Back Under Canvas

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Back Under Canvas

Post by PanBiker » 15 Aug 2019, 16:21

Realised that we didn't have sub-forums for Camping or Caravanning so I have created a couple of new ones.

I will kick off with this topic of returning to camping after a few years break.

We are currently digging out all our remaining camping kit to see what we have and what we are still short of. We have two tents so that's OK. We'll take the 3 person tent that we got for touring on the motorbike last time round. It's a decent small tent which means that we don't take much room up and the campsite pitches are cheaper as a result.

It's a good while since I pitched it last time and for the life in me I couldn't remember if it pitches inner or outer first. I made a bit of space in the front room and got it all out to check that it had all found it's way back into the bag. When we used it on the bike I had to split the various components, inner, outer, poles, pegs and porch groundsheet into their individual bits so that I could distribute it around the luggage system on the bike. Gave a good check over as well while it was out, looks like new and it jogged my memory when I got the 10 section x 3 fibreglass poles out, they are colour coded and I found the same on the outer flysheet and quick clip fasteners on the inside to mate with the same on the inner tent. So that settles it, it's outer first. From memory it's about a 10 minute job from start to finish. Porch groundsheet goes in last. I measured the footprint up at the same time as campsites request this so that they can allocate a correctly sized pitch to maintain boundary distances between pitches for fire regulations. Our footprint is around 10 - 12 sq m.

Pleased also that I have found my 1944 US Army mess tin. It's a two part set, oval pan and the lid turned over is a two section segregated plate. The folding hinged handle clips the lid to the base. It was made by the EA Co and is pressed stainless steel. It has seen lots of action in the 85 years since it was manufactured and makes a good breakfast fry up.

We have a multi-LED lantern for the tent but I needed some spare batteries for it. AA's so no problem. I have a large spotlight type torch that runs on 4 x D type batteries but when I looked at the price of these one way trips I changed my mid about reviving this bit of kit in favour of spending the fiver on a USB rechargeable Lithium battery hand torch from Aldi. I can recharge this along with any other USB devices from the car so that was a bit of a no brainer.

I think I mentioned in another thread that we need a small water carrier and if we get back into camping regularly we will invest in a new non stick cooking compendium. We can manage with what we have in the short term and if my son in law has taken his gas barbie we will be right. Self sufficient if he hasn't. Found out they are also pitched away from the family field so we will be reasonably local.
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by Stanley » 16 Aug 2019, 02:01

Can't think why but the Rubáiyát came to mind,
A BOOK of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
O, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by PanBiker » 16 Aug 2019, 09:25

The plot thickens, inspecting and thinking more about the EasyCamp tent mentioned above. I was was struggling to see how I managed to fit it on the bike. I was convinced that was the tent we toured with in France but it seems I was wrong. Sally was rummaging in the cupboard up in the loft that we stored the camping gear in. She found our camp kettle and also came down with our other tent.

This one is actually the one that we got specifically to fit on the bike and is a better quality tent than the other. It's a Lichfield 150 and I remember we got it off one of Sally's installation team mates when she worked at LDJ Design and Display. Steph was one of the rope guys on the installations in the shopping centres and he had his own business for climbing and outdoor gear over Leeds way. He supplied it at trade price for us and it came in at about £100 under the list price. This one is a straight two person tent but still has a small porch for storage. We dug out our photo albums and found a few images showing it up near St Quentin near the Belgian border when we visited Great Uncle Tom's grave and pitched at Châteaux de Martragny near Bayeux where we stayed on the way back after visiting my brother for a few days down near Limoges. Looks like this one also pitches outer first. Ideally I could do with a bit of a dry spell to run them both up to the park and refresh my memory on them both. Would only take an hour and would be very useful to check them out. Fat chance at the moment, alternatively we have enough room in the car to take them both up to Robin Hoods Bay which will be the fall back plan.

