Is there a tent I can put down by myself?

(35 Posts)
spookysal Tue 01-Jan-13 13:15:36

I want to camp with the dc this year. I have never camped before. They are 2 and 5.

I don't plan to go far from home the first few times so I can get used to it and we will probably only camp 1/2 nights at a time.

The only hitch in my plan is that I need a tent I can pitch and take down by myself. Is there such a thing?

I've looked at pops up but have read they are very difficult to take down.

What's the best tent for me?

difficultpickle Tue 01-Jan-13 13:17:41

Bell tent. Pop ups are ok but you have to do loads of practising to fold them down without a fuss.

spookysal Tue 01-Jan-13 13:23:13

Someone in RL mentioned a bell tent to me but are they a PITA to dry out when you get home?

hellsbells76 Tue 01-Jan-13 13:24:20

I have a Gelert Cabana 4 and it's brilliant - up in 10 minutes, down in less, and huge inside. A doddle to put up too - like a bell tent with one central pole, but much cheaper.

spookysal Tue 01-Jan-13 13:24:53

Can you collapse by yourself hellsbells76

hellsbells76 Tue 01-Jan-13 13:26:52

Yup, it's ever so easy.

difficultpickle Tue 01-Jan-13 13:30:03

They can be a pain to dry but I've only got a 3 person one so it isn't too big to drape somewhere. The loveliest thing about them is they are cool in the summer (if we get a summer). You can roll up the sides too. The Gelert one looks good but it doesn't appear to have any windows. A friend camped with us in a tent with no windows last year and said she found it very claustrophobic, which may or may not be an issue for you.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 01-Jan-13 13:32:10

Bell tents are a pita to dry at home and if wet are very, very heavy to take down on your own. I have a 5m bell tent and had to take it down on my own once when it was soaking wet. No chance of folding ot, getting it near the bag, etc. I just bundled it in the car and it was hard work stuffing it in inch by inch - nearly left it on the bloody campsite.

Saying that it is a lovely tent and next time in that situation I'd unzip the groundsheet which should help. But then I did do that once and couldn't get the bloody thing zipped back together and was nearly hysterical at the start of the next camping holiday.

I also have a large 5 man Outwell tunnel tent and can easily put that up and take down on my own. Its easier to do imho than the bell tent but t akes longer as more poles, etc.

spookysal Tue 01-Jan-13 13:40:00

I love the idea of a bell tent and think they would be lovely to sleep inside. But I don't think I could find anywhere to dry it tbh.

I've been looking at the Gelert Cabana 4 and it seems ideal.

I have a tunnel tent (bought when stbeh and I were still together but never used as he hated the idea of camping) and I cannot pitch that by myself couldn't even get it back in the bag last time I tried but it is a beast of a tent. Maybe I could manage a smaller version.

spookysal Tue 01-Jan-13 15:51:27

I have also been looking at the Quechua tents. Are they good?

difficultpickle Tue 01-Jan-13 15:59:29

Viva what a nightmare. I rented a 5m bell tent last summer and it was lovely but I wouldn't have fancied taking it down and packing away. The advantage with the 3m one is it is big enough for 3 and has a separate ground sheet. I've got a matching canopy too which was a godsend with the rented tent (which didn't have one) as Cornwall in August was rather rainy.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 01-Jan-13 16:26:55

I've also got a Quercha tent in my vast tent collection. I like it a lot. Its one of the square pop up ones. I used it as an awning when we used to have a camper van.

By itself it wouldn't be big enough for camping, but you can stick more than one together. I find it fine to pack away. There is a knack but there are instructions on the bag and youtube videos.

I'm not sure how easy it would be to fold one of their bigger ones up. But you could go to a Decathalon and insist on trying it!

Baublesinafield Tue 01-Jan-13 16:46:10

I have a Quechua 4xl pop up and love it for camping its my two. There is also a family sized one with two pods either side of the living area - one pod good for storage whilst you all room in together. No probs with the folding up, you could practise that before you go and instructions are usually on the bag too.

FourArms Thu 03-Jan-13 22:59:34

I can fold my 4 man pop up (Base Seconds 4.2) more easily than a 2 man pop up we have. I've been away without DH in it (with MIL, but she didn't help!) without any problems.

cece Fri 04-Jan-13 00:29:36

My friend camps with her 3 dc in a vango orchy. I camp on my own and have a vango samara - but DD helps me with it as it's quite big - she is 11 and a Guide.

I got a bell tent. We went to camp bestival this year and I was dumped with 3 small kids inc a 2 month old on a bit of ground whilst DH went back to the car to get our stuff.

By the time he had returned the tent was up completely and I was inside with the 3 kid, bfing the baby.

Ever since (we did several more camping trips), DH just leaves me to it. Saves all the arguing.

