Nice thing about this blog is I’m finding out something new every day, which is great because as far as tents go my experience has been a bit limited. I can remember the Vango Force 10 we used on Duke Of Edinburgh Award type expeditions we used to get sent on in the Scottish Highlands in my early teens. Think we were probably using the Mk1 back then and they are now up to M5. Then there was the cheapest tent me and a mate could find for an InterRail trip in my late teens: we later found out that we had picked up a kids one by mistake and it had cowboys and indians painted on it, and to add insult to injury it was too short so our feet were stuck out when we slept. Even we thought this was funny until it rained. More recently we borrowed one of the earlier 4 pole versions of the Halfords Family 4 Man Tent Pack. It was when one of the couplings snapped on the thinner poles during heavy rain that we realised that price might not be everything and we might need something a little more substantial next time, and that’s when we opted for the Bell Tent.
What I haven’t done recently is camp on the continent. Those that do and others in the know like Simon from our Cleveland Arms ‘advisory board’ rave about De Waard tents from Holland as being the Rolls Royce of tents. My dutch is non-existent and I can’t find anything about them in English other than discussion on UK Campsite where they seem to be discussed as objects of desire. Fortunately, we have some Dutch friends staying whose parents went camping with a De Waard tent or over 40 years, until they passed it on to another family who are still using it. From what I understand they are extremely good quality and as the anecdote above seems to confirm they last for generations. They are also big and relatively heavy, which isn’t going suit all campers particularly if you are going touring on a bike. They’re also not the cheapest, but that might be deceptive as they are likely to last a lot longer than cheaper ones and hold their value when it comes to selling them. Would be great to hear from anyone who actually has one though.