There’s something exciting about telling your friends your tent has ‘an exoskeleton’. It sounds expensive and extreme. And the look of the Vaude Terra Hogan certainly catches the eye and sparks the imagination. The German brand (pronounced ‘fau-de’ apparently) has a reputation for pushing boundaries in design – it was the first to meet the strict environmental bluesign® standards and creates climate-neutral products – and the Terra Hogan is no different. Designed for expedition-style camping, it looks smart, pitches easily and can handle the best of the Great British weather.
To test out this so-called expedition tent, we needed an expedition of our own. So our first use was a full week’s canoe paddling down the River Wye. From excellent, riverside Digeddi Wildlife Camping to a YHA site near the town of Brecon, the tent was pitched, populated and packed-down daily in a variety of conditions – just the sort of thing it’s designed to handle.
While the exoskeleton may appear complicated, it’s fast and easy to pitch. You construct the single T-shaped pole, anchor at the ends and then simply wrap the shock-cord over the poles and secure them with small hooks. The whole thing takes a couple of minutes and, as you pitch the outer shell with the inner lining already inside, the whole tent is erected in one go. We were surprised, however, to find only a handful of pegs in our bag – not enough for all of the guy ropes – and assumed it was a one-off mistake. Having read other reviews online, though, it seems this is often standard with the Terra Hogan. How can you design a tent but then not supply enough pegs for it? There are enough for basic pitching but, to peg out in very windy conditions, more would be needed. The next time we went out, we took a few extra.
Many reviews elsewhere also praise the super-fast benefits of pitching the outer tent with the inner simultaneously. This is certainly not to be sniffed at but, as with all tents of this kind, it’s worth remembering that the inner can only be pitched simultaneously if it has previously been packed down in dry conditions. After a long rainy day, no matter how dry the interior, you can’t pack both parts of the tent together without the lining getting wet. So, on wet mornings, you have to un-toggle the interior and pack separately. It’s never much of a hassle and is true of all tents of this kind. So it’s a great benefit, yes, and it makes things super quick when the tent was previously packed down dry, yes. But don’t over-hype the benefits too much if you expect to go camping in variable weather.
Along with good looks and fast pitching, another asset is the tent’s front porch design. Entering the tent from the front, rather than the side, can be a squeeze (do you enter feet-first or head-first?) but two-way zips allow you to open the door on either side (handy if the wind direction changes after you’ve pitched) or open the door entirely. You can also unzip just the top half, which, protected by the lip of the tent, allows extra airflow in bad weather whilst still protecting you from the rain. Do look out for that extra lip when crawling in and out of the tent, though. It has the habit of catching your back when you stand up if you don’t crawl out far enough.
In terms of space, this is a true two-person tent. For hiking, wild camping and expedition-style camping, it has the right amount of space for two whilst still keeping you warm. For more casual summer camping, especially when weight is not a consideration, two people in a three-person tent is always our recommendation, since it allows more space to have all your clobber inside with you. There is porch space in the Terra Hogan – though two big expedition packs would be a squeeze (we had the benefit of a big canoe to store our excess gear under). Inside, the tent also benefits from some decent mesh pockets and a washing-line cord running along the top – fantastic touches that show the designers understand expedition camping and the users’ needs in variable weather.
There are lighter two-person tents on the market that pack down to a smaller size (some within Vaude’s own range) but as with all things equipment, the more you spend the lighter it gets. For this price point (RRP £280) the Vaude Terra Hogan is a well-balanced expedition tent that’s durable, versatile and quick to pitch, handling the full spectrum of conditions we get in the UK each year. We’d definitely buy it for hiking, biking and outdoorsy trips (we’d buy a few extra pegs as well) but we’d still turn to more spacious tents for casual camping with the car. We also admire Vaude’s committed approach to sustainability. And we love being able to tell our friends that our tent has an exoskeleton.
- Looks good.
- Durable design and versatile entrance area.
- Quick and easy to pitch.
- PVC-free and sustainably produced.
- Could do with a few more pegs.
- Lighter and smaller tents exist (though few at this price).
- Narrow entrance.
The Vaude Terra Hogan is a good-looking, well-priced expedition tent that’s ideal for backpacking trips and wild camping. It’s quick and easy to pitch, even in trying conditions, and cosy and practical for two people. Paired with Vaude’s commitment to producing sustainable products, it’s a winner for the truly outdoorsy camper.
The Vaude Terra Hogan is available now (RRP £280). Visit vaude.com for further information. Cool Camping were provided with a Vaude Terra Hogan two-person tent to test free of charge but were not paid for this review; opinions are our own.