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Tent recommendations please!

(7 Posts)
TINKERBELLE33 Sun 12-Jun-11 15:43:11

After 10 years I've finally managed to get DH to try camping, but don't know where to start with buying tents & equipment. I would like a reasonably priced tent which has enough room for two adults and two children, plus a living space.

I would also like an idea of the equipment we would need too please. Ideally somewhere between camping and glamping, as I need my comforts but don't want to go OTT!

Thanks in advance for any advice - I'm sure I'll be back with more questions!

Lovecat Sun 12-Jun-11 19:24:31

I'm deeply, deeply biased in favour of bell tents (no! I hear you say), but they are not reasonably priced (my 5m souplad hybrid was £400+) unless you can be arsed to drive nearly to Germany and pick one up from Obelink and unless you buy an inner tent (sold separately) they are sleeping/living/everything all in one. They are bloody heavy to lug about.

However.... compared to tunnel tents and bendy pole shenanigans, they are an absolute DREAM to put up/take down, they are very stable in the wind, they look FABULOUS and will last a lifetime if looked after properly. They are also cooler inside in the hot weather <looks out the window and laughs bitterly> and have a wonderful, wonderful zen calmness about them. And you can stand up in them (big plus imho).

They do lend themselves more towards glamping, but then you need the means of transportation. Our estate car usually ends up stacked to the ceiling and the 2 seats next to DD in the back piled high too. And that's without all the silly pretty stuff I'd love to take along.

So, having put you off bell tents wink, I only started camping properly last year, and some stuff I bought I've found invaluable, others not so much. Basically my useful and necessary stuff includes:

Sleeping
Good quality sleeping bags
Some kind of mat to put between yourself, your mattress and the ground (Tesco do silver-backed foam mats quite cheaply)
I bought airbeds but having heard all the good things about SIMs on here I quite fancy getting them and dumping the airbeds. Airbeds tend to be colder, and to avoid this I put a fleecy undersheet on them and then a normal fitted sheet, then a throw on top of the sleeping bag. Which looks lovely and glampy when they're made up as beds/lounging areas during the day, but adds considerably to the packing burden...
Airbeds need a pump

Cooking
Coolbox of some kind and ice packs - there are loads of threads on what sort is the best to get for your needs.
Stove of some description - I initially bought a Trangia and it scares the shit out of me, however all the pots & kettle fit so neatly together and it's so light I tend to take it along as my set of pans and not use the burner. Otherwise I've got a double burner camping stove that uses butane bottles. People here swear by Cobbs/Cadacs and they look fab, but are £££
Something to put the cooker on - you can stick it on the ground but you'll get backache, plus a windshield attachment thingy is useful.
Lightweight pots/pans if not using a Trangia
Something to eat off - some people use those cheapo plastic picnicking sets, others 'proper' melamine, some just take paper plates and chuck them on the way home!

Other
Chairs/Something to sit on - again there are tons of threads here and on UK Campsite about which is best/comfiest/packs down smallest. We started off with those folding chairs they seem to sell in every service station in the land, and have just upgraded to Moon chairs. (Nothing wrong with the folding chairs, they were fine and comfortable, but I wanted a wee bit more comfort, being a wuss)

There is loads of other stuff you can get, I'm sure I've forgotten loads, but that's the basics... and while I've typed this essay out I'm sure loads of others will have replied more usefully!

TINKERBELLE33 Sun 12-Jun-11 19:51:09

Thank you!

I love the look of bell tents but have decided against one for this year due to their cost and the fact DH may decide he hates camping! We also probably wouldn't have room for one in the car, but perhaps next year as we should have a bigger car by then.

I am away to Google all the other stuff you have suggested, I am so excited!

DontCallMeBaby Sun 12-Jun-11 20:08:42

We went for a super-cheap tent last year (DH managed to persuade himself, after I'd given it up as a bad job) just to give camping a try. We took it out again a couple of weeks ago and decided to invest in something a bit better. Our 'bit better' is an Outwell Montana 6, so not a cheap option - but in your shoes I'd look at one of our other possibilities, the Hi Gear Mojave 5, which is a Go Outdoors exclusive. Hi Gear don't have the best reputation, but the reviews on the UK Campsite website are mostly good (both for the newer version and the older one, which doesn't have windows). It's not as big as the Montana, but would be big enough for two plus two (admittedly we are only two plus one, but we're obviously just greedy, or untidy or something). It's £190 at the moment, was £160 a week ago with GO's 20% off all tents, and was £130 as a special offer a few weeks back - official RRP is £350 but I doubt it's ever on sale for that.

Lighting is the only thing I'd add to Lovecat's list of basics, and it's not something I have cracked yet. I had a (stupid, poncey, Cath Kidston) hurricane lantern last year, which was nice (esp with citronella oil) but couldn't go in the tent of course, and leaked. We also have a wind-up lantern, which doesn't get very bright or hold its charge at all well. A rechargeable lantern which looks like something you'd find for H&S purposes on a building site ... now I've got a battery lantern and a 'UFO' LED light on order. We also have headtorches, which are useful while making you look like an idiot.

QueenFee Sun 12-Jun-11 20:15:37

We bought the wynnster Raven 8 for about £200 new and it was great!
A good site for me when researching tents was www.ukcampsite.co.uk

We also take with us
Airbeds for each of us
Double sleeping bags each for the adults and normal adult ones for the kids
We chose to go down the electric hook up line so we also have :
Electric hook up lead
Kettle
Toaster
Hob
foreman grill
electric coolbox
Plug in light

A set of collapsable shelving for a kitchen
A kitchen shelf set
1 set of pans and a couple of spoons
plastic plates and cheap metal cutlery
a folding table/stool thing, although we will replace that with something sturdier next year.
those little led torches for crossing fields
a lidded bucket
a collapsable bin.
A small bag of toys

I think that is everything??

TINKERBELLE33 Mon 13-Jun-11 23:25:47

Thanks for all your replies.

DontCallMeBaby It's funny you should recommend the Montana 6 as we have already put a bid in for one on e-bay! We can't stretch to a new one but there seem to be some good quality used ones available at the moment so fingers crossed!

Will look into all the other bits and pieces at the weekend when we go to Go Outdoors.

StanHouseMuir Tue 14-Jun-11 11:24:22

We've just bought a Vango Orchy 600 as a weekend tent. It sleeps 6 (supposedly) occupies little space in the car and takes 10 minutes to put up. Our other tent is a Montana 6 (+extension + carpet) which takes much more space(x3) in the car and takes 3 times longer to erect.

I wouldn't take the Montana for a weekend away, but would take the Orchy for a week away IYSWIM.

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