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What pop-up tent?

Hi. I am still working 7 days a week at present, but being in the motorcycle training industry I am aware that winter is fast approaching and I will once again have a few days off.
Although this is not too good for the mortgage, it should mean that I get a bit more time to play radio.
However, as this is winter, can anyone suggest a light and very simple pop-up tent suitable for an unfit fella with a big battery to carry up a few big hills?

In reply to G1STQ:
Hi John I have a pop up ten that i got for £30 from Argos. It is a two man tent and once you master the trick of folding it it’s dead easy to get up and put away. That said it is quite large when packed, about
2 foot diameter which was a bit of a pain carrying for SOTA weekend however it served it purpose well. It is regatta and if you want to look at it online the order number for Argos is 340-1895. Happy camping as they say.


In reply to G1STQ:

However, as this is winter, can anyone suggest a light and very simple
pop-up tent suitable for an unfit fella with a big battery to carry up
a few big hills?

Do you really want a tent or just something to shelter from the wind and rain? If so then a “Fishing Shelter” would probably do. Ebay has a large selection from about 12 quid.

Colin G8TMV

In reply to G1STQ:

What do you want the tent for? That’s not a silly question really. Do you intend to operate from the tent or camp in it overnight?

If you’re not intending to camp out, you may find buying a decent Down jacket lighter and more useful. Mine was really quite cheap from Cotswolds Outdoors and squashes down to nothing almost and is lightweight. It’s also good enough to allow me to sit in the wind on Ben Chonzie at 931m for 2hours where the temp with windchill was around -15C.


In reply to G1STQ:

The trouble with pop-up tents is that they are not small, they flat pack into a circular shape a couple of feet across which is difficult to fix to a rucsac. They are also seasonal, in the spring you can get one from Tesco, Sainsbury’s etc for under £20.

At present Go Outdoors is offering a Hi Gear pop-up for £29.99 in a variety of colourways. They also offer a pop-up beach shelter for £17.99. However, if you actually want to have something light and easy to pack, their week-end tents start at £19.99, simple igloo with awning tents that with practise you can pitch in 10 minutes. Go Outdoors is a chain store, there should be one within reach of you.

It is possible to get cagoules and cagjacs that go below your hips. The trick is to carry a square of closed cell foam matting in the rucsac, to bivouac you sat on the square, put on the cag, pull the emptied rucsac over your legs and tucked the edge of the cag into the rucsac - of course, this was the extensible climbers sac I’m talking about. It might make a good way of activating in the cold!



In reply to G1STQ:

You might also consider a bothy bag (AKA storm shelter) - basically just a very large waterproof bag that you sit in. These need a bit of practice to get the most out of but are good for keeping the wind/rain/snow off you. They are however not as comfortable as a tent in rain (due to condensation), you don’t get much of a view, they are a pain if you are using a telescopic antenna on a hand held and finally, they are not exactly cheap.

We’ve used them in sub-zero temperatures, in snow storms, on windy summits in summer and winter etc. They are a potential life saver. They also are lightweight and easy to carry so that when you need one it is likely that you will have it with you.

Get the largest you can afford.

Go outdoors used to stock them.

73 Rick.

In reply to M0RCP:
Thanks for all your replies and advice.
You have me thinking that a pop-up tent is going to be too big to bother to carry and therefore just collect dust in the garage.
I do like the sound of a bothy bag though. I’ll go and have a google.
Thanks once again,

In reply to G1STQ:

You have me thinking that a pop-up tent is going to be too big to bother to carry…

I totally agree John. On a summit I usually use a plastic tarpaulin for shelter - mine’s a 8ft x 6ft one. I’ve operated with it under me, over me, around me, tied to a fence, wedged into a snow drift, etc. The problem with a rigid form like a tent is that it doesn’t always “fit” on a summit - some are notoriously rocky!

Certainly try a bothy bag - I always carry one (2 man) for emergency purposes and would recommend this to others. However, I just can’t be bothered to use it to shelter inside while operating… and I’ve been out in some dire weather conditions!

73, Gerald G4OIG

In reply to G4OIG:

Quite agree Gerald about the rockiness of summits. The other problem is that a tent has a tendency to act rather like a sail - not exactly what you want to be grappling with in a 30mph wind on an exposed summit.

