December 16, 2017

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Flowers are blooming, the Spring weekend holidays have just passed, the trails are calling, the question is, are you ready for some family outdoor time and a good old fashioned adventure? But, you don’t have a tent. The old tent is musty and smelly, or too small and cramped, or it’s missing all the poles. Whatever the reason, never fear Wenzel is here with a tent that is amazing! Easy to set up by two people in a jiffy. Roomy and spacious for a family with gear! Oh and the important part, this tent won’t break the bank.

In addition to all of these great features the Portico offers some other family friendly features that all family tents should have. As any family with kids who  are experienced in camping will tell you one of the most frustrating things is dirty shoes in the tent. The Portico offers outer pockets for shoes, sandals, etc on the outside of the tent to ensure your tent stays clean and dirt or mud free during your camping experience. But won’t the shoes, socks, sandals, etc. get wet? No way! Especially if the rain-fly is on the tent to not only protect the tent from the elements but also provide a great vestibule to enter and exit the tent without getting wet. This area also provides a great spot to sit in the shade, store some addition gear you may not want in the tent or create some shade to help cool your tent. Simply put this vestibule is another great family friendly feature of the Portico. 

In addition to these features the Portico also offers a front facing E-port allowing you to bring in power to your tent (if at a site that has power – or if at home in the backyard) for inflating air mattresses, charging devices or other power needs. With the E-port there is no need to keep the main door unzipped and let in unwanted flying pests.

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Space in a tent is always a concern when camping as a family. Many tents are rated for just people, not people with gear or the utilization of substantial air mattresses for added comfort versus sleeping on the ground. The Portico is spaced appropriately to allow for a family with gear and air mattresses to stay comfortably in the tent.

When I get gear to test I am always the primary tester of the gear unless it is for my girls, but I always talk about the value of the product, durability and quality of the item, things my girls don’t often consider. They are more concerned with the cool factor, comfort, color options etc. When Wenzel asked me to test and review their new line of family tents I jumped at the chance and wanted to try something new.

I wanted to be the observer, I wasn’t going to be the tester this time for these products. I know that many of my readers (hi there!) are avid outdoor gear heads or avid adventurers. But I also know that many of you are also newbies to the outdoor world and need some honest analysis about gear and a helping hand in making the right decision on outdoor gear with a limited budget for your family. So I figured, why not let a a young family, with a “very” active 3 year old boy try out the tent. Oh, did I mention they have never been camping as a family? ​

Let me introduce you to Sammy (my godson) and his parents Steve and Jaime. Sammy, can’t say Uncle Scott… So I am referred to lovingly as “Uncle Snot”. (pause in the review for cuteness “awww” and or mild “laughter”). ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Okay. Carrying on. This, as I previously mentioned was Sammy’s first time camping and The Greene’s first family camping experience/adventure, a perfect opportunity to see what a newbie family thought of this great tent. Sammy just loves camping in general now, and I think a lot of that had to do with the Portico. The Portico, is now classified by Sammy as “My Tent!”. 

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I have always professed our collective need to get our kids outdoors early and often to show them the simple things and the lessons in life that can only be taught outdoors or made clear around a campfire. But a young family won’t continue to return to the outdoors, if they aren’t comfortable, at ease and can set up and take down their camping equipment quickly and efficiently. A young family also wont’t take the first be step to become an outdoor family if the large pieces of equipment they need cost them and arm and a leg. 

Wenzel’s group of family camping gear is the ticket for families young and old to get outdoors and build the memories that will last a life time. Video games, tv shows, and apps on phones won’t be the memories kids will remember when they get older. Being outdoors catching fireflies, eating s’mores for the first time or picking up sticks for the fire (Thanks for helping me Sammy! – Uncle Snot appreciates it) will be the things that our kids will remember and carry on. Why did we go outdoors as kids with our families? It’s simple, our grandparents took our parents and wonder and excitement and simplicity was found and so our parents took us outside to find that same wonder. A tent is the key to adventure for our families and our kids. So, go buy a good tent, one that will last, because like Sammy, they are going to get hooked on camping and that tent is going to get a LOT of use.

Not a single time do I hear from Sammy without him asking me “Uncle Snot can we go camping…. NOWWWWW?” “Sammy Buddy! It’ February and it 15 degrees outside now” “So?” He will reply. Sammy is now hooked. I encourage you to get your family hooked just like the Greene family who has a couple more planned adventures upcoming this summer due to a great first camping experience, largely due to the comfortable, easy to set-up and family-minded Wenzel Portico. 

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Uncle Snot and Sammy hamming it up by the Wenzel Portico.

Sammy’s mom and dad continually commented about how cool (temperature) the tent was, positioned near a treeline and with plenty of ventilation the tent never got stuffy due to lots of attached guy-lines to ensure proper ventilation even when the rain-fly is attached. In addition to the external pockets as a mom, Jaime really liked the internal storage pockets (4) in the Portico as well as the gear loft for important items needed in a jiffy. 

As mentioned before the tent was used in this application with a large queen air mattress, gear for a family of three and Sammy who also happened to be using one of Wenzel’s awesome Blue Moose 40 degree sleeping bag. Space was never an issue in this tent for the family and left room for Sammy to still move around as a three year old does and will. 

The Wenzel sleeping bags designed for kids with kids in mind are a fantastic value and will keep your favorite little guy or gal warm at night and get them excited about camping. Sammy instantly feel head of heels for his Blue Moose bag and regularly wanted to go and “nap” in it to his mom and dad’s surprise. The sleeping bags stuff sack is strung to be used as a backpack. To the average adult this may not be even a feature of note but to a kid getting his first sleeping bag it is a huge deal. It also serves as his/her first backpack too. Soon your favorite lil camper will be marching around with their sleeping bag on their shoulders asking “Can we go camping nowwwww?” 

Durability, comfort and affordability as the adult areas of concern are all checked off on these sleeping bags. The cool factor, colors and design get a big thumbs up from Sammy! And that is what it is all about! 

Check out Wenzel’s website for more about these great family camping products.

​Wenzel Blue Moose 40 Sleeping Bag
Wenzel Girls Backyard 30 Sleeping Bag
​Wenzel Portico Tent 8
Wenzel Portico Tent 6

As always… Keep Hiking Forward!

Uncle Snot

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Portico 8 Tent Specs

  • Floor Size: 12′ x 10′
  • Floor Area: 120 ft2
  • Peak Height: 78″
  • Weight: 21 lbs. 10 oz.
  • Canopy Material: Polyester
  • Fly Material: Polyester
  • Floor Material: Welded Polyethylene
  • Packaged Size: 27.5″ x 9.5″ x 9.5″

Details

  • “D” style door with inside flap zippered window
  • Large front awning with hoop pole provides a dry entry and weather protection
  • Removable seam-sealed  fly 
  • Mesh roof vents
  • Shock corded fiberglass frame with fast feet for easy set up
  • E-Port for electrical cord access
  • Gear loft and four convenience pockets
  • Pre-attached guy ropes for added stability


Boys Moose 40 Sleeping Bag Specs

  • Size: 66″ x 26″
  • Stuff Size: 15″ x 10″
  • Fill: 2.5 lbs. Insul-Therm
  • Outer Fabric 190T Polyester
  • Liner: 190T Polyester
  • Storage: Stuff sack with tyvek

Details

  • Quilt through construction
  • Hook and Loop with embroidered Wenzel logo secures zipper
  • Unzips fully to convert to blanket
  • Large 2-ways main zipper, offers versatile venting

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