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Vango’s Skye 500 CLR gives you a taste of family camping on a budget

Vango Skye 500 CLR
Best for...
Weekend family camping and festivals
Overall Score
A lot of tent for the money
The non-offcut version is £60 less

The Skye 500 CLR is essentially the same tent as the non-CLR Skye 500 but made of offcut material that makes it more environmentally friendly. As it’s made of offcuts the tent won’t necessarily have the same colours in the same places as others, which gives it a semi-bespoke feel.

The main blue colour is preferable to the usual green you see on this level of Vango tent, adding a bit of pop and a point of difference.

The first thing you’ll notice when you open the Skye 500 up is a surprising number of separate components to assemble. The bedroom does not come pre-hung and you even have to put the divider up yourself. The bedrooms are at least attached to the ground sheet, which is loose rather than sewn-in. This is something you rarely see these days. A sewn-in groundsheet seals up the tent to ensure that no bugs can get in while also offering superior weather protection from wind and rain. At this low price though you can forgive the Skye 500 for this minor failing.

The lack of sewn in groundsheet does offer up interesting options for the Skye 500 though. Pitch flysheet only and you’ve got an effective small group shelter that’s totally waterproof. Fold the living area groundsheet under the bedroom and you’ve got a muddy boot area for festivals.

Because everything comes ‘flat packed’ initial assembly takes about 25 minutes from start to finish. Further pitching is quicker because you can leave the groundsheet and bedrooms attached when you pack the Skye 500 away. All that’s required to pitch then is pegging out of the flysheet in the four corners and inserting the three fibreglass poles into their sleeves and further pegging out of guylines as required.

Inside the porch/living area, you’ll find a reasonable amount of space, just about enough for a table and a couple of chairs. Standing height is decent too at 185cm, with slightly less in the bedroom. There are attempts at letting light in, with vertical slithers of clear plastic on either side but these don’t do a great deal. 

Because the main door slopes inwards and there’s no sign of a porch, rain inevitably gets into the tent on entry and exit, from runoff as well as from the sky. This is a right pain to deal with if you’re trying to keep the inner clean and dry.

Ventilation is excellent with large, adjustable front and rear vents, but unfortunately no mesh vents in the bedroom door to allow a cross-flow of air.

The bedrooms are entered through two separate zipped doors, one for the larger three-person space and another for the smaller two-person space. The divider is a simple section of wafer-thin fabric that you hang up with toggles, much like other tents with this layout.

Each ‘bedroom’ gets a bank of deep pockets to store bits and pieces in and there’s a hanging loop which could be used for a light in the main bedroom, with a further hanging loop in the living area.

Internal tension bands help keep the Skye 500 standing in strong winds, but we haven't had any problems with stability assuming the guylines are all pegged and suitably taut.

Overall, the Skye 500 offers plenty of tent for very little money. If you want a family tent for the odd weekend away or something with a bit of space for festivals this is an ideal choice. It’s large, durable, and keeps the weather out without the associated worry of an expensive tent. Finally, It’s great to see brands minimising their manufacturing waste, but at £60 more than the standard Skye 500, it’s debatable whether the consumer should have to pay for this. 

READ NEXT: The Best Family Tents

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