Outwell Tents 2012 – A Buyer’s Guide

Update: For the most up-to-date information please take a look at our Outwell guides for 2016!

Outwell Tents Guide 2016

Outwel 2016 Inflatable Tent Models Explained

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Original post below:

For the slightly less extreme camping enthusiast, winter can be a difficult time of year. The inclement weather makes family camping in the winter months a bit of a no go. Freezing cold conditions, muddy ground and rainy days are enough to put many off getting the tent out through the winter.

Fear not though, for we have turned that icy corner. The days are getting longer and they will get warmer. They will! Summer will be here before we know it

You’ll soon be relaxing in green, leafy, peaceful surroundings. Bathed in the evening sun, with the sizzle of sausages on the barbecue (and that one glass of wine too many) soothing you to sleep. Yes, the camping season will be upon us soon.

I’m sure there are many of you out there thinking of picking up a new tent for the summer. To the untrained mind, learning about the features and specifications of each model can be a difficult task; not to mention choosing the right tent for your needs.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help!

Our buyers guide to Outwell Tents 2012 from Taunton Leisure will give you all the info you need to make the correct choice…

Outwell are one of the leading forces in tents and camping equipment. Offering what they call ‘innovative family camping’, they’re responsible for many of the designs and features in tents that in today’s market are considered as standard, including a development to further improve the stability of their tents – The Wind Stabilizer System.

Recently, we blogged a preview of what to expect from Outwell for the upcoming tent season, which you can read here.

Before we get into the differences between each tent collection let’s look first at what unites them. Here are some features that you’ll find on many, if not all Outwell family tents:

  • Taped Seams
  • Pre-Attached Inners
  • Colour Coded Poles
  • Reinforcement on all Stress Zones
  • Adjustable Tension Strap Pegging Points
  • Fire Retardant Materials Conforming to the Latest Regulations for Tent Materials
  • Ample Storage Pocket Provisions in Bedrooms and Living Areas
  • Strategically Placed Ventilation Points
  • Included Doormat
  • Large Windows
  • Curtains that Zip or Toggle up.
  • Cable Entry Point on all Polyester Tents
  • Dry Zip System
  • Guyline Retainer System
  • Easy Pegging System
  • Wind Stabilizer System on all Polyester Tents
  • Sealed Groundsheet System – Sewn or Zip-in Groundsheets
All of these tents can be easily pitched flysheet first or as one; leaving the inners in so you don’t have to fiddle about with them once you’ve got the tent standing. With the correct technique, many of these tents can be pitched single handedly (ask our colleagues at the tent show for more info on that) but for most circumstances we certainly advise that at least two should pitch any family sized tent.
You may also notice that these ‘sleep comfort’ symbols state a different capacity for each tent than their full specification. Tents are notoriously optimistic when it comes to the number of people you can fit inside of them! ‘Sleep comfort’ is the number of people who can be accommodated in optimum comfort within a tent, with a bit of extra living space. So something like a Bear Lake 6, for example, can fit six, but for total comfort Outwell recommend it housing five.

So now we’ve got that out the way we can get down to business. Sit back, get a cup of tea (or something stronger) and prepare for an in-depth guide to Outwell tents 2012 from Taunton Leisure.

Outwell Classic Tent Collection

Tents in this Collection from Taunton Leisure:

The Classic Collection is probably the definitive range from Outwell. It is from this range that you’ll find the well known and ever popular Lake Series. The Wolf Lake, Bear Lake and Trout Lake all come from this range.


Flysheet: Featuring an Outtex Airtech polycotton outer flysheet material, all tents from the Classic Collection have great climate control.

The Beauty of the polycotton is that it stays warm when it is cool, due to the thick material. It also stays cool when it’s warm because that material is also highly breathable. When it rains, the fibres of the material swell up, closing the pores and preventing any water ingress. Ideal for changeable conditions, warm days and cold nights. It’s also treated with a waterproof coating for an extra layer of protection, not only against the rain, but the UV from the sun as well.

Polycotton is also considerably more durable than polyester or nylon and because of that, tents with the Airtech Fabric like the Classic & Sun Collections will be sturdier in windy conditions. That well known rustling of polyester that you’ll no doubt be familiar with when the wind gets up is not an issue with a polycotton Airtech flysheet.

It’s also highly resistant to UV decay, more so than polyester or nylon, meaning that the lifespan of a polycotton tent is considerably greater than it’s polyester counterpart. In terms of water repellency, these tents are second to none. They aren’t given HH (hydrostatic head) ratings as the way the fabric repels and protects against water ingress is different, but they are comparable with, even surpassing, the highest HH ratings available on polyester flysheet tents.

