The Golite Shangri-la tent is seriously cool. It doesn’t conform to your boring hoop, tunnel or ridge shape but instead takes on the tipi shape that makes you certain to stand out. Stand out further and buy the bamboo yellow instead of the usual green. Initially called the hex as it has six sides, the Golite Shangri-la 3 is designed to accommodate three people. However, forget that notion as the central pole divides the tent into two and makes it difficult for three people to share the space fairly. However, for two it is exceptionally spacious and as a luxury tent for one the space you have is seriously obscene. The extra space though could come in useful for family camping, as two kids could easily fit one side of the pole and an adult the other. Or go for the Shangri-la 5 – that’s even larger!
The tent can pitch in two ways. You can pitch the outer only, or inner as well. Technically speaking, i should be reviewing two items here. The Golite Shangri-la is the outer and the inner is the Shangri-la 3 Nest. The first time you set the nest out on the ground, you’d better make sure you’ve got a decent pitch as the footprint of the tent is huge. Pinning the six corners out, you then take the pole inside to support it and simply attach the fly over. It really is that simple. If you want to pitch just the outer, then you can use the pole to measure out the pegs first. With a bit of practice, you can get the outer up in a matter of minutes. An optional groundsheet is available, but is only 300g lighter than the nest it replaces.
Of course, I’ve not yet mentioned the weight. You may think that I’ve built up the positive aspects of size and the ease of pitching, only to bring it down when mentioning weight. Alas no. Make no bones about it, this tent is no svelte beauty but a rather curvier one and you do pay a little for the extra space. The Nest is only 835g and the fly with poles and pegs an extra 1130g, making it about right for a spacious 2 man tent.
So far I’ve admittedly been rather two dimensional in my review and it’s important to realise that the third dimension to the tent is even more impressive. The tent has about 160cm of headroom, meaning you can easily stand up inside to get dressed; if not fully upright (obviously you can if you’re shorter than 160cm).
Where the tent does fail is with the utter lack of a porch. You have barely any space between the fly and inner to store wet gear, and the water bottles I kept there were essentially outside. This would have spoilt an otherwise excellent tent as no porch usually means you can’t cook inside in poor weather, and let’s face it, that’s typical operating conditions in Snowdonia. Fortunately, you can pull back the front of the nest and create a very spacious porch area for cooking. If you’re camping solo, you may be able to rig it up that way, less so if there are two of you. Alternatively, don’t get the official nest at all, get an Oookworks Oooknest that sleeps one, and cuts 300g off your total weight. The mesh inner of the nest may prove cool as well, and they produce a ripstop inner if that worries you.
The Shangrila is meant to be an all year round shelter, with the shape resisting strong winds and the angle shedding snow easily. There are plenty of guying points all around, and while it may be noisy, it has certainly felt sturdy enough in some stiff winds this summer. This will replace an ageing Terra Nova Voyager at about the same weight, but with a lot more space inside.
This is an ideal shelter for anyone looking for a little more space and headroom, while being willing to overlook and work around the deficient porch. This is an ideal tent for family bratpacking in the hills, a mothership for a group of campers who would otherwise be in their one man tents or anyone looking to stretch out, stand up and stand out a little.
Summary: An alternative to the usual tents with massess of space inside, reasonably lightweight but lacking a porch. Acres of space in here! It’s a tipi, that’s got to be cool.