Reviewed by Alexander Wilde
The Great British Staycation is well under way and, from talking to family, friends and colleagues, UK camping is more popular than ever. This is one of three reviews on camping essentials available in-store and online from Decathalon.
I last went camping fifteen years ago, well before family life, but this Summer I was drawn back to this healthy and cost-effective way to holiday. Like many others, the disruption to international travel led me to re-discovering the sights and scenery of the UK and what better way to explore and connect with the environment than camping. Therefore, I was delighted when I was offered the opportunity to review the Quechua Arpenaz 4.2, because in all honesty as a camping novice I had no idea where to start when choosing a tent suitable for a family of four and the temperamental British weather!
This mid-range tent arrived in an unfathomably small hold-all; how could this package measuring only 60 x 26 x 26 cm, and weighing a lightweight 11.7 kg, possibly contain a tent large enough to sleep four adults? Answer: through clever design with only four adjoining pieces and four telescopic fibreglass piles.
The bag also contained steel tent pegs and replacement parts for the poles. The instructions for pitching and dismantling are sewn to the bag, so there’s no way these will be lost.
For our first pitch, I opted for the back garden and I am glad we did. Erecting the tent is definitely a two-man job and in all honesty we struggled with the first set-up. I put this down to inexperience, not the quality of the diagrammatic instructions. After the event, I found a helpful YouTube video on the official Quechua channel: I wish this had been advertised – it may have shaved some time from the hour-and-a-quarter it took us. A similar video is available for disassembly.
As previously stated, the tent has four main pieces: the tropical rain and UPF 30 proof outer body; two spacious sleeping quarters; and a handy basin groundsheet forming the floor of the living space. The shell is formed once the four colour-coded poles are fed through the outer body, that is pulled taut and secured by multiple tent pegs and guide ropes. The accommodation pods are hung in place from hooks and the central groundsheet is positioned with Velcro and toggles. Writing this, I realise how much easier I should have found pitching it!
Fully assembled, this tent is superb! The zip and roll-up front entrance opens into a roomy, stand-up height living space; it is the perfect size for storing your camping ware, as well as dining if you so choose. There is a rear window with an adjustable flap to accompany the top ventilation and light hatches, all of which are covered with mosquito netting. Throughout, you will find handy storage pockets and hanging hooks. The hooks were perfect for hanging solar lights. Each wing of the tent contains bedrooms of equal size, each fits two singles or a double airbed, and the length is a generous 210cm. Entering through circular-ish zipable, tieback doors, with netted privacy screens, these compartments have well-sealed and durable integrated ground sheets. I found the space to be well-ventilated and extremely relaxing. During the day, they let in enough light from the sitting area and hooded-side vents; providing a cool and sun protected space. Having two bedrooms is ideal for families with children, as well as couples and friends camping together.
My wife and I were relegated from the first night’s testing, the tent was commandeered by our daughter and her friends from XXXXX (editor’s note – word/s removed). Duvets, blankets and pillows were strewn across the bedroom and the only supplies they were concerned with were those for a midnight feast. Evening weather conditions were favourable – barely a breeze and 10˚c – so sleeping was very comfortable. They had a great-time and we can’t wait to road test this tent. I recognise that Spring and Summer weather is far more interchangeable, yet after reading the technical specifications and lab/field test data, I am assured this tent can cope with everything blighty can throw at it.
I am highly satisfied with the Arpenaz Tent, it is high-quality with all weather properties, airy and comfy, and easy to transport! An amazing first, or replacement tent, for families and friends, with a three year warranty, from a brand you can trust. I will definitely look in to purchasing more from Decathalon’s in-house label of accessories and apparel.
Rating: Five Stars