Mark Harris
10 BEST TENTS - The Independent, 11 June 2003

Whether you're climbing the Matterhorn or raving at Glastonbury, Mark Harris recommends some pitch-perfect options

Solar 2 340 --- BEST BUY
Don't be fooled by the name of this lightweight (2.5kg) two-person tent. Thanks to flysheet seams that have been hot air taped to guarantee strength and water resistance, it's as happy in driving rain as it is in blazing sunshine. Its size and weight make it perfect for year-round backpacking.
Terra Nova (01773 833300) www.terra-nova.co.uk

Levache 220
Finding the right tent for a cycling holiday isn't easy, but the Levache has the advantages of reasonable weight (4.3kg), room for two to spread out in style and a porch that's large enough to accommodate two muddy bikes. There's even a window to keep an eye on the weather.
Wild Country (01773 833300) www.terra-nova.co.uk

Union Jack Tent 40
There's no point taking a high-tech Teflon-coated shelter to Glastonbury when this cheap and cheerful tent is simpler to assemble and much easier to locate after a few pints of scrumpy. It'll keep out light showers and even offers SPF 30+ if the unthinkable happens and the sun comes out to play.
Millets (01293 852852) www.millets.co.uk

Force Ten Vortex 350 --- BEST LUXURY BUY
Many tents are claimed to be suitable for expeditions, but few can currently be found at Everest Base Camp alongside the Force Ten Vortex. It earned its place thanks to a highly stable geodesic dome with lateral tri-support system, and a durable and totally waterproof Hytex SPU-Xtreme flysheet. The eye-watering Jaffa colour can't have hurt either.
Vango (01475 746000) www.vango.co.uk

Viper 85
The one-man Viper is perfect for those times when you just want to be alone, from solo trips on the Moors to camping at Wimbledon for tickets. Its single Duraluminum pole can be erected in moments and the whole tent folds down into an incredibly light (2.1kg) and small (55cm) waterproof package.
Coleman (01275 845024) www.coleman-eur.com

Spirit 2 90 --- BEST BUDGET BUY
This stylish semi-geodesic design should ensure you're the toast of the campsite. Fibreglass (rather than alloy) poles add to the Spirit's 4.3kg mass, but it's worth carrying the weight for the tough polyester fabric with anti-wicking thread and water-repellent zipper. The poles are even colour-coded for swift assembly.
Coleman (01275 845024) www.coleman-eur.com

Super Quasar 500
The geodesic design of this three-person tent uses intersecting poles to create an exceptionally strong structure - although it's not the lightest, at around 4.35 kg packed. Add the optional snow valances and you've got a weather-resistant shelter suitable for serious expedition use.
Terra Nova (01773 833300) www.terra-nova.co.uk

Hex 3 190
Although this hexagonal shelter may summon childhood memories of making wigwams from bed sheets, it also offers 21st-century flexibility. You can hang the silicone-impregnated rip-stop canopy from a tree, erect it on a paddle in a canoe or over a ski-pole. A waterproof floor (50) and bug-proof inner (70) are optional extras.
Golite (0800 0569870) www.golite.co.uk

Islay 70
Mountaineers will scoff at its chunky 6kg weight, but this two-person, two-season tent offers great value for the occasional car camper. It has fully taped seams to keep rain out and pitches fly-sheet first to keep the breathable inner dry. A large porch and generous 130cm headroom complete the package.
Blacks (01604 441111) www.blacks.co.uk

Balmoral 230
If your camping holidays are more about avoiding molehills than clambering up mountains, the Balmoral deserves a spot in the back of your Volvo. Sleeping eight at a pinch or fewer in comfort, it has a built-in groundsheet, breathable nylon inner and even a prop-up porch.
Blacks (01604 441111) www.blacks.co.uk



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