Sleeping under the stars is a delight in the Robens Fairbanks Tipi, £399 from Outdoor World Direct. This spacious canvas tipi is a canvas home to be proud of – be warned, it might ruin you for all other tents.
Product Description: “A new tipi from Robens, the Fairbanks is a polycotton, single-wall tipi tent, which is supported by one single pole, making it a really simple tent to pitch. Ideal for those requiring a traditional style tipi that still has the Robens technical features. The Robens Fairbanks has protective eaves, which extend out at the front of the tent, creating a large porch area. There is a single front door with an arched shaped two-way zip. The Fairbanks can sleep up to four people, and has a fully sewn in groundsheet, and mesh vents to ensure the creepy crawlies cannot access the sleeping area.”
Getting set up: The first attempt at putting the Fairbanks up took a while – the groundsheet needs pegging out tightly in a decagon shape before you pop up the central pole and peg the canvas, a mix of cotton and polyester, out with myriad guy ropes. The key to erecting the Fairbanks properly is to ensure that all the canvas panels are really taught, or you end up with a saggy pyramid instead of a proud tipi. Once we had the knack, though, we could get the Fairbanks up in ten minutes. The tent is a real pleasure to look at, use and touch when erect, and the inside has a feeling of space and light I’ve never experienced before in a four-man tent. The tent packs up easily into a large rucksack bag. The alloy poles don’t add a lot of weight – the whole thing comes in at 9.1kg – and each piece, from the pegs to the stitches, feels like fantastic quality.
Out camping: Whilst you definitely could squeeze into the Fairbanks with three mates I’d recommend using it as a two-man, allowing plenty of room for all your gear. The sewn-in groundsheet is comfy to sleep on and the light canvas walls are breathable yet waterproof – no more waking up boiling hot and starved for air. Even in horrible weather the tent is a cosy, airy place to hang out in, and being able to fully stand up to get changed is a revelation. The wide porch keeps kit dry and offers plenty of space for cooking in a downpour.
Verdict: The Fairbanks isn’t cheap, but you really get whar you pay for – a beautiful, thoughtfully designed and comfortable delight of a tent. If you’re hitting the festival circuit or planning a lazy camping holiday this is totally worth the spend, and should last you years of exploring the great outdoors.