2012 Vango Tents – A Buyer’s Guide

2012 Vango tents show both evolution and revolution.

Possibly the most well known Tent manufacturer in the UK, Vango formed way back in Scotland in 1963. They have nearly 50 years experience of manufacturing and developing products for outdoor enthusiasts. They are behind the truly iconic Force Ten – that big orange triangle that springs to mind for many people when they think of what a tent is. The name Vango is an anagram of Govan, the area in Glasgow where the company originates from. 

Vango have developed and adapted their range to suit all needs. Anything from casual weekend camping in a family tent to high demand trips in extreme conditions. Vango have fantastic knowledge born out of a heritage as part of the British and worldwide outdoor scene that is matched by few. This is why they have been a consistent part of our tent range for years.

Vango Tent - Serenity

It’s Vango tents  for families that we’re going to concentrate on in this blog post, though. From Vango, we have a wide range of fantastic value, easy to use tents that are wind and rain tested, suit a variety of needs and are Taunton Leisure best sellers.

Vango at Taunton Leisure

This year we’re excited that our range of Vango tents includes the much talked about Airbeam models. If you don’t know of Airbeam, take a look at this video which will explain all. We visited The Tent Show at Stoneleigh last year for a preview of 2012 tent models and got a good look at the whole of Vango’s range for this year, including the Airbeam – you can read our thoughts on what we saw in our blog post – A Glance into the Future – The Tent Show at Stoneleigh (part 1)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKASfTvpyfU]

Our range of family sized Vango tents stretches across three of their collections. We have Airbeam tents, the Family Tent range and the Weekend Tent Range. They’re all tunnel style designs, fully wind and rain tested, with a polyester flysheet and are pitched outer first or all in one with the inners left attached. Our selection is made up of well known models such as the Tigris, Calisto and Icarus ranges as well as the newer Kinetic, Infinity and Eternity ranges.
Vango Family Tents
Vango tents lifestyleVango Tigris
Available from Taunton Leisure: Vango Tigris 400XL, Tigris 600XL, Tigris 800XL
vango tent tigris 800xl
Vango Tigris 800XL

The ever popular, reliable and best selling Tigris range is a mainstay of our collection from Vango. Designed with families in mind to be as easy to use as possible, you’ll find these tents provide a great amount of space in the living areas and bedrooms, as well as good stand up height. Vango have ensured that this range is as comfortable and straight forward to pitch as possible.

Across the range you’ll find several features in common; hydrostatic head, a measure of the polyester fabrics waterproof capabilities, is at 4000mm (minimum standard for manufacture is around 1500mm). The Duratec fibreglass poles are, sturdy, lightweight and colour coded. Detachable inners include colour coded attachments for ease of use; part mesh, with plenty of storage and can be left in once attached.

Guylines are pre-attached with ‘Line Lok’ guy runnerstension straps are included, along with  the Tension Band System (TBS II), all helping to get that perfect pitch. The cable entry point enables you to power any appliances you may need inside the tent and the fully sewn in groundsheet is made of a tough polyethylene (PE), so no need to worry about any insects or bugs getting in.

What’s new?
vango tent tigris 400xl
Vango Tigris 400XL

The answer is ‘quite a lot, actually!’

Firstly, you may have noticed the name change – Tigris XL. As the name suggests, they’re bigger than last year. All Tigris tents feature the ‘XL’ moniker this year to reflect the changes in size that Vango have made. The Tigris 400XL has undergone the most radical change of all – it’s a full metre longer than last year’s Tigris 400, essentially doubling the living space creating an area that is ideal for relaxing in as well as storing all of your bits and bobs.

Another change from last year is the length of the front pole. It’s been extended, bringing it up to the length of  the other poles (bar the rear one) – this has the affect of raising head height toward the front end of the tent, again increasing the living space. This change has been made across the whole of the Tigris range.

Other improvements include the introduction of larger windows help to bring more light into the tent as well as new privacy curtains. New low level vents have been added to help tackle condensation and the side doors now have a fully sheltered rain cover, adding sides that run all the way to the bottom of the tent in addition to the rain porch of the previous models.

Vango Weekend Tents
vango tent 2013 lifestyle 2

As the name suggests, Vango Weekend tents are designed for short breaks away. It doesn’t have to be at the weekend, though!

Tents are designed to pack down to a small size, easily fitting in the back of the car as well as being quick and easy to pitch. They offer great living and sleeping space and, with the exception of the Icarus 300, all have comfortable stand up height.

Vango Icarus
icarus 500 - vango tent
Vango Icarus 500
Available from Taunton Leisure: Icarus 300, Icarus 400, Icarus 500, Icarus 600

Featuring what is quite possibly the best selling tent in the company in the Icarus 500, the Icarus range is perfect as a first tent for families on a budget who are looking to get into camping, but are perhaps unsure as to whether it’ll be for them.

