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Can you recommend a good family tent?

(20 Posts)
nenevomito Wed 08-May-13 00:08:51

After a 4 year break, we've decided to go camping again this summer, but not in the leaky awkward piece of crap that we went in last time - which put us off for the four years grin.

Need to be able to stand up in it.
Preferably have an awning or somewhere we can cook under when if it rains.
Enough space for 2 adults and 2 reasonably compact children.
Ideally enough space inside for a table and 4 chairs.

I know I could go for a gazebo for some of these needs, but I'd like to see if I can get a super-does-it-all tent first, before I look at having a tent and gazebo.

sallydolittle Wed 08-May-13 10:18:37

Do you have a go outdoors near you. We went and had a look and got a good idea for what we wanted then looked around for price. Ended up buying off the internet but at least we knew what worked for us. Everyone's idea of the perfect tent is very different

gerbilsarefun Wed 08-May-13 10:36:45

We've got a Vango Icarus 600. It's not massive, so quite easy to put up, but the sleeping area fits 4 of us comfortably and the living area is big enough to stand up in (got fed up of crouching down in our last tent) and big enough for clothes bags, 2 cool bags (one electric one and one normal one for non-perishables) and all the other stuff you need. We don't put a table or chairs in though but I would think it would be just about big enough. Like Sallydolittle said, we saw it at Go Outdoors then bought it online.

Slubberdegullion Wed 08-May-13 10:44:31

Budget and space for packing in car please smile

Slubberdegullion Wed 08-May-13 10:56:40

Do you want the bedrooms altogether at the end of the tent, or at either end with the living area/porch in the middle?

Preference of fabric?

Preference of pole material?

And , umm, would you like the option of a nice matchy-matchy carpet/sleeping bag/plastic wine glass?

nenevomito Wed 08-May-13 11:07:21

Just checked and my nearest Go Outdoors is about an hours drive away - is it worthwhile taking the trip?

Space in car - we have a saloon so not tiny, but not as much as in a people carrier.

Slubber, I have no idea about material or poles or the like. Matching sleeping bags / wine glasses not a necessity.

Budget - up to £200 but poss a bit more if there's something amazing.

Quenelle Wed 08-May-13 11:40:43

What about a Decathlon. Do you have one of them near you?

Or are you within driving distance of Hertfordshire? There's a big tent exhibition on near Hitchin this month where you can see about a hundred of 'em in the flesh.

We've just bought the Vango Icarus 500 from Cross Camping. We haven't stayed in it yet but pitched it in the garden on Sunday and it looks ideal for us. I agree that a 600 would probably be better for you. There are only 3 of us and we found a 6 berth too big. There is an optional canopy which we didn't get because the sides can't be removed. We use a tarp and windbreak for shade/shelter.

There are also hundreds of tent reviews on ukcampsite if you see something you like and want some more opinions.

Slubberdegullion Wed 08-May-13 12:52:45

As Quenelle says if you can go to a nearby tent exhibition or to any of the the big tent sellers (go outdoors, yeomans, decathlon) then you can have a good mooch around and see what style makes you like.

The vango Icarus is a great tent imo, good brand and not too £££.

ubik Wed 08-May-13 12:56:01

We got a Kampa 5-man tent on Amazon. It has all you require and has withstood some pretty harsh conditions. Plenty of room and very snug. We are very pleased with it.

lilmrschatty Wed 08-May-13 13:00:57

We've got a Kalahari 8 from Go outdoors. It was on offer when we got it, so we got the porch as well, but I don't know how much it is now. It's fab, more than enough space for a family of 4, with a huge living area. The porch gives space to keep cooking equipment and muddy shoes. It is quite big, but it meant that when we went camping last summer in the rain we had enough space to keep the kids occupied inside the tent.

MissFenella Wed 08-May-13 15:12:55

I would make the drive to go outdoors and then you are sure you are paying for something that meets your needs.

If you are in Hants/Surrey/Sussex, the two branches of Camping World have a huge choice on display.

