I cannot reiterate the importance of having a good quality tent enough. When you are camping, a bad shelter can turn what could be an incredibly enjoyable trip into the stuff of nightmares. But too many people have to learn this the hard way.
If you want to make sure that you have great wind, rain and sun protection when in your tent but don’t want the hassle of having to erect a complicated structure then you may have considered a pop up tent.
There are lots of these on the market but I’d always advise sticking with a well known brand that you can trust. Decathlon is one of the best outdoor brands and they introduced the Quechua tent back in 1997. Since then, it’s really made a name for it but are Quechua tents as good as the hype they receive? Let’s find out!
What Is A Quechua Tent?
Quechua tents were first invented in the late 90s in France by a team of 9 employees from Decathlon. It wasn’t until 2005 that the second Quechua tent was launched but these tents have gone from strength to strength over the years and are favoured by outdoor lovers everywhere.
Quechua tents are pop up tents so they come with the advantage of being super easy to put up. No more grappling with tent poles or messing around when you reach your camping spot. Simply throw the tent in the air and it’ll land in perfect position. However, the brand also boasts a collection of traditional tents, if that’s something you prefer.
One of the things that Quechua is hailed for is its innovation. One version of these tents, Fresh and Black benefits from a special type of blackout material that keeps light and heat out of the tent.These tents are known for being incredibly waterproof and durable enough for even the most demanding adventures.
Who Are Decathlon?
Decathlon is a French brand that started way back in 1976. It has earned a reputation as one of the best outdoor gear manufacturers but it began as a small idea that has flourished and developed over the years.
After the opening of the flagship store in the late 70s, there are now more than 2080 stores in as many as 56 countries!
One of the things that the brand prides itself on is bringing sports to anyone. There are several brands under the Decathlon name, including Quechua plus many others, each of which focus on a different type of outdoor activity.
Types Of Quechua Tents
Quechua is the tent brand of Decathlon and under this brand, there are several brilliant models to choose from. I can’t list every single one here in this guide but I’d like to introduce you to some of the very best to show you why Quechua tents are so good.
2 Second Fresh And Black
Fresh And Black is the name given to the range of Quechua tents that benefit from the use of a special blackout fabric. The idea of this fabric is to keep the inside of your tent dark once the sun has come up and to keep it nice and cool.
The main advantage of this is that you aren’t woken at the crack of dawn as soon as the sun peeks over the horizon. It would seem that a lot of tent manufacturers think the outdoorsy people are also early risers but come on; everyone likes to lie in from time to time. Where it might not be possible due to heat and light in other tents, with a Quechua, you can sleep in until you’re rested and ready to get up.
On top of this the 2 Second Fresh and Black tent is ideal for bad weather since it’s one of the most waterproof tents on the market. Both the walls and the fly are rated at 2000mm so even if you’re camping in slightly heavier rain, you won’t end up getting dripped on. You only need to take a look at the thousands of reviews from people that use Quechua tents to see how well they perform in wet weather.
In hot weather, you’re going to want to make sure that there is sufficient ventilation in your tent but that isn’t a problem with Quechua tents since there are two side panels which can be opened and underneath you’ve got mesh walls. If that’s not enough, you can also open the rear flysheet to further improve airflow through the tent.
That said, these mesh panels could be a little larger, especially when you look at some of the competing models that have much bigger mesh walls. It certainly isn’t a deal breaker for me but it’s something I’d be happy to see an improvement on in future models. Moreover, a lot of other pop up tents benefit from a mesh roof so you can stare at the stars before dozing off but the Quechua tent doesn’t.
One of the best things about the 2 Second Fresh and Black is how easy it is to put up. However, I think two seconds is a bit generous as you’ll probably need to spend more like thirty seconds getting it all ready but still, that’s massively less than other types of tents so I won’t complain too much about this.
In order to get the tent set up, you’ll need to take off the buckles and once it has taken shape, there’s the issue of securing it. But again, this literally takes minutes so you’ll still have plenty of time to relax around the campfire.
Quechua 2 Second Fresh and Black tents are pretty much what you would expect when it comes to space. If you go for the three man tent then this measures 71 inches across which equals around 24 inches per person. But as with any tent, it’s always worth sizing up to avoid being cramped in like sardines. The tent measures 41 inches in height so you won’t be able to stand but sitting up should be doable for most people.
If you wanted a larger version of the Fresh and Black then you’re in luck as there is an XL version. This benefits from all the same features but is much more spacious. Even the three man model is a foot wider than the original so it’s great if you need a bit more personal space.
There is also the 2 Second Easy Fresh and Black which is very similar to the previous two models I have talked about but the structure differs just a little. This is in terms of size with the tent being another 10 inches wider so provides even more space. As with the other Quechua Fresh and Black tents, you’ll have this one set up in less than 60 seconds.
I love the Fresh and Black tents for things like overnight stops on multi day hikes, festivals, and other short breaks. However, if you’re going away for several nights and need a tent to provide much more than just shelter while you sleep then there is an answer and that’s the Quechua Arpenaz.
We’re looking at the 4.1 model which boasts a bedroom and a decent sized living space. This means that there is space to eat, relax or keep any additional gear out of the elements. What’s more, the roof height of this tent is 75 inches which is suitable for most people to comfortably stand up.
In terms of how many people this tent sleeps, you’re looking at between two and three. The bedroom measures 95 inches across so it might even be possible to sleep four but you’ll probably find this a little too cosy. For families with young children, however, the bedroom is more than sufficient.
Just like the Fresh and Black, when you buy the Arpenaz, you’re getting a tent that isn’t going to let water come flooding through if the weather changes. Again, this one is rated at 2000mm but the flooring is an impressive 5000mm. This means that ground water won’t be a problem even if the rain decides to fall by the bucket load.
