TENTS | The Robens Outback Trapper 2018 Is Tent Perfection – Review

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Camping at Low Farm campsite

What is it?

Robens Trapper Tent RRP: £749.99

Stockists

Features

  • Innovative hybrid bell tent design
  • Sleeps up to 4 people
  • Breathable HydroTex® Polycotton fabric
  • 1 bedroom and 1 living room
  • Sewn-in groundsheet, 210T Oxford polyester, 100% polyester, 5,000 mm
  • Steel poles x 3
  • Pack size 89 x 31 cm, weight 23.5 kg

The verdict

I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the new Robens Trapper tent last year in Denmark and I’ve been eagerly awaiting it’s arrival ever since. In fact, the morning it was delivered I stopped everything, changed my plans for the entire day and immediately put it up in the garden and camped out in it over night.

Since then I’ve been on several proper camping trips in the Trapper and have got to know the tent well.

Close up tent details

Putting the tent up

Althought easier with two, the Trapper tent can be put up by one person on their own, which is a real bonus as far as I’m concerned. There are 3 sets of steel poles which get progressively smaller with the smallest V shaped pole at the entrance of the bedroom and the other two larger U shaped poles at the front of the tent. The poles are very sturdy, which is great in terms of adverse weather and feeling confident that the tent will stay put, but not so great when it comes to putting the tent up alone as it does mean they are heavy.

Getting the poles in place requires a bit of faffing, and holding up the full weight of the tent to get each pole inside and into place does take a fair bit of effort for one, but it’s a doddle with two. The front pole in particular is quite unusual in that as with the other poles, it’s attached inside the tent, but there is a clever zipped section which holds the front pole in place.

The Robens Trapper tent set up for one with my carp fishing bed, unlike true bell tents, there’s no centre pole

Space & practicality

The front area is a great size, big enough for my massive kitchen unit, cool box and two chairs. Although there is enough floor space physically to just about fit our double Outwell centuple camp bed inside the sleeping compartment, because of the sloping back, it doesn’t fit it in due to its height. Worth bearing in mind if you are a couple or small family who prefer to use camp beds or air mattresses instead of SIMs.

When the two of us use the tent we simply leave the camp bed at home and go for a double SIM on the floor. When I camp alone, my beloved single carp fishing bed fits the space perfectly with plenty of extra room on the other side, which I use for storage.

The Trapper tent on another trip, set up with just my single SIM in the bedroom

We use this tent on shorter camping trips and this is my tent of choice for solo camping trips. Whilst to many a tent of this size may seem like overkill for solo camping, I prefer to use a tent which offers a good amount of space, standing height and a separate living area. Primarily as I take lots of stuff with me (walking gear, kayak, kit and costumes for my hobby LRP) and I always cook proper food from scratch when I camp.

Kneeling on the floor at the entrance to a tiny tent just doesn’t cut it for me in terms of camp cooking, so I always take either a camp table or full camp kitchen unit with me, so I need a decent amount of space to accommodate my camp furniture and random stuff, making the Trapper absolutely ideal for my needs.

Robens trapper tent reviewThe living area, which is plenty big enough for my large camp table and cool box plus a couple of chairs

I absolutely love the built-in canopy at the front of the tent which means to cook, I simply undo the entire front of the tent and I can cook without getting either myself or my equipment wet in bad weather. It also means I can still have one of the doors partially open and see the world even when it’s raining and the first couple of camping trips I took with this tent, boy did it rain! Speaking of rain, the tent performed brilliantly, thanks to the DWR treated tight weave Polycotton, there were no damp spots and the rain just beaded and rolled off the flysheet.

The view from inside the bedroom compartment

Tent quality

I need to take a moment to talk about the quality of this tent. It’s absolutely stunning and the attention to detail is incredible. From the thick polycotton fabric of the tent to the sturdy zips and zippers and the beautifully tactile guy rope toggles, it’s immediately clear that this is a quality tent that’s been designed to last.

Robens Trapper Tent Zip DetailsSturdy zips and zip pulls

The pegs are very lightweight, and are great in softer ground, but they aren’t great on harder ground. After a few days of sunshine I spent 5 days camping and in just one trip, have managed to bend 6 of the pegs totally out of shape so I’ll be investing in some heavy duty pegs and will use them instead from now on.

I love the contrasting red of the zip pulls and guy ropes, but did notice that even with solar stake lights placed around the tent, that lots of people tripped over the guys. Despite the guy ropes being pretty short, in the dark they are virtually invisible, something to bear in mind if you are camped at a festival or a particularly busy campsite.

Robens Trapper Bell Tent Cable Entry PointCable entry point inside the bedroom

When it comes down to wind and rain the tent performs brilliantly. On my most recent camping trip the weather was mixed to say the least with everything from blazing hot sunshine to short torrential downpours, thunder, lightning and high winds. In the wind particularly, the tent performed really well, and whilst the sides of the tent flapped a little as you’d expect, it stayed put and felt solid.

Adorable tiny little half moon zip vents inside the bedroom, just like in a regular bell tent!

Final Thoughts

I absolutely love this tent. Although we have camped as a couple in it, after owning it for nearly 3 months, I’ve found that I most frequently use it when I camp alone. Whilst it’s ideal for couples and single campers, for many it will be too large as a one-person weekend tent, but for longer camping trips and if like me, you’re someone who has no interest in minuscule backpacking tents and prefers comfort and space for you and your camp furniture, then the Robens Trapper Tent is ideal.

I save on weight by separating the heavy poles and carrying them separately, and whilst you’ll need a bit of upper body strength to get this tent up alone, it’s perfectly manageable and with such highly evident quality, I think this is a tent I’ll be happily camping in for many years to come.

Robens Trapper Bell Tent WindowsLooking out of the large windows onto the ‘in character’ camp at a recent LRP event

Inside the tent with the bedroom compartment zipped open

Pros

  • I absolutely adore the quirky, retro design of the tent
  • High quality polycotton which looks beautiful but is easier to care for than 100% cotton canvas
  • The perfect sized tent for a couple in my opinion, but I do like lots of space so I find it’s perfect for my solo camping trips too
  • Very sturdy steel poles and high quality guy ropes and toggles
  • The tent can be put up with one person (though it’s much easier with two!)
  • The outer zips have the added protection of a little clear cover to ensure rain can’t get in
  • The sloping bedroom compartment makes for a smaller pack size and weight than if the tent was standing height throughout
  • Generous carry bag size makes getting everything packed away much easier, though to keep the carrying weight down, you might want to keep the surprisingly heavy poles separately
  • I love the large windows at the front which not only allows plenty of air flow on hot days, but also means you get a great view of your surroundings – something you don’t get with a regular bell tent unless the doors are open

Cons

  • The steel poles are heavy
  • The bedroom compartment slopes off quite abruptly making the space too small to accommodate a double camp bed, but it fits a large double SIM or regular air mattress no problem
  • The tent pegs aren’t massively strong and after 5 camping trips in this tent, 6 tent pegs have been bent out of shape

Side view of Robens Outback Trapper Tent 2018Side view of the Robens Trapper tent

Thank you to Robens who sent us the Trapper tent to test. We were not paid for this review.

Shell Robshaw-Bryan
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