Setting up and taking down the tents is easy. But some are too small for two people or not completely waterproof.
This is the worst-case scenario on a camping holiday: it’s pouring rain and it’s getting wetter and damper in the tent. With four tents, this scenario could easily occur. Wolfgang Herter, head of the laboratory test: “If these tents stand in the wet ground and in the rain, you have to reckon with moisture coming through the ground after about three days.”
Activebase 2 and Trevolution Vento 2, whose tent walls and floors did not withstand the water in the test, are also “unsatisfactory” overall in the test.
Most with inner and outer tent
“Kassensturz” and “K-Tipp” have had ten well-selling camping tents extensively tested for normal use at the PZT laboratory in Wilhelmshaven (D) in a material and practical test (see “How it was tested”). According to the manufacturer, all tents are designed for two people, all are made of synthetic materials. Nine are dome tents, one is set up with only a cross arch; two consist of only one shell. And only one has a real awning. The weight is between 1.5 and 2.8 kilograms (see “Results in detail”).
Results at a glance
Large price range
The price range is large: from 39.90 to 369 francs. The test shows that the cheaper products are less well made. After being set up three times, the seams of the Activebase 2 broke.
The two best tents in the test are also among the most expensive. Jack Wolfskin’s Skyrocket II costs 369 francs and Salewa Latitude 2 costs 269 francs. They get the rating “good”: They are waterproof, robust and offer reasonably enough space for two people.
The online retailer Gonser.ch, which sells the slightly inadequate Activebase 2 two-person tent, writes “Kassensturz”: “We regret that the Activebase tent was not able to achieve sufficient results in all the test criteria used. However, this article has already been removed from the range by the manufacturer Bestway for this year. We will therefore replace the product with new models and no longer offer this tent in the long term.»
Ochsner-Sport, which sells the Hike Lite 2/ 46 Nord, writes about the lack of space: “We were surprised by this assessment. The tent has an interior height of 105cm and an effective berth length of 210cm. The width of 125cm corresponds to a lying width of 62.5cm per person and is therefore exactly tailored to the common mat widths. In addition, there is the fact that the side entrances with the doors on the inner tent are made entirely of mesh. The contact on the mesh material is much more pleasant than on nylon or polyester. The average height of a man is between 75 and 85 cm. So you can sit very well inside. This is achieved by the large main arch. Our testers generally rated the tent as rather spacious. Of course, that’s a subjective assessment.”
And on the insufficient waterproofing of the tent floor: “This tent comes with a (additionally available, editor’s note) floormat, which both protects the material of the floor and also influences the water permeability. With nylon silicone tents, this additional protection is important. According to our practical experience with many tents of this type, this combination results in at least an effect of a 4000mm water column. However, since this cannot be checked, we as the manufacturer do not have a proven water column for the floor.»
All tents are easy to set up with the help of the instructions. The time required is between four and a half and thirteen minutes. Elixir 2 by MSR takes the longest. The structurally connected rods are under tension and therefore more difficult to assemble. Dismantling is only a bit more complicated for two products: Salewa’s Latitude 2 and 2 Activebase 2.
The lack of space in two tents gave a deduction. Hike Lite 2 from the 46 Nord brand is narrow, especially because the side walls press inward when it’s windy. With High Peak Siskin 2, the ceiling is so low with a maximum height of 88 centimeters that the testers rated the feeling of space as “uncomfortable”.
This is how it was tested
- Water resistance: In the most important test, the laboratory team tested how well the floors and tent walls withstand the water pressure. They checked how well the raindrops roll off the tent wall and whether the seams and zips allow moisture to penetrate.
- tear strength: The test team checks the load at which the tent fabric and seams tear. The test is repeated after accelerated aging after 400 hours of artificial UV irradiation.
- Robustness: How quickly do the tent poles break? The team also tests whether the tent floor can withstand a sharp object underneath.
- Breathability: How good and numerous are the ventilation options in the tent?
- Are the instructions clear and easy to understand?
- How easy is it to set up and take down the tent?
- What is the possibility of movement in the tent?
- How easy is it to carry the packed tent?
This is also not much for campers who are smaller than the tall practical testers. The tents are designed too tightly for two adults, as test leader Herter emphasizes: “In some cases it is possible to lie inside with two people. But there’s no room in the tents for luggage.”
Ventilation only through holes
All materials of the tested tents are absolutely airtight. Wolfgang Herter: “Because the thin fabric has to be waterproof, they can’t let any air through.” The ventilation is therefore regulated by openings. The number of ventilation openings goes up to 5. Only the Vaude Taurus 2 had no ventilation opening at all.