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Tent Reviews: Helsport Finnmark Lavvu

Tent and Awning Reviews Index  >  Other  >  Helsport Finnmark Lavvu Reviews

Current Model?
RRP on date added:
Bedroom inners:
Living area groundsheet:
Pitching Style:
8  (more 8 berth tents)
8.00 KG
Fly first
Average User Rating:
9/10 from 3 reviews

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3 Reviews of the Helsport Finnmark Lavvu

By: The Bimblers  Reason: I own(ed) one  Made in: 2009   Rating: 

Helsport Finnmark Lavvu.

We've now had this tent for over 3 years.

It is our 'winter base camp' tent – the one we use between October and March. It's usually put up for a minimum of a week and the longest we've used it continuously was a month.

When I first reviewed this tent I had no hesitation in awarding it 10 out of 10, and I stand by that original score – but before you run out and buy one – you should be aware of what you are getting into.

I am, in all modesty, a very * very* experienced camper – as is the OH, to the point where we have something approaching 7 decades of experience between us. We can NOT get this tent up in less than an hour. We've tried, believe you me, we've tried but there is no way at all that we can manage in less than an hour. Initially we beat ourselves up until we realised that 1/ It's the particulars of the tent – not us! And, 2/ It's worth spending the time to get it right!

So – putting the thing up: First and foremost don't be tempted to erect it as an 'all in one' and put up the inner with the outer. It's do-able but, experience has shown, really not worth it. It can take a while to get the outer 'just right' – and you MUST get the outer right before you fit the inner; and there is no way you can guarantee that the outer is right if you have the inner in. Getting the exact – and even – tension on the outer is sometimes both awkward and tedious (you'll go round and round half a dozen time before it's 'right' . But it's worth it.

On several occasions we have sat in this tent feeling both safe, secure and very snug indeed, whilst a storm has raged outside. Worst conditions we've faced? Wind wise the worst (we were informed after) was in excess of 80mph. For temperature the worst was a recorded MINUS 35! . . . . . . And 5 feet of snow.

The number of tents which could withstand those conditions are few and far between – but it's also why you take the time to get the outer absolutely right! (. . . . And, if bad weather is forecast you must, repeat must, set the storm flaps; either dig them into the ground or cover them with snow or rocks)

[For reference purposes, these tents have been used for expeditions in the Antarctic and are recorded as withstanding winds in excess of 150mph and temperatures of minus 60 and lower. We were playing]

Once the outer is set correctly the fully adjustable inner comes into it's own.

Putting the inner in is a five minute job, it simply clips in; learning to use it to best effect is an accumulated couple of month's experience but worth it because the inner, and the accompanying wood burning stove, is the thing that makes the tent usable in adverse conditions.

Under normal conditions the inner stays up and – if you use it – the optional clothes line is wonderful and simple to use.

If you expect the temperature to drop then lowering the inner is a moments work and, combined with the aforementioned stove, extreme temperatures are ignorable; it was minus 35 outside while we sat in shorts and tee shirts playing cards and drinking beer.

Experience will enable you, using the inner and the wood-burner, to easily keep the internal temperature to your liking and, for reference, the wood-burner will comfortably stay in for 12 hours plus using mature dried wood. More than enough for normal purposes.

For reference, if you are feeling particularly adventurous the tent is designed to allow you to pull the ground sheet to one side and have a smallish camp-fire INSIDE.

We tried it once with a barbecue and it worked perfectly well though, I must admit, getting the ground sheet back together exactly right afterwards, was a bit tedious.

[NB. Do NOT use a BBQ in your tent unless your tent is specifically designed with the ability to allow such!]

It states on the bag that the tent is a 6-8 berth. 8 is perfectly do-able provided you are all incredibly good friends. You have to be tidy and organised in the extreme because – for 8 – while there is enough room you wouldn't want to a cat too. With 8 you sleep in a 'spoke' pattern with your feet in the middle. . . . And it works perfectly well. Just don't expect any privacy what-so-ever.

Being honest, 4 people is far better (but you're still not going to get any privacy!)

So – to summarise:

If you want to go camping for the weekend in the rain and a gentle breeze then save your money and buy something else!

