69cm x 36cm x 35cm
Outer Protex CM1500 DWR-treated polycotton with PU coating; inner polycotton;
groundsheet PVC; poles Powerflex Proshield poles - glassfibre with a protective shield
Outer 550cm x 300cm; inners 270cm x 300cm
Height Outer 200cm; inner: 140cm
It is hard to beat polycotton as a tent fabric unless you go the whole hog and take on the responsibilities for looking after a cotton tent. Vango's Sumatra is the up-market polycotton version of its synthetic Orchy that combines the height and floor space of a dome for the living area and a tunnel extension for the sleeping pod. The tent is a real head turner - a fact that is heightened by the brow pole that provides porch protection and unusual looks in equal portion.
The Sumatra is a bright and airy tent. Entry is via either the large front or side doors. The front door can be toggled up or turned into a sun porch. The side door folds to one side. A mesh panel backs both doors so you can vent the tent without letting in the bugs.
A fully sewn-in groundsheet takes care of drafts and bugs at tootsies level. This can be dropped down at the door for easy cleaning and to stop clumsier campers from tripping over it.
The windows and skylights let in plenty of light. The windows that sit each side of the front door have a protected mesh panel at their apex for ventilation. The inner tent is vented on to an outer mesh panel.
HIGHS AND LOWS
Vango has added some nice touches to the Sumatra. For starters, there is the exterior storm skirt. Then there are the guy line tidies - no more tangled guys to unravel when pitching. It is nice to see a rain gutter incorporated on the zip flap to help prevent water ingress. Inside, we find numerous pockets for those knick-knacks, and the addition of a pelmet to hide the inner's hanging points - nice.
The side window is particularly neat. It has a split mesh/vinyl panel that is backed by a curtain. This has a double zip that allows it to be fully opened, or to cover either the vent or vinyl panel - top marks for versatility. And, I love Crystal Clear window vinyl for that view.
Finally, it is always nice to see manufacturers supply a tent in an oversized bag for easy packing.
On the negative side, although pitching the tent is made fairly easy by having profiled glassfibre poles I prefer to see steel used for a tent of this size and design to take the weight of the canvas. However, this would drastically increase the pack weight and cost that is already at a premium due to the polycotton fabric. Upmarket Powerflex Proshield poles supply strength and protection should a pole splinter.
In all, the Sumatra is a cool and comfortable family tent that will cosset the camper. It even comes with a DVD that shows you how to pitch it, and plenty of optional extras. CG
Tel: 01475 746000
This tent review was published in the March 2008 issue of Camping magazine. To order our latest issue please click here.
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