Getting back to a bit of time under canvass will be another milestone for me. We had intended doing this at this time last year but medical events dictated otherwise.
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by Stanley » 17 Aug 2019, 03:38

I suspect you will enjoy it. You're certainly putting in the effort of preparation! We should have some dry days according to the forecast so a trip to the park will happen I reckon....
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by PanBiker » 17 Aug 2019, 10:37

I think we are both going daft! Remember how I said that I thought the EasyCamp tent was the one we took to France but changed my mind when Sally turned up the Lichfield one and took it as stated that this was the better tent we got from Steph. Pictures to prove it as well. Here is Sally at Châteaux de Martragny in Normandy.

Image

The image suffers a bit from the Hobbit effect with Sally in the doorway the tent hardly looks big enough for one let alone 3. Here is another photo with our motorbike in the background which gives a bit better indication of the size, the bike was 2m long. The tent is actually 3.5m long by 3m wide.

Image

Clearly in both of these photo's and indeed all of the photos that we have of this tent it is blue. We both looked at the photos and looked at the Lichfield, never noticing that it was a green tent! Yesterday I even went to the bother of putting up the Lichfield inner tent in my front room. It just about fit and when I had done it the penny finally dropped. I had just pitched the inner tent of the LIchfield first, the green outer tent was staring me in the face without a porch, inner tent is only two man, door is a different colour Doh!

Lichfield was the tent we got for Clitheroe Folk Festival. EasyCamp 300 is clearly what we toured on the bike. It all came flooding back. :smile: Instead of rolling the outer and inner tents I folded them into the bottom of the 50L top box with the pegs and guys, single burner stove and sundry cooking bits went in there as well. Fibreglass polls were bundled and bagged and I fastened them between the back of Sally's pillion seat and the top box securing them with a couple of short bungees to the rear carrier frame.

As to the quality, I only had the EasyCamp out for a cursory check that it was all complete. Comparing the two tents side by side it's the EasyCamp that is clearly the better tent despite being convinced that it was the other one. Easycamp clearly pitches outer first as all the poles are through the flysheet, the inner has quick snap plastic male/female connectors to connect it within the outer tent. This pitching sequence is preferred as If you are pitching in the rain, the outer waterproof flysheet goes up first ensuring that the inner tent and porch groundsheet can be pitched in the dry.
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by Stanley » 18 Aug 2019, 03:00

I'm glad you sorted that one out!
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by PanBiker » 19 Aug 2019, 20:58

I think we have all our kit sorted now for the camping trip. Sally has made new carry bags for our folding chairs and she has also turned out one of the three tiers of our old camp kitchen which we kept the base sections of. It has folding legs so packs flat and will be ideal as a base for our new two burner stove just to keep it off the ground. New bag for that as well. I got some fluorescent pegs for the outer guys on the tent and a new weighted rubber mallet, (lost our previous one), both from the special buys at Aldi.

Carla and family are already pitched on site and we are told that there will be a Jacobs join barbecue courtesy of friends Julia and Pat who are also part of the Silsden contingency camping group. :biggrin2:
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by Stanley » 20 Aug 2019, 02:46

All you need now is some fine weather and there is a glimmer of hope in the forecast.
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by PanBiker » 21 Aug 2019, 08:09

Been fine all week on the East coast and it's set to improve.Ready for the off, over the hills and far away... :smile:
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by chinatyke » 21 Aug 2019, 09:16

PanBiker wrote:
21 Aug 2019, 08:09
Been fine all week on the East coast and it's set to improve.Ready for the off, over the hills and far away... :smile:
Enjoy yourselves, Ian.

Last time I was under canvas was around 1993, alongside the River Wharfe at Grassington with my 15 years old son. All I can say about that experience, today's tip, is never share a 2 man tent with a vegetarian, I ended up sleeping with my head outside the door flap.

