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3xDC+ me: what tent can I erect on my own?

(29 Posts)
Rugbyscrum Mon 10-Aug-15 23:19:33

Looking for a tent that is quick and easy to pitch on my own to take 3 DC and me off for camping trips but I am not particularly tall or strong!

I currently have a 4 person pop up which is great for overnight stops but too cramped for any longer and we have a Vango Icarus 600 (a tunnel style) for family trips but I cannot bend the poles into position or get the tent up on my own (DH has to put it up).
I have heard that bell tents (which I secretly covet) can by put up by one person but I wonder if the canvas would be too heavy to lug in and out of the car and to do the pole inside on my own?? Like the idea of dome rather than tunnel tents and also of vis a vis style to get 2 bedrooms and some height in the living area if possible. I have looked at Kyham quick erect tents but they seem very heavy and large. Any MNers with experience of pitching a tent alone (in rain while hungry small children bicker and fight in the car....)?

SonceyD0g Mon 10-Aug-15 23:26:52

I have an outwell twin falls which I have putting up for the last 10 years assisted by what was then a 5 year old. She's 15 now we get quicker every year! 15 mins to erect then another 15 putting the pegs in. Prob took double that initially. It has 2 double bedrooms one on each end and can stand easily in middle section. We only camp in fair weather tho

Madamacadamia Tue 11-Aug-15 00:01:08

I have an Outwell Montana 6 which I can put up by myself, and I'm not tall or strong. I haven't timed myself, but guess it takes me about half an hour, and I've never done it in rain. You can see videos of people putting these tents up on YouTube - usually two people are shown doing it. It's a nice big tent (supposed to sleep 6) - I'm a space hog. I have a child's room that goes inside this tent, that I've never used - you can have this for free if you're close enough to collect it.

Popup tents are really easy to put up, but a bugger to put down again - lots get left behind when people leave. On the other hand, they're fairly cheap to buy (though they are single skin, so not too warm or totally waterproof).

Tepees are really easy to put up, with one central pole - and lots of anchor points around the edges. Perhaps kids would enjoy helping you with this - it's simple to pin the points down with tent pegs and a mallet. You'd need a mallet for each kid, but they are very cheap to buy - not more than £2 at most when I bought mine. The only snag with tepees is that head space declines sharply away from the centre (wouldn't bother kids so much as it might you). I bought the Montana 6 because I wanted plenty of headspace. But I also like my tepee (bought from Argos, v. cheap) because it's so easy to put up, and looks great.

FrozenAteMyDaughter Tue 11-Aug-15 08:01:00

Have you thought about an inflatable tent? I don't have one but I assume they would be easy to do on your own?

Otherwise, we used to have a 4m bell and I found it easy enough to put up on my own. Quicker with two of course but you get it down to a fine art pretty quick. We progressed to a 5m and I could still do it but the extra weight definitely made it more of a chore on my own. And carrying it to and from the car was noticeably harder.

If you can find a Quechua Seconds Family 4.2xl on ebay (they have been discontinued by Decathlon sadly in favour of inflatables) they are very easy to put up alone and can be taken down too although you definitely need to watch the online video a few times to get it right!

Wolfiefan Tue 11-Aug-15 08:02:59

I'd vote for inflatable. Saw a couple at a show and they really are easy.

Thumbcat Tue 11-Aug-15 08:53:00

Inflatables are really heavy. I don't think I'd be able to get one out of the boot without putting my back out. How old are your children? Could they be trained up to help with the poles of your current tent?

pootlebug Tue 11-Aug-15 08:55:27

We have a 5m bell tent. I can get it in and out of the car and put it up on my own. It is heavy though. If wet, I'd have to unzip the groundsheet from the top to move it I think.

It's really big though - think we could have got away with 4m which would be a fair bit lighter.

Duggee Tue 11-Aug-15 09:01:07

What about an air tent? They take minutes to put up but are pricey.

Rugbyscrum Tue 11-Aug-15 09:58:21

Didn't realise inflatables were so heavy- have wondered about them but cost has put me off so far (that and fear of damage that a cocktail stick or something similar may inflict - lost several air beds that way via DC1).

Madamacademia - is the Argos teepee a nylon or canvas one? If nylon is it durable enough to last for a few nights in the rain? (Ie not just 'festival' quality).

Frozen- what make is your 4m bell tent and what is rough price? My other question with canvas though - do you have to spend days drying it out after each camping trip or can you pack it straight away on site (assuming dry weather on day of packing up)? Thanks.

whathaveiforgottentoday Tue 11-Aug-15 10:03:16

I have an inflatable and can put it up on my own. It is heavy but has wheels on the bag so only issue is getting in and out of car. It was expensive though but we are planning on camping for years

Moneymoneymoneyitssofunny Tue 11-Aug-15 10:12:13

Thumbcat - all 3 under 11 so can offer some help but not with the bending of poles and fixing them into the pins on our vango tunnel tent (which I find so tricky). I also have a dodgy back, made worse every summer by camping and lugging bags in and out of car! So don't want anything too heavy/cumbersome to lug around.

