the Forclaz – MT500 – Fresh & Black – 2 Person Dome Tent is a fantastic, budget-friendly option for those looking to take their camping adventures to the next level.
After 1 year, many adventures and some experiences that I will remember for a lifetime. I now feel ready to give my honest opinion on this tent. Spoiler alert! … I´m a fan!
Read on if you want to know more about this tent and find out if it could be perfect for your next camping trip.
- Packed Weight: 3.1kgs/ 6,8lbs
- Packed volume: 11L
- Wind resistance: 70km/h/ Force 8 / 43.5mph
- Waterproofing: 200 litres/m²/hour (3 hours, equivalent to a tropical storm) Groundsheet: 500 litres/m²/hour
- Seasons: 3 Season tent – Spring, Summer, Autumn
- Bedroom Size: 210cm/82.5″ Long – 120cm/47″ Wide
- Outside height: 120cm/47″
- Bedroom height: 108cm/42″
- Tent Footprint: 223X240cm / 88X95″ (5m squared)
- Price: £149.99, 175 Euros, 200$
- Warranty: 5 Years
- Total weight: 3.1 kg
- Flysheet: 1250 g
- Bedroom: 970 g
- Pole kit: 600 g
- Pegs (12): 180 g
- Guy ropes (4 pieces): 40 g
- Bag: 90 g
- Repair kit: 20 g
The Forclaz – MT500 – Fresh & Black – 2 Person Dome Tent next to my friend´s MSR Hubba Bubba – Although his tent was lighter, it took about 3 mins longer to set up.
What We Loved
- Fresh & Black material (more on that later)
- Ease of assembly and disassembly
- Value for money
- Lots of useful pockets
- Raised edges on the waterproof groundsheet
- Interior space
- Exterior space
What We Didn´t Love
- A little on the heavy side
- The carry sack
- Not the most ventilated tent
Who should buy the Forclaz – MT500 – Fresh & Black – 2-Person Dome Tent?
This tent is a great buy for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy camping, hiking, and other outdoor sports and don´t mind compromising weight for a little extra comfort.
It’s also great for campers who are looking to get the best out of their budget. There is no tent that I have found on the market that can compete with the value supplied by this tent with regard to technology and quality.
Specifically, this tent is great for:
- Couples or duos: The 2-person capacity makes it perfect for couples or two friends who want to share a tent during their outdoor adventures. The double entrance and awnings make it fantastic for safely storing kit and entering/leaving the tent without bothering your partner. The tent can be split into many pieces making it great for sharing out into 2 backpacks.
- Solo travelers: Even though it’s designed for two people, solo travelers who prefer more space or need extra room for their gear will also appreciate the ample interior space of this tent. If you are traveling by car/motorbike or have extra space in your pack, this is a great option.
- Hot weather camping: The Fresh & Black technology blocks sunlight and helps keep the interior cool, making it an ideal choice for camping in hot and sunny locations.
- Those who love to sleep in: Yet again the Fresh & Black technology keeps the interior of the tent really dark, making it great for lazy mornings, especially in the summer.
- Convenience seekers: With its easy setup, color-coded poles, and compact size when packed, this tent is suitable for individuals who value convenience and want a hassle-free camping experience.
- Those who prioritize durability: The MT500 tent is built with high-quality materials and features reinforced seams and a waterproof design, ensuring durability and protection against various weather conditions.
- Campers traveling by car or motorbike: If you are traveling by car or motorbike from site to site and are looking for a quick and easy tent to pitch that will still stand up against bad weather then look no further!
Who Should Look For Something Else?
Those looking for a super lightweight and packable tent should probably upgrade to the Forclaz MT900 tent or look to other brands.
Although this tent can be split between 2 people, only adding 1.5kgs per pack. It does have some extra fabric, durable, heavy poles, and a few additions that add a bit of weight.
The 2-person Hubba Bubba for MSR for instance offers 3-season accommodation for a crazy low 1.54kgs with a packed volume of 5 liters.
Tecnology & Features
The Forclaz – MT500 – Fresh & Black – 2-Person Dome Tent has a surprising amount of technology and features built-in, given the price.
Here are some of my favorites:
Fresh & Black (Blackout) Fabric
Decathlon’s “Fresh & Black” tent fabric is designed to provide a more comfortable camping experience by addressing two key factors: heat and darkness.
The “Fresh” aspect of the fabric aims to reduce heat inside the tent. It incorporates a reflective coating or treatment on the outer surface of the fabric, which helps to block sunlight and minimize the absorption of heat. This can help keep the interior of the tent cooler during hot weather conditions, making it more comfortable for campers.
The “Black” aspect of the fabric is related to its light-blocking properties. The fabric is made with a dark color or has a black coating on the inside, which helps to significantly reduce the amount of light entering the tent. This feature is particularly useful for campers who prefer to sleep in a dark environment or for those who want to minimize the disruption of early morning sunlight.
Durable 3- Season Camping
Although the tent doesn’t have as many vents as some of its competitors it is great for spring, summer, and autumn camping.