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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by Stanley » 22 Aug 2019, 03:03

Or a dog that spends the night building a shed in the corner.....
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by PanBiker » 23 Aug 2019, 19:00

chinatyke wrote:
21 Aug 2019, 09:16
today's tip, is never share a 2 man tent with a vegetarian, I ended up sleeping with my head outside the door flap.
Oh dear, does that apply to wives as well? Never really had a problem and Sally is predominantly vegetarian. :smile:

Our back to camping trip went well. We went up to Fylingthorpe via Thirsk and Sutton Bank and arrived around 1pm. We were allotted pitch 66 on the adult field which was more or less in the centre of the field. The family field was full so Carla's family and their friends Julia and Pat and their grown up daughter Hayla were also on the same field but about 100 yards away on the periphery. Both Carla and Ant and Julia and Pat and Hayla for that matter had Inflatable tents. Pat and Julia's is a tunnel tent and takes up three pitches but they also have 5 dogs, (springer spaniels) so Pat has built a substantial round extension/windbreak type extension for the front of the tent to keep the dogs secure. Very impressive, it has a latching front gate built from box section with an aluminium gate, (Pat is a welder / fabricator by trade). Hayla's tent was pitched behind theirs and Carla and Ant's double tent with a central living area and enclosed front porch extension pitched to the side.

We set up on our single pitch and it took about 20 minutes to get our tent up. A bit longer than the 10 minutes predicted but we were jogging our memories from 15 years ago! It was fine when we set up so all went well. Wind picked up in the evening and it rained through the night, no problems there and the tent turned all the water without problem. Wind got up to 55mph for about an hour but again the tent coped well. One advantage of having a daughter on the same site is that we got fed. :smile: Pat cracked up the barbecue on the Wednesday night and we had a Jacobs Join type evening meal and we played games with the kids until quite late. Quiet day on the site for us yesterday, it was breezy and a bit dull in the morning but it got out with full sun in the afternoon. We went down into Whitby and had a chippy tea while we were there. Today it was wall to wall sunshine from 6am when I got up which is the norm for me when camping. Go to bed when the sun goes down and get up when it gets back up. :extrawink: Very civilised departure from the farm site 11am so, had a bit of cereal and a brew to put us on. Then got showered before starting to decamp. Our Isla tipped up on her bike to tell us that Carla was doing bacon for breakfast at around 9am so we broke off and went round for a butty and another brew.

One thing we have both realised is that we are still up for camping but we would prefer a "walk in" tent, that is one with enough headroom to stand up and a bit more room at the front for storage and a sitting area.

We had a look at Hayla's tent a Solus Horizon 4 which would be ideal. It's a four person air tent, It has a completely sewn in groundsheet and three separately inflatable airbeams. Large front area for chairs, table and storage with the sleeping compartment at the back. It can be erected by a single person in 15 minutes. You peg the groundsheet down then inflate each of the airbeams either with a manual or electric pump then simply deploy the guy lines. It has two doors one in the front and one in the side. The tent footprint is 4.7m x 2.5m x 1.9m high. That would still fit on a single pitch on the campsites but would offer a lot more versatility and comfort. It packs up into a bag 78cm x 38cm x 35cm and only weighs 13.5 kg. I watched a bloke pumping up a six beam tunnel tent with a manual stirrup pump type inflater, it only took about 10 minutes for the lot! Tent technology has come along way in the last 15 years. :smile:

Here is a Solus Horizon 4

Image

Pat said that if we wanted to test one out it would be no problem to borrow Hayla's for a few days. We may well do that and will keep our eyes peeled for any decent second user examples.

We nipped round by the "inflatable village campers" site before we left. We set off at about 10.45 intending to come back via Malton and York so made our way down to Scarborough and on towards the A64 to York. The run down to Malton was OK but we had only just got onto the A64 at the other side of Malton and the traffic stopped due to serious accident on the A64 involving a wagon and a car towing a caravan, (I hope everyone was OK). It jammed up most routes around the area as motorists tried to find alternative ways to their destinations. We made it to the first exit after bout half an hour of crawling traffic where we could cut across back to Helmsly and then back down Sutton Bank to Thirsk, Ripon then home via the A59. We stopped off at the National Trust cafe at the top of Sutton bank for a bit of late lunch and with the various detours and slow traffic eventually got home just after 4pm. A good couple of days though.
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by Stanley » 24 Aug 2019, 04:23

Glad it all worked out well Ian.....
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by PanBiker » 24 Aug 2019, 08:43

Aye, we have kept most of our stuff out as if the weather holds we may go on another jaunt next week.

