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Adrian's review of Antigua

We bought our Antigua new in about 2003 from Mitchells Practical Campers near Wakefield. At that time we were a (youngish) couple but planning to have a family so we bought a tent we could grow into. It was perfect for a couple really, the main sleeping pod was plenty big enough for two and the toilet and everything else could go in the second pod. The kitchen extension took care of the bulky camp kitchen stuff and left a nice big space (approx 2m x 3.5m) as a living space for eating/reading etc. We put two good sized chairs and small table in there and it always felt spacious

What we liked about the Cabanon was the build quality and fabrics, everything felt so robust you got the impression it would cope with the most dreadful weather unphased. At the time we did look at other brands but nothing really came close for us

Putting the tent up is relatively straight forward but does take a little care and team work. We found that sticking to the Cabanon method of building the frame on it knees, rolling over the Canvas and lifting the frame worked well but if it was windy it took rather more effort to keep everything in good shape. Once the Canvas was on and the legs up the corner guys/pegs in and it was pretty straightforward to pitch the rest. Putting the inner tent clips and roof lining clips remains an awful chore to this day the clips just seem to tight and hard to get on - we know of at least one owner who gets around this by clipping everything on with the frame at half height (before the Canvas) and then sorting it all out once the frame is up. Maybe we will try it one day

Once up and set out properly (which is 45 to 60 minutes if you include emptying the car) what you have is a good sized living space that is just grass. Back in 2003 that would have seemed fine but these days people expect sewn in groundsheets (SIG) or similar. In truth we dont have a problem with rolling out a heavy PVC groundsheet, tucking it under the mudflaps and we're sorted. Some people use the breatheable awning carpets to similar (if less waterproof) effect. If you are very concerned about bugs then this probably isnt the tent for you. The other slight hassle has been the kitchen extension, it has always leaked slightly in really heavy rain and we suspect it is something to do with the fabric as it is not Cotton Canmvas and doesnt self seal. Never been a big issue but annoying sometimes

As a couple it served us very well. Now we have two young children it is also proving almost ideal. Right now we like to be able to get to the children easily at night so the seperate pods are a nuisance but in a couple more years it will be nice to tuck them in and leave them to sort themselves out. Even now, 8years later I still think we made a great choice, there is nothing Cabanon have made that would work so well for us. The Athena/Aruba are a lot heavier and bulkier to pack, the Andorra just not enough sleeping space. The E series don't tend to have a kitchen extension and much as the C series are cute they arent as spacious.

Construction 4.5 out of 5
It is typical Cabanon, really good fabrics, well thought out and constructed. The coated roof is probably more practical in the long term but does seem to contribute to a slightly leaky kitchen roof. The inner clipping is a pain (and apparently earlier ones were better so not sure what they changed) but not a deal breaker. Likewise the cheap and nasty bags. The pole bag is a hessian sack that looks tatty within a few weeks while the canvas bag is a woven PE affair that can actually scuff the roof material if you are careless - not quite in the same league as some Dutch tent makers like Esvo and De Waard. The frame is very solid and reliable

Value for Money 5 out of 5
In really good condition with no faults an Antigua will cost about the same a cheapish family tent with plastic poles and plastic fabrics from you local camping emporium. The Antigua will give you many years faithful (and very comfortable) service and still be saleable if you look after it (the plastic tent will be landfill long before that). So it has to be considered an excellent used purchase

Relevance and use today (probably) 4 out of 5
This is less easy to call. If you are used to small pack sizes/weights, SIGs and the convenience of modern tents than the Antigua will seem somewhat quaint. If, like us you actually like to have grass inside the tent then that simply isnt an issue. In terms of space for the weight and bulk to transport the Antigua again doesnt do so well it is a big pile of kit to haul around but doesn't come close to something like an Outwell Montana which weighs about the same. As a spacious couple tent made from great Canvas there are few tents to compare though - so you will have to decide for yourself if the compromises work for you