Field testing the Vango EOS 350

A couple of months ago I received a Vango EOS 350 tent from Go Outdoors. I gave an initial review at the time and now we’ve used it ‘in anger’, I return to give an more comprehensive report.

Quick recap: Technical Specifications of this tent include

Berth: 3
Doors: 2
Height (cm): 145.00
Length (cm): 435.00
Width (cm): 220.00
Flysheet Hydrostatic Head (mm): 3000
Groundsheet Hydrostatic Head (mm): 10000
Weight (kg): 6.15
Pack Size (cm): 65 x 19 x 18 cm

Pitching: As mentioned before, this tent is easy to pitch. (I was going to say it’s a doddle to pitch, but that may be because our backpacking tent is a tunnel design too. Others not used to this design may not find it so intuitive.). With colour-coded poles to assist, we pitched it on the flat camp site pitch in about 10 minutes. It pitches fly-sheet first, or as we did, both together. When it came time to pack it away, the fly was still wet with condensation on the inside and rain on the outside, so we packed the inner separately. We’ve since joined the two parts together again after drying the fly and it was easy enough to do so without having to pitch the tent, but simply laying it flat on the ground.
5 out of 5

Bedroom Space: We opted for the 3-person tent and for two people this gives bags of room. The inner easily accommodated our two Thermarests lying together with space on each side for holdalls, etc. The length is fine too, but the foot end slopes up quite quickly. I think if you were using one of the deep double inflatable mattresses, as used by many when car camping, both sleeping bags could touch the inner tent. This shouldn’t be a problem most of the time as there is quite a gap between the fly and inner. However in high winds the fly might touch the inner near the feet and transfer moisture to the foot end of sleeping bags.
4 out of 5

Porch space: The porch of this tent is really spacious – and when used to backpacking tents it feels like a marquee. All right, it isn’t quite big enough to hold a ceilidh, but certainly big enough to use as living room/dining room/kitchen. There is loads of space for food boxes, stove (to be used outside), boots, wet waterproofs and still room to sit and eat. We didn’t take camping chairs, but I think it may be better to take low level folding chairs. We used our Thermarest chair-kit thingies (you fold the standard mats double and into an ‘L’ shape) and these were great here. The porch does not have a storm flap so was a bit chilly on windy evenings, but as a warmer-season tent it’s not really a problem.
5 out of 5

Groundsheet: This is quoted a having a Hydrostatic Head of 10,000. We had loads of rain and the camp site had poor drainage and was really squelchy, but the ground sheet coped well. This may not have been a fair assessment however, as we used a separate heavy duty ground sheet underneath mainly to keep the tent clean. The ground sheet felt a bit flimsy in the porch area, but I suppose it would be possible to fit a small separate ground sheet under here even if you did not want to carry a full footprint for the whole tent.
4.5 out of 5

Doors: This is really the only major minus point. When using the entrance / exit doors after rain you’ll get wet! The doors are cut in the curved part of the tent, and the lack of adequate gutters means the rain runs down into the tent when you open the door. To me, this seems such a basic design flaw that I’m surprised by this from a company like Vango! If you imagine the blue line in the photo to be a plumb line, you can see that it reaches the ground about 10cm inside the porch.

There is a flap over the zip and maybe this is supposed to act as a gutter, but it’s not effective at diverting all the water. Also, this flap has several Velcro patches to hold it in place over the zip. This may be a good thing in heavy wind, but we found that when unzippng the tent from the inside, the Velcro held on and you had to give the door a wee shoogle to loosen them, in the process throwing more rain down on you or the porch ground sheet. With camping in the rain for 3 days we had to resort to using an old towel to act as a door mat.
2.5 out of 5

Overall finish: All seams looked to be ok, however one of the toggle loops which hold the rolled up window covers tied back was not stitched and therefore it could not be fastened to the toggle. The guy lines along the tunnel sides were all paired up, so only one tent peg is needed per pair, but on one of these pairs the small O-ring holding the lines together was missing. On the opposite side one whole guy was missing! Luckily the tent comes supplied with a few bits and pieces for repair so we could have the full complement of guy lines. We will look for something to act as an O-ring. Come on Vango, where is your quality control?
3 out of 5

Overall I think this is a good tent for camp sites or festivals, etc. It’s spacious, watertight, easy to put up and makes car-camping easy. By easy, I mean if you think you may need something, well just chuck it in anyway, as you’ve plenty of space. So different to packing for backpacking! It’s good value for money too with a penny change from £90 from Go Outdoors.

One comment on “Field testing the Vango EOS 350

  1. Pingback: A new tent – Vango EOS 350 | Rambling on…

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