The Robens Pioneer 3EX is a lightweight tent ideal for backpacking or bikepacking.
Our Score: 8.6/10
We've given the Robens Pioneer 3EX Lightweight Tent the Thumbs Up award.
- LIghtweight and not too big when packed. Could be separated to pack smaller.
- Very easy to pitch.
- A really good sized porch area.
The not so good
- Better as a two-person than a three-person.
- Pitch the bedroom section well to keep the sides off the inner tent.
- No groundsheet for porch area.
This was a hands-on product review. The product was supplied to us to test and conduct the review.
Robens Pioneer 3EX Lightweight Tent has a recommended retail price of £334.99.
Robens Pioneer 3EX Lightweight Tent Videos
Robens Pioneer 3EX Lightweight Tent Photos
First Test Pitch of the Robens Pioneer 3EX
Last year, my youngest and I attempted some backpacking camping, which was fun. We want to do more of that, especially bikepacking, so we are quite interested in lightweight tents.
We've reviewed several smaller tents in the past, but haven't reviewed a lightweight Robens in a few years. I saw this tent at the 2020 season launch, which looked ideal for us, with a big porch area that's ideal for keeping your bags and boots dry overnight.
Fortunately for us, Robens agreed to send us one to do a hands-on review :-D Thanks, Robens!
Tent Bag and Contents
The tent only weighs 3.2kg. Yes, you can get lighter three-person tents, but this is very good for the price.
The bag only measures 44 x 17 cm, and of course, you can separate out the tent poles, tent pegs, inner tent, and flysheet if you need to spread the load between bags.
Inside the bag, the 3000mm HH tent flysheet is folded separately from the inner tent. The colour-coded poles are good quality alloy, and so too are the tent pegs.
Pitching the Tent
The tent is pitched outer-first.
I know there can be a bit of a debate in backpacking circles around an outer-first vs. an inner-first tent. However, I like the outer-first approach as it allows you to get a shelter up and create a dry space straightaway. Something often needed in the UK! ;-)
The Pioneer 3EX tent only comes with three alloy poles; each colour-coded to match the tent sleeve they slide into.
At the opposite end of the sleeve is a pocket where the pole slides into.
I found this made pitching the tent single-handed a lot easier, as you didn't have to worry about the tent pole coming out of its eyelet when pushing the pole from the other side of the tent.
Each of the guylines comes with a tensioner. I like these over the regular tensioners as they grip the lines much better.
I noticed on the bag's label that it comes with guyline tidies. I could not find these on the tent, and looking at the Robens website, I noticed that it isn't a feature advertised. I guess it must have been a printing mistake on the label.
The tent has vents at both ends, which can be held open with a velcro support strap and a guyline.
Inside the Tent
The inner tent toggles into place.
Although this is rated a three-person tent, three people sharing will be very cosy! This is much better as a two-person tent IMHO.
The feature that drew me to this tent was the large sheltered porch area.
This is something we learnt from last year's backpacking. A shelter like this helps keep your bags dry and makes getting things in and out of your bags much easier.
There's enough room to sit up, take your boots off, and get things in and out of your bags, all sheltered and dry.
This tent didn't have any additional groundsheet for the porch area.
I know these often get left behind, but it's nice to have that option and it would help make that porch area a little drier if the ground was wet.
Condensation and Pitching Properly
With just two adults and a dog in the tent, and a night temperature of 2C, we did find a good amount of condensation in the tent.
And with my partial pitching of the tent in the garden and the morning dew, there was a sag to the tent.
The sag caused the inner tent to touch the wet sides of the tent. No water came into the inner tent, but something to note about the pitching. By moving the door-side guyline to pull the bedroom section tighter, the sides lifted from the inner tent so that air could flow.
After taking the sleeping mat out of the tent, you could also see the dampness underneath. Again, no water came into the tent.
Update - 2020.05.26
Since first publishing this review, we've camped again in the Robens Pioneer 3EX, making sure to pitch it better this time :-)
And, am happy to report that the inner tent didn't touch the sides, plus we had no condensation (but it was a warmer night).
We're currently stuck at home due to this COVID-19 lockdown, but we look forward to getting this to the campsite. Our review ratings are, therefore, just against this test pitch in the garden, and we will update this review once we get to try it for real.
So far, we like what we see, even if it's less forgiving when not pitched perfectly ;-)
|Attribute||Robens Pioneer 3EX Lightweight Tent|
|Product Info||Brand Web Page|
|Recommended Tent Use||Backpacking or Bike-packing, Ideal for Weekend Camping|
|Frame Type||Flexible Poles|
|Flysheet Fabric||Robens HydroTex® CORE|
|Fly Hydrostatic Head||3000 mm|
|Tent Living Space|
|Pitching and Storage|