Interesting to note that the inflatable airbeam tents, are pumped up to around 6 bar, that's 87 psi in old money. Very cunning design and another that I wished I had thought of. The airbeams are effectively half an innertube as such, shaped as an arch, heavy duty compound rubber and are encased in zipped channels in the fabric of the outer tent. Once inflated they are as hard as any other pole or support but have the advantage that they can't be stressed like metal or fibre poles so cannot fracture. I have lost tents with 1.5" steel poles that have just crumpled in high winds These soak up the energy by being flexible, the outer guys secure the tent from collapse. They just "go with the flow". Running repairs if punctured can be done with Gorilla Tape and then a permanent fix with adhesive rubber patches that are available as spares. For catastrophic damage the beams can be removed and replaced with new ones in their zipped channels.

So simple and so obvious, why didn't I think of that! :extrawink:
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by Stanley » 24 Aug 2019, 08:49

Sounds like a good system. I was wondering about the pressure. Thanks for that. Another LKF.
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by Tizer » 24 Aug 2019, 08:52

I remember camping at a site in the south of France in the 1970s where the ground was so stoney, baked and dried out that we could hardly get the metal spikes hammered into the ground. People were having to put stones on the ends of the guy ropes instead. Luckily it was calm weather!

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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by PanBiker » 24 Aug 2019, 11:28

Other niceties on the Horizon 4 are built in ingress points for electric hook up in both the outer flysheet and inner tent. Most decent campsites now have tent pitches with or without electric hook up. Flysheet and groundsheet both have a 4000mm hydrostatic head. If we went for a new one with a warranty (always a consideration) it would come complete with HP pump, guy lines and steel pegs. Seriously tempted for next year, will keep our eyes peeled for disgruntled first time campers, coming into that season now. There was a bloke on one of the local Facebook marketing sites selling a used once 6 berth family frame tent, (about £500 worth) for £50 the other week. Some folk buy in big style and then realise that getting up with the sun, funny farmyard smells and the like is not really for them, Might find one of them with a Solus Horizon 4. :extrawink:
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by chinatyke » 24 Aug 2019, 13:10

PanBiker wrote:
24 Aug 2019, 11:28
There was a bloke on one of the local Facebook marketing sites selling a used once 6 berth family frame tent, (about £500 worth) for £50 the other week. Some folk buy in big style and then realise that getting up with the sun, funny farmyard smells and the like is not really for them, Might find one of them with a Solus Horizon 4. :extrawink:
He is probably not out of pocket if he has had a 2-weeks holiday out of it compared with other holiday accommodation prices. My mate has just returned from England and paid 400quid a week to rent a bedsit on a farm in Staffordshire. Hope you can get a bargain like that.

Many years ago I worked in Bradford and one of the shift chemists lived in Newcastle. He used to come down to Bradford and stay in a tent for 3 nights whilst he was on shift. Eventually he upgraded to a trailer tent and later left the company. His trailer tent was sold to one of his operators, who had one holiday in it and then resold it to me. I had to borrow a friend's van that was fitted with a tow bar in order to get it home from Bradford. As I was going through Rochdale a car cut in front of me and stopped. The driver got out shouting something to me. Eventually he calmed down and told me I was towing his trailer tent which had been stolen from a camp site some months earlier. I had put a temporary number plate made out of cardboard on the back of the trailer. He said he'd tell me the number of the plate under that one and said it started with D. I took off my cardboard number plate and the plate didn't start with a D but he was still convinced it was his trailer tent. Look, I said, I'll take off the cover and open it up and you can have a good look for yourself. I did this and suddenly the penny dropped, this trailer had drawers in the swing out tailboard and his had cupboards. Thank goodness for that. I offered to give him my details but he refused them and drove off embarrassed. About a month later I had the trailer in my garage and removed my cardboard number plate and the plate underneath it. The next number plate down started with a D...
I repeated the story to the operator who sold the trailer to me and he confirmed the first reg plate was his and he'd just screwed it over the existing one. To make matters worse he told me his dad was a sheet metal fabricator who had converted the tailgate cupboards to drawers. I had one holiday out of it and sold it!

