The ideal behind family camping is one of relaxation. As with any ideal, it is often hard to realise; the perfect example of this is the oft-dreaded (and oft-lengthy) task of setting up the family tent. Because it is the first thing you do, how this pans out can really set the tone for the rest of the camping trip. So, ideally, you want a shelter that is both fast to set up, but also robust enough to withstand wild weather and equally (if not more so) wild young family members. The OZtrail Fast Frame Lumos 6P looks a pretty good answer to all of the above concerns, with its promise of a fast setup, reliable shelter from the elements, and even a nifty inclusion that ensures those little’uns won’t wake up right on sunrise…
You’d think there are only so many variations on a theme when it comes to designing a family tent but, reflecting how long OZtrail has been producing reliable tents, it has come up with something unique yet again with its highly-regarded Fast Frame Lumos tent series, available in this six-person (6P) capacity, as well as a 10P and 12P. The Fast Frame Lumos 6P weighs 18kg and has a relatively spacious floor, measuring 3000mm wide and 2800mm deep. So yeah, fitting six would be a squeeze, but it can be done. For a family of four or five, it’d be perfect. Impressively, the tent has a roof-height of 1950mm, meaning all but the tallest campers can stand up comfortably inside.
The ‘Fast Frame’ moniker comes courtesy of its twin-hubbed internal frame that is designed to offer a quick set-up of the inner tent. All the internal poles – and all but two of the external poles – are robust aluminium, which adds confidence in the tent’s durability. The two fibreglass poles included are used as cross poles for the front and rear vestibules, and the way these are designed means the poles need that inherent flex that fibreglass provides to ensure they work effectively to support that part of the tent.
The smart and robust theme continues with the inner tent’s floor, which is heavy-duty PVC coated Polyoxford vinyl, that is tape seam-sealed and features a bathtub-style design. This means the joining stitch-line between the main tent body and the floor is well above ground level, eliminating any chance of water ingress in that area. The outer fly is 3000mm waterhead-rated polyester (ripstop).
OZtrail paid plenty of attention to addressing condensation when designing the Lumos 6P. It has myriad ventilation points, with large front and rear doors (with No See-um mesh), and two large windows (one each side) that have an outer rain cover that can be pegged out with guy ropes in rainy weather. There are also four mesh panels in the roof and two of OZtrail’s new ClimaTech vents down low, ensuring full air circulation through the tent. One final assistance to controlling condensation is the generous space between tent inner and outer fly, for even more airflow.
Another new technology OZtrail has incorporated into the Fast Frame Lumos tent range is the inbuilt LED lighting, that runs along the top frame section (the three settings are Night, at 35 lumens; Medium at 300L and High at 750L), with switches on the inside and outside of the tent.. It sounds a gimmick until you realise how well it integrates with even more new tech, in the form of the BlockOut coating on the inside of the outer fly. This black coating is claimed to reduce interior light by up to 95 per cent, and interior temps by a claimed 10 degrees. After testing the tent, we can affirm it is no gimmick – and offers surprising advantages, such as ensuring the kids don’t wake up right on sunrise.
In the field with the OZtrail Lumos 6P
The OZtrail Fast Frame Lumos 6P tent has been tested for a month now and has impressed in a number of ways. Firstly, the setup is very fast – as in, the inner tent is up and ready to go in less than a minute, thanks to that clever hubbed frame system. The outer fly does take a bit longer but that is due to the fact it has so many connected points to the frame – a very good thing in windy conditions. These include numerous Velcro tabs that connect to the inner frame, the usual buckles that secure the outer fly to the base of the tent, and a welcome overload of guy-rope tie-downs. You could, in calm conditions, have the full tent set up and ready for occupants in around five to 10 minutes at most. We’d highly recommend taking a few more minutes to take advantage of those guy-ropes; not only does that enhance stability for the tent, but also ensures the ClimaTech vents operate most effectively. The two large side-windows also have guy ropes so you can secure their rain covers out from the window, allowing them to stay open in rainy weather.
During testing the other things noticed – besides the fast setup – were excellent ventilation, the nifty interior light, that ‘dark’ interior, courtesy of the BlockOut tech, and the large storage pocket. Also, worth noting is the front awning. In fine weather, we could store most of our gear out there. This did bring to our attention the fact that vestibule area itself (when the awning is zipped down) is not as big as we’d like. Having said that, with our family of four, the additional floorspace inside meant that we could store gear in there without cramping our sleeping area. The only other (very) minor point is that due to its internal-frame construction, the tent packs up relatively long (dimensions: 1150mm long, 220mm wide; 220mm tall), so you might need to be innovative with your packing regime. It’s no deal-breaker.
The OZtrail Lumos 6P: The final word
The OZtrail Fast Frame Lumos 6P tent packs plenty of innovation, new tech and general robustness into its 18kg. Often, ‘new tech’ in outdoor gear can be poorly executed, but in the case of this tent, it is the exact opposite: the BlockOut coating is a great idea that works very well; the internal frame setup is fast; the ClimaTech vents work very well; overall construction seems high; and nifty things like the integrated LED lighting do add convenience. In short, and especially when you take into account its price, the OZtrail Fast Frame Lumos 6P is incredible value for what it offers.
RRP: $700 See OZtrail for more info.