Looking for an easy to pitch large family tent with awning? So was I. Find out how I go on in this Skandika Gotland 6 review.
Skandika are not that well known in the UK but are big on the camping scene in Germany. They have over 100 high quality tents ranging from two to twelve person and tipi to tunnel style. Skandika also provide other camping gear such as tables, chairs, backpacks, sleeping bags and mats.
I reviewed the excellent Skandika Copenhagen tent a couple of years ago and since have tested some of their sleeping bags. To date I have found Skandika gear to be high quality and reasonably priced. Ultimately they provide great value for money.
To be fair the Skandika Copenhagen tent I have had for a couple of years is spacious, so why would I like something bigger? Well, while it is fine for the four of us for a few nights anything longer it feels a little cramped.
This summer we have a two, week long camping trips planned. Camping for that long we are likely to get both good and bad weather. And while the Copenhagen has a very good sized living space, once we have gear in there it is not really big enough to all sit around for any length of time.
The Gotland 6 is also a six man tent with a larger sleeping area – which will be useful as the kids grow. But the main attraction is a much larger living space plus the addition of a large awning. So we can be outside, but still protected from rain or out of the sun if it is too hot.
All the extra space will make family camping trips more comfortable whatever the weather. So I decided to upgrade to an easy to pitch large family tent with awning.
We ordered both the Gotland 6 tent and the Gotland 6 canopy extension. This awning increases the total size by around 50% and doubles your living space.
We went for the dark grey colour because our kids wake up with the sun. A darker canopy means less light gets through – if it means they wake up 30 minutes later I will consider it a good result. The tent also comes in green or sand (a cream colour), lighter colours let more light in but tend to stay cooler.
The first test of this Skandika Gotland 6 review was to see how easy it is to put up. To test this I set about erecting it on my own – it is supposed to be a two person job. But I took the kids camping without the missus, so I was flying solo.
The Gotland 6 is a tunnel tent, these are generally very easy to put up. The instructions were basic, but no different to other tunnel tents I have pitched.
But the Gotland 6 is very large tent so I wasn’t sure I could handle it on my own. Fortunately, I had friends camping with us who offered their help should I need it. Honestly I wanted to try it on my own.
In the end I didn’t need any help. I wouldn’t say it was super easy on my own, or the best bit of tent pitching I have ever done but I managed it. With just four poles that are all the same it is very quick to connect them together and easy to push them through their sleeves.
Connecting the poles to their corresponding pins would have been easier with another person, but it was still very doable solo. The toughest part was getting it all spread out and standing at once without an extra pair of hands.
I achieved this by pegging down the back of tent at the foot of the poles. Then I pegged in one guy rope from the centre at the back which pulled the pole up to a standing position. This meant I could pull the other poles into position so the tent started to support itself.
All I had to do after that was to go around and make sure the fitted groundsheet was properly spread out and to peg it all down. With all the guy ropes in place it felt strong and secure.
Despite being on my own I had erected it almost as quickly as couples with smaller tents. With the help of my wife, or the kids – who were off playing in the woods – it would be very quick to put up. So to conclude it is a very easy to pitch large family tent with awning.
We were looking for a roomy tent that will comfortably accommodate our family of four for a week of camping. With a total size of 5.4 by 4.5 metres this is a vast tent. Without the sleep pod attached it looks big enough for the kids to play football – not recommend!
One of the key considerations for my wife is that you can stand up inside. The Gotland 6 is a little over two metres high at the centre. Even towards the edges it remains high enough for me to stand in – I am 1.72 m tall.
Inside there is more than enough room not just for all your gear, but to set up a table for six people. If there is bad weather we could all play games or eat a meal in the dry comfort of the tent.
The bedroom unit is very easy to clip in place and provides a lot of sleeping space – 2.15 by 4.2 metres. Using a dividing wall, it can be split into two bedrooms each with separate doors.
In my experience a four man tent is only usually comfortable for two or three people and a six man tent works best for four. The Gotland 6 is designed for six people, but unlike most six person tents it’s not a squeeze.
During this Skandika Gotland 6 review the three of us took up less than half the sleeping space. I honestly think you could squeeze in eight. Not that we are planning to, but for a family of four it is a very nice amount of space.
The inner tent is made from a breathable material which helps to keep the climate inside comfortable. There is mesh on the doors and windows to keep bugs out. The sleeping pod has its own ground sheet, so you have double protection and a extra insulation.
Obviously there are lots of factors that can help you to sleep well when camping. But as I mentioned we went for the dark grey colour in order to block out early morning light. So that hopefully the kids sleep in a little later.
On our camping trip two weeks earlier the boys had woken up with the light before five in the morning. From then it was a struggle to keep them quiet so they don’t disturb other campers.
However during this Skandika Gotland 6 review they woke up around 6:30. Now it was not quite as bright a morning and sunrise was a little later, but getting an hour and a half extra sleep was a treat.