This, really, is a specialist tent. Yes it can be a pain to put up and you will have to change the way you camp; it's not a conventional tent and you must adapt. Treat it as a conventional tent and you'll struggle, you must learn to use the tent as for what it is, in which case you'll be rewarded with interest. If you want to go camping all year around – in the worst possible conditions that the Great British Weather (or anywhere else on the planet for that matter) is going to throw at you - ------ then this is second to none and the tent for you.

(. And, having just read one of the other reviews, I can identify the criticisms as 'not put up properly!'
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By: Campusafe  Reason: I own(ed) one  Made in: 2012   Rating: 

This review is for a Finnmark 6-8 Complete (with inner tent) with current price of £1000.

This is a top quality tent and I would give it 10/10 if it wasn't for a few design mistakes which are unforgivable for this price.

1. Extremely lightweight for its size due its materials. Dries very fast.

2. The central pole is extremely well made and designed, very light and looks like it can withstand a polar bear attack. No instructions on packing it though which is just slightly less confusing than a Rubiks cube.

3. Some of the seams of the outer tent leaked on its 1st outing (admittedly after very heavy downpour). No leaking occurred on a handful of wet subsequent outings, without any sealer applied. All zips are well protected from the rain and all seams are nicely taped on the inside.

4. One major design fault concerning water-proofness is the top hood. The well constructed and wide base of the hood does turn upwards even in moderate winds exposing the closing red strings and ringed hole which the string goes through. This allows the strings to get soaked and it will eventually start slowly dripping inside the tent. Helsport technical support suggested I should use sealer on the strings, but I am not convinced it will solve the problem. In any case why haven™t they done so themselves on a £1000 tent?!

5. All tightening ropes are already attached on the tent and kept tidy in place when not used by clever elastic bands. Disappointingly no tightening ropes are supplied for the two ventilation flaps! Why Helsport?

6. Very good quality aluminium pegs are supplied, but only 30 of them. Red in colour, so that it is not easy to leave behind when packing the tent. You will need just a few more if you are going to use all the tightening ropes. When I pay that money for a tent, I do not expect to be buying extra pegs, but to have a few spare ones.

7. The tent will stand adequately on its central pole just by pegging the base, but you need to use at least half of the guy ropes to keep the inner from touching the outer tent.

8. The outer tent has a gorgeous shiny green which changes shades depending on the angle you look at it and blends completely with the colours of UK countryside and hedges, making it almost impossible to spot near dusk.

5. The Inner tent is a bright yellowy orange which makes the living space very pleasant and bright both day and night. However, this colour it seems to be a bit of an insect attraction. Still I would not change it if I had the choice. Walking up under it seems to brighten up your day even if its raining outside.

6. The useful floor space inside is about 3.9m diameter and not 4.2m as on specs. A 6-8 person tent? It is not! You can probably squeeze 8 people in there but it would not leave any available space for your tea mugs and would require a military operational plan to get them to fit. This is a four man tent really, with enough room for a small rucksack each and a small empty area in the middle so you can stand up and get changed. Anything more is crowded.

7. I do not have a stove for it and not planning to get one. Although the floor can be opened up (nice Velcro strip), there is no way you can have a stove inside the inner tent without seriously risking damage to your inner material (too low!). If you're just using the outer, then yes, but the floor is permanently attached to the inner.

8. Top marks for ventilation. I have never slept in a tent with both inner and outer layer that is so well ventilated. Even when the sun comes up you can open both doors and stay in, reading without feeling like a baked apple. This is the reason I bought this tent and I must say that it has exceeded my expectations. The result is a very good night's sleep and you wake up feeling fresh in the morning.

9. Top quality mosquito nets are provided for both doors as well as one for the top opening which ties well round the central pole. However, their usefulness is seriously compromised as all of them are attached to the outer and not the inner tent. I believe that this is because the outer tent is also sold separately and the inner is just an add on. A very disappointing design fault by Helsport allowing a large proportion of the neighbouring insect wildlife (especially spiders) to share your shelter. Helsport provided no comment when I pointed it out to them. Personally I do not mind spiders much, but I can see mosquitoes in hotter climates and midges in Scotland and Scandinavia being a problem with an additional mos-net being essential.