The Icarus has always been popular due to it’s simple, effective design, ease of use and great price. For the 2012 season we’ve extended our range with the addition of the Icarus 400.

It’s also perfect for those who would like something quick and easy for the weekend. We’ve seen many people who buy these as their ‘second tent’ as a convenient alternative to a more bulky, heavyweight tent designated for longer trips.

The Icarus is made of 70 Denier embossed 3000HH Protex polyester flysheet. The groundsheet is, like the Tigris range, fully sewn-in 10,000HH PE. Poles are Duratec fibreglass supplemented by the Tension Band System (TBS II) to give added stability in windy conditions.

You’ll get detachable inners with part mesh doors and colour coded fixings for ease of use as well as plenty of storage. Like on the Tigris range, there’s a Pelmet – it’s an aesthetic addition that hides the inner attachment points from view and also has storage pockets. Other features include pre-attached guylines with runners and reflective webbing. You also get a full mesh door behind each of the two main doors, so when it’s hot you can have cooling ventilation and the effect of the door open without being troubled by pesky mosquitos and insects!

What’s new?

In terms of look, these tents haven’t changed quite as radically as the Tigris models, but there are new features to speak of. Like the Tigris range, the windows have been updated. Larger windows on the side and new added window panels on the front of the tent bring more light and an increased spaciousness to the living space; these windows are supplemented with new privacy curtains. 

Also an addition to the Icarus range this year are new low level ventilation points, aiding airflow into the tent and preventing condensation. The Icarus 500 has been widened for this season, allowing for more living and sleeping space inside.

Vango Calisto

Vango Calisto 500
Available from Taunton Leisure: Calisto 400, Calisto 500, Calisto 600

The Calisto range was one of the success stories of last year, especially at our Sanders Tent Show, where they proved to be extremely popular. The appeal of these tents lies in the extra strength and stability you get from its steel poles, combined with a great value price.

As is the case with the previous two ranges, the Calisto range incorporates new features including larger windows, privacy curtains, reflective webbing, and low level ventilation. You’ll also get the same Protex 3000HH 70D embossed polyester material and 10,000HH PE groundsheet that is found on the Icarus range, with pre attached guylines with runners and holders. Detachable inners feature a half mesh door and the two doors each have a separate mesh door to keep the bugs out while ventilating the tent. Some nice new features here, but where this tent really differs from last year is in the design…

If you’re familiar with the 2011 Calisto you’ll see that this years iteration has a radically different front end in comparison. Instead of an angled, sloping front where you can (arguably) lose some headroom and space, Vango have gone for a completely flat front and added a rather futuristic looking rain shield.

While initially it may seem as if they’ve forgone space for a bit of style, the tent has actually been lengthened to compensate for the initial loss of space that this redesign brings. The total length of the Calisto 500 has actually increased from 455cm to 520cm. This has resulted in extra living space, with the length of the living area being around 65cm longer and 20cm wider in the 500. Perfect for storage or just lounging in, this extra room is found across the Calisto range.

Vango Airbeam Tents

Inflatable tents are not an entirely new concept, but they are one which Vango are looking to refine. If they do, there’s a lot of success to be had. How is an Airbeam different than a ‘regular’ tent? Instead of poles, these tents are supported by inflatable beams of air, which can be pumped up in minutes by the user with the included pump.

Upon seeing 2012 development models at Stoneleigh last year, we were impressed with the sturdiness of the beams. To the touch they felt strong – it was quite difficult to squeeze the  beams. Give them a bit of a push and they wouldn’t move anymore than a fibreglass pole under the same force. It was a windy day that day and with all the guylines attached and pegged the tent seemed to stand up to the weather with no issues. We look forward to seeing how they perform at our tent show.

Excitement and intrigue does surround these tents and it’s easy to see why; something so easy and convenient is no doubt appealing to many. If it does what it says, Airbeam could potentially bring in a lot of new people into the camping market – those previously put off with fiddling with poles and instructions, a tent which can be inflated in minutes is potentially a game changer.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sa1X0NEhrtc?rel=0]

Vango Kinetic

Vango Kinetic 500
Available from Taunton Leisure: Kinetic 500, Kinetic 600

In terms of dimensions, the Vango Kinetic tent range is very much the same as its non Airbeam counterpart, the Icarus. The Kinetic 500 is identical in size and shape to the Icarus 500, the Kinetic 600 corresponds closely to the Icarus 600. It does use a higher quality flysheet fabric – 75D polyester with 6,000HH along with fully taped seams and durable zipping, giving class leading protection against rain and UV from the sun.

Features are very similar too: large windows with privacy curtains give good views and discretion when required, the PE groundsheet is sewn in, guarding from draughts and bugs; and pre-attached guylines with holders and runners in combination with the TBS II system ensure the tent is stable and secure at all times.

