Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Vango Capri 500 Airbeam Tent Review

Vango Capri 500 Airbeam Tent.

Vango Capri 500The first thing I noticed about the Capri 500, was that despite it being a spacious 5 man tent, it packs down to a good size, it isn’t too heavy and it’s easy to carry. That being said, I was more interested in discovering how long it would take to erect the tent. I had heard impressive talk about the ease and speed at which these ‘Airbeam’ tents went up, but I was keen to see for myself.
Upon taking out the tent it becomes clear just how easy this should be. All of these tents have a sewn in ground sheet, which means upon unpacking, everything is in on piece and ready to go. There are no separate bedrooms that need to be put in later, simply a small bag of pegs and a single, collapsible fibreglass pole for the front awning, along with the included air pump.

The air pump feels robust and good quality. It comes complete with a pressure gauge, so you need not worry about over inflating your beams and it also comes with a deflator attachment, meaning that you can be sure that you will expel all of the air from your beams, ensuring a good tight package upon pack up.

I spread my tent out and pegged it at the four main pegging points (two at the rear and two at the front). The next step was to pump up the beams one by one. It was pleasing to see that the air valves were very easily accessible. It’s simply a case of twisting off the valve cap, ensuring that the air valve is set to ‘closed’ and twisting in the air pump. Upon this twist, the pump locks in place, guaranteeing that there are no unexpected blow- outs mid inflation. The pumps are double action, meaning that they are inflating the beam on both the push down and pull up, coupled with the fact that the required pressure for each beam is a mere 7psi, this makes for a super quick inflation. The Capri 500 has three Airbeams and I had these fully inflated in a matter of minutes. It’s worth mentioning, that although 7psi doesn’t sound very much, the beams are very firm and robust. Having inflated the main section of the tent all that was required now was to assemble the single fibreglass pole and thread it through the front awning. This, again, was a quick and easy process, which left me with the final job of walking around the tent and pushing in the remaining pegs, along with tightening the guy ropes. As I mentioned previously, the bedroom comes ready attached inside, so once this tent is up, you are all done. This whole process took an impressive 5 minutes.

Looking inside the tent, there are a number of nice features. There is a clear window with a zip up cover for night time, a large front door, a side door complete with zip up fly sheet and the bedroom is made of a darker fabric, to limit the light that comes through in the morning and it has a removable partition allowing for one large room, as opposed to two slightly smaller. There is also a hanging point for a lantern in the bedroom and in the living area of the tent. All of the Airbeam tents come with the ‘Tension Band System’ and the Capri 500 is no different. This is a system that gives the tent extra strength, should it need it, in adverse weather conditions. This can be constantly left clipped in place, or put up and taken down as needed. The sewn in groundsheet seems to be a great feature as it rules out any unwanted water creeping into your tent and the awning feels like your own, private outdoor space that would be great for cooking, or simply lounging.

I found the pack down of this tent remarkably easy. Simply take out the one pole, unscrew the valve caps and turn the valves to ‘open’. The tent deflates in seconds and then it is just a case of pulling out the pegs and folding the tent up. I was pleasantly surprised at the size of the bag, as previously with tents I have found that after taking them out of the bag the first time, it is near impossible to fold it back to a similar size, making it very difficult to squash back into its case. There were no such problems here as the bag for the Capri 500 was nice and spacious, so although my folding was far from perfect, I had no trouble whatsoever in packing it back in and zipping it up.

I was really impressed with this tent. From the ease of set up, the pump, the tents space and features, right through to the ease of pack down, it definitely comes highly recommended.

Shop Vango Capri 500

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