It’s taken a while, but now for some reviews of models we’ve experienced.
Robert Dyas garden gazebo
This was my first ever gazebo purchase and it was a disaster! It barely survived one usage as the poles started to bend. It wasn’t that easy to put up either. To their credit I took it back to Robert Dyas and they gave me my money back without any fuss. (This was a good few years ago, so I can’t comment on this season’s stock!).
This is the one you’ll have read about in our recent disaster. To be fair, we quite liked it. It was pretty big – although the curving shape meant we didn’t generally utilise the full area. And it was a good height – although the doorways were lower, so some ducking was required to enter and exit.
It was a bit tricky to erect for two reasons. Firstly the ‘clicky things’ to keep the poles in the right place were never very clicky. Secondly, even when we were putting it up correctly, it always looked like it was going wrong until the very last minute! Eventually we learnt to ignore our instincts and trust the fact that we’d got it up last time, but it was a bit disconcerting! The joints and poles were labelled with colour stickers which soon wore off in the rain. We got round this by adding our own blobs of paint, but you’d think the manufacturers might have thought of that themselves. There is no way you could get it up with just one person.
One of the good features of it was that it was self-supporting. By this we mean you didn’t need the pegs except to stop it blow away. Going peg-free is not a good option when you’re camping, but if it’s just for a couple of hours of shade in your garden, it’s handy.
The pegging system is good. The gazebo never blew away in any of the gales! The thing was the poles. They have no give and although they seemed substantial they bent in the wind. At first we could still use it, but ultimately they just got mangled and that was the end of the gazebo!
We don’t own this one, but we did help put it up and camped with it for 3 nights. It’s a good height. It seems to be okay in the wind, but it needs good pegging.
You couldn’t put this one up on your own either, but it does have fewer joints than the Outwell day shelter which makes it easier. It is a nice colour and doors and walls are available. We used one of the walls, but it was very flappy. It was as if it needed another peg loop in the middle.
This is our new inflatable one, and being inflatable, it is very possible to put it up by yourself. Just be sure to put a couple of pegs in before you get pumping so that it can’t blow away! It doesn’t take too long to pump up using the hand pump – and I’ve taken to standing the pump on a chair for the initial bit of pumping to save my back from getting tired!
It is a really good height, so although smaller than then Day Shelter, it is easier to utilise the full space. We bought a couple of doors so that if the rain comes sideways we can still use the full space.
Being inflatable, means it is bendy. It is plenty firm enough to keep its shape, but a bit of bendiness is a good thing when it comes to wind. There are no poles to get disformed! Being inflatable also means it is light. This is good for when you are carrying it, but does mean that if it isn’t pegged down it will blow away!! This could make it tricky to use if you wanted to put it on your garden patio for example.
The other disadvantage is that there are some straps that go across the floor space in a cross shape, which are a trip hazard. I guess these are to help you peg it out in the correct shape, but I’m not convinced they are necessary… I’m just summoning up the courage to chop them off!!