The Sunncamp Marathon is a very large and very stable dome. It isnít the
easiest of tents to erect, but with a bit of practise, you should be able to
have this fully erected and pegged out in about 80 minutes. It has a fully
sewn-in-groundsheet and comfortable sleeping arrangements for 16 people. There
is an EHU entry point on each side.
The Tent itself arrived in 2 bags, both fairly heavy, weighing just under 50KG
in total. One was the fabric and the other the poles.
I wasnít that impressed with the bags, as the compression strap snapped as I
was opening it. It made me wonder if the tent was going to be bad luck for me.
But upon opening the rest of it, everything seemed to be in order and the tent
felt like it was made of a good quality material. When I looked at the number
of pegs that came with it, I knew there was going to be quite a bit of work to
do ( over 100 pegs ).
To be able to pitch this tent properly, you will need an area of grass at
least 10metres by 9metres. This includes space for pegging down the guy ropes.
Unpack the tent and separate the inner and flysheet. Put the flysheet to one
Begin by unfolding the inner tent and laying it out on the grass ( make a note
of how it was folded ). Make sure it is the correct way round. The front of
the tent has a porch groundsheet attached to it (Fig. 1).
Once the inner is laid out, make sure the zips are closed and then begin
pegging it out. First do the front left pegging point ( just to the left of
the porch groundsheet ), and then pull the front fairly taught and peg out the
right side ( donít put too much stress on it because it can rip ). Now go
round to the back of the tent and do the same there with the 2 pegging points.
Make sure it is pulled fairly taught in all directions, but not over stressed.
You can now begin pegging down the bedroom pods. Make sure you straighten
these out as you peg each point otherwise the groundsheet will not be flat
after the tent is erected. Obviously, you can always make small adjustments
after. You can then peg down any additional points now you have the inner tent
to the correct shape.
Once the inner tent is pegged down you can insert the poles. There are 3
straight poles for the living area part of the tent and 1 shaped pole for each
bedroom pod. The poles are elasticated and just snap together. Out the 3
straight poles, one is longer that the others. This goes across the tent from
left to right. The other 2 shorter poles go diagonally over the tent. The poles
are colour coded, as are the sheathes they go into. Put all the poles in place.
For the 3 straight poles, make sure they go through the loop in the centre of
the tent (Fig. 2). I didnít notice this on my first attempt, and the tent will
sag in the middle if you donít. Then you have to take the whole tent down again
and slide out the poles to do it correctly. It is optional whether you put the
bedroom pod poles in at this point, but I always do.
Now the poles are in place, get someone to go inside and lift the centre as high
as they can above their head (Fig. 3). You can now go round and put the poles
into the ring and pin system. As soon as you have connected a couple of poles,
the person holding the tent will no longer be able to reach it ( Unless they are
over 7feet tall ) so can let go. All the straight poles go onto the middle pin
of the ring and pin system. If you didnít put the bedroom poles in then do it
now. At the front and back, the bedroom poles connect to the outside pins of the
ring and pin system. The inner tent is now erected. This whole process usually
takes me around 20 minutes. You can now go into the tent and make sure the
sewn-in-groundsheet is flat. If not, now is the time to make a few adjustments
to the poles. The bedroom pods especially need checking.
It is now time to put the flysheet on. This is best done from the side of the
tent. Doing it from the front or back is very difficult unless you are both over
7feet tall. It does require 2 people to do this.
Unfold the flysheet and make sure it is the correct way round ( porch at the
front ). From the side lift it over 2 of the bedroom pods and then the 2 of you
just walk to the other side whilst holding onto it (Fig. 4). Once you get to the
other side, the flysheet is on. If you walk underneath the flysheet you will see
small straps that can be tied onto the poles. I replaced all my straps with
Velcro to make it easier and quicker to attach to the poles.
