82cm x 5cm
190T Polyester with waterproof PU coating; inner: 190T Polyester with waterproof PU coating; groundsheet: 190T Polyester; poles: glass fibre
400cm x 300cm; inner: 300cm x 250cm
136cm; inner: 120cm
You either love 'em or hate 'em, but quick-pitch tents are certainly popular no matter your feelings. You will find these quirky little tents literally springing up all over the place - and I can see why. Those sprung poles make pitching a doddle and you can be off doing your thing while friends are still struggling to pitch their conventional tent.
But, why should the design only be confined to small tents? Well, it is not and you can buy family-size models if you search hard enough - they have been around since the start of this concept. But, that search may have just got a little easier with Gelert's launch of its new Twister range.
The popularity of pop-up tents has been good for Gelert, prompting it to look at larger tents. The result is a new pop-up action and two tents with a four- and five-person capacity respectively.
If you have ever pitched small pop-up tents you will know that there is a definite knack to folding the poles. Well, Twister tents are different and, dare I say, more straightforward.
The secret lies in the tent bag. At first glance it resembles the normal pop-up tent bag - except the zip does not run around the edge. Instead, it is placed around 3in inside the edge so that, when opened, it creates a rim. To pack the tent away you just feed the flexible tent poles that have been collected together, into the resulting channel, rolling the tent forward while ensuring the poles stay in the confines of the rim.
Unpacking the tent is just as easy. Open the zip, pull out the pole ends and the tent erects as the poles are released from the channel. You then place the tent into position and peg out. Clip the poles on to the side walls and throw over the separate outer that is then tied and clipped into place. If it is a warm night just leave the outer off.
Gelert has a video on its website that shows how easy the Twister is to use - recommended viewing!
HIGH AND LOWS
The Twister range is all about speed of pitching and striking camp - something that every camper should be able to do with a little practice. It should also be the answer to campers suffering with bad backs or other disabilities that may hinder pitching a conventional tent - although twisting the tent back into its bag could cause another set of problems.
Once you get beyond the novel pitching approach you start to look at the tent itself. Besides the very red colour, the first thing that strikes you is the fact that it does not have a full outer and that the sides of the tent are exposed. This is down to the inner having large mesh panels in the roof. Cutting back the outer at the sides increases airflow to minimise condensation.
Next you notice that there are two identical doors front and back. These lead on to small porches that are useful for cooking but little else. This lack of porch storage means kit takes up valuable space in the inner tent - making the Tested Twister 4 more suitable for two.
Once ensconced, you notice that the Twister 4 is still very red - and it has no windows or wall vents. Want a window? Go for the £149 five-berth.
As described, ventilation is taken care of by roof panels. The outer doors lack two-way zips so cannot be cracked at the top to increase airflow when cooking under cover in bad weather, or for a little extra ventilation at night. The front door can be unzipped and poled out to create a small sun porch.
The inner has mesh flyscreen doors backed by a modesty panel to keep out prying eyes and drafts. There are two pockets to take knick-knacks.
Full marks to Gelert for trying something new - the Twister range is an unusual concept that may appeal to more open-minded campers, but it is just as likely to spark off criticism in traditionalists. Touring couples and families with a small child should take a peek at them - you may be surprised... CG
Tel: 01766 510300
This tent review was published in the April 2008 issue of Camping magazine. To order our latest issue please click here.
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