Saturday, September 5

Kit Attack! Argos Pro Action solo tent

It has always been a basic belief of mine that if a purchase of goods or services meet my expectation then I will advertise the fact widely & positively. And I have a similar approach for those items that don't match up, with an adverse opinion.

[OK Johnny boy. Whatever happened to the smart-arsed pithy lead-in to this piece then? Where did that old-man solipsism come from? And whilst we're on the subject, what the hell is solipsism. More worryingly why pick this particular moment in my personal space time continuum to suddenly decide to yank the word out of the ether & tether it to that sentence for eternity? Or until the Internet melts. Hmm. Strange days indeed. Quick, back on topic before anyone notices]

Stick with it folks - this could be a meandering path today.

This morning saw an unscheduled annual trip to replace the electric kettle following the early morning greeting of a water pool slowly spreading across the kitchen worktop. Rather than a hot brew to start the day the kettle had sprung a leak.

Due to limescale levels in local water with a resultant tendency to knacker a kettle's water retaining ability the term "3 year extended warranty" and "electrical kettle" make for dubious bedfellows in these parts.

On impulse I wandered into the local Argos store, partly through duty to replace said tea-brewing implement, but more from curiosity at the sight of large stacks of catalogue slowly being built to a level where they were starting to obscure the shop front windows. Weighing in at 2.6kg, and over 2" thick, stacking these things on the public street is a major Health & Safety issue these days. But their appearance reminded me of Argos's main claim to fame as far as we outdoor folk are concerned - the excellent Pro-Action 1 man backpacking tent.

In early 2008 I posted some pictures of this tent following queries on outdoor forums as to just how to erect the damned things. Luckily I'd some digital snaps from 2006 when I regularly used my Pro-Action 1 man tent, prior to my conversion to the Church of the Hilleberg Akto. An inevitable progression for Hairy Chested Outdoor Man of A Reputation To Maintain.

But without that experience of the PA tent, at a cost (<£20) that positively encouraged experimentation with small/light gear, I may have carried on lugging huge packs of gear for many years. Or more likely wasted large wedges of cash on High Tech, High Spec, Highly Unsuitable tat.

I bought the PA tent 2nd hand, and sold it on later at a similar price to a like minded outdoor individual. At one time there was a flourishing market on E-Bay for those far sighted enough to bulk buy the end of season sell-off, and hold on to them for a while. Word of a good thing soon gets out in Outdoor circles.

During our time together the PA taught me many lessons about lightness, volume size & build quality.

The flaws enabled me to work out what I wanted in a tent (pitch in one go, stable in high wind). The design opened up a new way of thinking about gear construction (single pole, low number of pegs, limited failure points)

It seems there's a number of people have been similarly tempted. The article featuring the Pro-Action tent has remained amongst the top 5 hits on this blog ever since that original post.

I'm certain most visitors arrive for the same purpose - how do you put the damned thing up? (and thank god there are some photos
on the Internet that will help)

No stranger to tent erection my first pitching attempt left me scratching my head at times. I blamed that on the lack of any accompanying instructions & an unfamiliar pole configuration. But based on recent post comments having the instructions doesn’t appear to offer too much of an advantage.

The popularity of the original article is a clear example of where a few simple snapshots really are worth a thousand words of Chinese/English translatative effort.

Since 2006 I've often recommended the PA for those seeking a low cost entry to solo lightweight camping. Some year's models have been dire, and my recommendation has been suitably negative. But happily whoever supplies Argos for their camping season appears to recognise A Good Thing and the 2009 model has been a return to form.

Today I realised Argos was clearing out their summer season goods.

Do I need a new tent?
Of course not. My Akto has years of life and is a trustworthy old friend. It does its job admirably, and despite the temptation of flashier lighter alternatives I accept the slight weight penalty for the level of confidence that I have in its use.

Any reason why I shouldn't buy a new tent?
Lots of arguments, the price of a new kettle included.

Better just get the damned kettle then.

I returned home & settled down to a hot brew. Whilst it boiled I browsed the Argos website. No real thought in mind, just curiosity on my part. Honest.

Oh look - for just £17.99 I could acquire a brand new Pro-Action 1 man tent (original RRP £48.89)

Well that’s not really buying a new tent is it now? No, that's more like an investment opportunity. Some people put their faith & money in the bricks & mortar of a house. This would be sort of like that. But on a smaller scale.

And then there are those times when I find myself offering to lend old kit to someone new to wildcamping or DOE Award stuff, but stopping when I measure the cost of my Akto against just how easily a novice could damage the tent through inexperience. A cheap alternative would be helpful.

o cut a long story short, I'm tapping this clattering keyboard in my computer/office/kit room. And beside me a shiny new tent.

It was the last one in stock my local Argos store. A quick check shows most nearby stores have 1 or 2 in stock. Some branches are already sold out.

Fancy a 2.1kg solo tent for under £20?

Then I suggest you move fast.

It's an investment opportunity.



Hi John.I have one of the original green ones from a few years ago.Was on hol in Cornwall a few weeks ago and saw they had reduced the price to £17.99.Despite already owning enough tents to start up my own outdoor shop,I couldn't resist purchasing another one.Not really sure what I will do with it-It may well end up on E Bay but at £17.99,it just had to be bought.On returning home from my hols,I reckon I could hsve purchased at least another 6 from my local stores but couldn't be bothered with the hassle of selling them on.Antway,absolute bargain at the price of £17.99
My original Argos PA tent is still going strong, despite a very windy Wasdale a few New Year's Eves ago, and my half-price spare is unused...... but that is such a good price for this tent, maybe I need a spare spare?! There is one still in stock at my local Argos.

Shame it's orange now!
Good thoughts. I bought one of these earlier this year as a cheap entry level backpacking tent. I have not used it yet - the weather has been pish so my only overnighter since saw me in a dry bothy but for the price it seems pretty good. Fairly light too. I've packed it in two separate dry bags - one for the poles and pegs and the rest in the other. The bag it came in was too small to repack.
They seem all the rage. BG got one (Bearded Git Chris is the answer to the question} The TGO editor used one, and the Akto man has one. I feel left out. Going to stay that way. One investment I shall pass on. Happy camping.
I bought one to see what all the fuss was about and think it's great (given the price) I don't understand why anyone would consider it difficult to pitch though, 2 poles of different sizes, 3 pegging points on the inner and the fly attaches with fastex buckles. Unless the instruction are confusing (I didn't open the envelope) it seems pretty straight forward to me.

I got one as I provide the kit for pals who come out with me. I was fed up feeling guilty of handing them the big old Wild Country New Ilanos, so forked out the small amount for the Pro Action.

Mike seemed to enjoy it.
During the summer, I made up a minimalist overnight kit to put into the Exped back-pack drysack. Something just to leave in the boot of the car as I drove across country to see the folks. And in case a houseful of relatives got to much form me. It didn't, so it went unused.

Oh, I swapped out the supplied pegs for some spare titanium ones I had kicking around.
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