#Campmaster tents are often the first choice for visitors to South Africa as they are lightweight and affordable on a Euro or British Pound budget. A cheap and lightweight #Tent can be loaded on the plane back to Europe as excess luggage, or just be left with some needy person back in Africa at the end of the holiday. Local campers also buy them on occasion as they tend to fit in the bottom range of cash outlay. There are conflicting reviews out there from die-hard campers so we bought one and tried it out.

We went with the #family 8 person sleeper as so often people travel with kids or in groups. Obviously, the family cabin is not ideal for a single backpacker as it clocks on the scale at 26 kilograms, but for those travellers who hire a vehicle, the extra space might be an inviting consideration, especially as it is high enough to stand fully upright.

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Campmaster tent out the box

Campmaster family tent comes in a bag and like all of their tents, it seems there is no way to ever get everything back in the bag. The first problem we encountered was the pole bag. The stitching on the bottom was unravelling and all the poles fell out the bottom. It seems to be a particular problem with Campmaster products as we have owned several pup tents in the past and they all had the same problem.

The general appearance of the tent materials comes across as flimsy, but this can be misleading so straight out the box it was too early to tell how robust it was.

This is an unusual tent, formed in an L shape with the space between the "L's" creating an additional room where it is supposed that half the eight people would sleep. It should be noted that if eight people were to sleep in this tent there would not be a lot of room to store anything more than bedding, so the tent would be better accommodating six people.

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Straight out the box, the tent was laid out flat so the poles could be put into place.

Tent poles

The tent is very well marked so following the guide, it is a simple job to slot the poles into the right places. Two people can easily and very quickly place the colour coded poles into the slots and lift the tent into an erect-position. The poles are light - possibly too light and there is a possibility they may not hold up to an African storm with high winds. Even in a moderate wind, the tent was blowing and billowing and the poles did not seem to be very robust. Even the instructions pamphlet warns that the weight of water in pockets on the roof might collapse the poles if the tent is not rigid when erected - not a comforting thought.

Flysheet covers the tent

Once the tent poles are slotted in place and lifted up, the tent stands erect. It is easy enough to slip the flysheet over the top of it, but the tent has that unusual shape so it was difficult to figure out which bit of the flysheet went where.

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Of note - there is an odd looking hook on it that marries up to a black ring on one of the poles. That goes in the front where the entrance will be. Knowing this can cut down on a lot of false starts and rising tempers.

Tie-down and pegs on the Campmaster

The tent comes with all the nylon guy ropes, ties, and pegs but it must be noted there is no mallet or hammer, so you will have to buy one separately. Long experience has also taught us to always pick up some heavy duty tent pegs and ropes to give additional tension in windy conditions. The additional plastic corner pegs that come in the tent package are not robust enough. Other pegs are small even though they are metal but again, in wet weather, they could very possibly pull out of the ground.

The floor space

We erected our tent on a level piece of ground, careful to avoid dips and humps but despite all out efforts, we could not seem to get the floor to lie down flat so consequently, there were creases and baggy bits that are hard to clean and pose a tripping hazard.

The two rooms on either side of the central area are just big enough to take folding Natural Instincts beds, but any wind causes rubbing against the bed frames which could cause potential holes! The floor is not robust and just walking inside the tent with safety boots caused some damage to the floor. I would recommend that you buy some carpet squares and put them down under beds, tables and storage units.

Zips and windows

The zips are double which is important. Historically we found that this was sufficient to keep out baboons and monkeys. However, even though the zips in this tent are self-repairing, you can help zips to last longer using some wax. Never spray zips with silicon as it encourages dust and clogs the teeth.

Conclusion

This tent would be better for a maximum of six people considering there is no awning. At the very least, if you want to sit outside, you would need an additional gazebo. The tent is not very robust and does not handle wind and rain very well. However, for occasional use in dry weather, it will probably suffice. Cost wise? Well, you get what you pay for and at Game Stores price tag of just under R4000, (238 British pounds), it might be a safer long-term bet to go for the Natural Instincts 6 sleeper which is more expensive but will probably survive a thunder storm.