Vango Serenity Tent – the great 600XL

Vango Serenity Tent

Vango Serenity

Vango Serenity, Airbeam, 420 denier ripstop polyester Flysheet is a 6 Man Tent . With a large living area that can be opened up, Empire Bedrooms, rear access and storage.

Vango Serenity, Airbeam, 420 denier ripstop polyester Flysheet is a 6 Man Tent . With a large living area that can be opened up, Empire Bedrooms, rear access and storage this is a brilliant tent for those that are busy enjoying outdoor pursuits.

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Why do we need a tent?

We enjoy the outdoor life we’re a family of 5 plus two dogs (Beagle and a sprocker) our 3 children all girls are teenagers, the eldest one will turn 18 this year, we’re all quite tall besides our little midgey who is still growing. All of us enjoy being outdoors and are active, we like to be out walking and hiking especially in beautiful surroundings. I’m also a keen photographer, I like to find spots that have beautiful sunsets and I’m always on the lookout for waterfalls, beautiful beaches and lakes with grand mountainous backdrops to snap and Carl enjoys shooting action video and drone footage.  We also enjoy Kayaking along with mountain climbing, the girls enjoy swimming in the sea and bike riding, the youngest Cordelia (13) is a talented artist and likes photography, Amélie (14) is just about to complete Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award, so she is no stranger to hiking and Renée (17) is doing A-Levels she likes to be away from city life, she really likes to be in remote scenic places by the sea. I believe that they want to try bodyboarding this year.

A tent to us is a vehicle, we use it like a basecamp, somewhere to relax after a long day of activities, to eat our evening meal and sleep, it also needs to store our gear, it needs to be easy to put up because sometimes we’re only away for 2 nights (weekend camping), functional it needs to have a cooking area, somewhere to sit indoors to eat if the weather is bad (we’re not fair weather campers, we’re out all year round), plenty of light and not something that is constantly flapping in the wind and spacious there are 5 sometimes 6 of us plus the dogs, (but we don’t want a tent that takes up two pitches). Ideally good in the wind because we tend to stay in some unsheltered places (they usually have the best views). We usually like a vis a vis layout because we like to sleep away from the girls, however a lot of tents are moving away from that configuration. Vis a vis also tends to have bedrooms that you can only stand up straight in the middle and you often have to buy a porch that turns the tent into a T-Shape (something else to have to put up and peg out.)

We are trying out the Vango Serenity, it’s a 6 Man air beam tent from the Elite Collection. 2 double bedrooms at the rear, large living area (with detachable double room), front porch/kitchen area. its first outing was just the two of us and the dogs, enjoying some ‘we’ time, a chance to go off adventuring, without having to plan everything, just see where the mood takes us. We stayed in Rhandirmwyn near the Brecon Beacons in Wales, a lovely site surrounded by hills and the river Towy runs along the site. On arrival the sun was out but the grass was boggy, being the only tent there the site manager had found us a nice, slightly raised firm pitch, we had loads of space, which is always nice.

We hadn’t pitched this tent before but were familiar with air beam tents as we spent the last 2 years camping in our Berghaus Air 8. So, like the mavericks that we are, we just arrived at the campsite having not even checked the content of the bag or looked at any instructions (well, watched a quick YouTube video).

How did we get on? Piece of cake and not a cross word. It took about 20 minutes to get the tent laid out and inflated. We stuck it on a separate groundsheet, pulled out and pegged the 4 main corners, inflated the beams and we were away.
Blowing the beams up seemed faster this is most likely down to the AirSpeed valves. We liked the fact that gaining access to the beams valves was easier too. They sit at about waist height on the outside of the tent, so no clambering around on the ground opening up zips, which is also good if your pitching in the rain (it’s the UK, it rains, a lot), because access to the air beams is very easy, it made the process of inflating a fast and painless operation.

The packed size of this tent is rather large, and it’s quite heavy. Our previous tent was 30kg but had a separate porch, the Serenity is 54kg. Carl is often at the gym as am I lifting weights, so between us it was light work. The storage bag is very good quality, coming with heavy duty thick canvas and chunky zips with additional tie pulls making it easier to close up especially when wet. The bag has 3 wheels on the bottom, so it can be pulled around easily. There are plastic sliders under there too, to stop holes being worn in the underside of the bag. The pump also comes in handy waterproof bag.

