Outwell’s Earth range is a set of light-weight tunnel tents, designed for couples and small families. We mentioned to Outwell that we were embarking on a 2 week, motorcycle-bound trip to Europe this summer, and we were looking for a large but light-weight tent to strap across the back of one bike but provide a large living space for hiding from (inevitable) rain. They sent us the largest of the Earth range, the 5-man.
This review has to start with an admission. I pitched the Earth 5 in the garden several weeks before we left for the trip. I just wanted to check whether the living space was appropriate for the luggage and bedding we planned to take. Unfortunately, I didn’t pitch it with guylines, and an overnight storm absolutely battered the poor thing. Totally my fault, but it resulted in a broken central pole, a ripped porch area and a slightly wonky shape. So, excuse the fact that it looks a little drunk in the photos!
The living space in the Earth 5, for a couple with lots of touring gear, is massive. Our 2 airbeds were lost, with several clear feet of storage/organising space all round, and a porch big enough to seat 4 people in the rain, comfortably.
We could have gone smaller with an Earth 3 or 4, but we were glad for the standing height (175cm, 5ft9) and the weight of the Earth 5 is only 9.5kg – pretty impressive for a well-featured tent with porch groundsheet, and certainly not tipping the scales when strapped to a 1000CC motorbike.
The aforementioned porch groundsheet is really well designed, hooking in to the outer and the inner, and featuring a flap-down doorway to keep rain out even when the weather is windy. And if you do sit in the porch, there are two large clear windows for you to look out and scowl at your fellow campers who are too close for comfort.
The inner has a large zippered door which is plenty big enough to get a double airbed in and out, and the zipper isn’t too noisy that it wakes the entire campsite when you go for a night-time wee.
The massive ‘front’ door, and a more-often used side door create a huge amount of ventilation, and generous vents in both ends keep that air flow going when the doors are closed. That’s a good thing – it reduces condensation.
We managed to throw all types of weather at the Earth 5 – blazing sun, where it coped with staying in a tolerable temperature range better than our friends’ black tent(!) – and pouring rain. I’m afraid that there was a very small leak through the material of the outer – just above the door to the inner section – when it rained. However, in fairness to the tent I just don’t know if the water-repellency had been damaged by friction when the central pole snapped during my storm-fail. I can’t ‘see’ any damage, but it is probably a consideration.
The guy-lines are bright and easy to see at night. And if you remember to deploy them correctly, they keep the whole tent up and sturdy.
And one nice touch – thanks Outwell – is that the Earth 5 is supplied with a spare tent pole section, and a patch of repair tape. I used both, and they worked perfectly.
Altogether, the Earth 5 tent is a really well-built and featured lightweight tent, and I think it its the spot for its target audience. I’d say it would be perfect for those with a young child or a dog or two. For a couple it’s probably a little too large for colder evenings where your body-heat won’t be able to warm the cavernous space up at all.