By: Blonde Two
The lovely guys from Outdoor Camping Direct recently sent Dartmoor’s Two Blondes a new tent to review. We have since decided that reviewing tents is a most excellent idea because it means that we have the perfect excuse to go camping more often.
The Vango Soul 300 is orange …
Well in truth, it comes in three different colours: Blonde-One-Blue, Blonde-Two-Orange and Manly-Black; but as it bills itself as, “An ideal starter tent.” and I was doing the ordering, I choose orange to perfectly compliment my sleeping bag, ‘Big Orange’.
Because it is a starter tent, I decided that taking the Soul 300 up into Dartmoor’s unpredictable weather for its first outing might be a bit too Blonde; so I plumped for a family meadow camp in the shadow of the Malvern Hills.
There were many things that I liked about the tent’s design:
PITCHING: It has an easy to pitch, two pole, inner first system. Some people don’t like inner first tents, but they do tend to be stable and the Soul was no exception. Anybody who has a modicum of tent experience would be able to pitch it quickly, but there are plentiful instructions for the true beginner.
SHAPE: Although the porch is small when zipped up (big enough only for boots, stoves and slugs), the wide open front of this tent allows plenty of headroom for sitting in bed and admiring the views (in my case, a beautiful oak tree and my equally beautiful niece and nephew).
The inside is spacious with adequate sleeping space for three without walking kit. If like me, you sometimes struggle to ‘dismount’ your tent, the wide porch allows for a more dignified exit than some other small tents.
WEATHER PROTECTION: I initially thought that I would not take this tent to Dartmoor; but after my meadow camp, I had second thoughts. We had a fair amount of weather; it stayed stable in the wind and I detected only one drip onto the inner after a night of heavy rain. The hydrostatic head (waterprooficity) is 3,000 which is perfectly adequate for all but the wettest British camping outings.
NIGGLES: I can honestly say that I enjoyed my camp in this tent and plan to use it again many times over the summer (cue rain). There were a couple of things that prospective buyers should be aware of: 1) It arrived with two pegs too few for the number of peg points. I am awaiting a reply from Vango on this. (Later note: The helpful chaps at Vango assure me that pegs are hand counted before distribution but should there be any missing, they are happy to send some out.) 2) The wide porch, although very pleasing, does mean that you have to be careful not to allow drips in when you open the door.
For a spring into summer camp, I would recommend this tent. It is suitable for two walkers, three campers with a car or a Blonde who fancies relaxing in spacious luxury. It doesn’t have all of the mod-cons that Vango sometimes supply (I missed a double zip for ventilation) but little touches like pockets and a lantern hook add to the enjoyment, and made my three night camp a very pleasant experience. Cheers Outdoor Camping Direct, we Blondes are looking forward to trying some more gear out for you soon!