There’s something so rewarding about setting up camp on a spur-of-the-moment getaway. But it’s even more rewarding if you can master the tent instructions first time round! The recently tested Outlook 3 with veranda definitely earns its stripes in the convenience stakes.
Easily mistaken for a piece of neatly packed luggage, the stable, dome-shaped Natural Instincts Outlook 3 with veranda fits snugly into a carry-on-style bag. Granted, it may be easier to pull out than pack back in, but it takes up minimal space in the car. Apart from being neat and compact, the Outlook comes with a pretty decent set of instructions, making the set-up process a simple 20-minute exercise – even for first-timers.
It’s easy to tell the veranda poles apart from the tent poles, as the poles and sheaths have corresponding colour-coding, so you won’t get your poles crossed! Bright orange guy ropes help secure the awning of the veranda, offering you some shady relief when the sun intensifies, or shelter when the rain pays a visit.
But, as with all tents made from synthetic fabrics, this one does tend to retain the heat, so try and aim for a shady spot if you’re camping in the middle of summer. The floor of the tent, along with the veranda’s ground sheet, serves as an excellent waterproof barrier, stopping moisture from seeping into your hopefully dry sleeping space. With its elegantly cool demeanour, the reflective silver-grey fabric plays an effective part in the struggle against the encroaching heat – but bear in mind that the Outlook 3 is not, strictly speaking, an all-weather tent, if by ‘all weather’ you mean gale-force winds and sub-zero temperatures. But for a run-of-the-mill camping trip it will serve you well. Because the Outlook is made from synthetic fabric, it’s relatively light compared to more heavy-duty canvas tents, but naturally it’s less durable. It is tear-resistant to a point, but sharp sticks or rocks could still damage it, so be careful where you choose to set up camp.
Perfect for a family of four, this model is designed to accommodate two adults and two children comfortably. (Four adults would be a bit of a squeeze.) The double doors on both sides, along with windows on the other two sides, allow ventilation. The insect nets and rain prevention flaps on the doors can be left either rolled up or zipped down, depending on what you need. The insect mesh on the windows doesn’t open.
One of the Outlook 3’s most appealing features has to be the veranda with its groundsheet. Offering extra living space, the well-designed structure is perfect for housing a mattress on a hot, lazy summer’s day (with the side flaps zipped up out of the way to aid ventilation), or the ideal spot for hosting card games if the heavens open unexpectedly. It’s also a great space to store your extra camping gear at night, giving more sleeping space inside the tent. If you decide to head out for a walk or a hike, you can secure your belongings within the veranda relatively safely by zipping down the shade awning, which should keep out those inquisitive baboons.
Offering a relatively hassle-free setup and more than enough space, this tent is a great choice for a last-minute family getaway. Available at Outdoor Warehouse, the Outlook 3 retails at R1699.95. Contact your nearest Outdoor Warehouse for details or visit www.outdoorwarehouse.co.za.You’ll find them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/OutdoorW) and on Twitter (@OutdoorW).