Easy Camp Palmdale 600 family tent review
In a nutshell
A spacious and well-ventilated mid-range tunnel tent that’s simple enough for camping novices to pitch, can accommodate a family of 4-5 in reasonable comfort even in inclement weather and packs away small enough to fit in a car boot
What we tested
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Ease of set-up
4.2A star rating of 4.2 out of 5.
3.5A star rating of 3.5 out of 5.
4.1A star rating of 4.1 out of 5.
- Worth the money
3.5A star rating of 3.5 out of 5.
- Easy to pitch, spacious, good internal storage pockets, sturdy zips, standing height in living area, compact when folded up
- Bedroom separator flimsy, bedroom doesn’t cut out daylight effectively, difficult to fold tent back into bag, suffered some damage after 1 season's use
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The Palmdale 600 is made by Easy Camp, an established and respected Scandinavian brand that offers a selection of tent ranges to address all camping needs. The Tour range is a collection of poled tents that are simple and fast to pitch and feature integrated or sewn-in groundsheets that prevent draughts and rainwater ingress. Camping magazine commended the 6-berth tunnel tent in their 2022 awards, recognising the design of the tent makes it easy to understand and use for new campers while also suiting those on a budget. The tent has two doors, one at the front and one at the side, four windows and one large, darkened inner tent that can be divided into 2 bedrooms. The living area offers standing height, and mesh panels at the front and side of the tent ensure plenty of ventilation. Although Easy Camp position it as an entry-level tent for families, its price tag puts it into the mid-range bracket for a 6-person pole tent (air beam tents are typically more expensive).
Our family of five (mum, dad, boys aged 10 and 7 and a girl aged 4) in several locations and weather conditions over several months, including a windy early-summer sojourn in our back garden, a rainy festival field in Nottinghamshire and a four-night, late-summer seaside stay by the beach in Dorset, during which we experienced wind, rain, sunshine and chilly overnight temperatures. We are seasoned campers and love nothing more than packing up our truck and heading to far-flung parts of the UK to wild camp or check out new campsites, reviewing them along with essential camping gear for MadeForMums and other publications. With 3 growing children, our trusty roof tent and 4-man ground tent have become a little crowded so we welcomed the chance to try a 6-person family tent that has plenty of space for us all to sleep in, stand up in and store our stuff in.
The tent comes packed in a large holdall bag and weighs a hefty 20.5kg, which is more than I expected (our 4-man ground tent weighs a fraction of this) and I struggled to carry it. Inside are two further bags containing the colour-coded fibreglass poles that keep the tent erect and the pegs that fix it to the ground. Folded inside the tent is the sleeping cabin. I searched in vain for an instruction booklet and resorted to the internet, which served up a few very useful videos. Only later did I realise that the (rather brief) instructions were printed on a label inside the main bag. The tent felt pretty flimsy and I was concerned it might rip.
How easy is it to set up?
Assembling the tent was easy but the instructions could have been clearer and should have contained images. If you haven’t pitched a tent before or need to refresh your memory, I strongly suggest watching our video or other instructional videos online. The first step was spreading the tent out so the sewn-in groundsheet lay flat with the flysheet (tent material) on top. Although the instructions suggest assembling the tent and then pegging it to the ground, we found it better to peg the four corners of the tent out before inserting the poles through the sleeves as it made the tent easier to handle, especially in windy conditions.
The children got involved: 7-year-old Rocco was able to connect the lengths of tent poles and then, with some help, guide them through the colour-coded pole sleeves, while his older brother placed the ends of the poles down over the pins attached to metal rings on the bottom of the tent, effectively raising the tent. They both ran around fastening the hooks on the flysheet to the poles before pegging out the sides of the tent using the loops and metal rings attached to the bottom edges of the tent (the ground was soft so we didn’t need a mallet). Their little sister was even able to help by toggling the sides of the sleeping cabin to the inside of the tent. We then secured the tent by pegging out the guylines.
How long does the Palmdale 600 take to set up?
The first time we pitched the tent, it took us around 25 minutes, but by its 3rd outing it took us about half this time.
Could 1 person pitch it alone?
The brand suggests you need at least 2 people to erect the tent and you certainly need at least 1 adult. The second time we put it up, I did it with my older son and it was hard work, not least because (at 160cm) I am only just tall enough to reach the clips that attach the inner bedroom fabric to the fabric of the main tent. Again, we found pegging the corners of the tent to the ground before inserting the poles into the sleeves made it easier to control the tent.
If you have used any other tents, how does the Palmdale 600 compare?
The fibreglass poles seem to connect more reliably than the poles we have on our (admittedly ancient) 4-man ground tent and slide through the sleeves very easily. The colour coding is a brilliant idea as it means you can instantly tell the correct sleeve for each pole. It also ‘pops up’ much more easily than our other tent, which takes a good deal of straining to get it upright. However, the plastic of the sewn-in groundsheet feels thinner and less durable than that of the other tent. Meanwhile, our roof tent is made from canvas, which is heavier and thicker so feels completely different.
How many people is the tent designed to accommodate, and how realistic is this for a comfortable family holiday?
