We were sent the amazing HELSINKI tent to review towards the end of August, but unfortunately the timing coincided with some family crises which meant we didn't get a chance to head off on the camping trip we had planned. And being a decidedly fair weather camper, the autumn months haven't yet offered us the perfect combination of time off and good weather that we need to try out our tent properly. Unless we get a sudden unseasonal heatwave, I think our camping plans will be on hold till next year, alas. However, we did get a chance to put the Helsinki up on the grass outside and were pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to erect - and how spacious it is!
The instructions were slightly incomprehensible to me, I'm sorry to admit, but Steve has more tent putting up experience and made short work of it. I just did as I was told (but managed to step on the camera in the process)! Apparently, the flexible poles and sliding adjustable guy ropes are a very good thing, far better than previous tent incarnations he has encountered. The tent is quite heavy due to those very strong poles as well as the size of the tent fabric, and the shatterproof fibreglass poles did seem to be very robust, so I think they will last for ages. The material is also tear resistant, and the tent has taped seams and reinforced eyelets and tabs, so it is definitely built to last. If accidents do happen, there is a handy repair kit included.
The tent is a tunnel shape, with a separate 'sleeping cabin' or bedroom area, and accommodates up to six people. There's no ducking and crawling about in this tent, as it is so tall even we adults can stand up in it. At the front, you can zip the front wall at the very end of the tent, or one section in, so you can have a kind of porch area as seen above, or opt for a larger living area inside. The girls were amazed by the size of this space and put on an impromptu dance show in it! The ground sheets can be used in both areas, so you'll always be clean and dry, whether you have your cooking area outside, or eat out and use the whole space for your 'sitting room'. This versatility is such a great idea, especially when accommodating six people or a large family.
The large sleeping area has mosquito netting to keep out unwelcome visitors, and can be used as one large area, or a divider can be used to create two separate sleeping areas.
Having, thankfully, not used the tent in the rain - yet - we can;t vouch for its waterproof-ness, but apparently a tent is considered suitably waterproof with a 1200 mm water column, and the Helsinki has a water column of 5000 mm, so it should be able to withstand whatever the British summer throws at it!
Getting everything back into the carrying bag was a bit of a challenge, but hopefully we will know better what we're doing next time and be able to stash everything and remove everything in order, making putting the tent up an easier process. Thank goodness Steve knows what he's doing though! Can't wait for our camping adventures to begin next year! We'll let you know how we get on.