Dot writes: we’re trying to choose a new tent, aided by a large pile of glossy catalogues sent to us by my Dad (for whom tent catalogues are definitely one of the main attractions of camping). We’ve never bought a tent before – the one we had on holiday and which we are replacing was a hand-me-down – and we are a little bewildered by choice. Online customer reviews are helpful and yet complicating. We learn that the EasyCamp Boston 600 is, on the one hand, delightfully spacious, light and easy to pitch, and stands up well to bad weather; on the other hand, it is shoddy, flimsy, and prone to disastrous collapse in bad weather. The Vango Sungari 600 is very easy to erect but on the other hand a party of three had to get help from the neighbours in the next pitch to put it up. The ‘eyebrow’ over the door of the Vango Tigris 600, for us one of its attractive features, can apparently be a source of stress on the door and one reviewer likes to leave it out. Would the Tigris 600 be too dark? Do we need an extension? Should we go for a hydrostatic head of 5000 or would 3000 be enough? It’s all very difficult (and that’s ignoring the catalogues from Kampa, Outwell, SunnCamp and Coleman).
I always panic slightly in unfamiliar sandwich shops because there are too many different kinds of sandwich and I feel I have to read the whole of the board and then I haven’t made my decision and there are people waiting and I have to choose but I’m not ready and…I panic a bit. I’ve evolved a technique of looking at the board as quickly as I can, spotting something I like the sound of, and not looking back. However, tents are a bit more expensive and complicated than sandwiches. And that thing of opening up your sandwiches and putting crisps in them? It doesn’t work very well with tents. On the other hand you can’t amuse your toddler by getting him to play in a sandwich. Do you think I should go to bed now? Yes, I think so too.