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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by PanBiker » 24 Aug 2019, 16:03

A good tale China and a lesson in "buyer beware".

There are a number of the Horizon 4's on sale via Ebay. One particular vendor who processes customer and manufacturer returns. Campingresources are power sellers and have over 4600 sales with 100% positive feedback. Some of the sales start from 99p for a £500 retail tent. Some are buy it now deals at £199. Each one has certified pressure tests on the airbeams and all of them state what faults they have been accepted back with. The ones I have seen : Dirty marks on the fly screen another with a small tear in the door and yet another with an internal tent toggle that has come adrift and has been reattached with a cable tie, pictures to support in each case. They all state that they cannot test for water ingress so you have to assume that they all may leak to some degree and may need reproofing. They come with pegs and guys but no pump.

Taking a £199 example, adding a HP pump and maybe having to reproof the flysheet, (no real problem if you have to) would stick another £60 or so on the price. This would be nearly the same as buying a brand new one from Go Camping with their discount card. I happen to know that a friend has such a card so we could get a new one for £299 with free delivery discounted from the £499 retail with pump, guys, pegs and all associated warranties. I will keep my eye on some of the 99p starters though, there is one currently at £5.50 with three bids, auction ends on 1st Sept, will be interested to see how high it goes.

No rush, this will be for use next year so plenty of time to look for a good deal if we can get one better than a new one. :smile:
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by Stanley » 25 Aug 2019, 01:51

:good:
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by PanBiker » 26 Aug 2019, 15:43

Looking closer at the vendor above I think any of the tents with obvious faults they auction on Ebay with the low start price. Any which have no faults are priced on condition £189 (good) - £209 (excellent) on Buy it Now terms. All actually do seem to be complete with guys, pegs and the HP pump so are complete as a new one would be.

I have also found a brand new one from a private seller only put up in the garden and then the owner decided camping was not for them? They bought it (with receipts available) complete with footprint and an internal porch carpet (custom for the model). Only problem is the sale is marked as collection only and it's in Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, (190 mile round trip)!

I have contacted the seller to say I will buy it if he can deliver. I have sent the seller links to "Ipost Parcels" which is a DHL service and probably the cheapest in the country. They will collect from the vendor and deliver to the buyer next day. The footprint and the carpet will fit inside the original transit bag for the tent. Tent weighs 13.5kg and the rest would probably add another 1.5kg so a 15K consignment. They will collect this and deliver next day to me for £9.99 + VAT so £12.00 in total. I have offered to pay an extra £15 on top of the asking price. The carriage can be sorted with a few clicks on their website. All it would need would be to put the tent bag inside a couple of bin bags and secure with packing tape. I think the courier will collect with all the necessary labels for tracking the consignment. That was the case when I was in charge of despatch using TNT when I ran the office at Northern Costume Hire.

Ipost Parcels

Why any seller would limit their potential sales by specifying "collection only" beats me.

The £9.99 rate is based on the length of the consignment which is 79cm but covers up to 90cm and 25Kg.

For information the tent "footprint" is a custom sized primary groundsheet that matches the tent, you can orientate this and peg down first when pitching and it gives you the correct pegging points for the main sewn in groundsheet of the outer tent. It also gives another layer of protection for the sewn in groundsheet and keeps it clean. A simple but quite a good idea. Lots of manufacturers now produce custom fitted carpets for each design of tent, they are lightweight but give an extra layer of insulation and are machine washable. So again a very neat idea.

