Quick to pitch, designed to shed wind and rain and surprisingly adaptable the Green Cone uses an offset centre pole to allow for a spacious inner with the capacity to sleep 4 adults side by side. Attention to detail extends to the groundsheet having integrated poles and guyline tensioners for avoiding tangles when packing away.
What the manufacturers say:
The versatile four-person Green Cone tipi has great headroom and features an offset centre pole for easy access to the large porch and inner. This pole lifts the outer from the ground to create a gap to aid air flow. Small corner poles are sewn into the inner to create a wall that adds extra useable space. To save weight, remove the inner and adjust the telescopic centre pole so the outer sits close to the ground – the perfect bivvy tent. Weight without the inner is just 2.9 kg.
Type of tent: Tipi
Sleeps people: 4
Hydrostatic Head: 5000 mm
Flysheet: HydroTex HD, 75D polyester 185T, 100% polyester. Fire retardant
Inner tent: 68D polyester 190T, 100% polyester, breathable
Rooms: 1 bedroom, 1 porch area
Poles: Alloy #7001, T6, 22 mm, telescopic
Floor: 75D polyester Taffeta 210T, 100% polyester, 10,000 mm
Pitching way: Flysheet first or as one
Pack size: 57 x 23 cm
Minimum weight: 4.6 kg
Weight: 5.0 kg
Recommendation: Versatile, easy and quick to pitch tipi – perfect for touring and outdoor activities, including lightweight trekking
Robens Green Cone on test:
Tipi style tents are growing in popularity in the UK and after putting the Robens Green Cone through its paces in a wet and windy Lake District it's not hard to see why.
By design tipis maximise the room inside by combing a large footprint with a high centre point; it's a design that allows proves both stable in wind and sheds rain due to the steep wall angles. The downside with tipis, however, is the central pole, or should I say WAS the downside. While with other tipis you get a choice of either an inner that uses less than half the internal space available or you have the centre pole actually descending through the inner (with optional groundsheet flap on the posh ones). Robens have taken a different angle, literally. The centre pole is designed to be placed at an angle from the outset, tensioned by the cut of the pole cap fabric and the pegged out flysheet. The result is an inner that takes up fully half the inside space of the tent and lives up to its four person specification by accommodating 4 adults, not 2 adults and 2 children.
The Green Cone is designed to be pitched all-in-one with the inner attached but unfortunately comes with the inner and outer separate and even on first pitch it goes up, in a fashion, quickly. Traditionally the advice is always to test pitch a tent at home before using it "in the field", and it's good advice with the Robens. While first pitch will see it upright it's definitely one of those tents where the more you pitch it the better the result. The key to pitching is following the correct sequence of pegging and, crucially, making sure the mini poles of the inner's groundsheet line up with the pegging points and guy lines.
The first decision you have on pitching the Green Cone is how high to set the centre. In good weather you can go for a high setting, using the slots on the base pole, with the outer lifted off the ground while in wind you can drop the centre pole a few notches and peg the fly out to the ground. With the pole set to the desired height simply slot the top of the pole into the holding cone and slide the base up to the securing Velcro on the outside of the inner's groundsheet.
With the pole up and the flysheet tensioners pegged out the result is an extremely stable tent with lots of space, a large porch and no pole intruding into the sleeping space. The angle of the pole takes a little getting used to, it's counter-intuitive and you have to fight the temptation to straighten it, but as other tents were taking to the air at the recent Keswick Festival the only indication of the 45mph gusts was a little flapping of the Green Cone's flysheet.
When the sun did emerge the large door opens up a porch large enough to fit a couple of camp chairs or 4 reasonable sized packs, boots and accessories. The double zippers on the door also mean you can open the door part way from the top to check out the weather before committing to actually going outside.
The inner tent clips into the flysheet and includes a sewn in bathtub groundsheet with mini-poles at the peg-in points which provide both height and stability. Lining these up straight with the flysheet peg points is, as mentioned earlier, the key to getting the inner tensioned correctly as well as the outer. The sides of the inner have inbuilt zipped ventilation panels at ground level which worked well enough, even with the fly pegged to the ground and cooking in the porch, to avoid condensation. Additional condensation measures include large vents at the top of the tipi, mesh panels at the apex of the inner, and the option to raise the flysheet off the ground while still having the vertical walls of the groundsheet for protection.
The 2 layer, porthole, inner door comes with a zipped bug net inner and storage is covered with mesh pockets along the side walls of the inner and one on either side of the door. You also get a central hanging loop ideal for hanging a light from.
Over a wet and windy weekend in Keswick that saw the second day of Keswick Mountain Festival cancelled due to high winds the Green Cone proved a safe refuge from the weather. With the benefit of three or four previous practice pitches it was up in less than 3 minutes, with the fly pitched close to the ground in anticipation of the predicted wind and rain. With around 8 hours of near continuous rain the inner never once came close to touching the flysheet and water literally poured of the outside of the tent. As winds picked up on the Sunday morning there was a bit of flapping from the flysheet and at one point a peg had to be replaced at the door but that was as drastic as things got while others ran around the field trying to catch their tents.
With showers every half hour and strong wind between the showers striking camp is an art form and fortunately the Green Cone's flysheet proved not only superb at shedding the rain but also at drying in the wind.......packing away as dry as if it had been in the sun all weekend. Dropping and packing in the wind proved remarkably simple; the dropped centre pole holding the tent down while removing the pegs and no need for folding, simply stuff into the bag apex-first like stuffing a sleeping bag into its sack. The ingenious guy line retainers will hold the lines in place, untangled, for next time and prevented tangling while packing.
Now a top-end tipi is going to set you back close to a £1000 but the Robens Green Cone has a list price of £299 and a street price about £30 lower so what's missing? Well to be honest we don't know. It's strong and stable (no, really), sheds wind and rain with ease and goes up in less than three minutes. The build quality is impeccable and it can be used with or without the inner to reduce weight in the right conditions.
If there's a downside it's the weight and packed size but the Green Cone's not a one-person backpacking tent, it's a family sized, four-person tent you're probably going to be bringing to a site in a car. At 5 kilos it's by no means unfeasible to split the weight between 2 people for the hills but car and campsite based it makes a luxurious base camp for two, with space for camp beds, double burner stove and camp chairs for multi-day camping. In the space of one weekend I had three separate enquiries about what it was and where people can buy one - and it's not hard to see why.