Groundsheet: All tents from the Classic Collection come with a strong, durable PVC Tarpaulin zip-out groundsheet that is both dependable and easy to use.

The Outwell Sealed Ground System (OSG) has several features. Firstly, it is incredibly strong. Having seen them in action at our tent show, with hundreds of people walking in and out of them over a summer, I can personally attest to their strength and durability.

The groundsheet is also easy to use. Zipping it out serves a couple of essential functions. It makes the tent easier to pack away and transport as the weight and bulk are divided away from the flysheet. It also makes cleaning and maintenance easier and keeps any creepy crawlies out at bay!

You can also use the groundsheet as a guide to where you pitch your tent and how much space it’ll take up. Useful if you’re limited to a certain amount of pitch space at any time.

Poles: Tents from the Classic Collection feature the highest grade of pole available from Outwell. The hard anodised aluminium alloy frame with colour coded poles is as strong as steel but considerably lighter, offsetting the extra weight that a heavier polycotton flysheet brings. It’s key to the stability that these tents are well known for.

I’ve heard stories from customers about their Outwell tent being the last standing after a campsite was ravaged by strong winds. Take a trip to our summer tent show at Sanders Garden World, Brent Knoll, from April to September and you’ll be able to see Outwell tents on display, being put through their paces, no doubt fending off almost any weather thrown it’s way!


Key Feature: Outwell Vent View System (OVV) Those little extras that can turn a good tent into a great one, or a great tent into a member of the family! The whole of our Outwell range is packed with great features that are designed to help the tents maintain a high level of performance and make your camping trip that little bit more comfortable.

Tents from the Classic Collection have a unique feature that you won’t find in any other Collection. The Outwell Vent View System (OVV) is a flexible three layer venting system, enabling you to control the temperature and the level of light inside the tent. OVV is made up of a PVC window, mesh and curtain, all of which can be opened and closed independently.

If you’re too hot in the tent you can open the window, but keep the mesh closed to keep the midges and flies away. If you’d like some privacy, the curtains can be closed and you can still have the window and/or mesh open/closed at any time if you prefer.

Other features found across the Classic Collection:

  • Ring & Pin System for Easy Setup
  • Luminous, Pre-Attached Guylines
  • Green-in-Green Striped Breathable Inners
  • Outwell Dry Zip System to Avoid Leakage
  • Outwell Doormat
  • Reflective Guy Point
  • Reinforcement Patch on all Stress Points
  • Heavy Duty Outwell Zips

Featured Tent: Outwell Bear Lake 6

The tent features three separate entrances with mesh screens and Vent View System (OVV) to provide ventilation while keeping the bugs at bay. A lamp holder with cable tidies helps to stay illuminated after the sun goes down and a zip-off front canopy will provide extra shelter should you need it. You’ll also find a low level low light window for peeking out of!As well as having living and bedroom space for six, including generous standing room, the Outwell Bear Lake 6 has plenty of storage provisions; organiser pockets in the bedrooms and in the living area.

Horizontal poles running across both sides (also on the Wolf Lake) provide fantastic extra stability, making this tent as close to bomb-proof as possible!

The Bear Lake 6 was one of the first polycotton tents we sold at Taunton Leisure several years ago and it has stood the test of time. Continually evolving and always remaining a favourite; ever popular with our customers.

The quintessential Outwell Tent. It is a great example of the features, materials and design that you’ll find within the Classic Collection.

If you like the sound of the great quality features and materials in the classic collection but aren’t sure about the design or size, you can go bigger (Wolf Lake 7), smaller (Trout Lake 4) or choose an alternative design  (Montana Lake).

Outwell Sun Tent Collection

Tents in this Collection from Taunton Leisure:
The Sun Collection was introduced by Outwell for the 2011 camping season and while it’s retro looks may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, the great design, build quality and features were warmly received. It’s always good to have choice and this vibrant alternative certainly offers that!

The Sun Collection uses the same Outtex Airtech polycotton flysheet featured in the Classic Collection. You get all the same advantages in durability, breathability and stability that Outwell’s high performance sector-leading fabric brings.

As opposed to the PVC groundsheet found in the Classic Collection, tens from The Sun Collection uses a double-coated polyethylene zip-out groundsheet that is tough, durable and lighter in weight. The apricot colouring adds to the warm feeling inside of the tent.
Both the Kauai and the Hilo Reef use 22mm Galvanised Steel Poles, incredibly strong and durable. They also use a Duratec fibreglass pole on extra areas likes the side and front canopies to save weight. As with all tents from Outwell, the poles are colour coded for easy set up.
Key Feature: Floating Guyline System Guylines that float; what does that mean? I’ll burst the bubble straight away; they don’t actually float I’m afraid!

