I am aware that there are a few tents available for astronomy, but these are fairly large, not as easy to use and fairly expensive. Hence I have been looking for other alternatives. The features in particular I was looking for was – easy to setup, relatively affordable, and roof that comes off. Hence when I found the Solognac Hunting Hide Tent available from Decathlon for £79.99 (about half the price of the cheapest astronomy tent available), I decided to get this.
I ordered this online and was able to collect it from our local Decathlon after New Years day.
Size: 135 x 135 x 140 cm
It has a roof which can assembled and installed, or left off. The tent is a pop-up one, which can be put up very quickly and kept fairly quickly as well.
The instructions included in the bag is fairly rudimentary but its use is fairly easy to master – the folding back up for storage does takes a little getting used to but becomes very easy once mastered.
The roof is assembled by fitting the fiberglass rods down the pipe channels that run diagonally and fitting the ends into the reinforced pockets at each corner of the roof.
There are 9 ground spikes included to allow for the tent to be secured to the ground. I will likely use some concrete slabs/bricks to keep the tent in place rather than use these spikes.
It comes with a zip-open door on one side, and a window on the other 3 sides. These also have a camouflage net which can be used when photographing or hunting wildlife.
I have considered that this tent could be used in various scenarios.
- To house my computer and myself when it is cold, when the roof can be left on. The mount and scope can then be placed either at the entrance to the tent or outside.
- To image higher up in the sky or close to zenith, the roof can be left off.
What do I like about the Solognac Hunting hide tent?
- Good price.
- Easy to setup (under 5 minutes even with assembling the roof) due to pop-up construction, and also quick to pack up at the end of the imaging session.
- Should work well to block the wind and protect the scope, my computer or even myself from the elements.
- Is lightweight so can be taken to dark sites as well, particularly with the backpack straps.
- As there is no attached ground sheet, the tent can be moved around relative to the scope so as not obstruct the view of the sky as long as it is not too low. If fairly low in the sky, the scope could be pointed through the window or door.
- Roof can be mounted on or left off, giving more options on how it can be used.
What could be improved?
- The fiberglass rods are a tight fit into the corner pockets, and I am unsure how durable the pipe channels or the end pockets are to repeated use.
If you have a small telescope setup like the iOptron ZEQ25, or would like to have a small hide to protect you from the elements while imaging, or would like to have a hide for photographing or hunting wildlife, then this tent would be a versatile option that could allow you to do all these things. Recommended.