Sanders Tent Show: Mid Season Report

It’s mid season at the Sanders Tent Show and in our mid season report we talk about how the show has gone so far…


Setting Up

We’re just over half way through the tent show’s spell at Sanders Garden World for 2012. For each of the last 10 summers Sanders have been kind enough to allow us to display our tents in our own designated display area and each year our display has gotten a little bigger and better.
We always set up in the last week of March, ready for an Easter weekend opening, where we have over 30 family sized tents on display from some of the top brands in family camping including Outwell, Vango, Robens, Nomad and Kampa.

In preparation we gave give our tent display area a bit of a touch up, with completely new wood-chipping, new edging and a once-over with the lawn mower, putting it in tip top condition ready for the class of 2012!  

How many tents could you fit in this area?
Setting up at Sanders presents its own challenges; the physical challenge of moving stock, pitching 10+ large tents a day (some of which weigh in excess of 50kg) and preparing the tent field. There’s also the jigsaw puzzle of deciding where you can fit each tent, because certain models will only fit into certain areas of the field.

This year we were helped by the glorious sunshine and cloudless skies that enabled us to get on with pitching the tents without any obstacles (apart from taking a chunk out of my finger on day one, ouch!). The weather was hot and some of us even got sunburnt! Certainly wasn’t expecting that in March.

The thing with working day in and out with tents so often is you get to know them pretty well. Sure, some models come and some go, but there are many ‘regulars’ that we see each year.
A few new faces from Kampa for 2012

It’s always interesting to see how these models have changed for the new season. Stalwart tents like the Outwell Bear Lake and the Vango Tigris 800 evolve and change subtly over time. 

Seeing these tents each year, pitching them, taking them down and working with them every day gives us an appreciation of their development and helps us to answer your questions about them.

Challenging Weather

After several days of pitching and pegging our display was ready for the Easter weekend opening. See below:

Tent show ready for opening!

In years past we’ve set up in driving wind and rain, which makes pitching 30+ family sized tents that little bit more difficult. This time, we were very grateful for the perfect conditions; it made us hopeful for a summer season of good weather. 

How wrong we were… 

The weather has been nothing short of terrible throughout the first few weeks into the start of May, we had so much rain in addition to the 50+mph winds that our tent field had become mildly flooded (see below!)

So far its been one of the wettest summers on record. With stories of a whole month’s rain falling in one day, it was of no surprise that parts of the walkway had turned into a bit of a muddy bog, a huge puddle had formed half way down it.

We even had to take down the Glendale 5 for a short period as it was being swallowed up by this monster puddle that was devouring everything in it’s path!

Nothing a bit of straw couldn’t fix

Fortunately, the weather did improve, allowing  enough time for the walkways to drain out and for us to get the display looking ship-shape again. We’ve occasionally had some sunny spells, which is when most of the photo taking has been done!

The on-off nature of the rain has meant in the dry patches we’ve managed to get the tent field looking much better, we even added some new turf to sort out the muddy walkways, and allow people to walk on them with a surer footing! 

All we need now is for the rain to stop for a bit! 

Unfortunately, the wettest summer in goodness knows how long means we expect more of the same treatment soon. Even as I write this blog the rain is relentlessly hammering down outside.

Still, the persistence of poor weather has its upsides – really, we British love a good moan about the bad weather, don’t we? 😉 

Our display walkway was much improved after a bit of re-turfing

People often comment that the poor weather must be bad for business and while it’s not ideal, we do get a lot of customers who come to the show to see the tents performing in the less than ideal conditions, when they’re really being tested. 

We’ve got to look on the positive side. The bad weather gives our customers the chance to see how the tents perform in testing conditions and it gives our staff opportunity to evaluate how they hold up to strong gusts and driving rain.

Regardless of the weather, the tent show carries on, right up until the start of September.

For now, we’ll leave you with a few pictures from the season at Sanders so far:

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