Whether you're festival-bound or off on holiday, you're highly likely to encounter a tent or two over the coming weeks. With numerous supermarket specials and Argos cut-price deals, is it worth spending a little extra on a high-performance tent – or is the Lupus’ built-in lighting system an expensive gimmick?
Loitering within tents
Well, let’s start with the basics. The Lupus is a three-man tent that, in practice, is more suited to a couple of people and plenty of camping or festival-going paraphernalia.
It’s relatively light and very well constructed from treated materials that make it impressively waterproof (3000mm – absolutely necessary in British summer time), odour and degradation-resistant and mosquito-repellent.
It’s a cinch to erect thanks to its colour-coded poles. Once it’s up you’ll notice how cleverly designed it is, with side and front-opening porch that allows you to vent the sleeping quarters without soaking everything each time there’s a shower.
Other nice features, such as the glow-in-the-dark guy ropes, show that Blacks has expended a fair bit of effort creating the Lupus. The tough aluminium pegs also make short work of hard ground and won’t bend in a hurry.
But the best thing –the main reason Stuff has taken an interest in the Lupus and the Constellation range of tents as a whole – is the lighting system. This consists of a battery pack (requiring AA batteries), two circular LED lighting modules and a power switch.
After you've set up the tent you can choose where the lighting goes (a sensible configuration is one light in the porch and another in the sleeping quarters, with the switch in an easy access position). You then rig it up through the guide holes using the built-in velcro tabs.
The lights are quite directional, but they provide far more useful illumination than a torch, and allow you to get your bearings when you wake in the middle of the night, busting for the toilet. In short, a great idea.
It may have been nice for the lights to have been more integrated into the tent design so that setup wasn't a separate process, but it would have been at the expense of flexibility – if you so wish, you can remove the lights and carry them around with you. Also, those batteries should last and last as LEDs are tremendously frugal.
Too good for Glasto
Is this the perfect festival tent? Not quite. It's usefully spacious and the lighting is great for after-band parties, but it's not a tent you'll be keen to trash – it's capable of looking after you on far more extreme trips and it'd be a shame to kill off those talents at T in the Park.
Also, in festival land it’s every man for himself – easy to erect it may be, but if everyone else is pinging their QuickPitch designs up in seconds you may quickly lose that perfect pitch. Or, worse, you may miss a band.