As is the case with any long term outdoors adventure that involves lengthy periods of camping in a tent, one of the most important criteria for the e-Bike Cycle Tourists before setting off to set a new world e-bike long distance record was to purchase a tent that ticked a long list of criteria.
While a relatively small 2 person Black Wolf dome tent had sufficed on previous lone long distance cycle tours, the planned e-Bike Cycle Tourists tour throughout the UK and mainland Europe was a much different situation given the fact that it involved two people camping on a regular basis for up to 18 months.
From previous experience we had a long list of “musts” that our new home away from home must feature.
- It had to be light enough for cycle touring
- It had to sleep 3 people, have a large living space and a generously proportioned sleeping area
- It had to be a tunnel design
- It had to be high enough to be able to comfortably sit inside the sleeping compartment on a camp chair
- Importantly, it had to be a three season tent suitable for camping in hot weather
- Conversely, it needed good waterproof and fire retardant qualities
- It had to be simple to construct in all types of weather conditions
- It had to be a light green colour to be able to easily blend in while wild camping
The resultant search for a suitable tent was, to say the least, exhaustive, with many, many tents ruled out of the equation along the way for one reason or another – including many top-of-the-range, very expensive tents.
In the end the one critical criterion that saw us settle on the Vango Omega 350 three person tent was the 135cm height of the sleeping compartment.
While the ability for two people to sit on camp chairs at night and during long days of wet weather was the deciding factor, we were also pleased to discover that as an added bonus our final choice also featured all of the above “must haves”.
But it is one thing to be the “perfect” tent on paper, but what has been our experience after eight months on the road?
To be honest it has been a case of the good and the bad. While in practice the tent did indeed fulfill all of our criteria, there have been a number of problems along the way.
First and foremost was the fact that two of the tent poles snapped after just 3 months of use, but even more of a concern was the fact that the tent started to leak after one particularly fierce thunder storm in the north of England that dumped a huge amount of rain on us.
Fortunately we were able to source replacement poles, but the leak above the sleeping compartment continued every time it rained. After trying to solve the problem with a waterproof spray, in the end we were left with no option other than to look for a replacement tent.
While the first thought was to simply throw the leaking tent away, in the end we decided to return the tent to Vango in the UK under the terms of the one year manufacturer’s guarantee.
A long shot, we thought, but worth the effort considering the fact that we were in the UK at the time. While there was no expectation that the warranty would be honoured – after all, manufacturers never honour warranty claims do they? – it was worth a long shot, we reasoned.
You can therefore imagine our surprise when our original purchase price was promptly refunded in full by Wild Earth Australia, the retailer we purchased the tent from.
Despite the hassles involved, our replacement tent was another Vango Omega 350 … after all it was still the only tent that fitted all of our requirements and, hopefully, the leaking problem was only a one-off.
On every other front the Omega 350 has been a winner. It is a tent we would have no hesitation to recommend for anyone contemplating a long distance cycling tour.
Vango Omega 350 Tent Manufacturers Specifications
- Tunnel tent – Style provides greatest space to weight ratio
- Flysheet and inner pitch together – Quick and easy to pitch and pack
- Patented Vango TBS®II Tension Band System ensures tent performs in adverse conditions, especially in strong, changeable winds. When tensioned, the bands brace the pole at 3 points, and prevent sideways movement. Adjust TBS®II to remove slack. Do not over tension, as this may deform the poles. Can be stowed away in calm weather
- Protex® 70D 5,000mm HH Polyester Flysheet – highly waterproof and durable fabric exclusive to Vango
- 70 denier, 6000mm lightweight polyester groundsheet – Waterproof, durable and reliable
- Vango PowerLite 7001-T6 alloy poles – Lightweight, durable and colour coded for intuitive pitching
- Breathable polyester inner – Allows condensation to pass through, for a comfortable night’s sleep
- Part mesh inner door – Allows ventilation, whilst keeping bugs out
- Mesh flysheet door – One (or more) entrance has a full mesh door. Provides ventilation and keeps bugs out
- O-shaped inner doors – Easy to open with one hand
- Clip-in riser porch groundsheet – Clean, dry storage area for boots and equipment while reducing draughts
- Twin flysheet doors – Allows easier access for two or more occupants, and/or additional storage
- Rain stop flysheet doors – Structured so that rain will not drop into the inner when opened
- Flysheet door vent – Open from the top to ventilate porch
- Inner pockets – Conveniently positioned pockets for organising essential items
- Line-Lok guyline runners – Lock securely, simple to release and high performance in all conditions
- Factory taped seams – All flysheet and groundsheet seams are factory taped, giving a water tight seal
- Multiple reflective points – On pegging points for visibility in low light
- Orange reflective high strength guylines – Provides high visibility in low light
- Fast pack tent bag – Oversized opening for easy packing and compression straps to control pack size
- Fire retardant fabrics – Meets European EN5912 safety standard
- Weather tested to the European standard EN5912 by certified test centre