Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review: Great Outdoors - Silver Grande 9L


Having quite the expansive family these days (3-4 adults, 1-2 little kids, depending on who is around) when we go camping, (which really isn't often enough) we try to make the most of it, and be as comfortable as possible.

Once the little ones have grown up a bit, we might consider more hiking type trips, but until then, we camp where we can unload the SUV. That means we can afford to camp BIG. This means, in this case, we can take a big tent like the Great Outdoors - Silver Grande 9L.


Unfortunately it seems the "Great Outdoors" line has gone under, but similar tents like the Spinifex Franklin, or the Wild Country - Getaway II 9MR but none that I've found in my recent searches have the four-room option that the Silver Grande features.

 The Silver Grande is split into four distinct areas, each with a 360o zippered vestibule, and close-to-the-flood bulkheads. The whole of the base is bucketed to a good height, ensuring that the interior stays dry in inclement weather.
image swiped from eBay

This really is quite the palatial tent with measures 6.4m in overall length (2.1 x 2.2 x 2.1) and 3m wide in the middle, 2.15m at the end rooms. The front room adds another 2.1m to the width to a total of 4.3m. The side rooms are a little bit shorter than the main central room, which tops out at a very respectable 2m15m.

With all the internal doors open, and wrapped up in their self-storing toggle and loop attachments the interior is really very spacious. The walls are at a high angle, so you maximize the available space, so often lost in lower dome tents. The internal walls are all a very light, breathable material, and well fitted. Window and main exterior doors are all fitted with a translucent insect proof mesh, with clear PVC windows and a skylight in the flysheet.

two sets of colour coded poles make up the structural supports, and each is designed to slot into sleeves built into the inner shell, and mount on captive pegs attached to split rings, attached to the base.
image swiped from eBay



The fly itself is a silvered 3000mm rated waterproofed polyester. It has hook-and-loop tabs situated at key points to anchor it to the poles for added wind resistance. The inner shell also features clasps on elastic loops, ensuring both a taught but also stable attachment. Without the fly, the tent is very light and airy, with the large swathes of mesh siding and the very light material of the walls letting light stream in. The silvered fly adds a significant level of shade, without being gloomy, and dramatically cuts the wind. It also blocks out harmful UV radiation, and keeps the tent cool in the Australian sun.

With the doors open, or at least set up in the awning-up configuration, with each of the side rooms having the option to put one up, and the main room from the back side also can be set up as an awning. One set of poles are provided to do this.

The rooms all have sets of pockets built into the walls, either in the corners, or in the under-window areas.

image swiped from eBay
There are also loop attachment points on the ceiling, and the internal door toggle and loop fittings also provide attachment points, for lights, clothes and the like. The storage setup is quite thoughtful, ans also takes advantage of the high-angled walls effectively.

The tent's "front room" doesn't have the same bucketed floor as the main body of the tent, but does feature an attached floor that is mounted to the front wall of the main room. The flysheet covers this area and provides a sheltered, but not sealed enclosure. We typically use this area for gear storage, leaving our camp-kitchen, food stores and the like in here, and as a boot-changing area.
image swiped from eBay

Not being sealed, you still need to be aware of bugs and other creatures getting in and around your gear. This can be a real concern for those of us who live in Australia. Or perhaps in North America if you have racoons and bears to worry about.

This is billed as a 9 person tent, and there is plenty of room for that many, if you make good use of the floorspace and don't need to have too much walking around room. We generally have had one of the side rooms for Tactical Baby and Triceratops Girl, with their fancy collapsible camp bunk bed, the main room and the other side room for the adults. In doing so, we can open or close the internal walls for (visual) privacy, and also use them to keep any bugs in or out, as the case may be. The walls are translucent enough that lights can be shone through them, to give a nice ambient glow and a central lantern can illuminate the entire interior sufficiently for everyone to find their beds and boots.

Being a thin walled tent, you obviously don't get much in the way of sound dampening, so be sure to pick your company and camp site well!

The flexibility of having doors for each room was a great addition, especially as we use the central room as the main bedroom, but left me with the concern that the zipper-capable little ones might wake up, and wander off into the bush at night. This was easily solved by extending the exterior door zippers all the way to the top of its arc, well out of little-hands reach. We also left the internal door unzipped at little-people height, so they could come in to us if needed, but still providing some more of the bug-limiting compartmentalization.

