Author Topic: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!  (Read 3971 times)

Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« on: September 05, 2013, 10:39:42 am »
Morning

As the summer's all but over my attentions are now turning to next year's holidays. I'm looking for a couple of tents and am guessing now's the time to buy. Requirements below.

Family Tent
Comfortably sleeps 4 with two seperate sleeping compartments
Large porch area with decent headroom
Easy pitch - possibly pitchable solo (with a little help from the little chickens to hold poles etc.)
Not too big when packed down
Budget £300 max

I've seen the Outwell Cleveland 5 on sale in Blacks which seems to tick all the boxes. Good choice?

Bikepacking tent
Lightweight, small packed up
1-2 person
Budget £100 max

For occasional solo nights out and any crazy trips dreamt up by Oscar's Dad around Essex. Current favourites are Vango Banshee 2 person, Vango Blade 200, Wild Country Zephyros 1 or 2. Also got my eye on the Alpkit Delta which has baggy inner issues so they are selling off for a bargainous £60. According to t'internet can easily be fixed based on pitch technique and a bit of nip and tuck.

Any input or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

Chris

Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2013, 10:56:25 am »
For a backpacking tent I have a Wild Country Helios 2 which I am open to offers or you are welcome to try out. There is nothing wrong with the tent and would suit OD's crazy extravaganzas. Here is a link:
http://www.terra-nova.co.uk/tents-and-spares/all-tents/helios-2-tent/

The tent has been used for a 2 weeks trip to Scotland earlier this year, when I discovered that for longer trips I need something that provides more storage space for 4 panniers.

Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2013, 10:11:42 pm »
Not one of the Vangos you've shortlisted, but I think I was looking at similar and in the end decided to pay a bit extra for a Tempest 200.

My first bikepacking tent, so I don't really have anything to compare it to, but it survived a lot of Weather in North Wales recently https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=74543.msg1544158#msg1544158 A lot of Weather.

It's big enough inside for me and all my clothes and bits of stuff, but what I'm really liking is the porch which is big enough for me to stack (2) panniers, shoes and that, and hang up soggy towels etc to dry a bit overnight. Then I've still got room to get in and out and sit down too.

The outer seems a bit slack in places, but it doesn't seem to be a problem.

Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2013, 10:49:06 pm »
We picked up a large Outwell family tent along with lots of accessories for just £140 on ebay. There are lots of second-hand bargains to be had out there.

Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2013, 09:07:34 am »
Prior to Mildenhall I got a new Gelhert Atlantis 4 from Rutland Outdoor for £85 normally £299. They are not listing any at the moment but get in touch with them they may have some left. It is a nice tent as some who saw it at the rally will testify.

Lightweight I would always go for the Hilleberg. I have tried many lightweight tents and find these are the best although also one of the most expensive. If you do consider Hilleberg before you choose the new Anjan model have a good look at one because they do not suit everyone.
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Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2013, 09:12:13 am »
Get yourself over to Decathlon at Lakeside.  I have no experience of their big tents but we have a couple of their lightweight tents we use for cycle camping.  We've got one of these and one of these (but they're out of stock)  :'(  We've also got a couple of their pop-up tents but they are no good for cycle camping (don't pack down small enough).  However, the four Decathlon tents we own have proved brilliant in some serious rain over a number of seasons.  Pop round if you want to have a look at them.

For big tents have a look at GoOutdoors, there's one in Colchester.  Or Camping & General on Canvey, I think they've got their end of season sale on at the moment.  Both our big tents have come from there.

Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2013, 09:14:48 am »
If you can get one secondhand/cheap, a Vaude Taurus II is a good option. It has plenty of space in the awning for panniers and baggage and is a cosy 2-man tent. It's possibly a little larger packed down than some, but its real delight is in how easy it is to put up. Once you have got used to which way the two poles should go, it can be put up in a couple of minutes and pegged and roped in less than five.
Haggerty F, Haggerty R, Tomkins, Noble, Carrick, Robson, Crapper, Dewhurst, Macintyre, Treadmore, Davitt.

Oscar's dad

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Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2013, 09:22:21 am »
Or for occasional use little tents look at Millets/Blacks (Eurohike) or Argos.  Basically anything with an inner tent and welded seams on the flysheet is going to be OK. 

When we did the Peddars Way Wobbly John took his Argos tent which looked great.  I think I'm right in saying bobb went round France for upteen weeks this summer with a Eurohike tent. 

