For the past 10+ years, I’ve been using a little 2-person tent I bought from Tesco for £12. It’s just big enough for me and my kit, provided I sleep diagonally in it – and I’m not very tall! I’ve slept in that tent during very strong winds, on Dartmoor, and I used it to go camping at Redlake in the middle of winter. Now most cycling, or camping items allow you to choose any two out of the following three options: strong, light or cheap. My little Tesco tent is strong, and cheap, but at 4.7kg is certainly not light!
The new tent
My new tent is an Adventuridge. That’s an own-brand name from Aldi. Yes, the cheap German supermarket! Oh, and you can buy it online. Buying camping gear online can be a hit or miss affair, as you don’t get to touch or examine the item with your own eyes. Still, at £30 I figured this little tent was worth a punt. What swayed me was this video:
The testing environment
I intentionally went camping right by the sea, for several reasons. For starters, I wanted to drift off to sleep with the sound of waves crashing onto land in my ears. Perhaps more importantly, I wanted to see how the tent would behave in a high-moisture environment and I intentionally picked a spot that’s exposed to the wind. My camping spot was within sight of the Rame peninsula in Cornwall, but to get there overland is a journey of perhaps 25 miles. I won’t tell you exactly where I camped, as I was wild camping. I tend not to share spots where I camp openly, as I may want to go camping there again. When wild camping, effectively you’re trespassing (though there appears to be very little reason to fear police action). Still, I’d rather avoid a confrontation if I can. Also, when a good wild camping spot becomes well known, it becomes over-run, especially by people who leave litter in their wake. I’m a very strong believer in the Leave No Trace principle.
Is this an expedition-grade tent?
No, it certainly isn’t! It’s a budget tent, but one with surprisingly good features for what it is. Plus, it weighs only 1.7kg!
Is it a 2-person tent?
Well, it’s sold as one, but unless you’re rather intimate with the other person, both of you are 1.8 metres or shorter and you like leaving all your gear outside the tent, I do not consider this to be a 2-person tent. Instead, it’s just right for one person and their kit.
The good bits…
The specs for the tent are quite good: As I said, 1.7kg, with aluminium poles. The polyester flysheet is rated as having a 3000cm hydrostatic head. Hydrostatic head is a rating of how much water pressure the material can withstand. For camping in British weather, 3000cm certainly is good enough, though I wouldn’t want to go camping in a monsoon downpour with it. The tent has two vents, to help you avoid overheating in the middle of summer. It’s really quick and easy to pitch, and to take down again. It’s very easy to fit back into the carry bag, and there’s space for more items inside the bag. The tent has quite a low profile. Together with the green colour I opted for, it makes it better suited to stealthy camping. More importantly, it coped admirably well with the winds my chosen camping spot was exposed to.
The bad bits…
This tent is designed to pitch inner-first. That means if you’re pitching your tent when it’s already raining, the inside will get wet. It’s seems possible to try and pitch it with the flysheet on, and I will certainly aim to do that, but that also will make pitching it more fiddly. The tent doesn’t have much of a porch, and it has a door only on one side. Finally, the tent needs to be pegged down. It may sound surprising that I list that as a negative, but I’m so used to my other tent not needing it, and being kept in place (on non-windy days) just by my kit’s weight. Finally, this tent has a lower profile. Yes, I listed that as a positive, and it is, but the downside is I cannot properly sit upright inside it.
Would I buy it again?
This is the real question, isn’t it. I was going to buy it when it was priced at £50 – it would have been a bargain at that price. At just £30, it’s very good value for money, and I’m happy that I bought it.
During this trip, I also used some camo netting that I bought. As you can see from the pics, the camo netting does help hide my camping spot a bit. It won’t stand up to rigorous examination, but helps to avoid being spotted by casual observers. The particular camo net I bought is very lightweight, and folds up small enough to fit inside my tent’s carry-bag.