He helps me pack it into the bag when puting away (I hold it open) but that's about it.

donnasummer Fri 04-Jan-13 01:02:01

I have been in exactly the same situation, op - lone parent with 2dc and no idea of how to put up a tent. I am not a practical person and wanted something easy! I started off with an outwell 3 person and managed it well enough, got faster the more times I did it! Because I was going for a week or so at a time it was important to me to have enough room to stand up, and a separate porch/bedroom. I've used it for a few years now, it.s been great. I have also used a pop up tent for shorter trips, also an outwell, they are fine to get back into the bag if you follow the instructions, and they are really light.
I wouldn't attempt a bell tent, just too heavy and awkward. Hth

donnasummer Fri 04-Jan-13 01:05:01

starlight the difference is you know he is there to help if needs be - it's really daunting on your own with dc! op what I did was look at loads of reviews, watched the video instructions for putting them up to see if it looked plausible, and looked at some tents at go outdoors etc too. Once you've done it once you won't look back, it's a fab holiday with dc

Perhaps, but now I know how to do it, it is the no.1 tent I would chose if going without him. Though I might chose a 3 or 4 meter instead of the 5 meter we have.

donnasummer Fri 04-Jan-13 01:11:21

it's whatever you feel confident you can wrestle with I guess!

donnasummer Fri 04-Jan-13 01:16:55

but whatever you choose, ded do it op! it's saved my summers, enabling me to have affordable, fun trips with my dc, and has given me more confidence delusion in my general capability!

CaptainNancy Fri 04-Jan-13 01:17:24

We have a quechua pop-up- it's fab, though haven't used it enough to put it down by myself- we don;t have the room to practise at home!
I will say though that every campsite I've ever been to is filled with lovely helpful campers, that will come to your aid when you're struggling blush

I love the Quechua tents, they are brilliant. grin

This one is really cheap as well and 4 person. I can easily get it down on my own, have a couple of practice goes putting it down in the garden though.

CaptainNancy Fri 04-Jan-13 01:18:25

Oh, we have a vango too that is easily manageable solo- completely bomb-proof too, which is good for the British weather.

Kahlua4me Sat 05-Jan-13 17:24:56

I have a Quechua pop up and find it very easy to do by myself. Easier actually than with anyone helping!

There is a knack to it but after a few practices it is fine. Instructions on the bag are good and staff in decathlon can show you.

labtest Sat 05-Jan-13 19:27:49

Cinch do a really good pop up tent too. They are a British company based in the lakes I believe.

CarriedAwayAnnie Sun 06-Jan-13 18:54:23

Hi labtest, Do you have a cinch? I'm thinking of getting one for when I go to Camp Bestival with dd1 this year.

Another recommendation for Quechua tents. Dead easy to put them away once you get the hang of it, and there are video clips online to help. Ideal if you arrive in the rain - the kids can be inside a dry pitched tent in two minutes. If you use the Base Seconds ones they have the advantage of being modular, so a) you can add an extra pod as the kids get to an age when they need more space, and b) they are easier to dry bit by bit in a small space.

Tunnel tents are doable single handed but need a bit of practice first. I pitched our Kampa Filey 6 with just me and a 3 year old last summer. You need to peg the back first, then lift each hoop one at a time, guying each one towards the front of the tent as you go. Once all the hoops are up you'll need to do the guys again in the right place. Bit of a faff though! (but I love it for longer camps...)

Whatever you end up with, you'll probably find that you get people offering to help you pitch, especially if they spot that you're on your own with the kids. Friendly bunch, campers. grin

Ineedmorepatience Sun 06-Jan-13 21:38:42

Another quechua pop up fan here. I have a 4.1 which easily sleeps me and 2 Dd's.

I love it and can pitch it and put it down by myself.

Ask the staff in decathlon to show you how to put it away or find the video online.

Happy campingsmile

spookysal Sun 06-Jan-13 21:48:45

Sorry for being dumb but what does modular mean?

paneer Sun 06-Jan-13 22:19:39

Another Quechua single parent camper here. Very so so easy to pitch and put away. This is the one I have. Dead easy to put away.

I have said it here many times before, I can easily put this away, but my Tesco pop-up beach shelter has been back in its bag ever since it got taken out!

But I do long for a Bell tent, they are so pretty smile

CarriedAwayAnnie Mon 07-Jan-13 09:46:29

I think the Quechua tent could be the tent I go for. I just hope I mange to get the hang of taking it down!

Thanks for the replies smile

DottyDot Mon 07-Jan-13 09:51:22

I know they're not the most beautiful tents in the world, but I love my Khyam rigidome tent here. I picked up a second hand one from ebay for £100 a few years ago and it's still going strong. The poles are all built in so it clicks together and then folds back down - like a big umbrella grin.

I've taken my ds's away on my own since they were 3 and 5. It's got two separate bedrooms, a big main bit and a porch. It literally takes about 5 - 10 minutes to put up and the same for putting away - love it!

Modular means you can add bits on. We have a Base Seconds Full as a living space, with dd in a Seconds 4 joined onto one side and me and small ds in another Base Seconds joined to the other side. If we're only going for one night we just take one of the Base Seconds and all squash in. When ds gets older he'll get his own separate bit as well.

paneer Mon 07-Jan-13 19:58:16

It's really easy to take down once - but practice a few times before you go anywhere and watch the youtube video loads. If you have a smart phone, make sure you have it with you just incase you need to watch it!

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