The upside to the pack size is that, this is a heavyweight polyester tent, it’s part of Vango’s Elite range. I mentioned earlier about flapping in the wind, a noise that annoys us and it upsets the dogs when in coastal areas, areas with large bodies of water and if you’re up in the mountains or hills. The Serenity does have a brilliant Flysheet– 420 dernier double RipStop. What we found was that the outer material on this tent is really thick, much thicker than any other polyester tent we have been inside. It’s heavier, so no flapping around in the slightest wind and that makes it quieter inside. What else? We felt it was more insulated and warmer. We had a heater on during the evenings (for when we were working) and felt that the tent seemed to keep it’s heat better than we had experienced previously. We cannot comment on the RipStop feature as we don’t go around putting holes in tents. RipStop is designed to prevent any holes getting bigger (normal polyester will rip like tissue once it’s damaged), resulting in you only having to undertake a small repair instead of putting your tent in the bin.

Superbeams - The air beams on this tent have some serious girth to them. Not wishing to be rude in an ‘ooh err mrs’, Carry on Camping style but they are ‘big uns’ compared to our previous tent. These things didn’t budge during the time that we used the tent. Although there wasn’t much wind during this trip, pushing them with both hands resulted in virtually no beam movement and I was often using them to lean on confidently to put my walking boots on.

What’s it like inside?

Living Area - One of the first things we did after we had inflated the tent was to take down the separate bedroom that is hooked up in the living area on the SkyTrack system, you can buy various add on’s for the system lights, extra storage pouches and they do a roof linear to help keep in the warmth to name a few.  Removal of the bedroom gave us a huge living space to put our feet up during the evenings.The dividing wall between the front porch and main living area completely unzips to make a huge living area. This will be perfect in the warm summer weather, where you could have a huge living area with a wide open front.

This tent is very pleasant and airy inside, along with a nice high roof all the way to the walls. Mrs TentLife loves how light it is in comparison to other tents. She also liked that it was light green and prefers it to the blue of our Berghaus. The Serenity has skylights, these are little windows in the roof above the main windows. We felt that this made a massive difference to the feel of the inside of the tent and it lets a lot more light inside. Having zips on the window blinds was handy, meaning that you can have them fully opened, fully closed all the way up to the skylights and any combination in between, it’s a lot easier than having to roll them up every time you use them.

On the one side of the living area is a handy access door, complete with rain-safe canopy and mesh screen. Meaning that in the summer you can have the door open to cool the tent, whilst the mesh screen will keep the bugs out. On the opposite side are 2 opening windows that also have the same mesh screens, and we recon that these, in combination with the opposite door will mean that the tent will be cool and comfortable during the hot summer months.

I really do like the storm straps, we've spent a few hours in the old tent holding it up against the wind, stopping the beams from folding towards the floor, we haven't camped in the Serenity during any high winds, but we feel confident that this wouldn't be an issue given the size of the beams and the storm straps (one set of straps can be seen below in the pictures of the bedroom).



As we said, there were only two of us and the dogs. We left the dogs in the living area when we went to bed and we took the middle divider out of the Emperor bedrooms and turned two large rooms into one huge luxurious boudoir. The bedroom divider part unzips and is the rolled to one side and secured out of the way. Because the divider doesn’t come completely out, means that you don’t have to find somewhere to store it.

One thing that the Serenity has that most (if not all) other tents don’t have is an extra storage area behind the bedrooms. Just unzip the rear doors of the bedrooms and reveal some really useful storage space. You could store your bags in there, so you have more bedroom space, or you could even leave the doors open and have the space as an extension on the bedrooms, it's brilliant for drying wetsuits. But wait, it gets even better because at the rear of the tent is an outside door. Ideal if you want to gain access into and out of the bedrooms without going through the living area. After a long hike the rear access is a blessing, muddy boots off and a nice relaxing five minute lay on the bed. Who would have a thought that a door could be so brilliant, it’s ideal.

Oh, this is a real plus for us, you can stand upright throughout the main bedrooms, which is also great especially if you have back problems, it adds to the comfort of the tent.

The bedrooms have lights-out darker inners to block out the bright light, and to be honest we did feel an improvement and managed to get some extra sleep time in the mornings. Well except for when the dogs wanted to go for a walk at 7am.

The Porch

We like to eat together after a long day, we really enjoy cooking outdoors so on the first night we cooked in the porch area, with the front door wide open (safety first). The whole front unzips, so we opened it right up and were both able to sit in there and cook with plenty of room. Because this tent is so wide, there is plenty of room for all your kitchen equipment. We had a deluxe sandwich which consisted of Rump Steak, Chestnut Mushrooms, baby tomatoes and onions on some nice honey and sunflower bread. I also sat in the porch area the next morning and enjoyed a few cups of coffee whilst admiring the scenery and then I prepared Bacon and Eggs for breakfast, we ate out that evening, at a local pub for a treat.

