A couple o' years ago we bought a cheap 2-pole dome tent fer the minnows t' use on holiday, it were bein' quite roomy an' it 'ad a porch wi' a prop-up flap that all 4 o' us could fit under. It were bein' OK fer the price, but it suffered from condensation an' took ages t' dry out. Have ye seen the size o' the cabin-boy's hornpipe? I 'ad a look at it the other day an' decided that it were bein' neither suitable nor serviceable fer our summer holiday.
So, today we went web-trawlin' fer yet another tent. The requirements were: 3-season, sleeps 2 wi' gear, one decent porch, sub-£100.
I remembered that Mike Bell, AKA The Doctor, 'ad recently blogged about his latest tent, the Argos Semi Geodesic 2 Person Tent, stock no. 340/0717, so I 'ad a good look at his report an' figured that this tent might fit the bill, especially as it 'ad been reduced from £69.99 t' £34.99.
After a quick debate wi' Chris this mornin', I went online an' reserved the last one at the local Argos, an' 30 minutes later it were bein' on the lawn ready t' be pitched.
Then the downer. One o' the pole-elastics were bein' frayed through. Nay matter, I got on the phone t' the shop an' they said that although I couldn't get a replacement from 'em, the next-nearest Argos 'ad one tent in stock, an' they would replace the faulty pole. I reserved that tent an' went t' do the exchange.
Well, the lad behind the counter must be havin' a bad day. I gave that scurvey dog the one faulty pole an' explained that it were bein' the only bit that needed replacin', but after strugglin' t' get the new pole-bag out o' the package, then failin' t' untie the pole-bag pull-cords, he just gave up an' insisted that I took the whole new set, at no extra charge, thus savin' that scurvey dog from the hassle o' doin' the job right, on a dead man's chest! Walk the plank! Looks like that's somebody else who's owed a beer on me account.
20 minutes later an' the replacements were back home. 10 minutes later an' the tent were bein' up.
So, what's it like?
Well, 'tis huge. The format's nae unlike that o' a Quasar, but it looks bigger. Aarrr! Yaaarrrrr! If it weren't fer the cheaper fabrics (polyester throughout, nae a hint o' rip-stop) an' the cheap fibreglass poles, this would make a good year-round tent, I reckon 'tis likely good enough fer year-round site-campin'. The Argos ad lists the followin' features:
- 1 room.
- 1 front an' rear door.
- 4 air vents.
- Nay see UM mesh.
- Attached ground sheet.
- Hydrostatic head 2000mm (That's the fly an' the groundsheet).
- Taped seams.
- Tension adjusters.
- Quick clips.
- Weight 5.8kg.
- Size o' tent overall (L)460, (W)160, (H)120cm (I've corrected this info).
- Size o' each room 220 x 150cm.
- Size o' livin' space 220 x 150cm.
- Height at highest point 120cm.
- Packed size (H)20, (W)20, (D)56cm.
There be a few thin's o' note that they've nae listed:
- Both porches be big enough t' cook in (if ye're feelin' brave - the fabric's nae fire-retardant), I reckon the Tilley Titan twin-burner wi' grill will fit in there no problem.
- The air-vents be adjustable, held open by the semi-rigid spar or closed wi' the velcro tabs, by Blackbeard's sword. A nice touch here be the gusset inside the vent, designed t' prevent wind-blown rain from workin' its way up the fly an' through the mesh onto the inner, avast. This be a feature that the door-vent on me Force Ten Spindrift would benefit from.
- All pole-sleeves be continuous.
- It's a "pitch inner first" tent.
- The groundsheet, which looks t' be durable, be bath-tub style an' 'tis properly reinforced an' taped at the stress-points.
- There's an all-round valance t' which peg-out loops be attached, but there be also tabs betwixt the fly an' the valance, so the fly could be pegged out wi' the valance tucked away if nae required.
- There be 4 long fixed storage pockets in the inner, an' a basic removable gear-loft too.
- They say 'tis a 2-person tent, but it would take 3 adults + gear at a push.
- There be many tie-in points t' fix the underside o' the fly t' the poles t' reduce flappin'.
- There's a spares-pack containin': 1 guyline wi' a runner, 1 spare peg, 2 spare pole-sections, 2 pole-repair sleeves.
As Mike pointed out, the pegs be heavy steelies an' the poles aren't up t' much, but minor details like that can be addressed (I've plenty o' spare ally pegs, an' some redundant ally poles which may fit after a bit o' jiggerypokery), to be sure. The guylines needed re-tyin' but that's t' be expected on cheap tents, 'tis only a 2-minute job t' fit 'em properly.
One more thing, somethin' that I've ne'er seen on any other tent - the porch poles pass through sleeves on the underside o' the fly. This makes 'em a bit fiddly t' insert, especially as the sleeves be quite narrow.
Anyway, 'tis up on the lawn awaitin' the rain that we're bound t' have because the hedges need cuttin'.
Here be a few etchins:
It's a biggie. I've included a 5'3" stroppy teenager t' give some notion o' scale.
It's broad across the beam.
Lookin' up one o' the vents.
The valance pegged out, an' a bucket o' chum. Note the extra tabs where the valances meets the fly, they're fer tyin' back the valances when ye dern't need t' deploy 'em.
Quick-clip fly attachment wi' tensioner.
Looks good, eh? An' hoist the mains'l! It's a nice colourscheme, no?