable mesh to keep out midges if need be. Although this is not a huge tent, I will say that it is great for one adult and two kids, two adults and one kid. If you have a bigger family, you might feel a bit squashed, especially on a rainy day when you all in the living room.
A quick glance at the Features:
* Flysheet: Protex® 3000 polyester embossed - this looks likes it will last well!
* Inner: Breathable 190T polyester - I did not notice any condensation in the mornings.
* Groundsheets: Polyethylene 10,000
* Windows: PVC
* Poles: PowerFlex® fibreglass + TBS® II - they seems sturdy and flexible
* Pitching: Flysheet-first
* 3000 HH - great for wet weather!
* Vango Air-Zone - Large Venting Panels
* Fully enclosed groundsheet with step over doors
* Vango easy-pitch tunnel - I agree, was quite easy
* Vango 'lights out' inner tent - I did appear darker inside, but the hot morning sun still crept in.
* Vango pelmet
* Easy find orange inner clips
* Part mesh inner door
* Roll back inner divider
* Mesh doors
* Mesh ventilation
* Windows have internal curtains
Well worth the price. It retails at around £220, but there are some good deals around if you look. I bought mine from Milletts for around £150. It was worth every penny as I am sure I will use it many more times. The pack size is 70 x 32 x 28 cm and it packed into the boot of my Focus well enough along with sleeping bags, chairs, foot etc... It is not too heavy at 13.70 kg.
Both kids gave it a 10/10... and I guess I have to agree!
I don't "do" camping however we recently bought this tent ready for the next couple of years' family holidays. We tried it out at the end of the season and this is what we thought...
The tent itself comes in a handled bag with a 180 degree zip providing a very big space to pack the tent away. The poles and pegs also come in their own seperate bags. Everything is tied up and surprisingly packs away in exactly the same way it did when we bought it - amazing!
The packed down tent is sized at 67cm x 27cm x 27cm and weighs a total of 12.95kg.
The tent comprises of a seperate bedroom area with a hanging sheet that splits this down into two. As one big bedroom the tent can hold 5 people and split down comfortably can take 4 people. We had our double bed and our son's travel cot with plenty of space left to move around. The bedroom is already inside when you first pitch it making it so much easier to put up.
Other features include:
- TBS® II- Tension Band System reinforcing the tent during high winds
- Fire Retardant fabrics...self explanatory!
- Protex® 2000 polyester flysheet
- Taped seams
- Storm skirt system which prevents water from running into the tent. It also manages to trip up your husband and any drunken visitors!
- Sewn-in groundsheet preventing drafts blowing through and keeps out unwanted guests...including drunken visitors!
- Crystal Clear windows with internal covers
- Parallel zip door with double zip covers (King poles not included)
- Pre-attached guylines with guy tidies however you do need to fasten some of them yourself as they are not all tied correctly in the factory. Also they are not very bright and not always easy to see when walking around the site in the dark! This is another safety feature detering more drunken visitors!
- Reflective webbing & external zip pullers
- Heavy duty polesleeves
- Powerflex® fibreglass poles
- Ring and pin system making the tent far more sturdy.
- Front over door mesh vent
- Breathable fabric inner tent with part mesh door
- Roll-back inner divider
- Cable entry point
- Inner pockets & hanging storage
- Lantern loop which we did not find until we spent the first night holding the light for each other to get changed!
The tent takes a mere 10 minutes to pitch. We thought this would be rubbish but actually it is true even for us amateurs. In total it took around 40 minutes to get it all set up properly with the guy ropes etc however it may be quicker now we have set the guy ropes up and have done it once.
You literally lay it out flat, put the poles through, peg them in and then peg down the guy ropes. It is all in one pitching so makes it far easier to do especially with a 15 month old who keeps wielding the mallet at your toes!
The tent comes in either camping green or camping blue. We have the green and is...well...green. Moving on...
We found the tent pegs to be the standard issue bend-at-the-sight-of-a-mallet pegs so it might be an idea to get some rock pegs especially if you know you are going to a particularly rocky site.
After the first night we expected to wake to condensation however the inside of the tent was bone dry. The second night we had a slight bit but we also had a massive down pour that night which could have contributed.
The canopy caused the middle of the tent to sink holding some of the water. It looked as though we had not set this up correctly so next time we will assess before attaching. I will talk about this more when I review the canopy.
The tent is a lovely size for a spacious weekend away however may require extra thought if going for a week or two. The outdoor space provided by the canopy was definitely useful.
The side door is far easier to use as an easy access door. Because the main front door is at an angle, any water on the door drips straight in as you role it up into the tent.
All in all, as a none camper, I found my stay in this tent both enjoyable and comfortable. The indoor space was plenty for me, my husband and our son to sit in a morning and eat breakfast (me wrapped up in a sleeping bag nonetheless) and also for storage.
I would recommend this tent to anyone who has either a small family or are a couple. Plenty of space for a small dog too!