We have had our existing tent for about four years and it is serving us well so far. I have always been a fan of Vango tents thanks to my parents mainly as that is what they always seemed to have. My experience of them is that they are durable and adaptable and they have such a large range that you will easily find one to suit. Obviously there are many tent manufacturers out there now and the range can be mind boggling. I think like with many things you tend to find something you like and then go back to the same supplier / manufacturer / brand time and time again. We started out with a Vango 500 from the Icarus range and then four years ago we went for the 600, you can see it in more detail here. What drew us to this was the fact it had three rooms, we already had one kid and were pretty sure another would be joining the family so three rooms made sense for us. The thing we have to have when camping is space. I found with my parents especially that space was always lacking and that is one of the things that can lead to major frustrations on a trip away. Now we like to have enough space to spread out a bit and to keep our supplies and equipment close at hand. This is an Icarus 600:
One of the reasons I went for the Icarus is the matching canopy that was available, although we haven’t actually bought that yet and now am not sure if we will. The extra space that gives would be great but I am starting to consider changing the tent rather than adding to it.
I think we all have our own checklist as it were when we buy a tent but to sum up I would put them in this kind of order:
1. Where do you go camping and what kind of terrain / weather are you expecting?
If you go camping on a steep mountainside in the middle of winter then you will want a tent that is easily portable but also sturdy enough to stand up to fierce weather and secure enough to stay put. If you only go to well equipped campsites that you can drive into then the tent doesn’t need to be so portable as it will be travelling in the boot of the car rather than on your back. And if you are a fair weather camper then the tent can be a little less robust.
2. How many of you are there?
This is pretty obvious – if you go camping alone then the size of tent you require will be a lot smaller than if you camping with the family or three or four friends. Size will also be determined by the amount of time you go camping – longer trips require more supplies usually.
3. Ease of pitching
Find out how easy or time consuming the tent is to put up because depending on who you have with you to help this could turn out to be a nightmare! I do remember a few occasions with my parents when the holiday almost started in disaster because my Dad couldn’t get the tent up and my Mum wasn’t much help to him. I can laugh about it now but back then not!!
I always like to look at the additions that you can buy as well, such as the canopy mentioned before. I like to find a brand I like and then stick with it as much as possible.
I’d be interested to hear what tent you use for your family and if you can recommend the next step up from an Icarus 600. I quite like the 1000 pictured here