Traditionally, camping has been synonymous with balmy summer nights and sun-drenched adventures. But for those who yearn for the serenity of the great outdoors all year-round, or simply wish to escape the extreme temperature swings that tents can bring, the quest for the perfect camping shelter continues.
Enter the game-changer: insulated tents. These absolute bloody marvels of modern camping technology offer a solution to the age-old problem of tents that are either too hot or too cold (often within the same night!).
There are not all that many outdoor gear companies doing thermal tents right now but Crua, is a young and exciting Irish company that specialises in designing and manufacturing highly innovative camping tents. Crua has already gained popularity for its unique approach to tent design and its commitment to creating products that enhance the camping experience. I recently had the pleasure of trying out one of their ranges for myself.
In this review, we are going to focus on the Crua Duo and Crua Culla – two compatible, separate products that when combined, form what is perhaps the best tent that I have ever slept in.
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Crua Duo and Culla Overview
The CRUA Combo is a 2 Person Tent Bundle. The Combo is made of the Duo 2 Person Tent paired with the Culla 2 Person Insulated Tent which is kind of an insulated cocoon that fits inside the Duo perfectly.
You can buy and you can use both parts individually and in summer climes, the Duo 2 would be a perfectly serviceable tent to take hiking, camping or to a festival. The Culla 2 inflated tent can be inflated inside the Duo to provide enhanced blackout, as well as that thermal insulation that keeps the tent cool on hot days, and warm during cold nights.
Sleeping Capacity: 2 People
Doors: 1 Door
Seasons: 4 season
Packed Weight: 10 kg
Guylines: Luminous and Elastic Guy Lines
Zips: Heavy-Duty Luminous Jumbo Zips
Tent Pegs: 15PCS – 6.8in / 17.5cm
To clarify, in this review we are looking at the Crua Duo and the Crua Culla. We will assess both parts individually and look at how they work together. Do note that the Crua Duo and Culla are the 2-person visions of the Crua insulated tent range and other size options are available. You can browse the full selection of Crua Thermal tents for yourself by hitting the button below.
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Crua, Combo Duo and Culla Review – The Specifics
Right, let’s get into the details shall we? Over the course of this section of our Crua Combo review, we will break down the various aspects of the tent(s). We will look at size and weight, ventilation, erecting and collapsing the tent and more.
Weight and Packed Size
I will tell you straight off the bat, that when used together, the Combo is a heavy, bulky and awkward tent. Basically using both together means that you are carrying two separate tents with you and furthermore, the Culla Cocoon is heavy and bulky in of itself.
While the Duo is fine for taking camping and attaching to a backpack, the Culls Cocoon is best used for camping trips and maybe festival camping.
The pictures shown above and data shared below will probably help you understand this much more than any more words will.
Packed Dimensions: 20.8 x 5.5 x 5.5 in / 53 x 14 x 14 cm
Packed Weight: 6.6 lbs / 3 kg*
On its own, the Duo weighs 6.6 Lbs or 3kg and packs down to 20.8 x 5.5 x 5.5 in / 53 x 14 x 14 cm. That’s a pretty classic, standard size and weight for a 2 person tent and you will have few problems carrying it on a trail, attached to or packed into a hiking backpack.
Of course, Ultralight tents can weigh as little as 1 lb but this is not an ultralight tent.
Packed Dimensions: 27.5 x 15 x 15 in / 70 x 38 x 38 cm
Packed Weight: 15.4 lbs / 7 kg*
The Culla however is heavy and bulky. Remember that it uses insulated materials and is not designed to be carried over long distances, or attached to a backpack. Personally I would not want to take this out on a trail or up a mountain unless I had a very strong and willing Porter!!!
The Crua Combo: Pitched Size and Interior Space
As we said in the intro, the Culla is designed to fit perfectly and snuggly inside the Duo. As the fit is so precise, the best practice is to erect the Duo first and then ‘inflate the Culla’ inside it. We will of course go into this process in more detail further in this review.
Width: 4.9ft / 150cm
Length: 7.5ft / 230cm
Height: 4.4ft / 136cm
At 7.5 x 4.5 ft, the duo is a pretty spacious 2 person tent. Unless you are seriously hefty or especially gigantic then you should find that the tent offers enough space for 2 adults to be very comfortable with room enough for packs and gear.
Width: 4.3ft / 133cm
Length: 6.7ft / 207cm
Height: 3.6ft / 110cm
Once you slot the Crulla into the Duo, then the wall does begin to close in a bit and over half a foot of floor space is lost on each side. However, there is still 6.7 ft of length so unless you are unusually tall you will be fine.
That said, once you fit your backpacks and unfurl your sleeping bags, you may find things start to become ‘cosy’. Personally I am 5.7 and I found the Crulla to be perfectly roomy and imagine that 95% of you out there will feel exactly the same.
Breathability, Ventilation and Thermalisation
This is where things get truly exciting. The Crua Combo is a thermal tent which means that it is designed to regular temperatures meaning that it doesn’t get too hot during those balmy summer days and yet stays toasty and warm during those frigid nights under cold starry skies.