What they do is give the tent a cleaner overall aesthetic with added stability. The twin brown guyline fixings attach to a single guyline so your view of the tent is not interrupted.

The two-into-one approach also reduces the total number of guylines while retaining stability. The bottom guy is still luminous to help avoid the embarrassing prospect of tripping on one you didn’t spot. We’ve all done it!

Other features in the Sun Collection include:

  • Ring & Pin System for Easy Setup
  • Colour Coded Poles
  • Luminous, Pre-Attached Guylines
  • Inner Tent Breathable 100% Polyester
  • Outwell Dry Zip System to Avoid Leakage
  • Outwell Doormat
  • Reflective Guy Point
  • Reinforcement Patch on all Stress Points
  • Heavy Duty Outwell Zips
  • Organiser Pockets

Featured Tent: Outwell Kauai Reef

New for 2012, the Outwell Kauai Reef combines a generous living space the with retro styling that the Sun Collection is well known for. An updated version of last year’s Mauai Reef, the capacity has been increased to six people from five. The Kauai is a perfect example of everything you get from a tent in the Sun Collection.

It uses Outwell’s Extended Space Frame System (OSF), with a Duratec fibreglass pole to extend usable space inside the tent creating a front porch area. Complimenting this is the detachable bathtub groundsheet for the porch area; an ideal place to store wet gear, bikes, boots and other bits and pieces!

One of the nice things about tents in this collection are the large windows in the living area that enable for a great view of the surroundings. There are also ventilation points above the windows to circulate air. The front wall of the living area is adjustable and can be opened half way or even the whole way to create an even more spacious environment.

Many of the tents in this range include a Universal Inner Tent and the Kauai is one of those. It’s essentially a one piece bedroom fitting that can be changed to suit the user’s needs. It can be varied between one or more rooms, either divided or not or even left out of the tent completely.

Some differences between the Sun and the Classic Collection:

  • The look and colour scheme, that’s quite obvious!
  • With the Classic Collection you get alloy poles, whereas in the Sun Collection you get the heavier, but equally strong, steel ones.
  • The Classic Collection also has a heavier duty, more durable PVC groundsheet whereas in the Sun Collection you get a polyethylene which is lighter weight, but still strong; off-setting the extra weight of the steel poles.
  • For guylines, the Sun Collection has the Floating Guyline System, only found (in our range) in this collection. The Classic Collection has standard luminous guylines.
  • Finally, the Classic Collection features the Outwell Vent View System (OVV); almost all of the windows can be opened and feature a mesh which can be left closed to keep insects out while still providing ventilation.

If you’ve made it this far – Well done! We hope you’ve learnt something about Outwell tents that you didn’t already know. Keep on reading though, because there’s more to learn!

Outwell Premium Tent Collection

Tents in this Collection from Taunton Leisure:

We’ll continue our guide with a look at the Premium Collection. This is, in my opinion at least, the collection with the greatest amount of innovation; at least visually, for 2012. Taunton Leisure have several tents available from this range and there are one or two that we’re particularly excited about!

There are a few new tent models from this collection to us at Taunton Leisure. The Ontario LP and Louisiana 7P and 5P are two of these models that we’re excited about. The Louisiana features a different bedroom arrangement, with two single (or double in the 7P) bedrooms separated from the main room. Ideal for siblings who don’t want to have to share a room. Teenagers for example! We’ve also got a brand new, refreshed version of the Montana 6, now with the all new Panorama Front.


This is the first Collection we have covered that uses polyester rather than polycotton. Polyester is lighter in weight and thus a bit more manageable than polycotton – the price is also lower!

Outwell use their own Outtex 5000 material on all tents from the Premium Collection. The ‘5000’ bit relates to the Hydrostatic Head (HH) rating, which is a measurement of how waterproof a fabric is. This is measured by putting a tube over the fabric and then adding water until it forces it’s way through the material. The point at which water ingress occurs is the hydrostatic head. In the case of the Premium Collection, the material can withstand the pressure generated by 5000mm of water on it’s surface.

The Outtex flysheet is a 75 denier thickness and has fully taped seams. It also has a polyurethane coating to aid water repellancy. Not only does the coating protect against the rain, but it can also help guard against the sun. Excessive exposure of a tent to the ultra violet rays of the sun will eventually cause the material to become brittle, losing its water repellency. In real terms, however, the kind of exposure you would need would be several years of regular use. Still, a tent with a higher HH will cope better and resist the UV of the sun for a longer amount of time.

