Summary first, explanation later!
I really like this tent, I’d give it 4 out of 5. If I gave ratings.
I have had a long history of avoiding Vango tents. The first backpacking tent I ever bought was an Equinox 200. I took it out for a test run; a pole snapped and I discovered that the TBS straps had been stitched the wrong way around -so they locked in the wrong direction!
I sent it back to the shop who returned it to Vango for repairs. It came back ‘repaired’ I discovered that they had done nothing and it was still as useless as before. I got my money back and bought a Terra Nova Solar 2. This tent was £100 more, 2kg lighter and still in great shape today, 18 years later!
This experience and sleeping in other people’s Vangos over the years kept me away from the brand.
Recently I bought equipment for my school’s outdoor education program. I needed the full works from tents to maps to boots.
I was wary of Vango for the reasons outlined above but I had seen a lot of people were giving them good reviews. The Tempest 300 is on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award recommended kit list.
I took the plunge and bought some for the school.
I wanted to try the tent so I could iron out any niggles or pitching problems before handing them over to students so I took one from the store on a camping trip with my two children to Kilchoan in Ardnamurchan in Scotland.
The tent went up easily, I skimmed through the instructions in the bag -they seemed fairly sensible and straightforward: Three poles, colour-coded to pole sleeves on the fly. In common with all tunnels, peg one end, pull taut, peg the other end and the guy.
The tent pitched quickly and all in one. The porch groundsheet clipped in and pegged out. Once the tent was up I tightened the peg adjusters and then the TBS2 Tension Bands which prevent sideways movement of the poles adding stiffness.
Over the next three days we experienced bursts of heavy rain and prolonged winds with strong gusts. The tent took everything in its stride. I always left the top of the porch door open and rain never got in. A breeze blew through the tent from the open vent at the back and out of the top vent and porch meaning that there was never a drop of condensation on the inside of the fly -this is a pretty rate thing in these conditions in my experience.
The tent is marketed as a 3 person tent. We used it with three people but two of them were under ten years old. The tent definitely would not fit three full-length (180cm) Thermarests inside, they’d overlap. We used two of these and a ‘body shape’ Neoair and they just about fit. The porch was fairly generous. We had waterproofs, wellies and a stove and plenty of room to move, put on or take off the waterproofs (one person at a time) in the closed porch. It would have been considerable more cramped with three large backpacks stowed in there. When it is used by the school the space should be OK. Three teenagers will take up a little less room (except for their kit, which will be strewn everywhere!).
Overall I was very impressed with the tent. We had plenty of room, it was definitely strong enough for the wild West-coast Scottish weather and pitched easily. I’m glad I chose that model.
Things I liked:
- Enough headroom and ‘foot room’
- Colour-coded, alloy poles (I HATE fibreglass poles! Nasty, bendy rubbish)
- Easy, all-in-one pitching with no faffy adjustments needed
- The list price is reasonable for the quality of tent. (And different retailers discount heavily)
- Good ventilation (Which could be reduced if needed by closing the rear vent)
- Sturdy design put up with wind and heavy rain
- Little touches like the loop on the porch door zip made it easy to grab
- Plenty of pockets inside
Things that could be better:
- Not a ‘Three MAN’ tent (I’m 1.88m tall -three of me wouldn’t fit) Three teenagers would be OK or Two men would have luxury