The Palmdale 600 is designed to accommodate 6 people but I’d say this tent is best suited to a family of 4 or 5. The general rule of thumb is to opt for a tent that has at least one extra berth than the number of campers, and ideally an extra berth for every two adults or three children. This is particularly important on a camping trip that lasts longer than a weekend as it ensures there’s enough room for everyone to bed down comfortably and space to store all your belongings. While the 5 of us all fit comfortably if cosily into the sleeping quarters, the children are still young and relatively small; I can imagine in a few years’ time, we would feel cramped inside and we’d all prefer the privacy of bedrooms at either end of a 7 or 8-berth tent.
How comfortable is the Palmdale 600 for a family holiday?
Overall, the tent feels airy, as the large and multiple windows and doors allow plenty of light and ventilation in, while the well-placed fly nets ensure bugs stay out for the most part. The living area is particularly generous and can accommodate a table and chairs if necessary, although this would take up most of the floor space.
Best of all, the top of the tent is 210cm from the ground, allowing even the tallest member of our family (my husband, who is 6’1”) to stand up and walk around. This feels like a real luxury after camping in considerably smaller and lower tents. However, because we use air mattresses in the sleeping cabin, there is no remaining floor space so all our belongings are stored in the living area. This wasn’t a huge problem, but if we had needed to hang out in the tent during the day we would have had to move our bags into the bedrooms.
We didn’t prepare food or eat in the tent as we use a separate cooking facility (either on the back of our truck or, when camping with friends, a kitchen gazebo) and eat all our meals outdoors. There wouldn’t be much room to store food as well as belongings for 6 people and I wouldn’t feel comfortable cooking inside the porch of the tent, although the brand's website suggests you can.
What are the bedrooms like?
The bedrooms are in an inner tent that runs along the back of the main tent and can be divided into 2 smaller bedrooms by unravelling a thin piece of black material that hangs from the top of the inner tent in the middle of the sleeping quarters.
Because the material is very thin and doesn’t quite reach the floor, it’s not effective at providing privacy but does block out some light if, for example, you wanted to read in your sleeping bag while your children slept on the other side of the divider.
Each sleeping compartment has a separate zippered entrance, sealing off the bedroom from the living area. The sleeping cabin is constructed from blackout material and while this certainly cut out some light, I still found I was woken by the daylight in the morning, although my daughter happily slept on into the mid-morning.
We planned to put the three children in one bedroom while my husband and I shared a double inflatable mattress in the other half of the sleeping cubicle. However, our children had other ideas so we ended up with the boys in one half and the girls in the other. On a further trip, we toggled up the divider and my husband and I slept next to our youngest while the 2 boys slept on 2 single inflatable roll mats on the other side.
How comfortable were the Palmdale 600’s living areas?
As well as the main living space, which measures 270cm x 330cm, there is a grassy porch area with a 110cm-deep canopy that is useful for taking off your wellies and shoes before stepping into the tent. It’s also a good place for storing bikes and buggies as the canopy gives some protection from sun and rain (though not the horizontal kind you get near the coast, we discovered). It’s not sheltered or deep enough to really be considered part of the living space though. For an extra £85, the Palmdale 600 Lux offers a fully sheltered front room, which is much more useful in all kinds of weather.
We were lucky enough to test a carpet that fitted perfectly on the plastic floor of the living area, immediately making the tent look more inviting and — crucially — feel warmer and more comfortable underfoot. It also provided a soft landing for our children and their friends, who chose to play in the main living space when it was too wet or chilly to play outside.
Are there any storage compartments/pockets integrated in the tent, and if so how useful are they?
There are several integrated storage and organiser pockets in the tent. The ‘ladder’ pocket in the main living area was incredibly useful as it allowed us to keep all our essentials within sight and easy reach. The pockets in the bedroom were less useful – mostly because, with all our inflatable mattresses on the floor, the pockets became inaccessible. Pockets higher up in the bedroom would definitely be useful, as would hooks to hang jackets or towels. There was only one hook in the centre of the tent ceiling to hang a lantern.
How waterproof and windproof did the Palmdale 600?
Having slept in the tent in both wet and windy conditions, I can say with certainty that it is highly waterproof and windproof. The flysheet is made from a waterproof fabric that successfully held off several summer showers and a few downpours - the rain barely seemed to touch the tent. And the flexible yet tough fibreglass poles together with the well-placed guylines kept the tent stable even when gusts of wind were blowing over other tents and gazebos in the campsite. I was really impressed.
How long does it take to take down and pack away the tent?
It is incredibly easy to take down the tent and the whole process – from unpegging it from the ground to sliding out the fibreglass poles – takes around 10 minutes. However, folding the tent and fitting it back into the holdall takes much longer – around half an hour on the 1st attempt. We’ve since discovered it’s easier to leave the bedroom inner tent clipped into the main tent, saving time and the hassle of removing it and folding it away separately, and then fold the tent with the groundsheet facing outwards before upending it and easing the bag over the tent. This takes a lot of strength and patience and, ideally, 2 pairs of hands.
How robust and durable does the Palmdale 600 feel?