Key Feature: Panorama Room and Front – If you were eagle eyed enough to notice the ‘P’ in the names of the tent models in this collection and wondered what it means, then I can reveal all. It stands for ‘Panorama’ (No, not the BBC show).

The Panorama Room/Front is a new edition for 2012 that brings fantastic all-round vision and a spacious feeling from inside all tents in this collection. Click on the picture and have a look for yourself.

As the name suggests, you get a panoramic view of your surroundings, meaning if you’re set up somewhere particularly beautiful you get to enjoy that view to it’s full extent, other than actually being outside that is! When inside, zip-up curtains for all of the many windows give guaranteed privacy when needed.

Depending on the tent you choose from this range you get either the Panorama Front or the Panorama Room. The Front is an incorporated enhancement of the living space, whereas the Room is more of a separation from the living space, with its own groundsheet. Described as ‘like a conservatory’ for your tent, it’s a great area to relax and admire the view while enjoying the lovely summer weather – even in England.

Tinted Windows:

As it says in Outwell’s workbook: “We take something like tinted windows for granted in all other aspects of our lives, so why not have them on tents, where they can really be useful?”

As well as providing some extra privacy and adding a futuristic look, the new tinted windows have a UV coating which offers protection against the heat of the sun’s rays, yet still gives a clear view to the outside. You’ll only find this feature present in the Premium Collection, so if tinted windows are for you, be sure to pick up a tent from this range.

The Wind Stabilizer System:

Introduced in 2011, the Wind Stabilizer System is an innovation that, funnily enough, adds to the stability of a tent when pitched. Tested against the internationally recognised Beaufort Scale, tents from the Premium collection were shown to be able to withstand wind speeds of up to 10 on the scale. That’s storm grade wind conditions of 55-63mph.

The way it works is though a connecting system that works as a direct attachment between the flysheet and tent pole. The system wraps around the pole, connecting it to a tent, and a guyline runs off the system to be pegged into the ground. It’s an effective system and when introduced last year, proved to make a significant difference to the overall stability of any tent it was part of.

Featured Tent: Outwell Vermont XLP

One of Outwell’s most well known and popular models, the Vermont XL is a great tent for big families, or smaller ones that like a bit of extra space!

Typical of all tents in the Premium Collection, the Vermont comes with the essential features that Outwell are known for across their ranges; luminous guylines, new tinted windows, large windows, curtains for privacy, close-able ventilation areas at the top of each window and mesh screens that can be closed while doors are left open for temperature regulation. There’s also plenty of storage pockets, a cable entry point and the Outwell Dry Zip System to name but a few!
The Panorama Room area is an ample space with its own detachable bathtub groundsheet that can be used to store bikes, boots and waterproofs.

In my experience, what catches the eye of customers when looking around this tent is the full width opening, where the doors can be zipped together and raised as a canopy. Combined with the features of the Panorama Room, it can be used as an area for sitting, soaking up the weather and watching the world go by.

There are some other great features unique to the Vermont LP & XLP that you won’t find elsewhere in the Premium Collection. Drying rails are provided for clothing, towels e.t.c to dry properly. There is also a walk-in wardrobe with rail where clothing can be hung and other bits and bobs stored and the Hanging Point System, a new system for hanging inners that offers extra stability for the bedrooms and looks good too.

Some differences between the Premium and the Sun Collections:

  • Firstly, there’s the look. Orange vs Green! The Premium Collection also has the Panorama Room/Front.
  • Tinted windows at an extra level of privacy as well as preventing excessive glare from the sun.
  • The materials are different too. The Premium Collection uses a 5000HH 75D polyester flysheet and galvanised steel poles whereas the Sun Collection uses the Outtex Airtech polycotton material but also uses steel poles.
  • The Premium collection uses the Wind Stabilizer System, a Velcro attachment to the flysheet that wraps around the pole and has a guyline running from it.
  • Cable entry points are provided in the Premium Collection where the Zip in groundsheet can be used in the Sun Collection to run a cable into the tent.
  • The Premium Collection features the Outwell Easy Pegging system, three different types of pegs performing different functions for easy pegging and stability.
  • The curtains can be zipped up in the Premium Collection whereas in the Sun Collection they are toggled.

Outwell DeLuxe Tent Collection

Tents in this Collection from Taunton Leisure:
Outwell Oakland XL 2012

This year the DeLuxe Collection comes in two colours; ‘Sage Green’ and ‘Mocca’ (also known as ‘Green’ and ‘Brown’). The Collection is home to some of the most popular tents that we stock at Taunton Leisure, including the Montana 6, Nevada M and Oakland XL. These tents offer well known Outwell features and quality at a great price.

