The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Vango Eos 350 3-man Tent - First Look

A couple of weeks ago Go Outdoors asked us to pick a tent up to a stated budget, and we chose the Vango Eos 350: a 3-man tunnel tent. Go Outdoors lists this as a backpacking tent, but at 6.2kg that’s not a use to which we’ll be putting it (although I did see a D of E group using either this or another very similar Vango model a few weeks back).

Despite Go Outdoors being prompt in getting the tent despatched, it took us over a week to get our hands on it (entirely our fault for not being able to guarantee being at home for a full day in the intervening period). Still, we got it in the end, and I was itching to go and pitch it so as to get a proper look at it.

Following a couple of days of showery weather, it was Sunday before it first came out of its bag, and Sunday coincided with some family visiting. My 89-year-old gran was somewhat bemused when we arrived at her house and immediately set about putting a tent up in her garden!

The set-up was sufficiently obvious that, without a glance at the instructions, it took us 10.5 minutes from unzipping the bag to having a pitched tent. Admittedly, we didn’t put out the guy lines (grandmother might have objected to us trampling her flower beds to achieve that), but it did include the attaching of the inner tent (which was the most time-consuming part of the whole pitching process). The inner has, however, been left in place, so in future we will pitch as one and I don’t expect that it will take longer than 10 minutes even with all of the guy-lines.


Once pitched it proved to have a sleeping area that looked perfectly big enough for three people – or in our case, an excellent size for two people and a couple of bags. The porch area is also looks to be big enough to store a car-camping stove, a box of stuff' and still have enough room for a couple of chairs. Head room clearly isn’t enough to stand up, but at 145cm in the porch area it’s enough to sit on a chair inside.

Access is via doors on either side of the porch. Much discussion was had about the merits of a door on either side versus a single door on the front of the tunnel, and the conclusion we reached was that it’s swings and roundabouts. However, the lack of a mesh door on the outer means that you could be forced into the inner tent on a midgey evening.

Retreating to the inner tent I then came to notice that there wasn’t a full mesh door there either, although I did find the mesh flap at the top of the door. Combining the dark colour of the outer, the green inner and the lack of a full mesh door, it’s pretty dull in the inner (a good thing for 5am on a summer’s morning; not so good on a midgey evening).

IMG_1595My sister helps me illustrate the mesh panel at the top of the inner door

The light levels are better in the porch, with a couple of windows on the front of the tunnel. My gran was particularly taken with the windows. Actually, she was pretty taken with the whole tent. Things have changed a bit since her camping days!

Taking the tent back down took 4.5 minutes and that was to the point of having it zipped inside of its bag. It was nice to find that the bag was big enough to fit the tent back in on the first attempt.

Obviously, I can’t say anything for durability at this stage; the quality didn’t look obviously dodgy, but one of the elastics that hold the clips that connect the ground sheet to the fly did snap on first pitching. At the moment I’m putting that down to a one-off fault, and thanks to a good spares-kit it took me but a matter of seconds to pull out a new bungey and tie it on.

Our verdict on first pitching was that this is a tent that would suit our needs for a car-camping trip. And for the price (it was £89 when I chose it) it looks good value for money to me. Given that, as I type this, it’s been reduced to an incredible £54 (with a Go Outdoors discount card), if you’re in the market for a tent of this type and size, then I don’t think that you could go wrong in buying one.

Go Outdoors currently stocks a range of 96 tents, all the way from cheap tents designed for the festival market (although from our observations on campsites around the country, equally based on useable for campsites) right up to big family tents. They’ve even got a few bivi bags (starting at £25) in the range.

(I gave my sister the camera for most of the pitching/de-pitching exercise. She took plenty of photos. I’ve been trying to compile them into a little video snippet, but Windows Movie Maker has got the better of me tonight (in that it keeps locking up). I’ll post it tomorrow night if Movie Maker lets me finish it.)


  1. I am loving the comment on your grandma liking the tent. I wonder what a tent in her slightly younger days would have weighed, certainly more than the one you have now!
    I expected a bit of a graph though, although I have to say I do not know what on :D.
    By the way the picture of both of you peeping is hilarious ;)

  2. nice one

    They sent me the same tent for review too - we liked it

  3. You stole my tent! I was doing a write up on that one! lol

    You hammered me for time...although I erected mine on my own!

    Btw there is a mesh panel on the outer door - it's covered by a solid panel held on wih Velcro - one side only. There's a photo on the most recent blog post. I found it by accident.

    10 minutes...I'm so slow! lol

  4. How easy is the tent to erect on your own?


  5. Chris/Ken - I'd already noticed from both of your reviews that I'd missed the midge netting on the fly-sheet door. I even recall standing there whilst the tent was up discussing the need for such a feature, and yet none of us spotted its presence. Must revisit my review to correct that point.

    Ken - In my defence of the '10 minutes without looking at the instructions', a quick tot up tells me that it was the 58th time this year that I've erected a tent!

  6. Anon - Sorry to have ignored your comment. I just (rather belatedly) found it marked as spam.

    I haven't pitched this tent by myself, but from experience with other similar tents I would say that it wouldn't be difficult to put it up alone. It would just take a bit longer. There's no part of the pitching process that really requires two people.