Vango has for many years dominated the quality end of the family camping market, and the Nevis 400 is typical of the company‘s attention to detail. The tent follows the popular tunnel configuration but it benefits from the quality components and a feature set that lift it above the average family tent.
From the outside the Vango Nevis 400 could be confused with any number of similar designs from popular camping brands. But it is when you start to look at the details that the benefits shine through. The stuffsack is a folding saddlebag design with separate pockets for poles, pegs, inners and outer. The poles are metal alloy rather than fibreglass and they are colour-coded. Ladder-lock adjustment webbing around the base ensures tensioning is easy during the pitch. Then inside you get Vango’s Tension Band System (TSB), which is like an internal guy line to give extra stability. The inner is situated at the rear and provides good headroom for standing up. The Nevis 400 offers a wealth of space but it is also stable and easy to pitch. The drawback is the weight, but if a car is being used that is not a major drawback.
On the hill
The Vango Nevis 400 is a remarkable tent that I’ve used a few times, and each time I enjoyed it more. It is so easy to pitch thanks to those alloy poles, which slip effortlessly through the sleeves and don’t suffer from snagging or coming apart at the pole joints. Once erected it is incredibly stable but it can be made even more stable by adjusting the TSB system inside. It is not a tent to use in the wilderness, but on a open campsite it is ideal. There are doors at the side and front, which is useful when there are four people in the tent, and that massive porch area is ideal for storing a few bikes as well as unloading rucksacks after a wet day on the hill. The inner tent has a removable divider that is a handy means of keeping kids out of the parents’ side of the tent. Packing away was easy to thanks to that unique saddlebag-style stuffsack. Most tents in this test were a real pain to repack into their conservatively sized stuffsacks, but the Nevis was really easy. At 13.55kg it is never going to be any good for hill-walkers looking for a wild camp, and even its packed size is almost twice that of some others. But in reality an outdoorsy family is likely to have a car and they are going to be staying at a campsite most of the time. For those people this tent is ideal.
Design 3-pole tunnel
Poles three shock-corded alloy
Outer Protex HC 5000 polyester, 5000mm hydrostatic head
Groundsheet polyester, 3000mm hydrostatic head
Internal footprint length 495cm; width 280cm; height 200cm
Packed size 65x41x22cm
Made in China
Stockist details – tel. 0844 811 0535; www.vango.co.uk
The Vango Nevis 400 boasts a relatively low price tag; lots of internal space; massive porch; good stability. But it’s very heavy; large packed size. For the price it is excellent value and spacious, but higher-priced tents offer specific advantages that will suit some users more. It scooped our ‘Best in Test’ accolade.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine July 2010