Good Gear: Two-person tents

Think gales, not Glastonbury - these hi-tech shelters for all seasons are tough bits of kit
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Put all notions aside of the drip-drip-drip of leaky tents from childhood camping forays and the ramshackle constructions in a Glastonbury Festival mudfield. These expedition-standard shelters are at the peak of mountain-tent technology; adequate, even, for base camp. They are designed to withstand cold, wet weather and high winds – or typical British winter.

While a recent Mintel report revealed that the number of camping trips taken in Britain has increased by 23 per cent over the last five years, spending more than £250 on something that will only ever see the inside of a camp site is an extravagance. Tents, like sleeping bags, are categorised by seasons, and these four-season tents are better suited to the hardships of the Highlands.

When investing in a new tent, consider what level of weatherproofing you require. Seams, for instance, should be taped for maximum waterproofing, and the zips on the flysheet (the outer shell) should be covered by protective flaps. Compare the number of anchoring points – the more a tent has, the more stable it will be.

To an extent there is a trade-off between size, weight and durability. The Mountain Hardwear, North Face and Terra Nova tents are specialist mountain tents and are less spacious than the larger, weightier Tempest, so that they are able to be pitched on narrow ledges. In 1999 Babu Chiri Sherpa spent 21 hours perched on Everest's summit in a Mountain Hardwear tent.

Another factor to consider is how compact the tent is – important if it has to be strapped to a backpack. Again the Tempest is the bulkiest, but then it does have two doors and ample porch space for cooking and storage. The award-winning Solar is the smallest package.

The A-frame tent is a thing of the past; domes are quicker and easier to put up, and thanks to curved support poles, which slide together and then thread through loops on the outside of the inner body, the low-profile shape is stronger and more resistant to turbulent winds.

All the tents featured are stocked by Ellis Brigham, 0161 834 5555, www.ellis-brigham.com

Next week: skateboarding shoes

Mountain Hardwear Trango 2

At 3.97kg the Trango 2 nudges the 4kg barrier and uses four main tent-poles. Seen here without its flysheet.

For stockists: 01572 724 499.

Price: £349.99

Terra Nova Solar 2

The Solar 2 is the lightest tent of the bunch at 2.5kg. Seen here without its flysheet.

For stockists: 01773 833 300.

Price: £299.99

The North Face Westwind

At 2.61kg the Westwind is as svelte as the Terra Nova. It has 12 anchor points for stability. Seen here without its flysheet.

For stockists: 01539 738 882.

Price: £269.99

Wild Country Tempest

The Tempest weighs in at a chunky 4.3kg. Seen here with the flysheet attached. Accommodates two people comfortably.

For stockists: 01773 833 300.

Price: £269.99

Comments