The fresh and black fabric offers great insulation from sun and cold, but if the weather gets too hot the outside doors can be partially opened.
When assembled the fly sheet runs fairly close to the ground, stopping all but the harshest drafts coming in. The high waterproof side on the groundsheet also eliminate drafts whilst stopping rain from bouncing in during bad storms.
I found this tent to be a really nice height. It is still low enough to stand up to high winds but on rainy days both residents can comfortably sit up cross-legged and play cards or whatever floats their boat.
So Many Pockets!
If you are looking to spend some serious time in this tent, staying in the same place for days or weeks, the storage and organization are unparalleled by anything on the market!
Kudos to the designers at Decathlon who have obviously put a lot of time and effort into the interior design of this tent.
It’s not just the number of pockets that amazed me, it was the placement too. The ceiling pockets are perfect for storing items such as head torches, phones or water. They are right in front of your hand as you lie down, making them perfect for a quick grab. No more rustling around trying to find things on the ground in the dark.
There are also some pockets at the head and fee to the tent which I used for some spare nighttime clothes or the stuff sack of my sleeping bag.
There is also a helpful ceiling hook to hang a lamp.
A Clothes Drying Line
There is a really useful drying line on the ceiling of the tent. This is also adjustable and when tightened adds some stability during high winds.
Here you can see the size of the tent awning (of which there are 2) and the generous height of the waterproof ground sheet, protecting against drafts and hard rain.
I really enjoyed having the double entrance and awning.
This design gives a lot of outside space for cooking equipment, shoes, backpacks etc, keeping them dry and secure.
During a bike packing trip, I even managed to fit my upside-down bike in the awning (wheels removed) which gave me great peace of mind while asleep.
When on a camping trip with my friend, it made a huge difference to not have to clamber over each other when entering and exiting the tent.
The double doors are also great for airing out the tent and creating a cooling draft on warm nights
The fabric of the flysheet has a titanium dioxide (Ti0²) coating with a UPF protection of 50 +.
My Experience With The Forclaz MT500 – Fresh & Black – 2-Person Dome Tent?
Overall I have had some amazing experiences in this tent, some of the notable times I have been impressed are:
A 4-day bike-packing trip through Portugal
Myself and my brother (who is 6 foot 2″) embarked on a 4-night, 500km gravel bike packing trip along the coast of Portugal in the middle of summer. I carried the tent on top of my pannier rack which fitted perfectly and was stable.
We slept well in the tent together (very drunkenly some nights) and stayed cool even in the baking morning heat. We camped both in the wild and at campsites and found the tent to be ample size for all of our riding stuff.
This was actually my first trip with the tent, and after a few attempts, we managed to get the pitch time down to 7 minutes!
A 3 Day hike in the Italian Alps
For this adventure, I was nervous as it was springtime (April) in the Alps and there was still snow above 2000m. I shouldn’t have worried as the tent was amazing!
This time I was hiking solo and hung the tent off the bottom of my backpack. I did notice the extra weight, especially with a heavier sleeping bag but still managed well.
Even on a windy peak at 2200m the tent held strong and protected me from the wind, temperatures at night dipped down to 0 degrees but I still felt comfortable although leaving the tent in the morning wasn’t very appealing.
Next time I do a similar hike I will definitely go for a simple 1 man tent but I did enjoy the extra space.
A Wet Weekend in Scotland
I spent a rainy weekend in the Scottish highlands in my Forclaz – MT500 – Fresh & Black – 2-Person Dome Tent and was impressed by not only the waterproofing but the space available inside.
The grass was soaked when we picked the tent but the ground sheet let in no water at all. I spent all day in the tent due to the rain and was comfortable, warm, and dry.
I was also impressed by the ease and speed of packing away, this was pretty important on this trip as we quickly has to pack up in between showers.
Here is the full tent placed in a dry bag and attached to my handlebars using the Riverside handlebar harness
A Few Downsides
The big downside for me is the weight. There are much lighter (but more expensive options) on the market. If you are on a multi-day trek you are going to feel the extra weight, it´s going to weigh heavy on your shoulders and tire you out more quickly. That being said splitting the weight between 2 people can make a big difference.
The other downside that I found was the carry sack. Although it comes with compression straps and carry handles, it is not the most practical and rips fairly easily. It doesn’t seem to match the quality of construction of the other parts of the tent.
The carry sack is also not waterproof, this is pretty common with tent bags but if you pack the tent away wet, it will soak everything else in your backpack. To solve this issue (for a bike trip) I fitted the whole tent kit into a 15L drybag that I strapped to my handlebars. This added weight but was really useful.
Forclaz – MT500 – Fresh & Black – 2 Person Dome Tent – The Conclusion
In conclusion, the Forclaz MT500, Fresh & Black, 2-person tent is a fantastic budget-friendly option for outdoor enthusiasts.
Its Fresh & Black technology provides comfort by reducing heat and blocking light. With its durability, ample space, and convenient features like multiple pockets and a double awning, this tent offers great value for money.
While it’s slightly heavier and the carry sack could be improved, the Forclaz MT500 is a reliable choice for camping in various weather conditions.
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