At the bottom of the flysheet, there are valances that tuck under the inner tent
and can then be pegged down. The porch poles can then be inserted and put onto
the ring and pin system. All that is left is to peg any remaining pegging points
down and the guy ropes. Be aware, that in total there are 102 pegging points for
the whole of the tent. To get this far, usually takes me between 70 and 80
minutes. Most of which is pegging down.
You can now start putting any beds and appliances into your tent and enjoy the
rest of your holiday.
Now it's up!
The Marathon is truly massive. It is the biggest dome tent I have ever seen.
You can comfortably sleep 4 people in each pod (Fig. 5) and there is enough room
in the living area for a 3-piece suite, and you would still get a table in there
and have room to walk around. You can stand up in any part of the tent and in
the main living area, even with you hands above you head, it is a struggle to
touch the top. For some people, it may be very difficult to reach and open the
sunlight window in the roof. The floor plan on the left shows the dimensions of
the tent (Fig. 7). Unfortunately, the bedrooms are fixed, so there is no
variation you can do with the pods, but with so much living space, who would
How it Handles!
The tent itself is a pleasure to stay in. It was definitely worth all the
work of putting it up. It is pretty bright inside and the space is fabulous. I
have been in it a couple of times when there have been really strong storms and
it was hardly affected at all. Considering how big it is, I was expecting the
wind to have a big impact on it, but in-fact, it handled a lot better than a lot
of smaller tents I have owned.
All the doors have mesh on them. You can either have the doors solid or
see-through, and still keep all the bugs out.
The porch is absolutely massive, we have our camp kitchen in there, a bin, and
also a toilet tent. There is still room to walk around and get by.
Problems and Quality!
In the year I have had the tent, I did have a couple of problems.
These seemed to be manufacturing faults. First of all, after a couple of
weeks the material started to fray around the zips. This was repaired
under warranty. Straight from delivery, a compression strap clip snapped
and 2 of the guy ropes had the luminous cover peeling off. After these
were rectified, I had no further problems.
Putting it all away!
The first time I attempted to put this tent away, it took me in
excess of 4 hours. Most of this was working out how to get it back in
the bag. I finally developed a method, and now I can put it away without
too much trouble.
First of all remove the porch poles and all the pegs and untie all the
straps that are underneath the flysheet connecting it to the poles. Then
walk the flysheet off and put it to one side. Do this carefully just in
case you have left any pegs in. You can now carefully remove the poles
from the ring and pin system and once the tent is on the floor, you can
slide them out and put them away. The poles simply pull apart as they
are on elastic. Now remove all the pegs from the inner tent and put them
away. The inner tent and flysheet need to be folded a specific way to
get them back into the bag.
Fold all the pods and attached porch groundsheet inwards (Fig. 8). Then
fold it at each side to make it into a sort of square shape (Fig. 9). It
can then be folded 2 or 3 times until it is about 75cm in width ( Fig.
10). Then fold the flysheet exactly the same way ( Fig. 11).
When you have got to this stage then put the inner tent on top of the
flysheet and fold it at alternate ends squeezing the air out of it each
time. This will be the right size to go into the bag (Fig. 12). You can
now do up the compression straps, but donít do them too tight as the
plastic clips really are not that strong.
I was very impressed with the tent. It handles the weather very well
and is a pleasure to be in. It is fairly bright inside.
It is not really a short stay tent or for people that have to erect it
on their own. It is especially difficult to erect if you are very short
but can be done.
There are lots of storage pockets both in the living area and in the
bedrooms, and the porch can easily act as a utility tent. If you really
wanted to, you could have the porch at the back and use it as a utility
room, as there is another door that you can enter and exit from.
I did have initial problems with the quality of the tent, but hopefully
that was just a one-off. I have not had any problems since. Even in
severe storms, it didnít even seem like it was going to have problems
and we all stayed completely dry.
There is plenty of space in the tent for anyoneís home comforts and a
lot to spare as well. I have never struggled to find a pitch to put this
on, but I would imagine that you would be restricted to some extent on
sites, as the tent is extremely large and really needs 100 square metres
to be pitched properly.
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