On our last camping trip we used the Vango Orchy 500 as our main tent with a Quechua Base Seconds Full as a separate kitchen/utility tent. This was spacious and convenient but pitching and packing away was a pain. In total it took 3 hours to dismantle and pack away camp and an hour of that was just packing away the Vango. In comparison it took just minutes to put away the Quechua.
3 hours is a long time when you have to be off a pitch by 11am. The longer it took the more tired we became and the slower we moved. We made it by 11 but were shattered and facing a long drive home.
Since then I’ve been thinking, is it worth taking the Vango? I love the size of the Vango, it’s massive. It’s well designed. The windows make it feel spacious and light. It’s withstood gale force winds and rain storms. However if it’s raining you can’t have the doors open and it’s a labour intensive, slow job to pitch it and pack it away. The tent’s still sitting in our garage waiting to be dried out because it’s so big we need a really dry day to get it out on the lawn.
When we arrived at our pitch it was poaring down with rain. We’d been driving for 5 hours with the dogs in the car. We all needed to get some fresh air, stretch our legs, and have a drink before even thinking about pitching the Vango. So we grabbed the Quechua out of the car and popped it up. Within 10 minutes we were sheltered from the rain with the kettle on.
Using the Quechua Base Seconds Full with our 2 Seconds III attached makes a similar tent design as the Vango (one porch plus one sleeping area). I used this set up when I went camping earlier in the year (see photo above). It’s a much smaller living space and the two tents aren’t actually attached to each other. Also they both take up more room in the car than the Vango.
However they are _much_ easier to pitch and pack. We could have camp set up in minutes rather than hours. The lack of space could be helped by adding a 2 Seconds I (£25) as a storage tent (or perhaps even our Wild Country Duolite Tourer) to the 2nd tent attachment point. Another advantage is these tents are much more convenient to dry when you get home. With the modular system you can dry one tent at a time by just popping it up in the garden for half an hour.
We could, of course, sell the Vango and replacing it with a quick-to-pitch alternative. Like Vango’s new Velocity 400 (£415) or Quechua’s Seconds Family 4.1 (£180). However this is a more expensive option and isn’t as flexible as a modular system of three smaller tents.
For our next trip, we’ll use the Quechua tents instead and see if we can cope with sacrificing a bit of space in exchange for less back-breaking work.