Lichfield Commanche 8
Product Review / Walking Gear Test
Weight: 27.3 kgms
Lichfield says:"Tunnel tents offer some of the best value accommodation for groups and families, not just as living rooms and bedrooms, but as event bases and camp HQ."
Features to Note:
- 8 berth
- Protex 2000 polyester flysheet
- Flysheet first pitching
- Breathable polyester Inner with H2O repellent finish
- Double Stitched seams
- External continuous pole sleeves for easy pitching
- Fibreglass Poles (& steel king poles)
- Polyethylene groundsheet
- Carry bag
- Packed Size (cm): 70x50x24
The Lichfield Commanche 8 is a tunnel style tent with two sleeping bays - one at either end. Tunnels are formed with the commonly used tent pole system that comprises several short lengths of tent pole connected to each other with elastic that slot together to form longer poles using metal sleeves.
Both sleeping pods have built-in bath-tub floors and the living area has a semi-bath-tub floor that clips to the flysheet.
Either sleeping pod can be divided into two smaller 2-berth sleeping areas with the supplied vanity sheet.
There are three vents in each of the two main sleeping areas and two vents in the central communal area.
Our testing of the Lichfield Commanche 8 tent was during a lovely warm weekend on the Llyn Peninsula.
Erecting a tent of this size and type really needs at least two people and a bit of room since you need to lay all 5 poles fully connected out in a row . With all the tensioning straps slackened and 15 minutes of threading poles through sleeves we managed to get the whole thing up and ready for use in about 30 minutes - though this will take somewhat longer in windy conditions.
One gripe was that the metal pins used to hold the poles in position were too short and kept pinging out from one end as I was trying to fit the other end. Obviously - this is easily solve by erecting the tent with two people.
The internal accommodation is plentiful for 8 people. The two 4 berth sleeping bays at either end have robust double walled bath-tub floors and provide plenty of room for sleeping in comfort. Each bay has internal stowage pockets for all those night-time essentials.
The central living area does not have a ground sheet sewn-in but the tent does come with pseudo bath-tub style ground-sheet that clips into position.
There is plenty of room to seat eight people round a table and the height is generous enough for all but the tallest person to stand upright. There are however no storage pockets and no ring from which to hang a battery powered light.
There are three doors - one on either side of the central living area which can be kept closed or turned into porches depending on which way the wind is blowing - and one at one end - enabling you to have a large entrance vestibule instead of a 2nd bedroom.
Once up, the structure felt strong and stable and there are plenty of guy ropes and tensioning straps to hold the tent down in high winds.
Taking the tent down again was pretty straight-forward though dethreading the poles is always much easier with two people - one pushing and one pulling. Everything folded-up and went back into its storage bag with relative ease.
You can leave the bedroom pods in position when dismantling the tent and this would be my preferred option. It made little difference when dismantling - but greatly speeded putting the tent up again.
Overall, the Lichfield Commanche 8 provides a good level of accommodation for 8 people from a tent that has plenty of room.
At 27.3kg (60lbs) it is pretty heavy. You will need two people to carry even a short distance but since you really need two people to put the tent up when you get there this is not a problem.
If there are at least two of you and you don't mind taking a bit longer over the pitching and dismantling operations - this tent offers a high level of camping accommodation at a competitive price.
Ideal for a larger family planning an extended stay in one location.
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• I have JUST purchased one of these tents. Watch this space
Daniel Walsh, Edgware