Tent Reviews: Outwell Alabama 5P
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Living area groundsheet:
5 (more 5 berth tents)
Average User Rating:
9/10 from 2 reviews
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2 Reviews of the Alabama 5P
By: Towner7679 Reason: I own(ed) one Made in: 2015 Rating:
We used our Alabama 5p for the first time this May bank holiday.
Putting up: relatively easy with 2 of us, and thanks to you tube pitching help videos. Colour coded pegs are great
Interior: the panoramic porch is fantastic. We used that as our kitchen area, and the air vents were a godsend.
The tent had great living space for 2 adults and 2 children and 1 dog.
The 3 sleeper bedroom pod held 2 camp beds only and we felt squishy, so the next night we were on sims, and spacing seemed much better.
The rear single pod held a camp bed with space for small luggage. The front bedroom pod is actually shorter than the rear, which made the camp bed very squishy. Thankfully there is a zip door between the 2 rooms, which when undone helps with space.
Taking down: again relatively easy with the 2 of us, and surprising managed to get the tent back in the back.
Overall, I will happily recommend this tent for family use. With our 9yr old and 12 year old there was plenty of space.
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By: MikeOS Reason: I own(ed) one Made in: 2015 Rating:
To give you an idea of where I am coming from we are a family of 4 including two teenagers (girl 16 and boy 17) and we go camping for our main summer holiday each year (which is usually a fortnight. We usually ‘drop anchor’ in one place rather than move around and tend to go out during the day and come back in the evening. Buying this tent was an upgrade from our old Vango Nevis 6 which had given us 5 years good service but was starting to feel a bit vulnerable in bad weather.
I chose Outwell as a brand, partly because of their excellent reputation for design and quality but also because on a previous camping trip to the Outer Hebrides in Scotland I had witnessed firsthand how their large family tents could stand up to virtually anything that the weather could throw at them.
I chose the Alabama 5P from Outwell’s range because I felt that the sleeping layout with its separate bedrooms would give our two teenagers some individual space of their own. In addition to this I thought that the panorama room at the front of the tent could be used as a cooking / food prep area thus eliminating the need for the side awning (which had been a necessity with our old Vango). One factor in choosing the Alabama 5P instead of the wider 7P version was that I was mindful that the children probably wouldn’t be coming on holiday with us for much longer so I didn’t see the point of getting anything too large.
This year we went down to the far west of Cornwall for our usual fortnight. The weather was quite unsettled with a couple of really bad days of wind and rain so the tent got a pretty good test. Here are some of our thoughts.
1. Pitching / Packing Up
Easy and quick (followed the online you tube video). Two people could put it up in about half an hour to forty minutes. Packing away is also simple and the ‘wheelie’ style carry case is easily large enough to accommodate the rolled up tent without having to expel every last bit of air to close the zips. The bedrooms are left in situ rather than removed and packed separately.
2. Sleeping Arrangements
The sleeping arrangements are not right on top of each other which affords the occupants a little bit more personal space. With regard to size, the two small bedrooms are not spacious and are only big enough to accommodate a single airbed and not much else. The large bedroom (which is classified as a 3 person) is a good size to accommodate two adults plus their stuff but would be a real push for three. There is a fair degree of flexibility to the sleeping arrangements which we found to be useful. For example the large bedroom has two doors – one which opens into the main living area and one which opens into the corridor between it and small bedroom at the rear. Also the main living area end of the corridor can be closed off by using a flap provided for that purpose. These features turned out to be a real benefit for us as by using the front entrance only to the large bedroom and having the flap in place we were able to use the corridor as extra space for the small bedroom. The kids therefore had two decent sized bedrooms. So where did mum and dad sleep I hear you ask – well we opted to stow away the second single bedroom and then our double airbed fitted nicely across the gap between the remaining single bedroom and the bulkhead divider between the main living area and the panorama room.