FrozenAteMyDaughter Tue 11-Aug-15 13:01:27

Rugbyscrum - our 4m bell tent was from Obelink in Holland, as is our current 5m. Both were bought before Obelink managed to fully implement their not posting to the UK policy and, as a result, were significantly cheaper than the UK equivalents (they are the same tents sold by Bell Tent UK but (when I bought anyway) at much lower prices).

The policy is illegal by the way under EU law, but whether or not you can get them to send a bell tent by reminding them of that point is another matter.

Otherwise, if you buy a 4m bell from Soulpad, say, you are looking at between £380 and £480 depending on the model you go for (peg in, zip in or sewn in groundsheet).

As for drying them out, it can be a bit of a faff, yes. You do have to dry the canvas before you pack it or mould and mildew will result. If you pack up wet, you need to either get it pitched in the garden within a day or two of getting home or hang it out in your garage or over your banisters maybe? It is the only major irritant of a canvas tent, but, to be honest, if we pack our polyester ones wet, we tend to re-pitch them we get home too as mould can develop on polyester as well, although I think it takes a bit longer.

YoungJoseph Tue 11-Aug-15 13:40:57

My advice would be to get a shelter as well as your popup tent (although not all sites accept them so check beforehand).
We bought a Quechua and used it for the first time this summer. It comes with zip in sides which gives privacy, shade and shelter from the rain. It was great, easy to put up although DH had to do the roof bit because I'm too short but if you are of average height or more then it's pretty easy.

SaulGood Tue 11-Aug-15 13:45:11

We've recently been given an Outwell Montana 6 and I put it up and took it down by myself a couple of weeks ago. It's really roomy and a doddle to erect and dismantle. Even quicker with a bit of help from the dc.

YoungJoseph Tue 11-Aug-15 13:45:40

ps I wouldn't hesitate to ask a fellow camper to do the last bit of the shelter if I was on my own, most people are happy to help.

FrozenAteMyDaughter Tue 11-Aug-15 15:23:10

Gosh, just checked. An Obelink basic 4m bell tent is 275 euro, so £195 odd. The Bell Tent UK equivalent is £369 I think. That is outrageous. Neither are in stock admittedly.

anotherdayanothersquabble Tue 11-Aug-15 21:31:47

We have this one Kanaka. I have three children who are 10, 8 and 6 and they do help, hold the poles etc but we can pitch it together and I could do it on my own.

I would say.. This is not a sturdy tent. We have used it five times and two poles have split. We got spares so we can replace them.

I choose it because it was light and big enough for all of us. It has survived a few heavy rainstorms but I wouldn't feel safe in high winds. When the poles split, it happened when we were putting the tent up but it held up fine even in rain storms.

FrozenAteMyDaughter Wed 12-Aug-15 11:24:56

This looks like a bit of a bargain if you have a Decathlon near you (they are out of stock online). It is heavy - 20kg - but that is about the same weight as a bell tent.

HarrietSchulenberg Wed 12-Aug-15 11:44:27

Decathlon have some lovely, roomy air pop ups.
I bribed my then 10 yr old into helping me with our huge Vango 8 man tunnel tent. All he had to do was hold one end of the pole in the ring and pin while I bent the pole into the other end, x 5.
He also helped me pull it out of a tree when it blew away at the start grin .
He got his first (v cheap) mobile phone as a reward as his his brothers just sat in the car and refused to help.

orangefusion Wed 12-Aug-15 12:34:12

I have a tentipi and it is a sinch to put up on your own. I can lift it in and out of the car easily and its made of canvas. the only downside is if it rains the rain comes in when the zip is open because of the lack of porch. It is the most stable and waterproof tent in high winds and lovely to hang out in.

PurpleHairAndPearls Wed 12-Aug-15 12:55:36

I have disabilities which mean I couldn't erect a normal frame tent unaided.

I have a Coleman instant which the DC can easily do with guidance from me, depends how old your DC are I suppose!

It was about £100 so cheap, I think we would struggle for five usually but we are all small so it's fine smile

The only disadvantage is the lack of separate living area/bedroom pods like our "big" tent has, but for ease of putting up, it's wonderful! It has been out in a storm and been fine, no leaks or tears.

PurpleHairAndPearls Wed 12-Aug-15 12:57:03

MissWimpyDimple Wed 12-Aug-15 21:43:51

What about one of these polyester lightweight bell tents? All the fun of the bell but without the weight and the drying? this

Rugbyscrum Wed 12-Aug-15 22:09:57

Miss wimpy dimple - never seen polyester bell tents before but sounds a great idea, easy to put up and lightweight. Presumably you would need an inner tent as the fabric is not breathable like canvas?

MissWimpyDimple Thu 13-Aug-15 09:36:32

I've never actually seen one so I'm not sure but I wondered that myself. . There are a few others on Amazon too even cheaper. Maybe you could give boutique camping a call?

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