Robens Goshawk Tent

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They Say – Updated to be lighter weight, the award-winning Goshawk is an even better two-person tent. Light enough for two to carry on the trail during extended treks, this offers comfortable useable space in the form of two separate porch options, including a rear sheltered doorway which uses walking poles as supports. This allows each trekker to have his or her own entrance. It’s stable, easy to pitch and versatile.

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We Say – I’ve been using this tent for the past 3 months. Here’s a few thoughts.

First, it’s amazingly quick to erect. You just put the 2 poles in, fit them into their secure standing and then peg the tent out. The fly and inner can be pitched separately if you want, but there’s no need to do that and when it’s new the tent is supplied with fly and inner attached.

Here’s a photo of my last camping trip. A few of us were canoeing on an estuary for 3 days. We’d landed on an island in a 40mph wind, unloaded the canoes, pulled them up the beach and then set about making camp. 10 minutes later, this was the scene.

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As you can see, my Goshawk tent was set up (my gear was also all laid out inside it). My mate in the photo was still getting to grips with his tent whilst my other 3 mates had given up trying to set their own tents up and had retreated into a nearby Victorian ruin. This wasn’t all about being first to set up camp just for the sake of it though. A while later the rain swept in. No problem for me, I could sit in my tent, make a brew and relax. My mates, on the other hand, had to ferry all their gear into the ruin because they couldn’t set up in the open. They got soaked and in the end spent an oppressive night in the ruin as they just couldn’t put their tents up outside in such a high wind.

The rain continued all that night, I didn’t get at all wet. The tent has a hydrostatic head of 3,000mm whilst the floor is good to 10,000mm which basically means it’s not going to let water in via the floor unless the icy ground turns into a river (which has happened to me at altitude in the Alps in my younger days!) and it’s doubtful any rain will penetrate the fly unless the storm rages for a couple of days.

I will add at this point though that since I’m 6ft 1 tall, I did find myself touching the side wall on occasion whilst sleeping. You know how it is, you position your sleeping mat and bag well but then you roll about in the night or slip down the tent if you’re on a slight slope and you wake with your feet or head touching the tent inner wall, and then that touches the outer and gets damp. No big deal for most people but if you’re taller than me you might want to think about that.

Secondly, it’s very low profile. Here’s me stood next to it.

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This, combined with it’s gentle green colour, makes it perfect for wild camping where it’s best to be as discreet as possible. I’ve pitched it behind hedgerows on many occasions and never had any trouble. It also blends into all but the flattest landscape.

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Even though it’s low rise, it still feels spacey when you’re sat inside.

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There’s plenty of room in the porch to cook in, and store gear. The fact that the porch is enclosed on 3 sides means you can cook here whatever the weather (although if it was extremely windy, 30mph or above, I never did that; with the porch down there’s still room to operate a small stove and that’s what I did). Here’s a shot from my viewpoint on a day when it was a gentle 15mph wind.

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The interior of every Robens tent I’ve had has been the same bright yellow colour and this helps to brighten up the tent on dark days. Psychologically this is a welcome feature. If you’re stuck in your tent during a storm it helps if it’s as bright as it can be in there, to keep your spirits up. Here’s how it looked late afternoon on a very gloomy day.

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At 3.6kg it’s heavier than some backpacking tents but there’s always a trade off when it comes to weight, at least with current technology. You strip away the weight and you tend to loose protection and comfort. I’d rather carry an extra kilo on my back, get a good night’s sleep and be sure that if a storm comes I’m going to stay dry than take a lighter tent and spend the evening cramped and possibly soaking wet when the thinner material (that saved weight has to come from somewhere, and it’s not just the poles and pegs) let’s the rain in. And, this tent comes in 3 parts; poles in 1 bag, pegs in another and the tent itself in the larger bag. If there’s 2 of you and you split the weight, then it’s less than 2kg each, which is nothing if you’re interested in getting a decent night’s sleep.

Talking of the bag that the tent comes in, this one is actually large enough to hold the tent. With so many cheaper tents you get them out of their carry bags and then struggle to get them back in. It’s a small thing but a hassle none the less. With this Robens tent there’s no such problem, the tent goes back in easy, even if you don’t roll it up as tight as it can go.

The tent doesn’t come with the trekking poles. This is perhaps obvious but I thought I’d point it out. It also doesn’t come with the extra guide ropes you need to use the porch with trekking poles option, so you will want to take a couple of spare guide ropes with you on your first trip.

I’ve never had a Robens tent that was anything but excellent in the 4 years I’ve used the brand, they’re always well built and seemingly designed by an experienced camper who’s made every feature ‘just right’. This Goshawk is every bit as good as the other Robens’ tents I’ve used and I recommend it, and the brand, wholeheartedly.

To discover more, please see http://www.robens.de/en/Products/Tents/Lite/Goshawk.aspx

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