3. Main Living Area
The main living area is a good size (easily accommodated a double airbed and a 4 person foldaway bench / table. The tent carpet (which we bought as part of a tent / footprint / carpet package) covers the living area plus the rear corridor and we found it worth the extra money as it really gives a feeling of comfort underfoot. The main living area is separated from the panorama room by a bulkhead divider two thirds of which is zipped and can be rolled back and stowed. We found to be a very good feature as during the day this divider can be rolled up out of the way to increase space then at night it can be zipped back to make the main living area nice and cosy.
4. Panorama Room
We used this large area at the front of the tent for our cooking / food prep and as our main entrance / exit. All the shoes and wet gear stayed in here keeping the main living area clean & dry. The Panorama room has large windows all round which let in loads of light even on a dull rainy day. This brightness really helps lift the mood and we definitely didn’t get that familiar feeling of oppression that one often experiences when stuck in a dingy tent on a rainy afternoon. All the windows have zip down curtains (which front awnings do not have). The curtains have a simple but clever pocket under the window into which they are stowed. Although the footprint (recommended extra along with the carpet) extends into this area the panorama room has a separate groundsheet which need not be used if you don’t want. With it being summer, we just used the footprint in this area which was fine. Much has been made about cooking inside tents but in my own experience gas stoves are fine, so long as long as there is good ventilation and you keep the cooker well away from the sides of the tent. Our combination of a Kampa Commander camp kitchen (fitted with big feet to save damaging the groundsheet) and a Camping Gaz two ring / grill stove went without a hitch. Incidentally I have found that for our family of four a full 4.5kg butane cylinder always lasts for the complete fortnight.
5. Weather Resistance
During our stay we had winds in the high 20’s mph and they came from all points of the compass. One day the winds would be end on to the tent and the next day side on. As would be expected from a steel poled Outwell rated to survive a force 10 gale the tent easily stood up to these winds whilst others on the site unfortunately succumbed. My only niggle in the wind was that the Velcro strips that hold the longer ventilation flaps closed tended to blow apart when the wind was strong. These flaps could have done with an alternative mechanical fastening like a clip for use in bad weather. The waterproofing was good, however on two days when the high winds were combined with very heavy rain a few drops managed to find their way through a pole mounting seam on the panorama room side of the bulkhead. I am perhaps being a bit harsh, (it was just a few drops and the conditions were appalling), but I felt that the complexity of the seams in this area didn’t help and after all a premium tent of this nature should be 100% waterproof, whatever the conditions.
Despite a couple of minor niggles my overall impression of the Alabama 5P is very positive. The flexibility of the layout / sleeping arrangements is very useful and the overall quality is excellent. More than anything I wanted a tent that I wouldn’t have to worry over when the weather turned bad and in this respect the Alabama 5P has really delivered for me. I can now rest easy confident that the tent won’t let me down - whatever the conditions. If you need a large, reliable tent that is flexible enough to cope with changing family needs then in my opinion the Alabama 5P is an excellent choice.
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Sleeping 5 people in 3 bedrooms with plenty of living space as well, the Alabama 5P is a great camping tent for families with older children and friends looking for a super holiday base camp. Packed with feature innovation and detail, the spacious panorama room is ideal for meals and socialising.
Type of tent: Four room tunnel tent
Sleeps people: 5
Hydrostatic Head: 6000 mm
Flysheet: Outtex® 6000 (75D 100% polyester taffeta) with taped seams
Inner tent: Breathable 100% polyester
Rooms: 3 bedrooms, 1 living room
Poles: Steel poles 19/22 mm, 2 upright steel poles
Floor: Double-coated 100% polyethylene, 10,000 mm hydrostatic head
Groundsheet: Sealed Ground System
Pitching way: Flysheet first or as one
Pack size flysheet: 78 x 40 x 42 cm
Pack size poles: 19 x 76 cm
Weight flysheet: 26.1 kg
Weight poles: 17.2 kg
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