Monday, 3 August 2009

Khyam Petworth Tent and Excelsior Annex Review

We're selling our Khyam Petworth tent and the Excelsior Annex that goes with it (but also fits other Khyam tents), so I thought I'd do the decent thing by explaining to anyone who visits the Ebay auction, why we are selling it and what we really think of it.

The thing with tents is that no matter how good they are -
and this one is good - they are only any use if they are the right tent for you, and this one isn't. We've camped in it for a total of fourteen nights and it it is a lovely space to live in, especially with the Annex as the kitchen area. It is big - I mean over 5 metres by 3 metres, and almost 2.5 metres tall - it is a lovely airy space. And there lies the problem. Lovely and airy is a great thing for camping throughout June, July and August when you can sit out in the evening watching the stars with a glass of wine.

If, however, you want to camp in the Highlands of Scotland (or the Isle of Skye, like we did) in early May, it is not the right tent. The bedrooms are snug, like most inner tents in most tents, it is in their nature to be snug; but with that huge airy space to heat, even with the sown in ground sheet and the additional layer of the footprint groundsheet, it is just not warm enough.

So, all that said, who would I recommend this tent to.

  • It is a great summer tent for a couple who like lots of headroom and wouldn't mind a bit of space to entertain a couple of friends, without the annex it's great for a weekend, with the annex it's superb for a trip of a week or more.
  • It is big enough for a small family, especially with the annex; and the Khyam Quick-Erect system really works (once you get your head round the method, the video is a good way of doing that), so if you want something large that's easy to get up, this could be right for you.
  • The annex is a worthwhile investment for anyone who already has the Petworth, Motordome Excelsior or Longleat tents, it is easily large enough to use as both a kitchen and porch area, meaning you have even more living space on a longer trip.
My other concern with Khyam tents has been the trade-off between Quick-Erect system and frame strength, because it has aluminum poles and plastic folding joints. I was partly reassured by talking to other owners who agreed that it was a compromise, but one worth accepting. The frame is not as strong as say a geodesic type structure and you do get the odd bent pole (we did when taking the tent down on Skye a gale blew up) but because it is an accepted risk the poles are really easy to replace - secured into the folding joints with an effective push-button system - and they are not expensive to replace with genuine parts either (which we did, just in case you are wondering!).

So, there you have it it. It is a great tent so long as you remember what it is good for. We will be camping in Scotland in spring again but in our Vango Diablo which is geodesic, and has a complete inner tent over the whole tent area, but guess
what? It ain't half hot in summer in it - so there you go, horses for courses.


Jonathan said...

I would agree with you on the strength front - we had a similar design Coleman tent - which destroyed itself during a freak downpour in the westcountry.

The top flexed downwards, bent the side poles, and then the carbon fibre roof rods shattered in several places.

It was a freak downpour, but showed up the difference between box designs and geodesic designs...

Lisa said...

Good grief that was like reading carry on camping. You couldn't have slipped in any more double entendres no matter how hard you tried. . . .

Still, {Altogether now...}

It's what he would've wanted!!

f'nar, f'nar......*chortle*

Crofty said...

Hi Jonathan, thing is with camping I bet it didn't put you off, just made you more circumspect about what you'd do next time!

Lisa: I knew I could rely on you!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Personally, I have always favoured the Slow-Erect System. The Quick-Erect System is massively over-rated.... And while we're on that topic, did you see the Panorama programme about Oldham? I am sure that I saw you staggering out of The Mess House on Yorkshire Street with a bimbo on your arm. Does Mrs Crofty know your secret?

Crofty said...

Err, that was Mrs C.

Actually, I watched in horror knowing one of the two Crofty boys was up town that night.

He did get asked to 'perform' for the camera but it seems they weren't sufficiently raucous or anti-social for the beeb.