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“Living With The Etesian 4 Tent” by Andy Black

Posted on February 28th, 2013
Etesian 4 Tent - Guest Blog Review

Guest blog:  Andy Black – Outoor and camping enthusiast – shares his thoughts, views and opinions of the Wild Country Etesian 4 Tent.


“Our family holidays tend to be of two extremes. The first type is chilled out weekends and occasional weeks of base-camp camping with a lot of gear. Boogie boards, wetsuits and bikes, with some home comforts, and to this end we have had a few family tents over the years.

The second type of camping often raises eyebrows amongst people that don’t know us well. This involves minimalist lightweight camping, cooking on a single Trangia stove and taking the minimum gear. These trips mostly involve bikes and touring, usually in what some might say unusual locations. For example, in 2009 we did two weeks in the Outer Hebrides travelling to Scotland by sleeper and then  by bike through the  islands of Barra, Benbencula, North and South Uist and Harris and cycling back through Skye. In 2011 it was three weeks in Shetland travelling through from Kirkwall to the south to Sumburgh head and north to Muckle Flugga.

As regards gear we tend to buy good quality practical gear. Emma and I and our two boys Linden (13) and Rowan (10) have looked for lightweight tents over the years to take all four of us. For our biking trip we gave up and bought another 2 person lightweight tent with large porch. This went alongside a Wild Country Trisar that is over 15 years old and has been used at 1,800 ft in the Himalaya, the west coast of Ireland in 48 hours of rain and loads of other places and has never ever let me down. The boys call it ‘the bug’ because of its yellow inner looking like a bee. What we ideally wanted was a lightweight four man 3 season tent but at the time I didn’t see one.

Our family base camp tent was a non-descript and frankly serviceable but heavy and slow-to-erect beast, that eventually gave up the ghost. Then we came across the new Etesian 4 tent from Wild Country.

 

Summer with Etesian 4

The tent was used on four occasions.  A garden test camp, a biblically wet camp on the Lynn peninsula in Wales, a glorious family break at Walberswick on the Suffolk Coast, and weekend camp with ten or so families at Dunwich.

Camp 1

Etesian 4 Tent Pitched in Garden

Pitched in the Garden

It amazes me how many people buy tents and then take them on holiday having never pitched them. So we did a test pitch in our garden. First impressions of the Etesian 4 were that it’s light but well-built and “not bulky”. The amount of tents we’ve looked at where you need two people to carry and four people to pitch them. The first thing we loved were the proper poles. Alloy poles are so much lighter and  robust than glass fibre or steel poles and the fact that the outer tent (yes it pitches either all at once or outer first) has colour coded pole fitting points or sleeves to match with colour coded poles is great. Also, because it’s free-standing, you can move it around easily to avoid bumps and lumps on the camp site. The pitch outer with inner attached meant we had a tent, that we had never pitched before, up in 15 minutes – compared to 45 minutes for our previous tent – which was a joy.  First impressions inside were that  the tent was huge and would take four adults with gear in the inner tent without even using space in the large vestibule. The fact I could stand up in the inner was also a plus point. It has practical mesh pockets in both sides of the inner and also the porch. The groundsheet in the vestibule with zip up flap to put wet boots on the ground was a nice touch. But the things that most reassured me were the build quality, guying and how the tent erected with tight fabric (no flapping). The plan was for all the family to use it but our junior testers banned mum and dad (humph).

Camp 2

Etesian 4 Tent withstands storm

Standing strong in rain storm

The first real test was a couple of days on the Lynn peninsula in Wales. Putting up the tent on an exposed coastal camp site was a joy even with the threat of impending rain. Let’s just say it was a bit wet, well it rained 100 mm (4 inches in old money). After returning from a very wet days cycle trip we found a flooded camp site but a completely dry tent (remarkable). To give an idea of how wet it was, it was the same weekend when campers had to be evacuated by helicopter due to flooding in mid-Wales. On return from Wales we had the tent spread out to dry in our front room!

Camp 3

The third test was at a rustic seasonal camping site at Walberswick. This marked the start of what we call summer. This is a favourite with us, either at the start or end of the school holidays. It’s marked by crabbing, lots of swimming and short bike rides into the excitement that is Southwold . This, though rustic, is the nearest we get to ‘glamping’ with collapsible chairs and barbecues. The site on the Suffolk Coast is fully exposed to the North Sea. All gear has to be transported by hand or by the site’s wheelbarrow across the “crabbing bridge”. Again the compact and lightweight tent was a real boon as was its speed of erection. The reassurance of the quality of the Etesian 4 can’t be over stressed and the lack of flapping fabric aids to a restful nights sleep. The mesh ventilation at each end of the inner helped control the sultry temperatures and kept insects from the marshes at bay. The vestibule again came into its own as storage space and the two clear window panels had blinds which added to the light and space of the tent. Four days camping gave us a chance to test it in a variety of weathers and basically performed well in all conditions.

Camp 4

Family Camping Tent

Lightweight Family Camping

The final test of the summer is always the first weekend back at school and usually seems a bit of a chore until you get set up, but with the Etesian 4 and the fact you don’t fire yourself struggling with acres of fabric having minor domestics as to how the tent goes up, it seemed less onerous even putting the spacious additional awning on it. It took less than 20 minutes to get to the stage of making home inside the tent – super! The space to lounge round was a joy. Allowing us to enjoy some genuinely hot weather and see Suffolk coast at its end-of-season best.  It seemed to excel in this sort of relaxed environment.

 

I realise I’ve been positive throughout this short review –  any gripes to be honest were really minor. One being the open hooks connecting the rear of the inner to the two corners of the outer. These currently seemed to come loose when pitching or take down the tent. A dog-clip like catch might sort it. A really minor niggle. Another one was small pegs in clay ground are fine but in rough stony or sandy ground they only  just about do the job. But to honest finding any one set of pegs for all conditions is a bit of a nightmare. But I’d recommend taking spares of different sizes just in case.

So all in all does it do the job? An unequivocal yes! It performed well across what I would call 4 season conditions for a tent sold as a 3 season. The plus points too numerous to mention but in summary;

  • Weight
  • Compactness
  • Build quality
  • Space (frankly it’s huge).

Summary

If you want a monstrosity of a multiple pod tent, the Etesian 4 is not for you. But if you’re a family or group that wants a reliable, well-constructed tent, designed by people that obviously go camping, its got to be the one that you consider.

If it lasts half the time my Wild Country Trisar tent has, I’ll be impressed. Incidentally, I pointed out to my long suffering wife that I have had my Trisar tent for longer than we’ve known each other, and it was our fourteenth wedding anniversary last week!”

 

 


Product Information: Wild Country Etesian 4 Tent

 

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