What the manufactures say:
The DofE recommended Pulsar is a three pole tunnel tent with lots of living and storage space. Ideal for kit intensive activities such as cycle or kayak touring, it is both reliable and lightweight. Packed with design features, innovative fabric and pole technologies to keep you light on your feet and protected from the elements.
- Flysheet and Inner Pitch Together - making it simple and quick to pitch and pack
- Patented Vango TBS ®II – Tension Band System ensures that your tent performs in adverse conditions, especially strong, changeable winds. In calm conditions the system can be disconnected if desired. When tensioned, the bands brace the pole and prevent sideways movement. The buckles should be adjusted so that slack is removed, but not over tensioned, as this may deform the poles.
- Factory Taped Seams - all flysheet and groundsheet seams are factory taped, giving a water tight seal
- 70D, 6000mm Lightweight Polyester Groundsheet - waterproof, durable and reliable
- Compression Stuffsack - for easy pack-and-go
- Breathable Polyester Inner - allows condensation to pass through, for a comfortable nights sleep
- Vango PowerLite 7001-T6 Alloy Poles - lightweight and durable
- Colour Coded Poles - for intuitive pitching
- Line-Lok Guyline Runners - lock securely, release simply and perform in all conditions.
- Inner Pockets - conveniently positioned pockets for storing your essentials
- Weather Tested to the European Standard EN5912 - in a certified wind and rain test centre
- Flysheet Vents with Mesh Coverings - reduces condensation and keeps bugs out
- Multiple reflective points - found on the pegging points for visibility in low light
- Part Mesh Inner Door - increases ventilation in the tent while keeping bugs out
- Fire Retardant Fabrics - meets the European EN5912 safety standard
- Porch Groundsheet - offers a clean, dry storage area for boots and equipment
- Fast Pack Tent Bag - oversized opening for easy packing and compression straps to control pack size
- Orange Reflective High Strength Guylines - high visibility in low light
- High Visibility Guylines with Guyline Tidies - attached at optimum positions for stability and tension. Handy guy line holders make for easy packing and re-pitching.
- Protex® 70D 5,000mm HH Polyester Flysheet - highly waterproof and durable fabric exclusive to Vango
The Vango Pulsar 300 is the archetypal DoE tent. Solid, spacious and durable it's designed with storage in mind with almost 4sq metres of porch. As a tunnel tent pitching is simple, with the ubiquitous colour coded poles , and can be pitched all in one or outer first if spreading the not inconsiderable weight between 2 or 3 people.
At 3.8k you're going to notice this on your back if you're carrying it alone but like any tent it's a compromise between strength, weight and price and in the case of the Pulsar the compromise has been towards strength and price. The 5,000mm flysheet and 6,000mm hydrostatic head groundsheet are very durable fabrics and held firmly in place with the 2nd incarnation of Vango's TBS (Tension Band System) the tent sheds water easily.
With a side entrance and large porch there's no shortage of storage room for 3 packs and with doors on either side access is quick and easy. The porch is also the highest point of the tent and while looking a little odd the pronounced ridgeline above the porch is especially good at bouncing water droplets off rather than having them run down the side. Where this does happen, however, we've found the curved zipline of the doors diverts water away from the head and down the sides.
Testing in Edale with 2 people there was acres of room inside and while 3 side by side wouldn't leave much room in the sleeping area it was luxurious for 2; it needed to be as the weather conspired to prevent getting decent photographs and much time was spent sitting in the porch. With enough room to knees with your back straight it's possible to sit out what amounted to 24 hours of rain over a weekend. Being able to detach the porch groundsheet proved a real bonus as boots got muddy and while there was a degree of condensation when sealed in the flexibility of doors on either side, with neither facing into the wind, it's possible to direct a decent airflow in all but the worst conditions.
With a list price of £190 and a street price of £160 the Pulsar 300 is certainly competitevely priced and with solid performing fabrics it should provide a good night per pound return. For a party of 3 it's lighter than you'd think and for a car/camp site based trip it's go the space to make a decent multi-day base. The tunnel layout is a proven design that provides excellent stability pitched into the wind and despite the long, over 4m, side walls it can handle sudden cross wind gusts pretty well.