We need to do more camping to know how much difference the dark color makes, but the first impressions are good. Also you can see it is a little darker inside than a normal tent (below photo taken around 2pm).
This Skandika Gotland 6 review would not be complete without talking about how it protects you from rain and wind. The tent has a fully sewn in groundsheet that is 100% Polyethylene at 125 g/m². So water will not get through it unless you rip it.
The groundsheet also wraps a up the walls by about 15 cm all the way around the tent. This ensures that even if there is surface water it will have to be pretty deep to get you wet. It also helps to stop runoff from the canopy finding a way in.
Moving onto the canopy it is 100% Polyester (185T) and also PU coated. In lab water column tests the material is rated as having a hydrostatic head of 5,000 mm. This means the material can hold a column of water five metres deep at bay.
Now in real life water does not sit in a column. Rain is often accompanied by wind and it blows from all angles. However 5,000 mm waterproof is much higher than many of the leading brands, many of which use material with a 3,000 mm hydrostatic head.
To ensure the weatherproofing is not compromised the Skandika has sealed all the seams where the material is joined. So even in terrible weather the Skandika Gotland 6 should not leak. This same protection helps to keep wind out.
Tunnel tents are designed to move a little in strong wind, so should not blow down. Of course use your common sense, no tent would survive hurricane force winds – when it is like that don’t camp.
I have been lucky not to encounter any rain during this Skandika Gotland 6 review. But my Copenhagen tent has the same material. In that I have experienced some very heavy rain and strong winds and never had any leaks, so I trust the Gotland 6 will also also deliver.
It’s easy to erect, huge and weather proof. What more do you want? Well fortunately this easy to pitch large family tent with awning delivers a lot more.
All the doors and windows have netting to stop bugs getting in. This means you can open up and get a breeze blow through the tent without worrying about creepy crawlies and insect bites. There is also extra netting on the bedroom area.
The Gotland has PVC windows with blinds you can shut for privacy. When stuck in the tent on a wet day the windows let in plenty of light but not the weather.
There are plenty of pockets both on the outside and inside of the sleep pod. This makes it easy to store small essential items that can easily be misplaced. There is also a hook in the roof to hang a camping lantern and cable entry points for electrical hook up.
Obviously all tents come with pegs and guy ropes, but the Gotland 6 comes with more than you need. In case of accidents there is a repair kit included and plenty of spares. There are also a couple of steel poles you can use to hold open a door as a sun shade.
Now an easy to pitch large family tent with awning is all well and good, but it also needs to be built to last. The shatter-proof fibreglass poles feel strong but are flexible enough to bend into shape without feeling forced.
As discussed the material of the Skandika Gotland 6 is more waterproof than most tents but it also feels a little thicker and harder wearing. The ground sheet is also a really strong material.
I have only put the Gotland up once but I so far I’ve been impressed with the quality. At pressure points there is plenty of stitching. Overall everything feels over engineered – after all it is German – rather than lightweight or as if corners have been cut.
The material is all fire retardant for safety. Only time will tell how well it lasts. But if the Skandika Copenhagen is anything to go by I expect to be using the Gotland 6 for many years to come.
The only thing I would possibly change is to get some more robust pegs. They were fine going into the soft ground on my recent trip but I am sure they will bend in hard ground. However, this is an issue with tent pegs industry wide.
To increase the overall size of the Gotland 6, and to have some outside under cover space, we added the canopy extension to our order. It increases the total size by 50% giving you a covered outside area of 4.5 by 2.9 metres.
As with the main tent it is 2.1 metres tall, uses all the same materials and comes in the same three colours. An unfitted groundsheet is provided, giving you flexibility in the set up.
The extension goes up in the same way as the main tent and very easily, I had someone help and it took about five minutes. Where it joins the front of the tent there is a velcro flap that ensures it fits together easily and securely.
This canopy extension is the perfect awning to sit in to escape either the sun or the rain but to still be outside. It’s useful as a managed wet area. You can take off shoes and wet gear before going into the actual tent keeping it clean and dry.
If size matters to you, then the Gotland 6 is the kind of tent to get you extra excited to go camping. It is not just spacious but properly roomy, especially if you add the canopy extension.
I found it very easy to put up. Skandika recommends two people will take about 20 minutes to erect it. I put it up for the first time in about half an hour on my own. All the poles are the same, the instructions are easy to follow and as with all tunnel tents its a breeze to put up.
The Gotland 6 is made to a very high standard. The material is nearly twice as waterproof as many tents and the fully sewn in groundsheet is hard wearing. All the extra features such as pockets, windows and lamp hooks make it a pleasure to use.
To conclude this Skandika Gotland 6 review I’d say I am very impressed. It is big enough that four of us will be comfortable camping for a week with plenty of room for all our stuff. If you are looking for an easy to pitch large family tent with awning then this is the one for you.