The Robens Apache is one of the largest tipi style tents in the Robens range, and it stole our hearts from the moment we first saw it. The Apache is a joy to use, and like all the other Robens tipi tents it really does add an air of romance to the whole outdoor camping experience.
We took the Robens Apache to Kettlewell campsite in the Yorkshire Dales, and lets just say that the weather was going to let us know how waterproof this tent was going to be. It was Wednesday, the campsite was relatively quiet and as we were not using an electric hookup, we had the pick of the lovely large flat tent pitches.
We planted ourselves slap bang in the middle of the campsite and set about pitching the Robens Apache. It comes in separate bags, one for the tent and the other for the poles. The bags are amazingly well made, and a good indicator of the quality of the whole package.
Until this point, we had absolutely no experience with tipi or bell style tents. We always recommend that people research how to pitch or to undertake a test pitch before they take it on their holidays for real. However, for the purposes of finding out how easy a tent is to pitch, we normally just throw the tents into the van and head off to a campsite.
How easy is it to put up?
We were very impressed at how easy it went up, just 3 A-frames placed inside and then guy it out, all done. It is so strong for such a simple design, below is our pitching experience of the Robens Apache in a little more detail.
We laid the tent out onto the groundsheet (our own, we always use one), pulled the tent base out straight and pegged it out.
The large A-Frame goes in first, fitting right in the centre of the tent. Half the floor on the Apache unzips, and you have to open this first in order to fit the central A-frame. There are sleeves at floor level that the A-Frame slots into. When slotted in place an the floor is zipped back up, the A-frame stands upright without any support. Once this is done, the other 2 smaller frames are fitted at the front and rear doors in a similar manner, ensuring that the top spikes fit through the metal eyelets in the tent fabric. All that is left to do is peg out the guy lines, the entire process only too 15-20 minutes and this would be even quicker next time. Not bad for a stated 10 man tipi !!
We were in Kettlewell for 3 nights, plenty of time to get a good feel for this tent amd everything it has to offer.
Inside the Robens Apache.
The inside of this tent is HUGE, you get a ton of 'pole-free' living space and masses of head room even close to the walls because of the way the walls are designed. The guy lines pull the walls outwards so they don’t just fall from the highest point down to the floor.
On this trip, there were 2 adults, 1 teen, and 2 dogs. Our 2 dogs were sleeping in their large crate, the adults were on a double bed (Outwell Dreamboat), teen on her mat and even with all the other bags and solar gear in the tent, there was still masses of room. We even had the Denali wood stove set up in the middle of the Apache, with all this room you can really make it into a super home-from-home or a romantic hideaway.
It’s really lovely and homely inside, the atmosphere and the light level through the sandy coloured poly cotton are perfect, not too light and not too dark. Also, this tipi style tent as windows, not something you would normally find but the Apache has them and they are a brilliant idea. These large windows (with privacy blinds) are fitted into the front and rear doors, so even on colder days when you want to bring the outside indoors, you can have them fully open to view your surroundings.
Inside the tent are 2 red draw strings which when pulled open up the roof section. This is great for when the weather is hot and you need to let some of the warm air out.
We had a wood burner stove set up in the centre of the Apache as there is a section in the roof which can be opened to allow a chimney to poke outside. On this occasion we used the Robens Danali stove (see other review), another piece of Robens equipment that we have fallen in love with.
We will talk more about this stove in another view, but it made a great centre piece to this tent and it was a wonderful experience. Even with all the rain and the chimney poking through the roof, there was no ingress of water into the tent.
Outside the Apache.
The front and rear doors on Robens Apache are great, they consist of an outer door which houses the windows (complete with blinds) and an inner mesh door for keeping the bugs out. Both doors have zips running up the middle, meaning you can have them fully open or half open, blinds open, whatever you desire.
I say front and rear doors, but there really isn’t a front or back to this very handsome tent. No matter which angle you look at it from, it’s all pretty impressive. Very pretty and very impressive.
Having both the doors open whilst sat inside gives a lovely open spaced feeling, especially with that ceiling height. Sitting drinking our morning coffee, listening to the birds singing, letting the breeze flow through and watching the world go by was just heavenly.
This tent just oozes build quality and attention to detail. There are lots of little touches that show just how much thought has gone into the design of this tent. We have no vested interest saying good stuff about this tent, our reviews are always independent, but when you find a product that has some thought behind it, we do like to shout about it and bring the finer details to your attention.
The quality of the guy lines, the strength of their tent fixing points, the funky red anodised metal pegging rings and the draw strings that keep the guy lines tidy ad untangled when the tent is not in use are just a few examples of quality and attention to detail that you don’t find in other tents.
Ne’er cast a clout til May be out.
Did we mention the May weather? We did get some nice sun, but we also got a fair bit of the wet stuff which was good for the purpose of testing the tent.
Watching the first falls of rain beading off this tent was rather impressive, sliding down the sides and onto the grass like it was made of glass. The rain got heavier, and over the 3 days of this camping trip the Apache got to deal with some very heavy rain.
We spent a few days wearing waterproofs and went off visiting the many local waterfalls. The tent never faltered, there were no leaks to be found anywhere and the inside remained perfectly dry. Sitting inside the tent with the wind blowing, it was interesting to see how quickly the tent material dried out. Watching the dark patches lighten up as the wind blew and it evaporated off the tent was entertaining.
The Robens Apache is made from HydroTex polycotton, tight weave fabric with a very good water repellent coating. As with most poly cottons, the increase in rain causes the fabrics fibres to swell up and form a waterproof seal. As the material is very breathable, it helps keep condensation to a minimum and we can report that we didn't get any at all.
This tent seems rock solid as far as the wind goes too. Clearly due to it’s shape, the wind just wraps around it and does give you a real sense of safety and feels that it will withstand a good battering. I had a quick look on the Robens site and found a bit more info that shows just how robust this tent is.
"Robens Wind Test: The determination of the performance of a Robens tent in wind is based on the knowledge and technique available to Robens at the time of testing. During the test we register the maximum (MAX) speed impact a tent was subjected and the average (AVG) wind speed at which structural instability occurred. This may appear as a broken/deformed pole, or the collapse of the tent and subsequent return to shape when the wind drops. At no point was any form of catastrophic failure experienced up to the maximum wind speed. "
This tent can extend your camping season with the addition of the Denali Stove you have a good source of heat that is safe and simple. We were toasty warm and the weather that wasn't that great around 5ºC in the evening, but with the fire going and the dogs laying around it, it felt cosy and relaxed, just like home. So now you can venture out in spring and Autumn, maybe into November with the mild weather we have experienced in the past few years.
It’s difficult to put into words how good this tent is, so we took lots of photos and videos to help us express it better. We will either include them within this article or add links to them below.
Easy to put up with huge amounts of space inside and to top it all off, a wood stove. Why oh why didn’t we get into tipi style or bell tent camping before this? Now we understand why it is so popular and why so many people use this style of tent. What you get with the Robens Apache is an amazing tent that is extremely eye catching, really well built and is surely going to last for a very very long time.
At the time of writing (May 2019), you could shop around and get this tent for less than £1000, that’s a decent amount of bang for your buck. So what do you do, book that 2 week trip to the Algarve or invest in a quality tent that will give you many more weeks away. It’s certainly a dream to use and should last you and yours for many many hassle free years.
We are smitten, so smitten infact that we are seriously considering doing a TentLife Xmas Special with all the trimming, decorations and crackers. The family having their Christmas dinner in the Robens Apache, now that would be different.