Since the start of Summit or Nothing Nathan and myself have had a fair share of tents between us. We’ve been doing this for so long no that some have since been discontinued, like our Vango tents. Back in 2016, the must have tent for the wild camper seemed to be the Vango Banshee, which was my first tent, but Nath owned the Vango Mirage, which by the time we were filming our camping trips, had already been replaced by the Vango Helvellyn – or renamed I guess, as the tents are practically identical. The closest you can seem to get to the Banshee now is the Vango Nevis or the much more expensive Vango F10 Hydrogen Air.
Well, at around the time that Nath was veering to the DD Hammocks Superlight Tarp set up, I was approached by a little known company called Naturehike, and over the next four or five years I would come to know their tents, and others, very well indeed. Here is a run down of all of my favourite budget tents that are still currently available (click any blue text or the images to find product links).
Weighing at around 1.75kgs, this lightweight two-skin / two-berth tent soon became one of my favourites. We were sent the very first Cloud Up 2 by Naturehike themselves, and it was really the first bit of kit that we had been asked to review. Unlike many other companies that approached us, Naturehike didn’t ask for favourable 5 star reviews. Naturehike were open to criticism, and so were the perfect starter for us.
However, both Nathan and myself were quite impressed by this free standing tent, it was light, yet robust. It was easy to put up, and we even figured a way of setting it up like a tarp shelter (something that we still haven’t got around to testing on the trail yet) to reduce weight even further. It’s probably a little on the tight size for two men to share, but a nice size for one man and his gear at a reasonable weight and cost.
This became my go to tent for a long while, and kept me dry and reasonable warm during many a stormy camp, but it took a while for the public to join me in its appreciation. They saw it as a cheap knock off of some of the more expensive brands, like the MSR Hubba Hubba. It wasn’t until out with Thom from Off the Beaten Pot when we got hit by 60mph winds, that the tents durabilty was seen for the first time, as Thom’s MSR Elixir 1 took a beating its poles were bent and gnarled, the Naturehike Cloud Up 2 however, sprang back to life fine. It was then that the Cloud Up 2 began to get a lot more attention from other outdoors types.
I loved mine so much that I forked out myself to get the Cloud Up 2 in a more stealthy green colour, and that particular tent has seen me proud ever since, although it is slightly shorter than many tents, so probably not ideal for anyone taller than six-foot, and it does only have a single entrance at the front of the tent.
A game changer for us was the discovery of the 3fUL Gear Lanshan 2. I got sent one just as Nath was standing down from the channel, but I always thought that this tent would have suited him. Like his tarp set up it could be put up with hiking poles, but unlike the tarp it was a proper enclosed tent, shutting the elements out.
Its a lightweight tent that many outdoors enthusiasts have grown to love. In two consecutive years I did a poll of the best tents, and both years the Lanshan has topped that chart.
The Lanshan is a two skin tent, which the outer and inner skin are attached to one another, making the task of putting the tent up a little easier, especially being able to protect the inner skin from the elements if you were putting the tent up in adverse weather.
I find it a little faffy to put up, myself, but once its up, its a great little tent, plenty of room, with twin doors either side and a reasonable vestibule for any stove work. At one point this tent almost became my go to tent, I had a lot of fun in it on numerous occasions, camping on the coast and beside a tarn in the mountains of the Lake District. And, I was right, when Nath returned to the channel, I leant him my Lanshan 2, and he was instantly sold!
You can also get hold of the Lanshan 1 Pro, the slightly smaller one man version – although this will require seam sealing before you take it out.
The Phoxx 2 from OEX is similar in design to Vango’s Banshee, but with one major flaw that most outdoors types would agree is a big no-no, and that is that the inner skin is thrown up first when erecting, fine for ideal weather, but if its windy and rainy on the hill then this makes the whole experience a lot more frustrating.
But like the Banshee, it is a tunnel tent, and although I opted for the red, it does come in stealthier outdoors colours such as brown and green. It was a little heavier than the likes of the Cloud Up 2, weighing in at 2.11kgs, but it is a rigid tent and surprisingly roomy inside, with twin entrances to either side.
Back in 2017 I purchased mine on offer at Go Outdoors for less than £70, the offer price seems to be above £100 these days.
The Cloud Peak from Naturehike was a tent that I wanted to test for such a long time. It had a stronger design, having three poles which cross over each other to create a strong geodesic structure that can stand up against the winds.
I pestered Naturehike for years, before finlly relenting and purchasing one for myself, only to have Naturehike send me one within days of getting my own. So, it made a good prize over at the Summit or Nothing Patreon page.
Taking its design from the Hilleberg Allak 2, but at a fraction of the price, the Cloud Peak has a roof capping that hovers above the main tent, keeping weather out but allowing air to flow and reduce condensation. But take care to attach that to the tent in a more permanent way, I almost lost my capping to strong winds.
It is a heavier option than many of the Naturehike tents, but its durability is a reassurance to many wild campers that is easily worth the extra grams.
The tent is a classic two door design, and has two decent vestibules either side, but one of the largest faults with it is the poor zipper to the dors which seem to snag for a pastime.
One of my favourite tents over the years has been the Naturehike Vik 1.
This single skinned tent may not be good for all year around, but its such a great lightweight option, which is really easy to put up and surprisingly snug inside.
Its single skin hangs from the freestanding poles and in being so perfectly aligned pulls the exterior skin tight and greatly reduces flapping in the wind, as long as you don’t make the mistake of purchasing the version with the snow skirt.
It has windows for ventilation but condensation can often be a bit of an issue. There is a method of using a hiking pole to prop up one of the doors to create airflow, but I still haven’t got around to trying this.
The good folks at Camperlists sent me the 3FUL Gear Taiji 2 to test out, and I was not dissappointed. This tent is lightweight and sturdy. Like the Cloud Peak it relies on a 3 poled geodesic design to add durabilty and stability in the wind.
Its a freestanding tent again, and like the Vik 1 its inner and outer skins hang from the external frame, pulling the material tight.
Its thick internal walls may be a little heavier than most but make a lot of difference in keeping the warmth within the tent. I camped out in this during the cold wintery snow season just before Christmas, and was toasty inside.
However, the clip that holds the three poles and the tent roof together had snapped on my second time out, so until I fake a repair there, the tent did prove to be a little flappy.