The Outwell Hornet XL has revolutionised how fast we can set up camp. This tent is a fantastic family tent. Great for weekends and camping holidays.
The Outwell Hornet XL is from Outwell’s Smart Air Polyester collection. This means it’s air framed, and all you need to do is pump it up to pitch it. No messing around with tent poles.
Here’s a fun little video we made showing the tent pitching.
OK, so a 5 year old can’t fully pump up the whole tent, but putting up the Outwell Hornet XL is easy.
How fast can the Outwell Hornet XL inflate?
Once out of its bag and in position, with all the valves set and ready to start pumping, it takes only a few minutes for the tent to be up.
If you’re not that fit, it may feel a whole lot longer when pumping, as it gets a bit harder towards the end, but within a handful of minutes, your tent is up. (Though not pegged out).
We’ve had many tents. We used to camp for many many years in a Coleman Coastline 6 tunnel tent with fibreglass poles. That is a simple tent but used to take a long time to pitch as threading all the fibreglass poles into their sleeves just took ages.
Our tent prior to this one was the Coleman Da Gama 6. A nice steel framed tent, and although much bigger than a Coleman Coastline, we could pitch it in a fraction of the time; 20 minutes and it was up. That was lightning quick compared to what we were used to.
Well now with the Outwell Hornet XL, it is up in moments (with no stress trying to get fibreglass poles into their sleeves either). Looking back at 20 minutes pitching time for our previous tent (which was a very good time), now looks very slow compared to the Outwell Hornet XL.
There is one tent pole though in the Outwell Hornet XL, and that’s in the eyebrow, which can be a bit stiff to fit the first few attempts. It also reminds you of the days of tent poles, and makes you glad you don’t have tent poles for the whole tent 😉
On our first camping trip of the season, we set up our kitchen area, which we like to cover with a tarp. That simple tarp took considerably longer than the tent to put up.
Is the speed of pitching worth it?
When you have kids, yes.
They’re excited to get to the campsite, and whilst you can encourage them to help set up the camp, a two hour time to set everything up is just boring to them.
Plus, you’re too knackered to do a lot with them if it takes ages to set up.
So this year we’re on a mission to try and make family camping quicker and easier, and the Outwell Hornet XL fits right in.
What do you get with an Outwell Hornet XL?
The Outwell Hornet XL is a 3 bedroom tent that is rated for 6 persons, though we recommend it is a lot more comfortable with just 5 people.
We have 3 kids: 2 girls, one boy, plus Mum and Dad of course, and it’s a perfect layout for us.
It is an Outwell tent, and so at the higher end of the market, but you do get a lot of design details that all help with family camping (see this post here on why you may want to choose an Outwell tent).
We put this video together to show you some of the features you get with the tent.
Other Great Features
The bedroom dividers unzip. We only really need to use this to get to our youngest in the night (though not so much now he’s getting older). It’s a really great feature that means you don’t need to get out of your sleeping bag.
The living area in this tent is massive. We could all eat inside and store a lot of clothes for a camping holiday.
The windows are tinted. Though that doesn’t sound like much, the tinting works really well as even though the Hornet XL has lots of large windows to let in plenty of light, with the tinting people outside the tent can’t see much of what’s going on inside the tent. (And there are blinds on all the windows too of course).
The bedroom areas have a darkened roof to help you sleep on those early bright summer mornings. The main tent ceiling is white to help let in lots of light.
The porch area provides protection from the rain when getting in and out of the tent. It also acts as a windbreak. When we caught the sun this was a perfect sun trap to sit in.
The entrance step also lays flat, so no more tripping as you get in and out of your tent.
And, another little tiny design feature but one that makes a big difference when packing away: the guy line tidies. I used to spend ages winding up and tying each guy line. Now I just wind up and secure in place.
Things to watch for
If you are thinking of getting an Outwell Hornet XL (and I recommend you do), then you should know that it comes in a big and heavy bag.
The weight of the tent is about the same as other large family tents of this size (and lighter than polycotton tents of a similar size), plus you don’t have a heavy bag of steel tent poles.
However, the bag is very big.
Outwell have put some compression straps onto the bag, to help minimise the size.
When putting the tent away, we roll it up, then unroll, and roll again. The first roll is to help get the air out and makes it a lot easier to get it back in the bag.
I roll the tent up using the tent pole bag (see this post on rolling up a tent), but I leave the bag of tent pegs out, as well as the pump to help get the tent back in its bag.
So if you are thinking of getting this tent, make sure you have space to transport it, and you have two people to pitch it.
Outwell Hornet XL Dimensions
Some useful links for the Outwell Hornet XL
Outwell Hornet XL Specs
– Sleeps: Sleeps 6
– Bedrooms: 3
– Frame Type: Air Frame
– Tent Fabric: 6000HH Polyester (HH = Hydrostatic Head) (Click here for pros and cons of 6000HH Polyester)
– Width: 400cm
– Length: 665cm
– Height: 225cm
– Weight: 34.3kg Recommend two of you pitch.
Disclaimer: A lot of thanks to Outwell for supplying us with an Outwell Hornet XL so we can do this long-term real-world test of one of their SmartAir tents under real family conditions. All opinions are our own.
- The Hornet XL is a good sized family tent that's amazingly fast to pitch thanks to Outwell's SmartAir technology.
- This is a big family tent and so it is large and heavy, so make sure you have space to transport it. The pump is not top quality, but if it breaks, it is easily replaced.
Specification: Outwell Hornet XL Review – Simplifying Family Camping