My how tents have changed!

Having had a large Vango family tent for over 10 years (a Vista 800 DLX since you ask) I was looking forward to spending a few days in a new Maritsa 700 tent, also from Vango. This would be an ideal chance to see how the equivalent tents have changed, and for the family, some of them who have camped in the Vista for all their lives (my 11 year old!) an introduction to the luxuries of a fully sealed in groundsheet and wall to wall carpets.

Vango Maritsa 700 on sunny day, sorry tent is guaranteed, not the weather!

Now the Vista was a best seller season after season  a good few years ago and I remember many variants on the tunnel design, the most similar model in the 2011 line up being the Tigris tents, equally as popular since the space you get in a tunnel is fantastic. Most of the larger popular tents these days are a type of tunnel design, from Outwell or Vango the concept of all the poles in a line, on the outside for easy pitching, and fairly upright side poles means space is maximised.

The Maritsa 700 sleeps 7 (also available in 500, sleeping 5 – same design just narrower) is a variation on the tunnel theme with a larger body of the tent narrowing to a smaller (but still more than adequate) porch.

Like a tunnel but a little different!

Pitching is the same as any tunnel design, spread the tent fabric out, stick a couple of the heavier v pegs at each corner of one end, I always start from the back, put the poles in, colour coded so no mistakes and then lift the tent and pull it out like a concertina. If that all sounds too easy and you are not so experienced at tent pitching then don’t worry, practice a couple of times and it all makes sense. Vango also have some more detailed pitching instructions, click here to go to our product page and click on the ‘Maritsa 700 Pitching Instructions’ link.
The tent comes with plenty of pegs to guy everything out, heavier duty V pegs are provided for the main anchor points, these are on each corner and are usually the ones with webbing adjusters on them. Take a tent mallet or ask a fellow camper to borrow one, harder ground can be tricky to get the pegs in to.

Colour coding matches the marking on the poles, Red on this one
Although made of steel ,the poles are ok to handle as the roof sections are separate

Once up the main differences from my old Vista 800 are obvious, metal poles for one thing with a straight profile on the sides make for much more feeling of space.

Spacey with large doors on either side for great ventilation or access options

You can see on the above picture the now familiar concept of a fully sealed in groundsheet, luxury compared with the drafty Vista!

The porch is also nice and large enabling you to have a cooker stand, cool box and a storage unit maybe and still have enough room to walk in and out. Not that the Maritsa is short of entrances with two large doors into the main living area.
The curtain / door you see between the porch and the living area can be partially pulled back and  rolled up – more neatly than you see here! Or rolled back the entire way to create a larger space, may be for entertaining the whole camp site!

Large porch, groundsheet included.
Side view of porch, windows on both sides, small vent over.

One update I would say the porch could do with is an opening that would allow ventilation. All the warnings say not to cook in your tent but lets face it in the UK alfresco breakfasts and BBQ’s are not always possible so the ability to get some more airflow when you are cooking (carefully!) in the porch, perhaps even with the main door closed when it’s raining, would be useful. Their are windows with roll up curtains and a small vent over but this needs guying out to get any sort of opening. Ok ventilation is possible but Zip up windows or mesh screen would be ideal, I will be passing some feedback on to Vango when viewing the 2012 range!

What else has changed from my old faithful Vango?

Well I forgot to take a snap of the bedrooms (3 of them in this model) but they come pre-attached so when the tent is up that’s it done. On the Vista it’s only the start with both the inners x 2 and the groundsheet needing attaching. I would say the pitching time on this new Maritsa is cut in half!

Other small feature, now fairly common on good brand tents is the guyline velcro tabs, nothing makes a tent difficult to pitch than a mess of loose guy lines that you haven’t bothered securing up when packing up. Take a bit of time to roll them up and velcro into a bundle to stop this happening.

Simple idea, tidy guy lines make for easier pitching next time.

The bedroom sizes (sorry no pics) are good, we had 5 in the tent for the weekend which although below the 7 person capacity is often what families do to allow for more space. A 3 person bedroom with 2 x 2 person bedrooms allows mum and dad to have a bit more room in the larger room and still get a double airbed in the others. Although we didn’t use it, the middle room can also double as storage / wardrobe with a hanging bar & clips provided.

As you can see from the pictures the space is exceptional, even though we had good weather there would have been no problem to get chairs, tables etc in the living area and still be able to move around and as discussed the porch it more than generous for storing wet boots / shoes etc. We were in a sheltered spot but for coastal camping the steel poles and plentiful guylines would in my experience be more than a match for  a windy pitch.

If you are looking at this size, comparing perhaps the Outwell Vermont XL, or Vango Amazon 600 from our range, then take a look at the Maritsa, it’s roomy, excellent quality and easy to pitch for such a large tent.

Even better it goes back in the bag, we managed it first time! Smug? well yes but I’m sure anyone who has tried to pack away a tent knows that feeling!

Good carry bag with wheels, mind you poles are carried extra and being steel are reasonably heavy.

Happy camping!

Jon

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