If you're going to do some serious cycle camping over a number of seasons then a posh tent is probably worth the investment.  For anything the mid-Essex crew are likely to strong arm you into doing you won't need a posh tent.  However, a GPS with a man overboard function is essential  ;D

EDIT: on big tents, make sure you get one with a sewn in ground sheet (sometimes called a bath tub ground sheet)

Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2013, 09:26:22 am »
We've just up sized to a mahoosive 3 bedroom, 2 reception Outwell and our Gelert family tent is potentially available - 2 bedrooms that take double air bed a plus middle living area plus small flap porch.  PM me if you would like more details, I can't remember the model off the top of my head.  It's in excellent nick and eat to pitch on your own.

clarion

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Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2013, 09:37:00 am »
The Blacks Octane is a good one person tent for £75 at the moment.  TGL likes his.
Getting there...

Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2013, 09:42:58 am »
When we did the Peddars Way Wobbly John took his Argos tent which looked great. 
One of the green 'coffin' shaped ones?  I have two; they are amazing tents, incredible value.
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Oscar's dad

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Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2013, 10:42:00 am »
It was a wedged, possibly could be described as coffin, shaped. I think it was orange.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2013, 01:27:58 pm »
You could do worse than Decathlon for big tents.

Barakta and I recently invested in a Quechua T4.1, on the basis that it was less hassle than trying to re-acquire the 4-man tent we part own (currently AWOL with a friend of a friend not known for taking care of pingfuckits).  You specify the more common two sleeping compartments, where we specifically wanted the opposite, but I'm sure the design and build quality of the others in the range are broadly similar.  I was able to pitch it with minimal help from barakta (she ensured the pins stayed in place on the far side of the poles), but it should be possible to do it single-handedly with care.  It does benefit from a second pair of hands to push the poles out when taking it down, though.

The sleeping compartment has a sturdy sewn-in groundsheet, which got a thorough test on Saturday night at Mildenhall.

Pics and more here


Re: Vango Banshee - if you're hoping to fit two adults and their kit in it, the 300 is a better bet than the 200.  It's not the lightest, but I have no complaints (other than barakta not being designed for crawling around in confined spaces).
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Psychler

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Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2013, 01:35:52 pm »
Get yourself over to Decathlon at Lakeside.  I have no experience of their big tents but we have a couple of their lightweight tents we use for cycle camping.  We've got one of these and one of these (but they're out of stock)  :'(  We've also got a couple of their pop-up tents but they are no good for cycle camping (don't pack down small enough).  However, the four Decathlon tents we own have proved brilliant in some serious rain over a number of seasons.  Pop round if you want to have a look at them.

For big tents have a look at GoOutdoors, there's one in Colchester.  Or Camping & General on Canvey, I think they've got their end of season sale on at the moment.  Both our big tents have come from there.

There's also a Go Outdoors at Lakeside, quite near Decathlon, so that might be your bet to start with.  I bought a Vango Gamma 200 there for £70- ish which I'm very pleased with.
I'm gonna limp to the pub and drink 'til the rest of me is as numb as my arse.

Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2013, 11:30:22 am »
Well,  went to Go Outdoors in Colchester at the weekend and had a play around with the few tents they had set up. Really liked the Outwell tents they had and had a good root around in one which is the same dimensions as the Cleveland 5. Very impressed with it so might go for that. They did also have a ridiculous Vango something or other for 7 people which was the size of a 3 bed detached bungalow.

They had solo tents in all shapes and sizes. The Vango Banshee which was on my list I didn't like as being a touch over six foot it wasn't long enough for me and is really a one man. Also the inner came down over my face when lying down which would irritate the f*ck out of me in no time. This was the case for most onf the small tents in various price brackets. The clear winner was the Vango Blade 200. Spacious for two, lightweight at 2kg, decent length and height so could easily sit up inside and with a spacious enough porch for a couple of bags and cooking space. Also found it on t'internet for £74 so good value also. :thumbsup:
May see if I can arrange a test with Jen and OD before making final decision.


Oscar's dad

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Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2013, 11:40:33 am »
When it comes to family tents size matters so go for the biggest you can afford and carry.  Ours is a 7 berth (Kampa 7) even though there are only 3 of us.  As you can see below it has a detachable annex (I can now pitch it more neatly  ::-) ) and as we have a trailer its easy to transport ...




Let me know if you want to pop round.

Oscar's dad

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Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2013, 11:41:36 am »
By the way, we also have carpet which is excellent!

Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2013, 12:05:55 pm »
That's an impressive erection. I'm more interested in your small one rather than your big one although I think I've made up my mind with the Vango Blade, I was really that impressed with it.

The Outwell Cleveland will be big enough as there was one on dispaly with exactly the same dimensions but with different poles. The Cleveland has the slimmer bendy poles so all fit in a single holdall rather than having a seperate bag for poles which I liked. Also two seperate living areas plus bedrooms with the outer living area with detachable ground sheet and 'panorama' windows! Me and the little chickens spent a good couple of hours in there looking and trying all the tents, lying on camp beds, playing with the fold up furniture etc. Great fun! Just have to make a list of what we want now and we'll be away!

