By: Skiiddy Reason: I own(ed) one Made in: 2013 Rating: Date: 09/10/2013
Just discovered this great site and thought I would post a review of our Southwold 8.
Having been out of the camping game for some time, we decided that taking our two Saluki hounds to Hotels for weekends/holidays was just ridiculously expensive and being based in Devon, we have a vast choice in regards to sites within 1 to 1.5 hours distance. We like our creature comforts and after a week of thorough research, we bought ours from Casey's Outdoor Leisure. This is a monster of a tent however, we considered the Air Canopy to be an essential part of our adventures, especially with the two dogs, and purchased one of these too!.
Our first weekend was in early September and we booked Heligan Woods, Cornwall for two nights; a couple of friends came with us for one night and I was grateful for the help! The instructions are reasonably straight forward and the main tent was up in under 15 minutes. The canopy is a different story and took at least 30 minutes to work out what went where and even then, because the instructions are very poor, we managed to connect it incorrectly by which time, we were exhausted and in need of a cold beer!
The bath style groundsheet for the canopy has three gusseted holes and when I asked Kampa about them and what they were for, the chap I spoke to couldn't remember! However, the tent is very spacious, expertly crafted and has a huge living area. Our friends departed the next day and we prepared ourselves for the forecast which promised high winds and heavy rain; sure enough, it arrived at about 11pm! There is something exciting about being inside a tent when the rain and wind are lashing above (and to the side!).
Next morning, I was relieved to feel the warmth of late summer sun and breathed a sigh of relief noting that the tent was already drying out nicely in time for our departure at midday. In spite of this, we had a really good look around and there were no leaks, no sagging air tubes and all the guy ropes were taught, amazing! The storm had passed by about 0200 although the rain probably continued intermittently, throughout the night.
We figured that taking the tent down would be reasonably easy; unscrewed the valves and sure enough, it fell gracefully in to a neat pile. The instructions tell you to fold the tent towards the opened valves in order to release any excess air in the tubes but this proved a little awkward and my wife and I literally had to lie on the tent when rolled up and squeeze the air out before it would fit neatly back in to its bag - de-camp time was about 1.5 hours.
Our second outing was spent at Little Cotton in Dartmouth which is one of our favorite locations for walking. Being late September, we had a choice of pitches as there were 1, 2, 3.NO other campers in sight(!) save for the Motorhome crowd who were sited in their own area.
Our pitch was nicely flat and this time, setting up the main tent was a breeze! In all from unloading, laying out the footprint, pitching, pumping the main tent, erecting the Air canopy took about 30 minutes - unbelievably quick! and this time, the canopy was put in to its proper location (in front of one door and the corresponding window). Looks brilliant when up and although we had my sister-in-law and partner with us, again, we/they could not beleive the amazing space.
De-camp was simpler and took a little over an hour but there had been a heavy dew overnight and once home, the tent had to be fully dried out ready for winter storage.
We did consider the Outwell Concorde XL, a superior tent in many ways but in terms of price, it is very close to that of the Karsten 325 which if I'm honest and could afford it, would be my first choice. We wanted a large tent for friends and family who are like minded, spontaneous campers although we are now looking to book a week in France and have already begun booking occasional long weekends already for next year.
I have given the Soutwold 10 out of 10 purely because I believe that £1 for £1, Kampa have got their pricing right for the new generation of 'Air' tents. Vango, whilst very good, seem to have used a less substantial material and Outwell, whilst using ploy/cotton, are out of reach of many people so the Kampa range would be our recommendation.
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By: Strasse Reason: I own(ed) one Made in: 2013 Rating: Date: 19/07/2013
What a brilliant tent - replacement for a Pendine 8 which did loyal service for 5 years. The Southwold Air really does take 10 mins (complete) to put up & peg out. Was rock solid in Brittany Gales and survived the riggors of the Le Mans weekend (those who go will know what I mean!).
Really big internal layout - it costs but is the best tent we have ever had
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The Kampa Southwold 8 Air is a revolutionary new Airframe design in todays market of tents ! All of the "Airpoles" are connected via a very clever valve system which means that the entire tent can be pumped up in a minute ! With this brand new valve design if you ever have a fault with a AirPole you can just easily close off the one beam so your tent will stay up no matter what happens during your stay.
AirFrame - all Airpoles interconnected Ridge AirPoles for extra stability Isolation Valves - in case of damage to one AirPole Inner tents remain in-situ for set up and take down Sewn-in-groundsheet Two doors with wet weather protection Organiser pockets in inner tents Complete with manual pump with pressure gauge