I’m not a huge fan of wind. I can deal with the rain, the dark, blistering heat and humidity. But not wind. There’s just something horrendously annoying about having to think about everything twice in the wind. Simple tasks such as de-layering and stuffing your jacket in your bag can turn into a wild fight with mother nature herself.
So, when it comes to tents – the wind is literally your worst enemy. It can be the make or break for most; it can be generally expected that tents will keep the rain, sun and bugs off you while you bask in your beauty sleep, but the ability to withstand more punishing conditions can really set it apart from the rest of the crowd.
So, now the scope is set, I introduce the Berghaus Cairngorm 3. This 3 man tent is Semi-Geodesic in shape, supposedly better at providing ‘useable’ space, and to the more discerning eye, makes it look pretty damn cool.
This tent is by no means a top-of-the range upper price point monster- costing close to half the price of my boots, pretty much the David in this situation. That said, it’s surprisingly feature rich. Alloy poles, multiple guy-lines, a high waterproof rating, storage pockets and a proper, useable vestibule area make for a pretty decent package, for a much more decent price.
Very well designed for the UK market, where the ingress of water is pretty much inevitable on any camping trip, every effort has been made to ensure the annoyance of such is minimised. To start, the pitching order is flysheet/outer first, allowing for a safe/dry space to be established before then pitching the inner. On a very wet and extremely windy night, not a drop of water made it through either the flysheet or groundsheet material (Although an additional groundsheet was used for that little bit more protection. In addition to these features, there is enough ‘space’ between both the inner and outer to ensure condensation doesn’t become a massive issue; along with a well-ventilated system, this tent allows for a perfectly dry night.
All the poles are obviously colour coded and easy to feed into the meshed pole sleeves and locate in each of the ‘lugs’ nice and secure, with individual tensioning straps available all the way around. Once up, it’s just a case of pegging down all the guy lines and it’s game on.
In the initial test of this tent, the winds were very high. 30mph sustained, 50mph gusts kind of high. But this tent matched the performance I’ve witnessed tents costing 4 times as much. Short of a slightly bent pole and many a snapped guy line (more on that later), the tent held up well to the wind and even better against the rain. Which is more than can be said of our ability to sleep that night.
Personally, there was 2 notable features that I thought brilliant. The sheer amount of useable space inside; admittedly using a 3-man tent for 2 people will give you that and the usability of the dual-door porch. Additionally, the ability to roll up both doors out of the way gives a real airy feel and allows for pretty selective control on which door to have in/out of the wind.
As with any piece of equipment, a lower price range normally signals the sacrifice of certain luxuries, with this being no exception. This tent is by no means the lightest on the market, coming in at 4.38kg. Split between 3, this is manageable. Split between 2, this is heavy. As a consequence, the pack size is also on the larger side for an apparent ‘backpacking’ tent.
Finally, back to those guy lines. The one complete failure of the pretty violent test. The tensioners, a linear arrangement of very cheap plastic, completely essentially shattered. The load bearing portion of tensioners is incredibly thin considering its job, so no surprised as to how these failed. New and more robust tensioners could be pre-emptively fitted if needs be, but modding a tent at this price point could prove a little pointless/over the top.
All in all, the bang-for-buck with this tent is amazing. My expectations were pretty mediocre, but Berghaus has definitely impressed me with this one. If you are looking for a lower price point tent with minimal compromise, I’d definitely recommend this one. Just be prepared that this is by no means an ultralight system, so pair it with a strong rucksack and sturdy legs!
N.B. It seems difficult to find the green colourway online. I believe the next model year has been released in a less-than-stealthy red, with the same feature list as the green one here.
- Semi-geodesic pole construction – extra strength and space to weight ratio
- 3000mm HH fly sheet – withstands harsh weather conditions
- Hard wearing rip stop polyester fly
- Three lightweight 7001-T6 alloy poles
- Mesh pole sleeves and clips– improved wind resistance and fast pitch time
- Pole sleeve tension adjuster
- Colour coded poles – easier when pitching
- Tension straps – extra stability
- Tub style bedroom to keep out groundwater
- 5000mm HH ground sheet
- Two side doors to suit all weather conditions
- Breathable inner fabric – allows condensation to pass through
- Front and rear ventilation
- Reflective strips – ideal for picking up torchlight
- Lightweight alloy pegs
- Weight: 4.38kg
- Pack size: 52H x 17W x 17D cm
Berghaus Cairngorm 3 – 3 Person Tent – £179 – Available at Go Outdoors