In addition to those, the two entrances are supplemented with Vango AirZone ventilation, separate mesh doors to protect from insects and plenty of storage pockets in and outside of the detachable inners, with detachable inner dividers.

What makes the Kinetic series really stand out, of course, is it’s AirBeam technology. Take a look at the video above and you can see just how quickly they inflate. Just peg out the corners, attach the pump and you’re away. One other thing to mention, those zipped sections next to the beams are openings where the pump attaches to the valve.

Vango Airbeam Infinity & Eternity

Available from Taunton Leisure: Infinity 400, Infinity 600, Infinity 800, Eternity 800
Vango Infinity 600 (top) & Vango Eternity 600 (bottom)

Vango Infinity is very much the Tigris of the Airbeam range. Dimensions match up closely to those from last year’s Tigris tents.

With the bent section of the beams, the Eternity is reminiscent of an Amazon 600. The differing ‘pole’ structure is designed to create optimal head height and living space as well as having a distinctive look.

We won’t go through and repeat all the features again because these tents have all the bells and whistles of the other AirBeam models; you get the same high quality 6000HH polyester flysheet, for example. The only differences being that, excluding the Infinity 400, they each feature three entrances with separate mesh door as opposed to just the two. You’ll need to remove a bedroom on the Infinity 600 & 800 though for full use of all the rooms, however. Also, the detachable inners come with zipped dividers rather than detachable toggle ones.

Vango are currently in the process of performing extensive product and quality testing on the 2012 Airbeam range. Due to the fact that there’s such an expansion in the range and it’s such an innovative product Vango want to make be certain they get it right.

With a number of enhancements over the initial small range last year, product testing, quality testing has dictated that delivery of the new Airbeam tents will not be until midway through the season. We will hopefully, however, have a demo or two that we’ll be showing to the public at our summer tent show from the start of the season at Sanders Garden World, Somerset.

Vango Accessories

We’ll also have a range of Vango accessories available to compliment your tent, adding extra comfort and protection from the elements. We’ll be stocking the appropriate carpets, footprints and canopies, where possible, for all the Vango tents we sell. Let’s take a quick look at them:

Vango Tent Carpets

I’m sure there are a few of you out there who are thinking ‘A carpet for a tent? Don’t be stupid!’ or something along those lines, but consider this: the carpet does not just make the living experience inside the tent more comfortable and more aesthetically pleasing, but it actually adds an extra layer of protection for the groundsheet from the inside.

Not only is it nicer under foot, but it also is a lot quieter to walk on. You don’t quite get that crunchy, noisy polyester sound that you do if you’re walking directly on the groundsheet – useful for those middle of the night trips to answer the call of nature, where you really don’t want to wake the family! It also makes it easier to tidy the living area, by shaking off any mud or crumbs from the carpet – Utilising it’s carry bag, it can also be used as a picnic rug..

Vango Tent Footprints

The footprint is a relatively recent evolution in tent accessories. Looking for something to add a layer of protection to the tent, campers would take a section of tarpaulin and pitch their tent on top of it.

Manufacturers realised what a good idea this was and produced made to measure ‘footprints’ for each of the tents they sold.

Not only did these offer protection for the tent groundsheet from sharp objects on the ground, helping to extend the life of the tent. They served to keep the underside of the tent away from the rough, mucky ground, meaning only the footprint needed to be cleaned after use rather than the whole of the built in tent groundsheet. This allows for easier pitching, packing and storage.

Vango Tent Canopy
2012 Vango Icarus 500 with Front Enclosed Canopy

The canopies all match their corresponding tent in fabric and pole material usage. For example, the Icarus 500 canopy picture above has the same 3000HH polyester flysheet material and duratec fibreglass poles. They have nice large windows to let the light in.

With a groundsheet included, this fully enclosed shelter with zip door is useful in a few different ways; as an extension of the living space, a place for dining, or somewhere to store things like bikes and other bits of kit. It enables the you to keep room free in the main living area of their tent.

Many of our tents come with a front or side canopy. Nice and easy to pitch, these are a great addition to your tent if you want to increase the space you have available.

Taunton Leisure Tent Show

Loads of tents will be on display this year at our summer tent show

With only a few weeks to go until our tent show kicks off, we’re getting excited about seeing all the new models in the flesh and getting to grips with them properly; especially the AirBeam models. We’ll be happily demonstrating Vango AirBeam technology as well as showing off and talking about our whole tent range from 31 March until early September at Sanders Garden World, Near Brent Knoll, Somerset.

We’ll have over 40 family sized tents (icluding Vango tents) to sell and on display, as well as tipi tents, lightweight specialist tents and accessories. This is a great opportunity to see the tents in person and get a feel for their size as well as the materials used. Click here for more info.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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To chat to outdoor enthusiasts and experts on our product ranges visit our stores in Taunton, Exeter, or Bristol.

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