Camping world

fruitpastille Wed 08-May-13 18:38:17

We have the vango tigris and friends have the icarus. Ours is better for living space and would fit table and chairs. Theirs has better sleeping space. We both have a canopy but personally i wouldn't cook in it due to fire or carbon monoxide risk.

pussycatwillum Tue 14-May-13 14:10:36

We used to have a gelert Horizon 8 which was brilliant until the poles snapped in gale force winds. Four bedrooms, big living area and we had a porch (sigh. happy memories) Now we have a Vango Artemis 500 (or is it an Icarus? It's the one with steel poles, but otherwise the same). It is OK but wouldn't do more than 3 nights in it because there isn't as much space. Go for a 600 if you can.
Winfields in Hull is another brilliant place to look for tents. They have loads in a permanant exhibition as well as lots of outdoor clothes and camping accessories. We bought our last two tents there.

laterplease Wed 15-May-13 11:35:32

Try Taunton Leisure ( either on line or at one of their outlets. Excellent advice, quick answers to questions and fantastic prices including free delivery. We purchased both our Vangos ( 2 man and 3 man) from them, lowest price available online, nothing was too much trouble and they arrived next day.

FCPlantagenet Thu 16-May-13 08:56:13 has a tent review section which very well worth looking at. Wish we had looked at it before we bought the latest one.

We having been camping for 14 years, since youngest of five was 2 months old, and have always gone for a tent with a porch. Useful for storage but mainly to keep the rest of the tent dry.
For comfort you need to be able to stand up in it, especially if dh is over 6 feet.
Don't forget that the more people you have the more storage space you need and I don't mean just for belongings.
I reckon our best tent was a Vango 900, one of those big dome tents with bedroom pods and a porch.

The biggest must is actually going to see it before you buy. By all mean browse on line but you don't get the real feel until you walk inside it and imagine yourself there.

Yes, there is Go Outdoors, but if you live in Wiltshire would def recommend BCH Camping (main branch in Trowbridge). They have lots of tent of different sizes plus people you can talk to.

Finally, we started off using the stuff we use at home - plates etc, thinking we were saving money but the time we forgot the knife block was horrendous. A little girl came over and handed us her mother's bread knife as said mother found watching us trying to cut a loaf of bread with an ordinary dining knife too painful to watch. Have stuff for camping only. Saves time and effort and adds to the 'holidayness' of it.

And yes, it rains, but you are somewhere else, usually somewhere prettier and just make sure you have books, playing card, board games etc.

SomeBear Thu 16-May-13 09:22:48

It depends on how long you are planning on going away for, but something like the Vango Icarus with a porch would be ideal for a few days away with the family. The Outwell Montana is a very popular tent and gets good reviews, but it has steel poles so the pack size and weight might put you off. Go Outdoors will match any price you find online but there's a lot to be said for the local tent shops who often have very knowledgeable staff and displays. I know it's an extravagance, but the matching carpet makes a difference to the living area. You might find some second hand bargains at this time of year - I was very close to selling our kit last year after a particularly wet & windy holiday.

Gazebos aren't always welcomed on sites as they have a reputation for blowing away so it's worth asking before you travel if you are planning on using one. Another vote from me for, not just for campsite and tent reviews but very friendly forums (fora?) with plenty of posters who have made mis-purchases so you don't have to!

Lastly, bear in mind that whatever space you think you have in the car it's probably not enough - see if you can borrow a roofbox!

pussycatwillum Fri 17-May-13 10:32:09

Somebear we manage to get camping kit for four adults in a ford galaxy,but we have resisted buying quite a lot of stuff such as fridge cupboards etc

HuevosRancheros Fri 17-May-13 16:05:33

Would really second/third the comments about looking at the tents before you buy.
I was all set to get an Outwell Montana 6 - gets great reviews, seemed to be what we wanted, almost didn't bother going to see it, thought we'd get it online.
Went to a tent show in Derby last week (Yeomans), and changed my mind completely, went for an Outwell Cleveland 5P instead. Preferred the layout (practical porch area, meaning we can keep inner area cleaner, in theory!), pole construction (fibreglass "snap" poles instead of steel) etc

MonkeyChicken Fri 17-May-13 22:59:39

We have a Wynsyer Montpellier 8. I spent a lovely afternoon with a friend going round a Go Outdoors with a good friend who is a seasoned family camper. She had so many caveats "You don't want one like that, in theory it's great but..." so in the end I just bought the same tent as her. I'd never even seen it, she just gave me the name and I googled it and bought it. I was going camping with her so I figured she could easily help me put it up. We've now had it over 2 years and it's great because:
My 6ft DH can stand up in it.
It has 4 bedrooms and a living area so heaps of space. (a bed room for me and DH, one for each of the kids, one for stuff and the living area is then free to move around in.)
We bought the sun awning which acts as a kitchen area for us and helps prevent getting the tent so wet inside when going in/out if it's lashing it down.
It goes up really easily, despite it's size.
Generally available on a deal under £200

Love it! Even if the seams are beginning to leak a bit! (We have abused it a little, my friend's doesn't leak at all.)

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