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Designing a jack-of-all-trades large family tent isn’t easy, but the team at OZtrail are confident they have come up with a solution: the Fast Frame BlockOut 10-Person tent. This palatial portable abode arrived at Aus Geo ADVENTURE HQ recently and we’ve been testing it to see if it fulfils that all-things-to-all-campers design brief.

Design of the OZtrail Fast Frame BlockOut 10P

OZtrail’s Fast Frame series of tents has been around for a while now and earned plenty of kudos. The Fast Frame design is one that makes setting up a large tent a quick and easy process. This model incorporates the hubbed frame of others in the series and it works brilliantly. A series of connected steel poles, hubs and hinges, with sliding lock-out sections, are connected to the tent inner. All the connection points are clips and are large and robust. The design lives up to its name: setting up the tent is definitely fast; working from the centre, you extend and lock out the sections, working from the frame’s inner section to its outer, then lift it up and it all locks in after you slide the last few pole sections into place. They all lock with metal pins and the structure is very stable. 

The two main bedrooms are on opposite ends of the tent, with the communal space in the middle able to double as the third bedroom if you’ve got a full clan gathering going on (there are zipped ‘doors’ on both end bedrooms). The tent measures 6 metres (m) in length and 2.2m in depth, with a tent height of 2m meaning there’s plenty of headroom for all but the tallest adults. The entry door, however, is lower than that, and does require a slight duck of the head if you’re 1.8m and above. Once inside, though, that aforementioned external height ensures plenty of room. The floor is seam-sealed and made from poly-oxford nylon. The tent weighs in at a claimed 33kg, and you feel it when lugging it to the tent site, but it is comparable to other brands’ tents of similar capacity. A nice touch is the oversized tent bag – there’s plenty of extra room in this; as everyone knows, a tent never goes back in its bag as small as when you first get it out!

Aiding that sense of copious space is the inner tent’s ventilation and windows for plenty of light. In short, there are loads of venting points from mesh inserts in the inner’s roof, to the low zipped mesh inserts along the bottom of the inner walls. This is all part of OZtrail’s ClimaTech ventilation tech. The tent’s side doors/windows and front and rear door also have large, zipped mesh areas. Enhancing ventilation is the decent gap between the tent inner and the outer fly, meaning condensation is kept to a minimum. There is plenty of storage space inside, as well as covered access vents for power leads and heater/aircon setup.

There is ample ventilation throughout the tent and the inner tent’s height means adults cup to around 190cm tall have plenty of head-room when inside.

The outer fly is ripstop polyester with a 3000mm HH (Hydrostatic Head) waterproof rating and is easily attached to the inner tent thanks to colour coded (and oversized) clips. The fly also features OZtrail’s BlockOut (black) coating on its inner side, to reduce in-tent temperatures; OZtrail claims it blocks up to 95 per cent of the light from outside which helps keep temps down. The final party trick of this tent is its awning(s). You can open an awning over the front entrance or you can open up a full-length awning that shades the whole front of tent. The three separate awnings zip together to do this. There are even side panels with the BlockOut treatment. 

In the field

At a claimed weight of 33kg, lugging this big bopper to your tent site will be your workout for the day. We’d recommend it as a two-person job (the carry bag has robust handles on each end) but once at the site, it gets easier. The Fast Frame system seems complicated but setting it up is a doddle, once you follow the procedure of locking in the inner frame sections first, then moving out to the sides. All of the hubs and hinges – plus the locking pins – are robustly built so there looks to be little worry about long-term durability. As with any big tent, the inner is always quicker to set up, but we were also surprised by how quick the fly was to attach. It is big but, again, with two adults and noting the colour-coded clips, it’s all done in five minutes.  

If you wish to set up the awning in whichever configuration suits, be aware that the poles you use are of different heights. When we set up the full-length awning, we made sure the taller poles were on the inside and shorter ones were on the outside edge. This assists water rolling off when in rainy conditions. We should note that the front awning angles up from where it is attached to the tent, which would mean water rolling back to the seam that attaches the awning to the fly. Having said that, the awning(s) are more for shade than rain protection – and in that, they do an excellent job; there’s a surprising amount of shade area under the awning when it’s fully set up. 

One of the many shading/entryway configurations this tent allows you to use. Open up the two side entries (and all the windows) and you have excellent cross-flow ventilation, too.

Packing down the 10P Fast Frame takes a little longer, but it is not difficult; once you have the fly off and rolled up, you just need to reverse the fast-frame system’s set-up process. The last bit can be a bit of fun, as you have to gather all the inner tent (and outer poles) around the cluster of shortened centre poles and tie it up with the two supplied straps. Again, two people make it quicker.  

At 33kg the tent is no lightweight, but robust carry handles either end (or the larger strap for solo carrying) make it easier to get to your campsite and then you’re only 10 to 15 minutes away from full set-up.

You’re looking at 15 to 20 minutes (max) for packing up, considering pegs, awning poles and guy ropes being collected and packed in bags. It fits easily into that carry bag – something any family camper with a history of undersized, torn carry bags will love. It does take up a fair amount of storage space – my Land Rover’s large cargo area looked distinctly less so once this tent was in there – but its packed size is no different to other tents of this capacity. 

The final word on the OZtrail Fast Frame BlockOut 10P

When we first received the OZtrail Fast Frame BlockOut tent, we wondered who would want – or need – a 10-person version. But, of course, there are plenty of families who will need a tent this big, and thanks to the clever design, it is in no way a daunting prospect. Years ago, a tent of this capacity would be considered only for those who camp in one spot for a week at a minimum, owing to the fact it would have taken an hour or so to set up. 

This tent’s easy set-up process, impressive ventilation, versatile awning, and overall construction, totally changed our thinking on large family tents: it could easily be used for trips where you camp somewhere different each night. Sure, it takes up a chunk of your vehicle’s storage space – and, at 33kg, it ain’t light – but these are more than balanced out by a clever design, very good build quality, and convenience of set-up. For those looking for that ‘big’ family tent, the OZtrail 10P Fast Frame BlockOut tent is a worthy option. Bigger, in this case, is definitely better.

RRP: $600 (currently on special) See OZtrail for more info on its extensive range of tents and outdoor gear.