After 3 short camping trips and 5 nights’ use, the inner tent is already showing signs of wear and tear, with the plastic ground sheet ripping slightly, probably caused by our children tripping through the zippered entrance on their way into the bedroom. It’s disappointing as this is by no means a cheap tent and I’d expect it to withstand at least a season of camping trips. The rest of the tent fares better, with the sewn-in groundsheet holding up even where it’s pulled tight against the main entrance, and all the zippers and toggles in good order. The poles feel particularly well made and stand firm despite the sea breeze blowing across the campsite.
How easy is it to keep clean?
When pitched, the polyethylene groundsheet is very easy to sweep and mop while the polyester flysheet can be wiped clean. The additional purchase of a plastic footprint — a tarpaulin to put under the tent — for £44.99 would ensure the groundsheet stays clean and dry. We didn’t use one initially and had to pack the tent away with a damp and muddy groundsheet, which made it even trickier to get back in the bag. Once we were home, we brushed off the worst of the mud and grass and wiped the rest, then draped the whole tent over the washing line to dry.
Does it come with a storage box/bag?
It comes packed in a polyester bag that doesn’t expand, making it tricky to get the tent back inside after you’ve used it and folded it back up. Ideally, a tent of this size and value would come with a compression bag that opened up to accommodate the folded tent then be squeezed using straps. The bag has two carry straps, but these cannot be tightened.
Are there any design elements or features you find particularly useful?
Yes, several. Plastic-covered windows at the front of the tent and both sides of the living area allow daylight to flood in. For privacy and shade, the windows can be covered with built-in curtains that unroll from below the window and toggle above. There are two doors – 1 at the front and another at the side – that are covered with mesh doors as well as the flysheet, allowing air to circulate in the tent while keeping bugs out.
If you’re camping with an electric hookup, there’s a small red zippered opening on the right-hand side of the tent’s living area that enables an electric cable to be run from a power point outside the tent to the inside. Having separate zippered entrances to both bedroom cubicles was also useful as it meant we could access our sleeping bags without climbing over or disturbing the sleeping children.
The main storage pocket ‘ladder’ is very useful as it meant we could keep our essential gear within sight and easy reach. When the flysheet and mesh doors at the entrance of the tent are fully opened, the groundsheet can be let down so it’s directly on the ground, making it easy to wheel buggies inside the living area and preventing people from tripping over the edge of the groundsheet. There’s also a handy ceiling ring in front of the inner tent/bedroom cubicle for hanging a lantern on.
What’s in the box?
- A large, two-handled bag containing the main tent (comprising flysheet and sewn-in groundsheet)
- Inner tent/bedroom cubicle
- Colour-coded fibreglass poles in a smaller bag
- Tent pegs in the smallest bag
Now you’ve tested it, what would you have wanted to know before purchasing the product?
If you’re under 5’3”/160cm tall, you’ll need to stand on a step to attach the inner tent to the clips and rings hanging from the main tent and hang a lantern on the ceiling hook.
It’s worth purchasing the footprint for the tent or laying a tarpaulin under the groundsheet to help keep the underneath of the tent clean and dry and help protect it from damage. It also provides some extra insulation, which is always welcome when camping.
The matching carpet, £89.99, isn’t a necessity but it’s certainly nice to have and made the main living area cosier and the floor much more comfortable underfoot.
Is this product worth the money?
Having used the tent multiple times, I would say it is good value for money as I anticipate it lasting for several years and seeing us through many more camping trips, as long as we are careful with it. While there are certainly less expensive 6-berth tents on the market, few of them come with a separate sleeping cabin and boast the waterproof and windproof qualities of this well-made and well-specced tent. That said, for camping trips of a week or more, I’d be tempted to upgrade to the Palmdale 600 Lux, £579.99, which features an enclosed porch that gives a second enclosed living space.
Where can I buy the Easy Camp Palmdale 600?
How does it compare to similar tents?
|Easy Camp Palmdale 600
|76cm x 31cm
|Hi-Gear Hampton 8 DLX Nightfall Tent
|76cm x 47cm x 44cm
|Vango Stargrove II 600XL
|80cm x 38cm x 38cm
|MSR Habitude 6
|58cm x 25cm
The Easy Camp Palmdale 600 offers good value and will keep your family dry and free of draughts on even the most windswept campsite. However, it feels flimsy compared with some other more robust family tents and suffered some damage after just one season so isn't the best choice if you have boisterous children or if you plan on taking the family away several times a year. It's best for growing families of up to 5 people who enjoy camping for long weekends or short breaks and want an easy-to-pitch tent that is comfortable, practical and performs well in inclement weather. Unlike an air beam tent, which is heavy and takes up a lot of space, this tent folds compactly into a carry-bag and can be easily stored in a car boot, leaving room for other camping essentials.
Gabrielle Nathan has been a journalist for 20 years, writing lifestyle features for publications including Red, Women’s Health, Wildflower and Condé Nast Traveller. She has been writing about parenting since 2012, the year she became a mum.
|Easy Camp Palmdale 600 family tent
|Breathable polyester and Polyethylene