The Decathlon Forlcaz MT900 Tunnel Tent is a comfortable, easy-to-pitch and beautiful-looking shelter that performs well in changing weather conditions and offers exceptional value for money.
Easy to pitch
Performs excellently in poor weather
Great value for money
Not much room inside
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Meet the tester
Craig loves nothing more than pitching up in the backcountry, preferably while taking on a long-distance thru-hike. His adventures usually take place in the hills and mountains of Wales but he occasionally gets away to his beloved Alps. As one of our expert campers, Craig revels in testing camping equipment and knows a sturdy shelter from one that will give up the ghost when conditions become challenging.
Decathlon Forclaz MT900 Tunnel Tent: first impressions
The Forclaz MT900 Tunnel Tent is a two-person backpacking shelter designed and sold by French sporting goods powerhouse Decathlon. A part of their higher-end Forclaz brand, the tent has become a popular and much-beloved option for three-season camping over the last couple of years – and it has picked up a bunch of awards in the process. So how does it fare against the best two-person tents on the market?
• List price: £209.99
• Style: Tunnel tent
• Weight: 1.75kg / 62oz
• Waterproofing: 2,000mm flysheet, 3,000mm groundsheet
• Rooms: One bedroom, one vestibule
• Compatibility: One person and gear
If you’re not familiar with Forclaz, the brand is part of Decathlon’s in-house stable of own brands – alongside Quechua and Simond – in the hiking and camping space. And despite the relatively “budget” reputation Decathlon has developed over the years, I’ve been nothing but impressed with everything I’ve tested of theirs, such as the MT900 Minimal Editions Trekking Pole tent or the more budget-friendly sister to the MT900 tunnel tent, the MT500 Dome Tent that I tested last winter. Therefore, with this line being the most expensive shelter from Decathlon I’d ever had the privilege of testing, I was full of expectations going into this one.
Coming in at 1.75kg / 3.6lb, the MT900 Tunnel Tent is reasonably lightweight for what it delivers, and packs down decidedly small, too. It comes in at around the same size as a two-liter soda bottle, so you can easily stuff it into the bottom of a small hiking or overnight backpack, or attach it to your bike’s frame if bikepacking.
Decathlon Forclaz MT900 Tunnel Tent: in the wild
The Forclaz MT900 Tunnel Tent is an intentionally simple-to-pitch tent. Designed to be easily thrown up in heavy wind or rain, the inner and the outer come pre-clipped together so it’s simply a matter of pegging out the tent’s four corners. Once these are fastened to the ground, you can slide in the central pole and tie out the guylines to get everything drum tight – and you’re done.
As is the case with the MT900’s cheaper dome-cousin, the Forclaz MT500 dome tent, however, the center pole on the MT900 takes a bit of wrestling to get into the latches on either side. At numerous times I was worried I was going to snap or bend it too much, but it eventually went in without any collateral damage. But that’s the only tricky thing about erecting this tent, and I even managed to get a near-perfect pitch of the MT900 in fewer than five minutes the first time I put it up.
Over the following few weeks, I used this tent a handful more times – including in Dartmoor National Park and once on a camp site – and the process of pitching it felt easier and quicker every time.
The MT900 comes with two doors: one that’s large enough to store wet gear or to cook in, and another that allows for an extra entry or exit point if you were to share this tent with a buddy.
Truthfully, however, even though it’s advertised as a two-person tent, you wouldn’t be in for the most comfortable night if you were to share this shelter. The amount of space inside lends itself better to one person and gear. That being said, at 110cm / 43in wide, you could lie two regular sleeping pads side by side if you had to; you’d just have to have a very close relationship with your bunkmate to get a good night’s sleep.
One thing I especially appreciated on this tent – as I have on all Forclaz shelters to date – is the ease with which you can attach and detach guylines. I’m a bit of a clean freak when it comes to pitching and packing away my tent, so I often feel obliged to guy out all lines even on perfectly still summer nights. I just can’t leave them dangling there.
On the Forclaz lines, though, this isn’t a problem: the guylines come with a latch-and-loop-style system that allows you to attach only the lines you need. Additionally, unlike the frustrating strap-and-toggle approach most manufacturers use on doors, Forclaz also use plastic hooks to fasten down loose doors, which allows you to keep them out of the way.
These are two simple design tweaks that I particularly enjoy as an end user and, even though they’re only minor, make the process of spending time in a tent so much more enjoyable.
To mitigate condensation inside the tent, the MT900 comes with a generous ventilation port at the foot end and a large port towards the back side of the tent’s highest point. In my experience, these do a good job of maximizing airflow through the shelter, though I did wake up to some condensation.
When it comes to the tent’s performance in bad weather, this is where I think the MT900 punches massively above its price point. When pitched correctly, the tent is drum-tight and sits strong against the wind. In fact, on one occasion, I used this with a friend who was in the Robens Chaser 1, a tent that’s wind-tested by the manufacturer in speeds of up to 200km/h. I found the MT900 did as good a job at staying strong in very high gusts while offering much more space than the Chaser.
And although that’s not to say that I’d expect the Chaser to buckle before the Forclaz (I’d expect the Chaser to long outlast the MT900), the tents performed almost identically in this real-world scenario – despite the MT900 being over £100 cheaper.
Growing up just south of the glorious Brecon Beacons National Park, Craig spent his childhood walking uphill. As he got older, the hills got bigger, and his passion for spending quality time in the great outdoors only grew - falling in love with wild camping, long-distance hiking, bikepacking and fastpacking. Having recently returned to the UK after almost a decade in Germany, he now focuses on regular micro-adventures in nearby Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons, as well as frequent trips to the Alps and beyond. You can follow his adventures over on komoot, or visit www.craigtaylor.co for more info.