I also prefer not to operate from inside a bothy bag if I can help it but there have been a number of occasions when one has offered welcome shelter. For example last year on Seat Sandal, after the first heavy snow of the winter, Thomas and I were quite comfortable in the bothy bag for an hour or so eating lunch and doing SOTA. We emerged eventually to find ourselves in a blizzard. It’s amazing how much difference it makes being able to exclude draughts particularly if, like me, you prefer not to wear gloves while operating.

If you intend to operate from a bothy bag a pair of walking poles is a very useful accessory. Pitch behind a wall, sit in the bag and use the poles to create an awning. Also don’t forget a foam mat to sit on - these weigh next to nothing and help to insulate you from the cold of the ground. Finally if the ground is going to be wet or frozen one of those orange plastic bivvy bags is a great idea to sit on.

That’s got me in the mood for a winter activation. Can’t wait for some really bad weather…

73 Rick

In reply to M0RCP:

Hi Rick,

I find being able to get out of the wind the most valuable aspect of shelter on a summit. It’s amazing how quickly sitting still in an exposed position can lower your body temperature. I’ve operated in minus 10C in near calm and been far warmer than in plus 10C and in a gale. I won’t say much about the activation I did in minus 10C and a gale - my son-in-law has the experience etched on his memory!

The foam mat is an essential, though mine is more regularly used to keep my knees warm rather than my backside - I usually find myself crouching down over the equipment.

I must say having gained MG, the winter bonus isn’t proving to be such a draw this year, but I’ll still try to be out regardless of the weather. I just love hail - bring it on!!!

73, Gerald G4OIG

In reply to G1STQ:
Have you considered a Khyam tent? This link will take you to one of their range and it only weighs 2.8 kg which may prove suitable: http://www.khyam.co.uk/detail.asp?p=359 There are quite a few in the Khyam range that may worth looking at.
Towsure also carry a fair range of tents and here is one of their pop-ups: http://www.towsure.com/product/17017-Gelert_Quick_Pitch_S5_Festival_Tent_-_Marine

73 . . David

In reply to MM0RAM:

I use several pop up style tents for my other hobby, Parakarting… to store the kit in on the beach, see http://www.vimeo.com/14739566 but thats another story…

The first thing I notice about pop up tents is the fold down size, not good to carry on a windy day on you back. Neither are they very good in the wind, because they pop up they have weak frames and dont resist the wind very well so they end up folding down on you when you are in them.

Better lighter tents end up adding weight and even the light ones at 2kg will be felt after an hours walk.

I use a 400 gram tarp 8ft x 6ft and there is not much you cannot do with it if you have a few bits of paracord and pegs and the off rock or wall.

I say if you want a shelter on a summit get a tarp, have a google on some videos on how to use one and practice in the garden first.

A rectangle of material may not sound great but I have spent quite a few days under one and if you put it up right its as good as any small tent.


In reply to MM0RAM:

I had a Khyam pop up tent a few years ago - it was brilliant, erected in a few seconds like an umbrella. Only downside was it took ages to dismantle & get back in the carry bag. If I need a shelter these days, I tend to use one of those half moon beach / fishing shelters. Then again if I know it`s going to be that bad, I stay at home :wink:

In reply to G1INK:
A tarp/poncho might do the trick.
Got to be easier to carry than a tent. Like the idea of a few pegs and a bit of rope. Simple is good.
Now all I got to do is find something suitable.
Any ideas where from??

In reply to G1STQ:


For a sheltered activating situation, I use a cheap tent from Sainsburys, and I’m sure Tescos do them too. £9.99 is all they are, and fine for an extended activation like a Backpackers Contest. The tent packs down into the bottom of my rucksack, while the poles for it are carried alongside the fishing pole, strapped on the pack or peeping out of the top.

It is single skin, and not really up to the job of an overnight stay in poor weather. But I have used it to camp overnight in good weather (and in mediocre weather as well), and many times as an activating shelter. It’s pretty well had it now, but all I need to do is throw it away and buy a new one at that price. I’ve had plenty of use out of it over two years and it owes me nothing.


you can get tarps online from good bushcraft site or army stores.

DD tarps are good, but cost a bit more thana B&Q tarp but will be lighter

Earlier this year I bought a 2-3 person bothy bag from JDS Components.
Excellent value at £19.99 plus postage, and unusually these days made in Britain!

Worth a look:


Read the review too.