The best festival tents reviewed and rated: from pop-ups to inflatables to teepees, a good tent is essential to get the most out of a festival. These are the best festival tents to buy in 2017...
First things first. The very expression ‘festival tent’ has become modern shorthand for flimsy, cheap and environmentally toxic bits of fabric and plastic that drunk teenagers collapse into after watching the Kings of Leon. That is not what we will be reviewing here.
Because unless you are an 18-year old celebrating life post A-levels, you’re going to want things that the so-called festival tent can’t provide: warmth, shelter, wind resistance and pegs that won’t bend. You want space to lie on your back without sticking your feet outside.
And you’ll want something that is relatively easy to take out, assemble and then take down again thanks to instructions written by someone with an ounce of common sense and a passing acquaintance with the English language.
These genuine festival tents are for genuine festival goers, and they provide all the above and more. They will be your home from home when the elements – invariably – turn nasty. Your port of call in the eye of the storm. Look after them and they will look after you for many summers of festival going to come.
So without further ado, here are the best festival tents of 2017…
Vango Soul 200
We don’t believe in getting a disposable tent from Argos and then leaving it behind at the end of the festival. It’s bad for you – cheap tents are cheap for a reason – and it’s bad for the environment. So we’re only going to recommend tents that genuinely protect you from the weather and will provide you with years of use if properly maintained. So you’ll need a tent that is relatively light, double skinned and has a porch area where you can leave your muddy wellies.
The Vango Soul 200 comes from a brand with an excellent reputation in the camping community – its top-end family tents will set you back £1700. The Soul 200 will accomodate 2 adults – if they don’t mind being up close and personal – or 1 person in style. It weighs in at a very luggable 2.2kg and can be pitched in under 10 minutes. Handily the webbing is highly reflective – to help avoid embarrassing pratfalls when you staggerback from the cider bus.
The build quality is good and it’s been tested to the European Standard EN5912 which means that it has been certified flame-retardant and weather resistant. All in all, at this price point there’s very little to criticise – the Vango Soul will do a good job at a darned good price.
Quechua - 2 Seconds Easy III
Traditionally, instant pop-up tents had 2 main disadvantages: they only had one flysheet – making them superhot ovens in direct sunlight – and they were really difficult to pack back in the circular bag. (There may be a knack to it, just like there’s a knack to Rubik’s cube or brain surgery). Then along comes Quechua’s 2 Seconds range which addresses both issues with its patented engineering.
The dual thermally-insulated layers helps keep the interior within a comfortable temperature range while the strap-pull mechanism to help you easily pack it away fixes the other main bugbear of pop-up camping.
We’ve opted for the 2-man 2 Seconds Easy III model because the extra space it provides is handy for all the festival detritus you accumulate. The tent weighs in at a luggable 3.7kg so while you will look like a Ninja turtle with the circular case strapped to you, at least your back won’t take too much of a strain.
Quechua also offers a 2-year guarantee on the tent, which is nice, and is something you certainly won’t get from the cheaper knock-offs.
Vango Centara 800 Inflatable Tent
One of the great joys of going to a festival is the companionship that comes with camping and campfires. So, if you don’t mind a small sacrifice to your personal privacy, crashing out with your mates in a big tent can be the perfect end to the day.
Normally big tents require a lot of time and effort to pitch – but not the 8-berth Vango Centara 800. This tent literally inflates – instead of poles there are 5 ‘AirBeams’. The tent can be erected in under 5 minutes simply by pegging it down and pumping it up. Once up, there is plenty of space inside for 8 people to sleep in cleverly arranged inner tents that sit at opposite ends of the tunnel structure.
The whole kit and kaboodle fits inside a wheeled bag that weighs in at a very transportable 21kg, including the supplied airpump. And if you and 7 mates club together it will cost just £81.25 each – a real bargain.
Tentipi Onyx 9 Light
Sitting around a roaring fire inside a cavernous teepee tent is a true festival experience, and the Tentipi Onyx 9 Light will help you achieve that goal. As the name suggests, the Onyx 9 Light is highly portable and weighs in at a remarkably light 6.3kg.
The Onyx 9 Light can be pitched in under 5 minutes and has a useful porch area where you can store your muddy accessories and crates of scrumpy. The light version doesn’t have breathable fabric but there are plenty of vents to ensure air can circulate freely and prevent condensation.
The price is also agreeable at around £850 – divvy it out and it works out at £88 a head. Which is almost exactly the same as the Vango Centara 800, and equally as good a bargain.