10. The ground sheet has proved 100% waterproof so far, but I have been using a black plastic sheet as additional protection. It feels like it is made out of very good quality material, but maybe a bit thin raising questions about its durability and its long term water proofness.

11. Setting up takes 15-20 minutes at a very leisurely pace by one person. I think it can be done in under 5 min by two people with a bit of experience. This of course assuming that the inner tent is left permanently attached to the outer.

12. Packing up 10 minutes – 1 person. And another 20 min to put the pole in its bag until you work out the right order to do it! The tent bag is large enough to fit the tent - even if folding is untidy - and has two tightening straps to reduce its volume.

13. This tent is not affected at all by winds up to 20mph (with gusts a lot more forceful than that), even with half of the guy ropes used. I expect it can withstand seriously stronger winds too. I have not had the chance to use it in low temperatures, but during the cold summer of 2012 the temperature inside the tent was very reasonable even on cold nights and theres a very distinct temperature difference when you 1st walk out in the morning.


Very pleased with the tent. This is a very good tent made to last, suitable for the professional extreme camper as well as a serious family tent. It will cope with most UK weather conditions and offers a very pleasant living space. Sets up fast, packs fast even in bad weather. Unfortunately, its shape means that you cannot have open doors in wet weather, but its ventilation systems allows you to sit in comfortably without feeling like a prisoner. If it wasnt for the two design faults regarding the soaking strings and mosquito nets, it would easily be the most practical and best value Teepee type tent on the market. The tent looks small when you set it up, but feels and is a lot roomier when you walk in. An extra 20-40cm diameter and 15-20cm in height would give it a grand feel and make it a little palace.
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By: The Bimblers  Reason: I own(ed) one  Made in: 2009   Rating: 

A Tepee (Tipi, Teepee, Lavvu choose the spelling of your choice) has advantages and disadvantages over a 'standard' tent.

The disadvantages are obvious: One 'bedroom' (with the relative lack of privacy that that entails); a central pole which always seems to be in the way; a lot of the floor area appears to be unusable because of the shape.

Don't let any of these apparent disadvantages skew your enjoyment of decision - the advantages can massively outweigh the disadvantages and, once you get used to it, the perceived disadvantages evaporate.

The shape is amazingly weather resistant in a way that a 'standard' tent never will be and, provided you accept that it's different and work as such, you will find that it rewards you.

Our Tepee has been up when there has been 3 feet of snow - drifting to 8 feet (see the photos!). It has withstood winds (we were told afterwards) of 100mph and with the optional (£400) woodburning stove we have been very comfortable indeed (truth to tell we were too hot and had to open one of the doors!) with an outside temperature of minus 20c.

Tepees are different - learn to use them and they are great but try to use them as a tent and you'll hate it.

Want to go camping - buy a tent.

Want to go camping in ALL weathers - buy a tepee.

You won't be disappointed.
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Manufacturer's Description

Manufacturer - Helsport

Tent - Finnmark 6-8

Type - Teepee type

Website - www.helsport.com

The king of all lavvu’s, finnmark has been developed for use by the most demanding outdoorsmen in the most demanding environments. we have combined years of experience and knowledge into our new flagship lavvu with details like an adjustable inner tent, which can be easily lowered from inside to increase heat retention, and a permanent groundsheet with Velcro opening for fire or cold pits. Finnmark is equipped with all the extras such as storm flaps, lots of guy lines and peg points for increased stability, and double entries with mosquito mesh and protected zippers. Two Helsport AirflowII® ventilation ducts combine with an internally adjustable top opening to ensure sufficient airflow inside, preventing condensation and improving air quality. attachment points for installing the inner tent and the single aluminium center pole make the lavvu quick and easy to set up. the outer shell is made of a specially developed version of our Helsport rainguard® fabric which, along with all of the fabrics used, are treated with a flame retardant material making them ideal for use in lavvu. with room for six to eight people, finnmark comes complete with inner tent, mesh top opening cover and ground sheet.

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