Choosing the right tent

On entering a camping shop you are presented with hundreds of options for tents; different sizes, shapes and colours. It can all be a bit confusing over what is going to be best for you. From pop up to tunnel tents, the practicalities might not be apparent in the shop then and there. So here are a few explanations of the different types;

Pop up tents - Two second opening tents might seem like a great option... But, they are an awkward, round shape, that doesn't fit well on a bicycle. We tried one on an over nighter trip along the Belgian coast and it simply doesn't work...

Tunnel tents - they look great and will give you an extraordinary amount of room (great if you are tall like Max) however they require a soft surface to be pitched, as their shape is pulled taught by pegs.

Free standing tents (Dome) - these tents are often easy to assemble and are practical as they can be pitched in all environments - without relying on pegs for the shape.

 As you can see in the video, the tent we chose holds it shape without the pegs. To then maximise the space, the pegs pull all corners out, resulting in room for the bags. Scroll down to read more into our purchase of Quechea's quickhiker tent.

Our first mistake was ordering a tent online...

Having no idea of how easy it would be to assemble and how durable the material would be, ordering from the internet was an unwise decision...Buying the right tent - inspection..!

It took three times longer to arrive then expected so our trip was delayed. This was due to several bank holidays over Easter meaning our payment wasn't received as soon as it should have been...

When it did arrive, it had a considerable hole in the stitching by the door and with such stress on a tent over a long trip like this it would soon deteriorate. So with apprehension, we put it back in the box and realised we would be sharing a tent with Miriam..!

This problem though could have been a blessing in disguise as we then realised choosing a tent for a long trip like this would not just be of personal preference. Apart from the obvious checks for the weight, size inside the bag, size when open, we hadn't considered whether the style would be of importance...



We had to wait 300km until Lisbon to then buy another tent from a Decathlon store. Luckily we were doing this trip with a friend so we could hop in her tent ...with a bit of a squeeze. Along the way we realised that her tent, being a free standing basic tent, was extremely practical for nights when we slept on concrete... Our original order had been a tunnel tent and this would have meant that we would rely on pulling the tent taught for structure.  

So we purchased Quechea's QuickHiker tent for an affordable 100 euros. It's fairly lightweight at 2.7kg, practical being freestanding and packs into a small bag - practical for the bike rack. It is made with a durable material that should last us for this trip and many more. It's waterproof up to 200mm and with use of the pegs it is then extended to have a section for our baggage and most importantly, it's long enough for Max.

That all said, if you do have a tunnel tent and rely on pegs, there are some tips that can help you 

 ⇒ Use stones, bikes or other strong materials in your environment to pull at opposing ends of the tent.


1 Comment on “Choosing the right tent

  1. Hi there!
    Thanks for your tips! I am looking for a tent and it’s a helpful review of your experience!
    I was and I am pointing in quechua tunnel tent as well!

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