Oscar's dad

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Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2013, 12:12:50 pm »
No worries, I wasn't offering to show you our family erection as it is bigger than our garden!  Bear in mind that it is very difficult to pack family tents down as small as they achieve in the factory!  With both ours we ended up buying bigger bags.

Happy to show you my Decathlon little tents.  But that Vango Blade 200 looks great and at 2kg is the same weight as my smallest Decathlon.  If you can get one for £74 I'd go for it pronto.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2013, 01:09:02 pm »
They had solo tents in all shapes and sizes. The Vango Banshee which was on my list I didn't like as being a touch over six foot it wasn't long enough for me and is really a one man. Also the inner came down over my face when lying down which would irritate the f*ck out of me in no time.

That's a fair point that I hadn't considered.  I'm not that tall, but using a Downmat rather than something thinner does mean that my feet tend to touch the inner when there's a reasonable amount of space above my face - soggy sleeping bag is possible if you're not paying attention.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2013, 01:22:34 pm »
Just thought I'd do a quick comparison of the Vango Blade 2 and TN Helios 2. They have a very similar design with one pole through the centre length of the tent

Vango Blade 2: Sleeping area 220 (l) x 160 (w) x 95 (h). Overall length 300. Weight 2.1kg

TN Helios 2: Sleeping area 225 (l) x 130 (w) x 100 (h). Overall length 290. Weight 1.76kg max, 1.54kg min

Not a vast difference between the tents.  Suppose it depends is you would ever use it as a 2 person tent. In the TN one you would have to be very friendly with each other!

Christophe - happy for you to have a trial.  Will pm you my contact details and maybe we can fix some thing up in the next few weeks. I don't have any photos of the tent in action.


Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2013, 10:04:38 pm »
I have to say, I entirely disagree with Oscar's Dad on the subject of big tents! I think get the smallest you can bear - easier to carry, easier and faster to erect and warmer. I hate sewn in ground sheets with the exception of the inner tents, they are heavy and unnecessary and mean you spend half your life either taking your shoes on or off or cleaning the .... thing.  ;D
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2013, 10:44:15 pm »
I reckon big tents are where the real scope to economise on features comes in.  They're all going to be reasonably waterproof and have enough space, and packed weight/size is (within reason) not usually an issue.  So it comes down to who's using it, for what, and what layout of inner compartments, zips and so on works best.

I don't get hung up too much about speed of pitching, but am aware that pitching large tents can have similar effects on one's level of marital harmony to riding a tandem, so you may want to avoid anything with too many colour-coded poles or Krypton Factor brackets.

I agree with Butterfly about the ground sheets.  I grabbed a smallish one (about a third of the non-sleeping area of our tent) for £1.50 from Asda as an afterthought, and that worked quite well as a halfway point between shoes off in the sleeping area and wet grass between you and the tea.  If you're going to be serious with groundsheets, then a soft brush to chase away the grass would probably be handy.  You could lend it out to Hilleberg users for cleaning their zips...
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Oscar's dad

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Re: Little and Big Tent Recommendadtions please!
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2013, 07:33:18 am »
My conclusions on family tents are based on our own experiences, other's experiences are going to produce different conclusions.

Re size. We've found the extra space useful for storing kit and especially useful for accommodating visitors or other families we're camping with. Obviously if the weather is fine you can sit outside but if it isn't we've found big tents are very socialable. The add-on annex is good for cooking away from the masses so kids don't accidentally trip over hot stoves. None of our extra space is strictly necessary, its just very useful. No matter how big your tent is it is likely to be much smaller than the space you live in at home although you'll be doing much the same things. We can get our erection up and fitted out in about an hour and a half. Given we don't use it for over night stops (we have pop ups for that) the erection time isn't a problem.  We have a heater that screws on to the top of a gas bottle so early or late season jaunts aren't a problem.

Our previous big tent only had bath tub ground sheets on the sleeping compartments. We found after 2 or 3 days of the rain puddles would be forming in the living area that didn't have a sewn in ground sheet. Waking up after a rainy night to find a mini Lake District in the living area was a pain. Our new tents with its bath tub ground sheet is much better in this regard. We have door mats and a no shoe policy to keep muck out. Our new big tent came with carpet (!) So every other day we just lift it out and shake off the muck. We can machine wash it when we get home. Sewn in ground sheets do present a trip hazard entering and leaving the tent as Twinkle Toes knows to her cost but most of us now remember to be careful.