When travelling in remote areas, it’s always a good idea to have reliable, easy-to-use equipment that pops up and packs down quickly.
So when we heard about the Malamoo 3-second tent range, marketed by Oztent, we were intrigued, even if the ‘3-second’ claim immediately alerted our BS detector.
Yes, the Malamoo takes longer than three seconds to set up and peg down. But not much longer. And, if anything, it demonstrates design innovation that we don’t see much of in camping equipment these days.
This two-person tent (bigger versions – the X-Tra and Mega – are available) has a clever double-ring frame that allows the tent to be set up quickly in around 30 seconds (definitely not three seconds) on good ground. The frame not only lofts the tent and edges the floor area, but also forms a rail for pegging it down.
Once set up, there’s a 2.4x1.8m floor and a ceiling height of one metre. That means there’s space enough for a mattress/sleeping bag, a clothing bag, and to sit down and pull off your boots.
Out the front is a handy compartment that allows you to store those boots out of the weather, and the tent’s two extra poles, guy ropes and pegs mean the front end can be set up into something of a verandah, while the flyscreen and rear window are made with a super-fine mesh that keeps out the bitey-bugs.
As well as the four pegs that clamp down the frame, there are four attached guy ropes that provide extra stability in strong winds.
Compared to a dome tent, the Malamoo has more structure, thanks to its circumferential frame. The tent also has a better chance of tolerating use on rocky-hard or sandy-soft ground, and if it’s impossible to sink your pegs, your gear inside can anchor the tent.
On the downside, we were a little disappointed that the pegs bent easily (surely heat-treated/hardened pegs would add only a few dollars to the tent’s overall cost), and the Malamoo also has a relatively thin floor, so you’ll need to set it up on a ground-sheet to prevent damage from sharp rocks that are prevalent in so many outback areas.
The Malamoo packs down into a flat bag of about one metre in diameter – you’ll need a little practice to get the hang of it (sewn-in instructions are provided). It’ll best be carried on a roof rack or sitting flat on top of other gear near the headlining of a wagon. Weight is around three kilos, which is negligible in the context of a circa 2.5-tonne 4x4 touring vehicle.
Verdict? Quicker than the common dome tent, but it doesn’t get past the common problems of tents used in arduous terrain.
GOOD: Quick set-up is an asset for longer adventures
BAD: Pegs easily bend;