We had a lovely time whilst away we walked along the river Towy with the dogs, we spent a day visiting the nearby Llyn Brianne Dam and Reservoir. I got some great photos and Mr TentLife got some great video footage. We then travelled to Usk Reservior and walked around there, it was dry but very muddy the dogs loved it. It was a quiet day at the reservoir we only saw one other person we walked for 6.5 miles and never saw anyone, which was nice. On the way back to the campsite we stopped off at Cwm Rhaeadr, which is a lovely forest with many trails, some for bikes there is also a disabled accessible one (which is unusual but brilliant).

We packed the Vango Serenity away with ease, which is a first, it went into the bag first time, we were chuffed (sometimes it’s the little things that make us smile.) We then ventured to Henrhyd Falls (the tallest waterfall in South Wales) and did the Nant Llech walk along the river, with the dogs in the sunshine.

We have made 3 trips using this tent so far, all in Wales (it's a beautiful place and only a few hours drive), so what have we been up to and who came along?

I've already mentioned Rhandirmwyn (which was just the two of us) and some of the things that we did so rather than write it again here's some pictures, they paint a thousand words or so they say.


Next up was Bala in Wales for the weekend, with two of our three girls and the dogs (the girls finish school at 13:20 on Friday so it would be rude not to head off when the sun is shining). We stayed on the Lake because we fancied some Kayaking and the weather didn't disappoint, we arrived and headed to TJ Roberts and Son's an award wining butchers for supplies (we didn't take food from home), picked up some breakfast supplies (bacon, sausage and egg) and plenty of meat for BBQ-ing (the welsh Lamb is delicious). We pitched up, unpacked then had some burgers for dinner, we sat in the tent and had a rest whilst planning the weekend, Saturday was glorious the sun was shining so we had breakfast then headed to Frans ice cream shop on the village High St, this was a hit, the ice cream is made on the premisses by the lovely couple that own it (we like ice cream, a lot). We went for a walk on the other side of the lake and discovered a different campsite that we like the look of, the girls played with the dogs and we took some photo's ad decided that we were going to spend the afternoon on the water the sunshine. We spent around 3 hours in the Kayak the campsite had launching into the lake then headed back to the tent for a BBQ and a fire, the sunset was wonderful over the lake in the hills.

Sunday we had breakfast then packed up and headed to Pistyll Rhaeadr, not before stopping off at the Ice cream shop once more.

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Our last trip was a charity event which we held in Hay on Wye, I set this tent up solo on Thursday evening before the start of the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, I set off alone with a van full of food drink and prizes for the weekend along with our stuff and the Kayak, the Wye is great for Kayaking! Lifting the tent wasn't to bad, I strength train and I'm 5'8" but I do have a bad spine, so care and an early night was taken. I got the tent up in 30 minutes, unpacked the van and rested. Carl would be joining me our eldest, her boyfriend and our youngest along with the Dogs on Friday afternoon, I spent Friday sorting things out for the weekend ahead, we were cooking for a fair few group members with dinner and breakfast, the tent was housing plenty of food and drink along with us.

I think it was a record breaking weekend for weather the hottest for sometime, we all had a wonderful time and we managed to have a walk along the river and our eldest and her boyfriend got to have a go in the Kayak, whilst I prepared a stir fry on the river bank. We walked around Hay town, which is famous for it's book stores and Cordelia purchased a rather fine fountain pen. the weekend went well, everyone enjoyed it and we raised some money for charity and made some friends, the tent did well in the heat wit all the windows and mesh panels, I was glad that we we're in that particular tent, it was melting.

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Well that’s all of our outings in the Vango Serenity, it's been great, I'll be a bit lost without it, I'm definitely going to buy on because it's been great and the quality is exceptional, the only thing they could improve I the zips, if they did zips that you could have the bottom of the door slightly zipped up whilst being able to Gert out the door, this helps to stop the dogs escaping. It's spacious, we had plenty of room and it's practical for our needs, the lighter roof colour helps with the light in the tent and I'd like to use more of the SkyTrack system. The tent is retailing at £1500 at the moment and we feel that it is definitely worth it, you can tell it’s part of the Elite range. The rear bedroom access, the super strong superbeams, that super thick 420 dernier material, and all the other small touches go to make the difference between a good quality tent and an exceptional quality investment that should last you and your family a very long time.

We've already had three adventures we've discovered new places, walked for miles and paddled, we've made memories, happy memories and we've made money for charities whilst gaining some new friends. What is a tent to us? It's an invaluable tool but more than that it's an essential part of our life.

So, would we buy a Vango Serenity?

YES definitely. Mrs TentLife has fallen a bit in love with it


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