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How on earth do choose a tent?!

(18 Posts)
Sadieatthebridge Tue 30-Aug-16 21:26:39

We went camping for the first time in 7 years last week, in our 11 year old tent. Things have obviously moved on somewhat in tent design in 11 years grin

We are in the market for a new tent, but I'm feeling completely bamboozled by the vast range of family tents available. How do I choose one? How do I know it is the right one? Or do I just dive in and hope for the best? Is now the best time to buy?

We currently have a Lichfield Arapaho 6 deluxe - 2 vis-à-vis bedrooms, separate flysheet and groundsheet.

While camping I was jealous of: fitted groundsheets, carpets grin, windows, mesh screens and porches. Oooh, and organiser pockets! Would spend up to £300. Any advice?


ImogenTubbs Tue 30-Aug-16 21:29:31

Decathlon have a good choice - v easy to assemble, well designed and reasonable. We have the basic Quechua family tent - can stand up in it, sealed bedroom section sleeps 3/4, cost around £100 a year ago. Three poles in total, takes less than 10 mins to put up. They do bigger ones with two bedroom compartments too which should be well within your budget.

Letmesleepalready Tue 30-Aug-16 21:32:56

DH bought a new tent on sale last week so could be a good time to buy. And definitely get something that has at least one more person than you intend to fit, if not 2. So if you are a family of four, you're looking at a 5/6 place tent.
A sitting area inside is very handy too, especially if it's tipping down!

Sadieatthebridge Tue 30-Aug-16 21:41:53

Oh, yes sorry, there is 4 of us.

annandale Tue 30-Aug-16 21:45:15

I think now's a great time to buy.

We bought an Outwell Montana 6p (I think) which was fab, but outside your budget at the time. Look for old models though, you never know. The big selling point for us was the pockets grin and the fact that dh who is 6'4" could stand up straight in it. It is great in the wind too.

I have to say that since we bought it, we've had a few good trips with it but find it much, much too overwhelming for short trips and have reverted to two 2-man tents for those.

Sadieatthebridge Tue 30-Aug-16 21:45:32

So, we were thinking perhaps a 6 berth. Would love a porch area to be able to shelter from the inevitable rain...

luckiestgirl Tue 30-Aug-16 21:47:18

If I were you I would visit a camping shop that has pitched display tents. Spend an hour or two walking around there and you will definitely have a better idea of what you want.

Sadieatthebridge Tue 30-Aug-16 21:47:29

Aaah, that is interesting annandale I wouldn't say I am a natural camper grin so we would do mainly short breaks (up to 4 nights). Is it the putting up / taking down that is overwhelming?

ChicRock Tue 30-Aug-16 21:52:15

We've got the 5 berth version of this. We decided to go for a steel pole tent this time after snapping (and having to duct tape) far too many fibreglass poles.

annandale Tue 30-Aug-16 21:53:54

Yes. It's not really difficult provided you watch the pitching videos about 6 times before each trip but it is a bit overwhelming for the same reasons that make it a good tent - the poles are heavy, everything is high up. It's notoriously difficult to get back into its bag, and the bag itself is very heavy, so we just stopped bothering and got some straps to tie it up with. It's exhausting though tbh.

Difficult - I think you're always buying a tent that doesn't have the problems of the last tent you had. Of course now i am lusting after a blowup tent grin but those really are expensive. A lot of families I know have gone for the Quechua pop up 4 person tent this one which would be really great for short trips especially if you thought the wind would not be high, i.e. away from the immediate coastline. Not sure what it's really like, I have only observed from the outside.

Sadieatthebridge Tue 30-Aug-16 22:04:54

Does anyone know of anywhere with tents on display in North East England?

Sadieatthebridge Wed 31-Aug-16 10:12:18

I quite like the look of the Vango tents. Are they a good make? Also, the Outlook look good. Might have to up the budget!

ApocalypseSlough Wed 31-Aug-16 10:18:34

Decathlon Gateshead
They als have a very efficient returns policy. We upgraded from the four berth we'd used for years and the replacement had a tiny rip. I stomped in trailing guy ropes with it in an Ikea bag and they replaced it happily.
Defo get one with room to stand up in and having resisted 'stuff' for years I have to admit campings much nicer with surfaces- we now have tables, chairs, camping kitchen etc.

MarklahMarklah Wed 31-Aug-16 10:29:10

We got our tent from Go Outdoors a few years ago. We've got a 5 berth tent, with fitted groundsheet and carpet. I think it cost about £190 and we've used it every year for long weekends. It is very rainproof, and takes about 20 mins to put up/pack away. The model we have isn't made any more but there are similar.
We chose on the basis of - standing room, waterproof-ness, cost, and the fact that we could see all the tents pitched.

Pengweng Wed 31-Aug-16 10:44:01

We have this

There are 4 of us and it's plenty big enough. At the minute it's on offer for £250 which is for the tent, footprint and carpet (which i mocked and now loved!)

It's heavy because it the side poles are made from steel but it takes DH and I 10 mins to get it up and then he pegs out the guys while i do the inside. We are normally set up and everything in and organised in under an hour.

We also have a 5x3 tarp for cooking/just sitting out in the rain.

0hCrepe Wed 31-Aug-16 10:57:19

Vango are good. I went camping round Europe in one and it withstood torrential rain (floods of 2002). We then got a family vango Diablo 600 which has been great and then a smaller weekend tent also vango. A porch is fantastic for keeping the inside clean and clear, that would be the main thing for me. Also it is nice to be able to stand up fully. The groundsheet it sewn in and you can buy carpet to go on top but you end up carting masses of stuff around.
Saying that my longer camping trips are over now after so mainly rainy experiences and night toilet trips! Will be getting rid of the vango Diablo sadly.

Ineedmorepatience Wed 31-Aug-16 10:59:57

Dont think Decathlon make those pop ups anymore sadly! I have 2 and they are fab. They have moved over to Inflatable tents but they do still do the range of pole tents too.

Happy shopping smile

JoshLymanIsHotterThanSam Sat 03-Sep-16 12:41:52

This is our tent, we've just bought the canopy for it too and it's lovely

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