Fiona Outdoors logo My independent guide to the best of Scotland outdoors

Review: Outwell Beachcrest Drive Away Freestanding Tent

Written by Fiona

November 15 2023

This tent will fit the tailgate end of an SUV style car or a smaller van such as a VW Caddy, Citreon Berlingo or Peugeot Partner. It’s the ideal partner for camping if you want to extend the living and sleeping space in the vehicle. The Outwell Beachcrest tent attaches to the vehicle and you can also drive away and leave it freestanding. Here is my review of the tent.

Features include:

Attachment height: 155cm to 185 cm

Flysheet: Outtex® 3000 Select, 100% polyester with Hydrostatic Head of 3000mm
Aluminium poles
Double-coated waterproof polyethylene groundsheet
Large mesh windows with waterproof curtains
Large tinted front window
Roll away front door
Heavy duty Outwell zips
Detachable bathtub groundsheet

5mm & 7mm Kador Beading – twin Kador beading allows the tent to be fitted on to roof rails or wind-out awnings.
Link Access Zone System with side doors
Pre-attached luminous guylines
Fast and easy to attach and detach

Pack size: 69 x 31 x 31 cm
Weight: 10.6 kg
RRP: Around £600 but available for £430 upwards with different retailers.

See Outwell.

My thoughts: Outwell Beachcrest Drive Away Freestanding Tent

A tent or awning that attaches to a vehicle is a useful asset if you are stopping for a while and need to extend your living and sleeping space. It is best used when campsite camping, rather than for an adhoc overnight stop mainly because of the time to set up and the space needed. The tent took me around 40 minutes for first set up and about 25 minutes to 30 minutes subsequently. So, I think it’s best for a campsite when you are staying for two or more nights.

The benefit of the Beachcrest is that once it’s erected you can drive away your vehicle.

The Beachcrest is designed to fit the rear of a range of vehicles. It works best with a tailgate vehicle. It is suitable for smaller van-cars like the Peugeot Partner, Citreon Berlingo and VW Caddy, which is the vehicle I have been using for driving and camping this summer.

If you are familiar with a modern tent, you will not struggle to erect the tent. There are basic instructions to help with this, too.

It is useful to have the help of a friend when inserting the main two poles. The poles are long and the tent is a bit unwieldy at this stage so it is easier to have a friend holding up the first pole into the approximate shape of the tent while you insert the second pole.

Once the two main poles are in place and you have moved the tent to the right position behind the vehicle, the rest of the set up is straightforward. I placed the smaller groundsheet – that is part of the “Link Access” system – behind the vehicle and then put the main tent into position.

(I erected the tent the first time in our garden to make sure I knew what I was doing.)

Next step is to peg out the base/groundsheet and then sort the guylines. The large plastic tent pegs are excellent and there are several brightly coloured pegs for places where people require warning of a hazard. It is useful to have a rubber hammer to ensure the pegs are properly inserted into the ground. You can adjust the number of guy lines you use depending on the weather.

There are different ways to attach the tent to the vehicle. I simply tied the web straps to the roof rails and used a peg to secure the lower part of the tent. There are straps that can attach to your wheels if you prefer.

Other options for vehicle attachment can be bought such as suction caps to fit to the top of the vehicle, or you can feed the straps inside your vehicle and attach internally to, for example, the handles above the driver and passenger seats.

Once erected, you can adjust the guy lines to properly form the tent.

It’s roomy inside the dome-shaped Beachcrest. You can access the inside via a large front opening, side openings next to the vehicle or the vehicle tailgate itself. The tailgate opens and shuts within the tent.

The zips and zip loops are reassuringly chunky and easy to use.

The doors and windows provide a range of configurations, such as a fully opened front door, or a half-opened front door. You can have windows covered or opened and there is a mesh window for ventilation. I am not sure the mesh will keep out the Scottish midge but, then again, midges will get in around the edges of the tent so I think it is probably a bit of a losing battle to try to midge-proof the tent.

The built-in gourd sheet is great. It keeps out the wind and wet and will stop insects crawling inside. There is a lot of ground space and you could easily have several people sleeping side by side inside. Another option would be to set ups a cooking and living area and sleep inside your van.

HH 3000mm is adequate for keeping out rain, even heavy downpours, and also a combination of wind and rain. I have not tested this tent in prolonged heavy rain but the HH rating is what I would expect for a vehicle tent or awning.

The RRP is rather eyewatering, but many retailers are selling this vehicle tent with a discount so that makes it a bit more reasonable. Tents such as these are not cheap and the Outwell Beachcrest is around the same price as other brands so it’s not unexpected. It’s worth shopping around and looking on second-hand websites to find the best price.

  • * I was sent the tent to test and review without charge.

More Like This

Adventure

Review: Salewa Ortles Light Mid PowerTex (PTX) boots

Adventure

Historical landmarks of the Golden Triangle – A journey through time, taste and tranquillity

Adventure

Six new sports you might like to try

Adventure

Cycling on the Black Isle

Adventure

Cycle Aviemore to Inverness

Adventure

Pawel Cymbalista sets Rob Roy Way FKT