Not heard back from my enquiry yet but I suppose the seller could be away for the bank holiday.
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by PanBiker » 28 Aug 2019, 08:24

I found an excellent deal from the lads at Camping resources on eBay. It wasn't clear whether it included a HP pump so I messaged them as I had the other bloke in Mansfield. Difference was, they cam back to me yesterday with an affirmative on the pump. :smile: The tent has been inspected and no faults found, the airbeams have had a 24 hour pressure test and come out good. The price on this example allows me to buy a footprint and carpet and still come out under the price of the one in Mansfield.

It was on a buy it now deal so we have. It will be delivered on Thursday. One added bonus of dealing with this power seller with 100% positive feedback is that they have a returns policy and I can return it for a full refund within 30 days if it does not meet the description in any way. Private sales are normally on a no returns accepted basis which is the case with the Mansfield tent, the owner of which has not got back to me with my proposal for delivery. His loss, I am sorted. I ordered the footprint and carpet from the Go Outdoors website yesterday and they should come today. :smile:

I will need to test it, so it will be trip up the park for an initial check and then up the road a bit for another camping trip to try it in anger. :biggrin2:

We will probably go up to Knight Stainforth as we have another mission with the owners of that particular park on a different issue other than a tent pitch. :extrawink:
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by chinatyke » 28 Aug 2019, 13:27

Well done, Ian. Hope it brings you much pleasure.

I know Stanley bangs on about local suppliers but it is so easy to find what you want and compare prices on the Internet.

Our only bad experience was when we bought a big TV and it was faulty. The service people came out to it, agreed the fault (not responding to remote control input), said they would order a part but then couldn't obtain it (end of model?) and gave us our money back and took it away. The next one we bought had flashover somewhere inside. The service people came out, after much arguing agreed it was faulty, gave us our money back and took it away. (Factory B grade is what I suspect). So we went to the local electronics supplier shop and bought what we wanted and it has been perfect ever since, at least 5 years. I would suspect that the internet is used for off-loading manufacturers seconds/ B grade/ bruised/ defect but not reject quality items.

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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by PanBiker » 28 Aug 2019, 15:26

Thanks China, Camping resources on eBay seem to be the main manufacturers clearing house for customer / manufacturer returns. Most makes regardless of what marque they are are manufactured in China and there is little doubt that the originating factory will not want the bother of handling minor fault items or returns of any sort for that matter. Far better to let a company in the UK buy them at a reasonably discounted price. New tents will ship over here by the container load and most will be perfectly fine. Some will be returned with manufacturing faults and others no doubt will be returned with misuse by buyers claimed as faults. Each one is assessed on condition and priced accordingly. Airbeam tents are subjected to 24 hour pressure tests.

Over all our camping years I have only ever bought two new tents and both of those were smaller types. Our first family tent when the kids were young was second hand (all we could afford) and the second one also, the latter a Coleman cotton fabric frame tent. Storm damage apart, the first one a total loss, literally, pitched it, left it for an hour came back and it was gone, (into the Irish Sea probably). Lost on the Mull of Kintyre in a savage storm that crossed the peninsular. The Coleman replacement was decimated at Culzean Castle on the Ayrshire cost a few months later, (collapsed frame). We had more adventure that year than holiday. :smile: Got that one repaired and we had quite a few years and some good holidays with the kids in it before we discovered Eurocamping in foreign parts with better weather as a rule, (France). The outer tent of that ended its life as an upmarket Gazebo at my daughters school for sports day and the summer fete etc.

I think this one will see us out. I'll put some pictures up when I pitch it for the first time.
Ian

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Stanley
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Re: Back Under Canvas

Post by Stanley » 29 Aug 2019, 03:01

"Stanley bangs on about local suppliers"
Only for goods it is possible to source locally. Of course the web is a good source and I use it frequently China.
Stanley Challenger Graham
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"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

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