The Robens Pioneer 3EX is a lightweight tent that’s ideal for backpacking or bikepacking.
First Test Pitch of the Robens Pioneer 3EX
Last year, my youngest and I attempted a little bit of backpacking camping, which was fun. We want to do more of that, and especially bikepacking, so we have quite an interest in lightweight tents.
We’ve reviewed a number of 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 😀 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 (RRP £250).
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 separate 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 outer-first vs. 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, and each of these are colour coded to match the tent sleave they slide into.
At the opposite end of the sleave is a pocket when 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 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.
One thing I noticed on the bag’s label is that it comes with guyline tidies. I could not find these on the tent, and looking at the Robens website, I notice that 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 simply toggles into place.
Although this is rated as a three-person tent, three people sharing will be very cosy! This is much better as a two-person tent IMHO.
The feature that really 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 it much easier to get things in and out of your bags.
There’s enough room to sit up, take your boots off, and get things in and out of your bags, all sheltered and in the dry.
One thing this tent didn’t have was any additional groundsheet for the porch area.
I know these often get left behind, but it’s nice to have that option and 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 definitely 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 so that it pulled 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 damp underneath. Again, no water came into the tent.
Since first publishing this review, we’ve camped again in the Robens Pioneer 3EX, making sure to pitch it better this time 🙂
And, 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 are really looking forward to getting this to the campsite. Our review ratings are therefore just against this test pitch the garden and 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 😉
- LIghtweight and not too big when packed. Could be separated to pack smaller.
- Very easy to pitch.
- A really good sized porch area.
- 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.
Specification: Robens Pioneer 3EX Lightweight Tent