As with the previous tent, there are mesh panels to allow for improved ventilation and these are located at the front and rear of the tent. But there is a bit of an issue with these vents in that they can interfere with how waterproof the Arpenaz is in a windy storm. However, the wind would need to get to more than 30 miles per hour for this to be a problem.
Now, when I talked about the Fresh and Black, I was very excited to share how easy these tents were to put up. But you’re not going to have the same luxury if you buy the Arpenaz.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not rocket science but you’ll need considerably longer to get everything set up. Usually this can be done in around a quarter of an hour if there’s a couple of you putting the tent up and that’s because this is not a pop up design.
Quechua Air Seconds Inflatable Tent
Quechua doesn’t limit itself to pop up tents and traditional tents. Oh no, there is also an inflatable option which I just love! A lot of people have had doubts about this type of tent saying that there was really nothing wrong with the traditional pole and canvas design but when you think about it, there are benefits to having an inflatable tent.
For starters, they’re so easy to set up. The process is as simple as placing the tent on the ground and securing it before filling it with air. It takes no time at all and is usually finished in around five minutes.
Also, they’re a lot safer if you have children owing to the lack of poles which could be a safety hazard.
And if that wasn’t enough then you have to consider the durability of these inflatable tents. There is no chance of anything snapping which could happen with tent poles and if a hole does form, these are really easy to fix.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Quechua Tents?
The question at the beginning of this guide was are Quechua tents any good? In order to answer that properly, I’ve listed some of the main pros and cons of these tents.
Quechua tents are really quick and easy to set up. Perhaps with the exception of the non pop up models but even so, you won’t be looking at any more than 15 minutes.
The tents stay nice and cool on the inside so they’re great for summer camping.
When the sun comes up, the blackout fabric of some models will keep it dark inside the tent.
All Quechua tents are super waterproof and suitable for use in windy conditions up to 30 miles per hour.
Most models come with handy pockets on the inside for storage.
Smaller Quechua tents are lightweight and easy to carry for things like hiking.
In the smaller Quechua tent, there isn’t a meshed ceiling which a lot of campers like to have to be able to look at the night sky.
Some models only allow you to open the mesh panels from the outside of the tent.
The tents aren’t as large as you might hope so you’ll normally have to size up.
It’s easy to see that there are many more plus points to owning a Quechua tent. In my opinion, they’re a worthwhile investment. With great durability, excellent waterproofing and a simple set up process, Quechua tents just make camping that little but easier.
I’m Considering Buying A Pop Up Tent: What Should I Look For?
If you like the look of the Quechua pop up tents then I can’t say I blame you. They hold a massive appeal for campers all over the world but if you’re going to buy one then I’d urge you to mull over your options so you can be sure that you’ll get the right tent for your needs. Here are a few things you will need to consider.
Easy Set Up
The last thing that anyone wants is a tent that requires a rocket science degree to figure out. But that’s part of the appeal of a pop up tent; the majority of models can be set up in mere seconds. Typically no more than thirty seconds.
However, when it comes to taking the tent down, it’s not always as easy and this is something that a lot of people forget to think about.
You want to look for a tent that features buckles and latches to help you fold it down otherwise you will find yourself battling with the tent trying to pack it away. There are some models that have a pull on the inside, you just need to tug this and the whole tent will collapse; that’s much easier! This is the case with the Fresh and Black Quechua tent which is another of its best qualities.
Is The Tent Comfortable And Spacious?
In a lot of cases, you’ll need to size up when buying a tent. This is because, while they might be advertised as a two, three or even four person tent, the space inside would be very compact if you were to fill the tent to capacity.
You won’t have room to swing a cat and you can forget bringing your gear inside. For this reason, I’d really urge you to consider getting a bigger tent than you think you need. If there are two of you, a three person tent will provide you with much more space and will therefore be a lot more comfortable and enjoyable to spend time in.
Resistance To The Weather
For the most part, a pop up tent is going to be better suited to decent weather. However, there is always a chance of rain so making sure that it’s waterproof is a must! Thankfully, the Quechua tents I have discussed in this guide are excellent when it comes to waterproofing so they’re a top choice for many people.
You don’t want the fly to have a waterproof rating any lower than 1200mm but if you can get something over 2000mm then that’s even better. The floor will need a higher waterproof rating because of the risk of ground water not to mention that it may be more easily damaged. Consider the Quechua tent I talked about earlier whose floor had a rating of 5000mm.
However, you must keep in mind that, with use, the tent will start to lose its waterproof coating. To further improve waterproofing, you should also use a tarp or floor cover even if the floor already has a good rating, you can never be too careful.
On top of all of this, you will need to make sure that the tent seams are secure. This will prevent water leaking in but if they're poorly stitched then it doesn’t matter what the tent’s rating, you’re going to have problems. Taped and welded seams are the best bet or you can look for inverted seams.
Another thing that’s really important when shopping for any type of tent, not just a pop up tent is that there is sufficient airflow. When a tent gets clammy and stuffy, it can be really unpleasant so make sure that your tent has mesh sides or a mesh ceiling. With this, it’s essential that there is a separate fly.
Failing this, you should try to find a tent whose side panels or windows can be opened. It’s best if this can be done from inside the tent and should be done with zips for ease of use.
Quechua tents are under the Decathlon brand and have earned a name for themselves as high quality and easy to use. With a range of pop up and traditional tents, Quechua is well worth considering.
One of the main benefits is how waterproof and durable the tents are and there is something for every occasion. From small Fresh and Black tents for hikers and short trips to large family tents that offer space for a comfortable week away, Quechua is nothing short of excellent.