Read ActiveTraveller`s review of Coleman's Event Shelter XL, a shelter that's become a familiar sight on family campsites around the country.
The Event Shelter is camping brand Coleman's attempt at creating a sturdy and robust - not to mention large - shelter that can be used for group and family camping trips as well as in the garden at home.
The Event Shelter XL is worryingly heavy and bulky as a package but you soon realise that there's no getting around the amount of pole meterage you need to pitch something so big. The poles also aren't the usual thin and bendy aluminum efforts of cheap DIY store-bought gazebos that buckle at the first sight of a breeze, Coleman has instead opted to use thick-walled steel which is a good move in our books. Rather than use standard shock cord for the various different sections of poles Coleman has again opted for something a lot more robust with a combination of metal chain and shock cord running throughout.
When it comes to pitching the Event Shelter it's actually fairly easy, with a bit of practice it can be done by one person in around 20 minutes without too much of a struggle.
Once it's up you can see straight away why it's become such a familiar sight on family campsites around the country, it's got a sturdiness and simplicity of design that just works and the 20m2 of space it creates is perfect for communal dining, playing and general campsite chilling.
We decided to go for the optional sun walls and doors, which add cost but are great for providing that bit of extra protection from the elements as well as a little privacy. When the weather is good though the easy-going, breezy nature of the Event Shelter with open sides is our preferred setup.
The SPF50 rating of the outer fabric is reassuring when you're sitting under the canopy in blazing sunshine and when fully pegged down, guylines and all, the Event Shelter is adept at weathering some serious wind, which you would fully expect given its price tag of R 2,450.
Rain beads up and rolls off the outer fabric nicely but the seams aren't taped and let a constant drip, drip of water through. Overall, the fantastically usable space as well as the robust construction of the Event Shelter make it a worthwhile investment.