One feature that we've never made use of are the floor-height zippered cable and hose ports, situated just above the bucket sidings in the rooms, allowing us to feed power or plumbing into the tent. Even at powered sites, we don't tend to bring mains-charged items with us, so this hasn't been needed.

Just remember, this all comes at a cost, weight. 28kg of weight. This is a big tent, and whilst the bag is easy enough to stow in the back of the RAV4, a bit unwieldy (it's dive-bag sized) and it has wheels on the bottom corners, but it is heavy. Way to heavy to hike with. This is a drop and build base-camp item, not a roving set. That said, with instructions sewn into the bag, and colour coded poles and sleeves, (which we augmented with permanent marker, to indicate which way around the fly needs to sit) the whole thing takes about 15 minutes to put up, and 20-25 minutes to pull down and pack up. All in all this is a great family tent, and if we ever needed to abandon home for any reason, and have no fixed plan of where we might stay, I would strongly consider this as a temporary retreat.

It certainly works for short to medium term camp-outs for us.



14 comments:

  1. Hi is have recently bought a second hand one but I have no instructions, could you please send me a copy to skydivedannyk@gmail.com, I would be very grateful

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  2. Hi Josh, I also have this tent, and I got it second hand. I have the instruction sheet stuck to the bag. However, I'm having trouble get the outer sheet onto the inner tent. Could you possibly give me a point on both pieces to match up with? Thanks. britta.reynolds@bigpond.com

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    Replies
    1. hi Sean, sorry for the slow reply. I fold the fly with the body, at the same time, just lay the fly on top, and fold the flaps up till it generally matches, then fold it into thirds (about the bag size, and then use a lot of muscle power to stuff it in.

      it is a lot of work, though!
      good luck!

      Delete
  3. I'm looking at one of these as a basic accommodation for a holiday and was wondering how they hold up after a while? are they well made? It's be a 6 person trip (4 adults, 2 kids).

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    Replies
    1. If you can find one I strongly recommend it. It's a great piece of kit, it's been sturdy and long lasting for several week long trips. We have typically had 3-4 adults, and 2 kids each time. We put the kids in one end, and parents in the middle, with other adults at the other end. The cupola then held all the shared gear. Our kids are little, so we zippered their door way up top and knotted it closed, so they had to go through the main areas, so they wouldn't wande off. Hope you can find one, and have a great trip.

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  4. In need of diagrams of assembly wondering if anybody could help for a 9L great outdoors silver grande tent if possible cojld it be emailed to me at ianb_53@yahoo.com thanks in advance

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  5. If some one could be so kind as to email me setting up instructions, I would be appreciative. We bought ours second hand too... markdrilling@hotmail.com

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  6. Could you please tell me how sturdy they are in excessive winds or rain for a few days or more?
    Thanks heaps

    ReplyDelete
  7. Could you please tell me how sturdy they are in excessive winds or rain for a few days or more?
    Thanks heaps

    ReplyDelete
  8. Could you please tell me how sturdy they are in excessive winds or rain for a few days or more?
    Thanks heaps

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi Mum4Life,

      we've had ours up over 5 days, 3 of which were very rainy, bush-tracks turned to ponds and rivers rainy. Easter 2015 along the Murray. The tent held up really well, and apart from what we tracked in ourselves, stayed dry and stable.

      Delete
  9. These are some great tools that i definitely use for SEO work. This is a great list to use in the future.. Tom Hanks

    ReplyDelete
  10. Timber Ridge Family Tent For Camping from Bizarkdeal

    This thing is massive. I've seen other people on here saying that it's not as big as they expected. It was the complete opposite for me. Timber Ridge states it fits 8 people, and while it might be a little tight with 8 full sized adults, I don't think that's what was the intended use saying 8 people. But it could easily fit 4 adults and 4 children. I'm confident that you could even get two queen sized air mattresses in this thing, I believe one will fit in each half of the tend with the room divider up. One thing that stood out to me while setting this up is the thickness of the tent poles, they seem very durable and don't seem that they would break easily which is a problem I have had with tents in the past. Another awesome feature is that the tent also has these convenient cubbies, or pockets, around the entire top of the inside of the tent for storage. I shot the video and took the pictures in my yard for the purpose of this review. I will update soon once we actually get to take it camping hopefully in the next few weeks.

    From my first impressions I would not hesitate to recommend this to friends or family.

    ReplyDelete

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