Crua Outdoors’ expandable tent system fits the whole crew, with a large air-frame Core tent and up to three add-on rooms.
When you think of family camping, what comes to mind? Late nights around the campfire and retiring to the warmth of a comfortable RV, or bundling up in a cozy sleeping bag in a tent next to your spouse and kids? Or do both sound good to you?
We wanted to test something that would allow large numbers of friends or family members — or both — to be able to join us in experiencing the wonders of nature without everyone owning an RV. Wouldn’t that be great? How many times have you had to turn away people from your camping trip because there wasn’t enough sleeping room in your rig? We looked for a solution that would empower large gatherings to create lasting camping memories together. Enter the Crua Clan Tent System (MSRP $1899), which consists of four connected tents and three liners that can be purchased together as this set, or individually as needed.
Crua Core Dome Tent
The Clan tent system starts with a Crua Core Dome Tent ($699 MSRP). Right off the bat, even without all the other modular things that make this tent system so awesome (and we will get to those), ease of setup is the key here. Unlike the majority of tents on the market that rely on a standard pole system, the Core has an airframe that is set up with the included hand air pump. That’s right — an air pump!
The Core comes with a large ground cover, the tent itself, durable stakes and the air pump. They all fit into a carrying bag that fits inside your RV’s storage compartment or tow vehicle. It was easy to unpack the tent and ground cover, unfold them and start pumping. It’s just a matter of connecting the air pump to one of the no-leak valves and pumping it by hand. The tent frame will begin to rise in front of you, as if by magic. Each of the valves takes only about a minute of pumping to inflate fully, and then — voila! — the Core tent is pitched.
Crua calls the Core the “ultimate living space,” and we’d have to agree that it provides plenty of additional living and sleeping space right next door to your RV. On its own, the Core sleeps six with room to spare. The dome is approximately 7.5 feet high, allowing adults and tall teenagers to walk around comfortably inside. And when you want some fresh air, the Core includes a large front canopy, perfect for socializing out of the sun or rain.
Crua Duo and Cocoon
The Core’s 16-foot-by-10-foot footprint makes for an even roomier central gathering space when you attach the large open front door to the back of your tow vehicle or up to three Crua Duo add-on rooms (MSRP $219), each of which sleeps two people.
The Duo is a small but sturdy tent that has an optional inflatable insulation liner. This liner, the Crua Cocoon (MSRP $299), completely blacks out the interior of the tent and provides a sleeping-bag-like liner, keeping the heat out on warm days and the cold out on cool ones. You can see in the photo below the gray and orange Cocoon inflated inside of the Crua Duo tent.
Core, Duo and Cocoon System
When the entire system is connected, you can think of the Core as the living room and the three Duos as bedrooms.
In addition to being an excellent standalone two-person tent, the Crua Duo can connect to the large Crua Core tent. With a simple pull of a zipper, the front canvas of the Duo zips up to one of the three connection ports on the Core and provides a waterproof seal.
Oh, and did we mention that the Duo and Core tents are fire-retardant? So not only do you get a welcome sleeping and living solution for guests outside the RV, but you can also rest easy knowing they are safe from flying embers that can occur when enjoying a campfire.
Camping Solution for the Whole Crew
When the entire system is connected, you can think of the Core as the living room and the three Duos as bedrooms. This is what Crua means by “the ultimate living space.”
Now you can enjoy the comfort of your RV and bring along large groups of people on your adventures. Just pull out the Crua system from your rig or tow vehicle, inflate the living room, zip on the bedrooms, and you’ve provided a three-bedroom apartment for your guests. If you don’t need three bedrooms or your campsite isn’t large enough to accommodate them, you can attach just one or two of the Duos, or use the Core tent on its own.
For us, the point of camping with family is investing in the things that matter most. Yes, I know this sounds slightly cheesy, but it doesn’t change the validity of it. We can get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we forget how easy it is to escape it. It’s as simple as loading up and hitting the road.
With the Crua Clan system on board, you can plan for something even bigger. A group on a church retreat, dads taking a trip together with their kiddos, friends escaping to a much needed natural recharge, or a family reunion that can extend to aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Camping trips can bring together groups for memorable late-night card games under the RV awning, intimate and hilarious conversations that can only happen around a crackling fire, or molding an ongoing outdoor tradition that grows for generations. Lasting memories, unique experiences, generational legacies with your children, relishing in the sites and stops of the open road; this is why we camp. The Crua Clan system allows us to do it socially.
Check out our full review and setup of all three products in the video below.
Jeremy P Elder is an award-winning podcast producer and host, as well as the author of Topics of Heroes and its sequel, Topics Too, and also serves as the Digital Product Manager for Good Sam Enterprises, where he conducts new product reviews and his series on camping with his daughter for their blog, which can be found here.
Video: Jeremy P Elder. Photos: Jeremy P Elder and Crua Outdoors