A pocket-friendly, smaller tent, best suited to car-camping weekends way and festivals.
Compact when packed down
Not quite spacious enough to sleep four comfortably
Too heavy for backpacking
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One of our top picks if you’re watching the pennies, the Vango Carron 400 is a simple but effective tent will fit four adults at a push, but would definitely be better suited to two or three people, or used as a separate tent if you want to give older children some space.
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Inside there’s one nicely sized bedroom, lined with ‘Nightfall’ material to keep it cool and dark, in which you can stand up if you’re under 180cm (5ft 11in) tall. There’s also a well-proportioned porch for storing your belongings or hiding from the rain. Both the outer fly and tough groundsheet are waterproofed to a decent level.
In the field
We tested out the Carron during a rainy week in Cornwall in the South West of England, and reckon it performs well for the financial outlay. It’s a compact tent that’s easy to store and transport, although it’s a pity it weighs in at a reasonably heavy 7.7kg considering it’s a relatively dinky tent otherwise.
• RRP: £190 (UK)
• Style: 3-pole Dome
• Weight: 7.7kg/17lbs
• Waterproofing: 3,000mm
• Rooms: One bedroom, one porch
• Pack size: 65x27cm/25.5x10.6in
• Compatibility: Best suited to two or three people for a weekend, and waterproof enough to deal with bad weather
The Carron is quick and easy to erect using lightweight, colour-coded fibreglass poles, which you’ll get the hang of fast, making pitching and packing up relatively painless.
The porch is a fair size and will keep rucksacks and backpacks dry overnight, and we liked that the porch’s groundsheet is removable in dry weather, although we did find the vestibule’s windows frustratingly small, offering limited light – if you’re going to bother with windows, they might as well be larger.
The outer fly is very waterproof (hydrostatic head: 3,000mm), which on test was able to withstand even heavy rain and stiff winds. The tough groundsheet keeps water out, keeps you warm and is easy to clean.
There aren’t many innovative touches here – besides a ‘nightfall’ blackout bedroom, which is very effective at blocking sunlight – but that’s not the point; this is a simple, effective one-bed tent that’s ideal for weekends and festivals, and all for under £200.
An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, thegirloutdoors.co.uk, champions accessible adventures.
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