As well as using thermal materials, the tent has a number of ventilation shafts as well which can be opened or closed as the situation necessitates.
Aside from being breathable, ventilated and thermal, the tent also offers incredible light and sound-proofing and is without a doubt the darkest and quietest tent that I have ever seen inside.
It all adds to a tent that guarantees the best night sleep possible. If you are throw-in a sleeping pad then it is very nearly as comfortable as sleeping in your own bed.
Individually, the Duo offers a very basic, standard, classic level of thermalisation. Like any other lightweight, hiking tent, it is designed for 3 season use. This means it will get hot during summer days and you may find yourself shivering awake at 5am on summer morning when the morning dew sets in.
The Duo performs perfectly adequately here, but is kind of unremarkable until you pop the Culla inside it.
The Culla inner cocoon is where the magic happens. If you wanted to use it without the Duo, then you would still get most of the benefits here. The usher shell however does act as a second layer of light and sound blocking and stops atmospheric moisture getting onto the tent.
As I said above though, I would not recommend using the Culla without the Duo.
Durability and Weatherproofing of The Crua Combo
Remember that the Combo is designed to be used as an, erm Combo. This means that the Duo forms the protective outer shell with the Crulla tucked inside it. While you could use the Culla on its own, this would expose it to the elements and may result in less weather-proofing and shorter product lifespan.
Let’s now look at both components individually.
The Duo Outer Tent is fashioned from a number of polyesters and highly water resistant with a HH Rating of 5000mm. It is also durable due to its ripstop polyester. This delivers a good degree of water and weather proofing and ensures that the tent should withstand years of use despite the wind and rain. And remember, this tent is sold as a “4 season” tent so do feel free to take it out in monsoon rain or in winter snows.
The Aluminium Alloy 2 poles feel robust and sturdy and are unlikely to bend or break. The orange pegs are also solid and best of all, they are designed to only work with the Duo so nobody else will steal them.
All of that said, do bear in mind that the Duo is a ‘lightweight’ tent and as such is not designed to last like a hard-wearing heavy-duty tent is. Usually I bank on getting around 3 – 5 years of use from a tent in this category.
Crua does back up all of their products with a full 2 year warranty which is pretty generous and is more than many other tent manufacturers currently offer. That said, the tent brand Nemo offers a lifetime warranty so there is room for improvement here.
The Crulla is the insulated part of this tent. The outer shell is made from Breathable Polyester with 450g/m2 Insulation and the inflatable structure from Airframe Beam Structure (1x Airbeams). The materials feel solid and durable and I am particularly impressed by how malleable yet robust the inflatable tubes inside the shell feel.
Personally though, I would be reluctant to leave this outside in a rainstorm without the Duo covering it and adding that additional layer of waterproofing.
And remember, that 2 year warranty extends to both the other Duo tent and the inner Crulla tent.
Pitching and Collapsing The Crua Combo
Remember that when you use the Crua Combo together, you do have to pitch and then un-pitch 2 tents. It is also important to erect the Duo first and then pump up the Culla inside the Duo.
The good news is that it is all pretty straightforward as we shall now see.
The Duo used two cross poles connected by string. You simply fit the poles together and slot them through the undersheet before chucking the rain cover over the top.
It took us about 15 minutes to pitch the tent but remember, this was the first time we had ever opened the tent up and because we were too British men, we refused to look at the instructions.
The Crua Culla Cocoon pumps up using an air pump (pump unfortunately not provided). You simply unfurl it, position it inside the Duo and then attach the pump. It took me about 1 minute of leisurely pumping before the Culla was fully pumped and ready.
When it comes to deflating the pump, there are 4 valves situated at each angle that ensure very fast deflation.
The hardest part of the whole process is probably rolling the Culla up to re-tie the straps.
If you buy the Combo, the price is £919 (which is around $860). This of course is seriously expensive for a tent and I cannot sugar coat that.
Broken down and purchased individually, the Duo is £329.99 (which is kind of typical for a quality, branded, 2 person, lightweight tent) and then the Culla is £699.99 which is fair for the nature of this technical, high spec and unique product.
I appreciate that the price will deter a lot of you from buying the Crua Combo. However, if you do have the cash to spare and are looking for a high quality thermal tent, then the Crua Combo is an investment well worth making.
Personally I would be more comfortable recommending this if they shaved a few hundred bucks off the price but the price of raw materials is high right now.
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Final Thoughts on The Crua Combo
Embracing the great outdoors should never be limited by the whims of the weather. Well now insulated tents, with their ingenious thermal designs, are empowering adventurers to venture into the wilderness with confidence, knowing that they’ll be shielded from the elements, whether it’s a crisp winter’s night or a scorching summer day.
So, as you pack your gear and plan your next camping expedition, consider the transformative power of a thermal tent—a gateway to unforgettable experiences and year-round adventures in the heart of nature’s beauty.
Did you find this Crua Combo review helpful? If so let us know in the comments below. Otherwise I will see you on the road guys.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!