The Montana 6, originally part of the Premium Collection, is now also part of the DeLuxe Collection in a slightly different form. Visually, it resembles the Montana 6 from 2011 and has all the features that you’d expect from the DeLuxe Collection.


As we mentioned, the DeLuxe Collection is split into two colours. All models and both colours in this collection use the Outtex 4000 75 denier polyester flysheet material. The minimum standard for manufacture in tents, so they can be classed as waterproof, is 1500mm hydrostatic head. The 4000 rated material found in the DeLuxe Collection will provide enough protection and performance to keep the elements at bay.

Like the Premium Collection, the fully sewn-in groundsheet is a double coated 100% polyethylene, with a rating of 10,000mm hydrostatic head. Tough enough to protect against the wear and tear of a busy camping trip and light enough for manageable setup.


All tents in the DeLuxe range feature the Outwell Wind Stabilizer System, an innovation that enables tents in this range to provide maximum stability in the utmost windy conditions – coping with conditions up to grade nine on the Beaufort Wind Force Scale. To augment this stability, DeLuxe tents come with adjustable, luminous guylines and pegging points.

The Outwell Easy Pegging System does right what it says on the tin; makes pegging the tent easy. The three different pegs are colour coded and have been designed to perform different functions. Grey anchor steel pegs are for each of the tent’s four corners, the luminous pegs are for the guylines, while black pegs are for the rest of the pegging.

You’ll also find the Outwell Extended Frame System on the Illinois 6, Glendale 5 and Oakland XL, using fibreglass poles attached to the main poles to provide extra headroom and extend the living space.

Other features include toggle up curtains, which can be toggled all the way or partially to provide the right amount of privacy, light and views outwards!

Featured Tent: Outwell Illinois 6

Another new addition for 2012, the Illinois 6 offers a unique vis-a-vis style bedroom layout; something which has become a bit of a rarity in today’s tent market.

Upon viewing this tent at the Stoneleigh Tent Show last year, the feeling of space was instantly apparent. Accompanied by double door inners, the layout provides the maximum amount of useable inner space as well as, in combination with the large windows, being a pleasant place to be with a very open feeling when both doors are unzipped.

The separation of the inners also adds a bit of extra privacy for those who require it.

As with all tents in the DeLuxe Collection, the outer material is a 75D Outtex 4000 polyester with taped seams. The tent uses two steel poles that support two Duratec fibreglass poles as part of the Extended Frame System – similar to that from the Oakland XL.

Other features to look out for include toggle up curtains, cable entry point , heavy duty Outwell zips and a rain-safe door at the back, to name but a few.

Tents from the DeLuxe range are the perfect solution for those who are looking for great quality mid-range camping gear at a reasonable price and the Illinois’ innovate approach to bedroom layout and quality features give us high hopes for the model this summer.

Some differences between the DeLuxe Collection and the Premium Collection:

  • The DeLuxe Collection features Outtex 4000 polyester flysheet material as opposed to the Outtex 5000 polyester found in the Premium Collection.
  • Premium Collection Tents come with a ‘wheelable’ trolley bag, whereas the DeLuxe Collection includes a carrybag – both in a new design from last year.
  • Deluxe Collection tents have toggle up curtains, opposed to their zip up counterparts in the Premium Collection.
  • While the Outwell Wind Stabilizer System is included on both tents, the Premium Collection version performs to grade 10 on the Beaufort scale.
  • No tinted windows in the DeLuxe Collection; you’ll only find those on Premium Collection tents.

So there it is, a comprehensive review and comparison of the Outwell Collections available for 2012 from Taunton Leisure.You can peruse over our Outwell range until your heart is content by clicking on this link right here.
We’re currently adding in more tents ready for the beginning of the 2012 camping season. You’ll find full specifications and prices of all the tents we have available, you can check weights, dimensions and so on.If that’s got you in the mood for camping then don’t forget that you can see the our range on display at Sanders Gardenworld as part of our summer tent exhibition from the start of April until September.
Hopefully that’s helped inform your choice of tent for the summer, whatever it may be. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to type them in that little box below. Alternatively you can get in touch with us online or in store. For more information go to tauntonleisure.com

Check us out online @ http://www.tauntonleisure.com/

For the latest news, views, and offers check our Facebook and Twitter pages.
To chat to outdoor enthusiasts and experts on our product ranges visit our stores in TauntonExeter, or Bristol. They give pretty good customer service too!Outwell are looking for ‘Test Families’ to put their kit through its paces. This is a great chance to get your hands on the latest Outwell gear and let them know what you think of it. If the idea of testing one of Outwell’s range sounds appealing to you then click here for more info.

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