30 May 2013
Camping with children can be challenging, especially when there is only one adult to put the tent up (in my case due to my wife's work patterns and summer holiday cover). I quickly decided that I would not be able to put up our family tent (Easy camp Go Taranto 600) on my own. Last year I bought a 4-person pop-up tent (see camping review at Gullivers Land). The pop-up tent is certainly easy to pitch and pack away, but there is not much space especially when children need a toilet in the middle of the night (eg bog-in-a-bag).
I have therefore bought a new tent for this year, the Vango Woburn 400. This is a compromise between easy to erect and with additional space to make the camping holiday more comfortable. This review is based on my initial test pitch in my garden. We have not yet used the tent for an actual camping holiday.
The first thing to consider is that unlike my earlier family tent this is not a budget tent. It was still a reasonable price (less than I paid for the budget tent, although considerably smaller), but the quality is far better than the Easy camp tent. This is evident in the sewn in groundsheet and general quality of fastenings, and connectors, and in the additional features. The tent is available for less than the RRP of £215. The sewn in groundsheet is one of the features I was looking for as during wet camping trips (this is the UK) then water can easily get in between the groundsheet and tent if not sewn in.
One feature that looks particularly good is two additional bands that connect across the centre of the tent to provide additional strength against side winds.
The tent is fairly easy to pitch. There is a one page set of instructions sewn into the bag. This is good in that it is not going to get lost or damaged, but was not particularly detailed. The manufacturer provides a thick colour printed sales booklet to potential customers, it's a shame they couldn't provide a smaller booklet providing better instructions on pitching the tent, or even additional instructions with photos on the website could be useful.
All three poles are the same length which makes it a little easier and the bottom part of the tent clips on so it's not so much to thread through.
I put the tent up alone, but it was in ideal conditions - ie. sunny and with no wind. I should be able to put this up on my own as long as the wind isn't too strong, but I expect it will be a challenge on a windy day.
There are tents that are easier to install but for one of a similar size then they are a lot more expensive (eg. Vango Airbeam or Khyam tents).
There is a privacy wall to divide the bedroom into 2 x two person bedrooms, which is optional. It does not give much privacy as it doesn't join completely at the edge of the inner tent. It's not something I need whilst my children are fairly young anyway (so good that it can be completely removed), but may be a consideration if wanting additional privacy.
One thing that is difficult is that the clips at the bottom of the inner tent are hard to fasten, and even more difficult to unfasten.
The biggest issue, which is common amongst other tents, is how small the tent bag is. Whilst packing up small is an advantage it is difficult to get the tent into the bag. I had to have a few attempts at folding the tent smaller to be able to get the tent packed away.
I am also considering getting the canopy which will make the tent even larger and would then be a similar size to my previous cage for our full family holidays.
In all this appears to be a very good tent. Build quality is great and it is a reasonable size. There are a few little things, but in general far better than tents I've had in the past. I'm looking forward to getting to use the tent for real later this year.