Tent options for the Europe leg of the adventure

Which is the best tent in the world? As of now, I’m looking at three options in choosing the right tent for my Europe leg of my walk around the world on The World Photo Tour. Below I offer some details on each of them, each presented with their pros and cons. The order is random. Feel free to share your experience or advice.

General considerations

I am not looking at buying a 3 season tent reasoning that I’ll only be travelling in spring-summer time across Europe.

A one man tent would be OK-ish. Yes, I know, where one will fit, two will do as well – I’m thinking of always having my backpack inside the tent at night, don’t think too far! :) – but there are some one man tents that will just not do.

Out of all the items I shall carry with me, when thinking about the tent, weight comes second, protection from all the strongest types of weather comes first.

The ideal tent does not exist. Of course, I’d like to have a tent that will keep me warm at -50 °C and cool at +40 °C, a tent that would weight no more than 1 kilogram and a tent that could be erected in no more than one minute even in the strongest wind, all at the same time. But such a tent does not exist.

After much consideration, the options I am looking at are as follows.

1. KingCamp KT3001 Expedition 2-Person Tent

This guy is sure to be a winner in all sorts of situations. Listen to this: erected dimensions of 70+220 x 140 x 100 cm – plenty of space! Packaged size of  43 x 19 cm, PU waterproof coating of 5.000 mm, taped seams on flysheet and floor as well, floor PU waterproof coating of 10.000 mm, 5 8,5 mm poles, 21 aluminium pegs, 8 wind proof ropes, adjustable snow flap, large vestibule for equipment. It is ideal for what I want. The only two downsides – the times it would take to have it erected – this is serious business when you’re trying to camp in the middle of a blizzard, and the weight: 4,9 kilograms. Price: 225 €. Producer: Irish company – Ishka Sports.

2. Marmot Grid 2-Person Tent

This one has a fast storm-pitch system, being easy to set up, it is spacious as it is stable – the semi geodesic external pole configuration is a bless. Hydrostatic head of 5.000 mm. Rip stop nylon flysheet. 56 x 19 cm packed, 230 x 120 x 105 cm erected. Weights 2.7 kilos. Very stable and specifically designed for the fickle weather in Northern Europe. It pitches outer first or as a single unit so erecting and keeping dry in a downpour should not represent problem. Price: 199 £. Producer: Marmot. Two  downsides – the dodgy rear vent and the front guyline. Big plus: the fly can be pitched first then the inner tent attached. Helps keeping the water out when pitching in heavy rain.

3. Vango Force 10 Helium 200 2-Person Tent

Light. Very light. That is, ahem, 1,3 kilograms! And still strong, they say. As well, this hybrid tunnel design tent comes with the possibility of first pitching the fly sheet and then attaching the inner from inside, as I said, ideal for what may come.Very low condensation is a plus. A small porch is a minus. Otherwise, everything seems to compete the Hilleberg Akto pretty well, at almost half the price. 40 x 12 cm packed, 270 x 120 x 90 cm erected. The main downside: there is little headroom, at 90 cm it’s the least spacious in height out of all three tents mentioned here. Price: 188 £. Producer: Vango.

It’s between these three that I have to chose for now. And it is a tough choice, not price-wise, as these tents cost all about the same amount of money, but thinking that  this will be my home for such a long time, the choice is hard enough. Sometimes I am day-dreaming and puppy-dog-eyes drooling at a MSR Asgard Expedition Tent or even a Terra Nova Heavy Duty Quasar Tent, but for the moment I need to decide on one of these three options, and now it’s price-wise. Until a brick of money will come crashing through my window in the middle of the night, one of these three will do. But still, which one? In the following days I’ll probably be annoying the hell out of some outdoor shop assistants.

There are 7 comments

  1. Tiago Matias

    Hey, I’ve just been throw the same tipe of question as you having now. I’m of to Tour South America for 1 year with my partner and we got a 2 person Tent. I would go for number 2 as my main concern is that no matter space or max confort, the day i will really apreciate a Tent is the day i can pitch it in a storm with a reasonable timing and manage to sleep in a dry place. Please be carefull some 2 man tents are prepared to be pitched by 2 persons and can be hard to manage alone specially in hard conditions. Hope it help’s you. Safe Travels

  2. Alin Popa

    Hi there.

    I totally agree with Tiago and I would like to add something new if you’d like to consider.

    1. Unless is plastic, it will not last for 5 years. Probably you will not be able to wash it properly or even dry it so the fabric will not be waterproof forever.
    2. Try and test it in the shop. I mean pitching it not pouring water ;P
    3. Would be good if you could pitch only the fly sheet, cause sometimes you won’t need everything.
    4. With time the weight will be a problem, specially if you are alone. Maybe you would like to consider this before the space requirements.
    5. From my point of view, the first tent is out of the question. Too big, heavy, visible, difficult to pitch. Second one is also too visible, who knows where you will be forced to pitch your tent. The second tent has another issue, with the entrance. Bad position for when it’s raining. and if you open the “door” to see what is going on, your shoes will get wet. Also the chance to sleep with your head against a wet surface is quite high, then there is the wind, which is blowing straight into your head. I would go for the 3rd one.

    6. Also packing is important. How fast/easy can you do it? Try it before if you can.

    I hope it helps.
    Have a nice trip and sunny days ahead.

  3. Vali

    Alin is right, the waterproof material will wear off on intensive use. You will have to change it in 5 years time. The decision making would be, in my opinion, around the weight and pitch time. Don’t forget you are adding an extra weight on your body for an extensive period of time. Every gram counts in long term. A low pitch time will be very useful in Northern Europe. I would choose between the second and the third. Also consider a really, really good sleeping bag, lightweight and with a decent comfort zone. Clothes made of synthetic material, that dry rapidly will be very useful in rainy conditions. The underwear also synthetic, no cotton whatsoever, liner socks(also synthetic, the cotton ones dry slow, are cold when whet and causes blisters) and weight socks to be worn over the liner ones. That would be all for now, but we will keep in touch as much as possible. I hope that this was a little bit helpful.

    • Mihai

      Oh, but I never said I will buy the tent hoping to last me for a certain number of years. I guess the one I’ll get now is just the first in a series of shelter providing ‘comrades’. Thanks for the other tips, will take everything into consideration.

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