Gelert Fossa cheap one man tent review

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In our search for the cheapest tent on the market, we got hold of the Gelert Fossa tent. We wanted to see if it would make a good minimalist tent for cycle and motorbike touring. Not fancying the joys of bivvi-bagging, this is the next step up. A strictly one-person tent (more on this later), this is about the smallest abode you could possible take with you.

First things first – this tent is seriously cheap. It can be found online somewhere around the £20 mark and for this you get an incredibly compact pack. Stashed away in its tidy zip-up bag it measures just 42cm long by 12cm across and weighs around 2kg. This is brilliant for anyone needing a really compact outfit.

Gelert Fossa tent

Gelert Fossa tent


Pack contents are as you would expect. Shock corded poles and standard metal tent pegs are included. Pitching is entirely traditional. Inner tent goes up first, followed by the traditional outer skin. Note that at Camping Cooking we prefer the outer first or integrated layer tents because it works better in the rain!

Once up, the tent measures about 240cm long by 125cm wide at the widest point. Fellow campers actually commented on how tiny this looks. However we can reports that this was large enough for a comfy nights sleep with pillow, sleeping bag, kit bag and boots all inside the tent. At just 90cm high you cannot sit upright so this means it really is just a shelter for sleeping rather than somewhere you could read a book and sit out the rain. The Fossa also lacks any kind of porch, so you have to get out to cook or brew up a drink.

None of these are really criticisms of the Gelert Fossa. After all, it was designed as a minimalist lightweight tent. The problem really is with the reliability of the fibreglass poles. During two weeks in the Alps we had two snap whilst the tent was fully pitched. In fact, they appeared to simply fail during the heat of the day! This was really poor and made the tent unusable by the end of the trip. Interestingly, internet reports show that we are not the only ones to suffer this problem so Gelert need to look at their pole construction.

Conclusion
If you need an ultra-compact tent, have a limited budget and don’t mind taking a bit of a risk then give this a go. It is actually dry and efficient as a basic tent. However if you are backpacking and want reliability then do yourself a favour and perhaps spend a bit more money on an alternative.

If you are car camping and can afford a bit more bulk, then go for a two-person tent with a porch. You will be grateful when you can sit up and have a cuppa!

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3 Responses to “Gelert Fossa cheap one man tent review”

  1. [...] where tent damage was likely. On the other hand, we have experienced sudden pole failure on a cheap Gelert Fossa tent and it is not fun! Our advice – if you are on a ‘proper’ camping trip then get a brand. [...]

  2. [...] looks pretty good. In a recent review of the Gelert Fossa tent we criticised the tent poles and we are glad to report no such problems here. Poles were of a [...]

  3. [...] as long as you avoid the skinny 6mm fibreglass poles used on bottom of the range tents (see our Gelert Fossa review) then fibreglass is a perfectly fine material for tent poles, particularly for the car based camper [...]