4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

WITH two kids un­der the age of five es­sen­tially rel­e­gat­ing our old hik­ing tents to the cup­board, a large fam­ily tent was put on the shop­ping list. A caveat was it had to be light­weight and pack up com­pact, as we had down­sized from our large 4x4 wagon to a Subaru Forester. We also wanted it to be up to the more roug­hand-tumble con­di­tions, and Black Wolf’s Tuff Dome Plus tent fit the bill.

The Tuff Dome Plus is part of Black Wolf’s 12-tent Dome range. On top of the reg­u­lar Tuff Dome, the Plus ad­heres to its moniker by adding an ex­tra 600mm of in­te­rior length (4800mm long, 2400mm wide, 2000mm tall). At 11.5kg, the Plus is 2.7kg up on the Dome’s 9.8kg and it’s a very small com­pro­mise to make for the ad­di­tional space. An­other rea­son for choos­ing the Tuff Dome Plus was its in­te­rior height of two me­tres.

The ask­ing price may seem a bit steep for a polyester/ny­lon dome tent, but the con­struc­tion is top-notch, en­sur­ing a ro­bust build that will cop any wild weather – it has nu­mer­ous guy-line at­tach­ments for ex­tra sta­bil­ity in windy con­di­tions. Rather than use cheap, eas­ily bro­ken plas­tic or fi­bre­glass poles, Black Wolf specs tough alu­minium job­bies. The floor fab­ric is 300D Ox­ford Ny­lon PU and it has al­ready copped a ham­mer­ing, filled with sand, dirt, sea shells and other camp­site de­tri­tus. So far there’s no tear­ing or mark­ing.

Clever fea­tures on the tent in­clude gus­seted win­dows on the 150D Polyester PU fly (there are three large win­dows on the tent in­ner with No-see-um mesh, plus the front door) so even when it is rain­ing, you can still keep air flow­ing through the tent as these gus­sets di­rect rain­fall away from the win­dow and in­te­rior. The seams on the floor and on the fly are sealed via wa­ter­proof tape and we’ve had no wa­ter get in at all. The 1.2m-deep vestibule is spa­cious enough to store our duf­fel bags, Esky, camp stor­age boxes and other camp para­pher­na­lia. If I would im­prove any­thing, per­haps it needs an even larger vestibule.

Set­ting up the tent is easy: the two main poles (16mm alu­minium) are pre-bent and thread eas­ily through their sleeves on the tent in­ner. Two 13mm alu­minium poles ex­tend the fly and the rear of the tent. They are also pre-bent and, again, quite easy to fit and se­cure. Then you just throw the fly over, clip it to the tent buck­les and you’re done. It takes 10-15 min­utes to put up and is even quicker to pack away.

So far, the tent has per­formed with aplomb. The as­sur­ance of its ro­bust build and qual­ity ma­te­ri­als makes me con­fi­dent I will get many years’ ser­vice out of it. This also makes that ask­ing price not so scary when you space out ex­pen­di­ture per years of ser­vice, mak­ing the Black Wolf Tuff Dome Plus im­pres­sive bang for your buck.

AVAIL­ABLE FROM: www.black­wolf.com.au RRP: $880 WE SAY: spa­cious, good value, durable RATED

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