Quechua Tent

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Quechua 2 Seconds Easy II FRESH  BLACK 2 Man Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent
Quechua 2 Seconds Easy II FRESH BLACK 2 Man Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent
$179.00
Time Remaining: 5d 11h 55m
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Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds XL AIR III 3 Man Double Lining
Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds XL AIR III 3 Man Double Lining
$239.00
Time Remaining: 9d 14h 41m
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US Warehouse Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds XL AIR II 2 Man
US Warehouse Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds XL AIR II 2 Man
$199.00
Time Remaining: 25d 15h 27m
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Quechua Arpenaz 41 Family 4 Man Waterproof Camping Tent
Quechua Arpenaz 41 Family 4 Man Waterproof Camping Tent
$249.00
Time Remaining: 20d 11h 50m
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Quechua 2 Seconds Easy AIR 3 Man Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent Double Lining
Quechua 2 Seconds Easy AIR 3 Man Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent Double Lining
$199.00
Time Remaining: 1d 16h 4m
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Quechua Waterproof Camping Summer Shelter Fresh Living Area 75 x 75
Quechua Waterproof Camping Summer Shelter Fresh Living Area 75 x 75
$69.00
Time Remaining: 25d 18h 17m
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QUECHUA ARPENAZ 3 Fresh  Black Waterproof Camping Tent 3 Man
QUECHUA ARPENAZ 3 Fresh Black Waterproof Camping Tent 3 Man
$129.00
Time Remaining: 20d 16h 12m
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QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy II Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Man Green
QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy II Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Man Green
$120.00
Time Remaining: 20d 7h 43m
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QUECHUA ARPENAZ FAMILY 41 Camping hiking tent for 4 person
QUECHUA ARPENAZ FAMILY 41 Camping hiking tent for 4 person
$159.00
Time Remaining: 18d 17h 7m
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QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy III Pop Up Camping Tent 3 Man Blue
QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy III Pop Up Camping Tent 3 Man Blue
$135.00
Time Remaining: 20d 9h 30m
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QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy III Fresh  Black Pop Up Camping Tent 3 Man
QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy III Fresh Black Pop Up Camping Tent 3 Man
$169.00
Time Remaining: 20d 12h 1m
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QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy III Pop Up Camping Tent 3 Man Green
QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy III Pop Up Camping Tent 3 Man Green
$135.00
Time Remaining: 20d 9h 28m
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QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy II Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Man Blue
QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy II Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Man Blue
$120.00
Time Remaining: 20d 7h 47m
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Quechua Arpenaz 3 FRESH  BLACK 3 Man Waterproof Camping Tent
Quechua Arpenaz 3 FRESH BLACK 3 Man Waterproof Camping Tent
$149.00
Time Remaining: 26d 14h 7m
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QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy Dark Green Pop UP TENT Camping Hiking Outdoor 2 PERSON
QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy Dark Green Pop UP TENT Camping Hiking Outdoor 2 PERSON
$168.00
Time Remaining: 16d 16h 57m
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QUECHUA CAMPING TENT ARPENAZ 2+ BLUE
QUECHUA CAMPING TENT ARPENAZ 2+ BLUE
$99.99
Time Remaining: 19d 16h 59m
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2017 NEW Quechua Tent Camping QUECHUA Tent 2 Seconds 3 AIR  3 man
2017 NEW Quechua Tent Camping QUECHUA Tent 2 Seconds 3 AIR 3 man
$133.10
Time Remaining: 21d 17h 5m
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QUECHUA Quickhiker Ultralight tent 2 person backpacking hiking camping
QUECHUA Quickhiker Ultralight tent 2 person backpacking hiking camping
$199.00
Time Remaining: 22d 6h 54m
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QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy II Fresh  Black Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Man
QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy II Fresh Black Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Man
$158.00
Time Remaining: 20d 10h 12m
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DECATHLON 2 Seconds Pop Up Easy to carry Tent 2 PersonGreen
DECATHLON 2 Seconds Pop Up Easy to carry Tent 2 PersonGreen
$231.51
Time Remaining: 28d 12h 48m
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Quechua 2 Seconds XL AIR III 3 Man Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent
Quechua 2 Seconds XL AIR III 3 Man Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent
$197.19
Time Remaining: 6d 21h 16m
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Quechua Waterproof Camping Backpacking Tent Arpenaz 2 2 Man Double Lining
Quechua Waterproof Camping Backpacking Tent Arpenaz 2 2 Man Double Lining
$89.00
Time Remaining: 25d 16h 25m
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QUECHUA Arpenaz 3 Person Camping Tent FreshBlack NEW
QUECHUA Arpenaz 3 Person Camping Tent FreshBlack NEW
$83.33
Time Remaining: 10d 12h 48m
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Quechua Waterproof 4 6 man Camping Shelter Living Area 25mx25m 984x984
Quechua Waterproof 4 6 man Camping Shelter Living Area 25mx25m 984x984
$129.00
Time Remaining: 16h 14m
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QUECHUA Arpenaz Base M Shelter 8 Man Waterproof Camping Tent
QUECHUA Arpenaz Base M Shelter 8 Man Waterproof Camping Tent
$159.00
Time Remaining: 28d 16h 27m
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2014 Quechua Tent Camping 2 Seconds EASY 1 green Pop Up Tent  1 Man NEW
2014 Quechua Tent Camping 2 Seconds EASY 1 green Pop Up Tent 1 Man NEW
$64.16
Time Remaining: 26d 14h 21m
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New Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds XL AIR III 3 Man
New Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds XL AIR III 3 Man
$200.00
Time Remaining: 15d 20h 44m
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QUECHUA Tent 3 Person 2 Seconds FreshBlack FAST
QUECHUA Tent 3 Person 2 Seconds FreshBlack FAST
$173.33
Time Remaining: 16d 22h 9m
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Quechua Waterproof Backpacking Lightweight Camping Tent 2 Seconds Easy II 2 Man
Quechua Waterproof Backpacking Lightweight Camping Tent 2 Seconds Easy II 2 Man
$149.00
Time Remaining: 11d 16h 25m
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Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds XL AIR III 3 Man Double Lining
Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds XL AIR III 3 Man Double Lining
$192.67
Time Remaining: 13d 13h 57m
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Quechua 2 Seconds XL AIR III 3 Man Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent Blue
Quechua 2 Seconds XL AIR III 3 Man Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent Blue
$239.00
Time Remaining: 7h 50m
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QUECHUA ARPENAZ 52 FAMILY TENT FOR 5 PERSONS WATERPROOF CAMPING TENT
QUECHUA ARPENAZ 52 FAMILY TENT FOR 5 PERSONS WATERPROOF CAMPING TENT
$330.00
Time Remaining: 17d 15h 14m
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Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds Easy II FRESH  BLACK 2 Man
Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds Easy II FRESH BLACK 2 Man
$179.00
Time Remaining: 16d 10h 10m
Buy It Now for only: $179.00

Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds Easy I 1 Man Double Lining
Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds Easy I 1 Man Double Lining
$99.00
Time Remaining: 10d 16h 38m
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QUECHUA ARPENAZ 42 FAMILY TENT NEW
QUECHUA ARPENAZ 42 FAMILY TENT NEW
$249.01
Time Remaining: 24d 8h 51m
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QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy Dark Green Pop UP TENT Camping Hiking Outdoor 3 PERSON
QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy Dark Green Pop UP TENT Camping Hiking Outdoor 3 PERSON
$179.00
Time Remaining: 19d 8h 46m
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QUECHUA 2 Seconds XL AIR II Pop Up Tent 2 Man Hiking Camping Outdoor FAST SHIP
QUECHUA 2 Seconds XL AIR II Pop Up Tent 2 Man Hiking Camping Outdoor FAST SHIP
$205.00
Time Remaining: 16d 9h
Buy It Now for only: $205.00

QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy FreshBlack 2 Person Pop UP TENT Camping Hiking FAST SHIP
QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy FreshBlack 2 Person Pop UP TENT Camping Hiking FAST SHIP
$195.00
Time Remaining: 20d 11h 30m
Buy It Now for only: $195.00

QUECHUA ARPENAZ 3+ Tent Blue 3 Person Storage Areas Hiking Camping Outdoor
QUECHUA ARPENAZ 3+ Tent Blue 3 Person Storage Areas Hiking Camping Outdoor
$173.00
Time Remaining: 21d 9h 20m
Buy It Now for only: $173.00

Quechua Tent Camping Pop Up 2 Man OR 2 Second Easy Air II blue
Quechua Tent Camping Pop Up 2 Man OR 2 Second Easy Air II blue
$114.99
Time Remaining: 22d 15h 23m
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QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy FreshBlack 3 Person Pop UP TENT Camping Hiking FAST SHIP
QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy FreshBlack 3 Person Pop UP TENT Camping Hiking FAST SHIP
$209.00
Time Remaining: 15d 14h 26m
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QUECHUA 2 Seconds EASY III Fresh  Black Pup up Camping tent 3 MEN
QUECHUA 2 Seconds EASY III Fresh Black Pup up Camping tent 3 MEN
$178.00
Time Remaining: 19h 26m
Buy It Now for only: $178.00

2013 Quechua Tent Camping 2 Seconds XL Air II Pop Up Tent Grey Blue  2 Man
2013 Quechua Tent Camping 2 Seconds XL Air II Pop Up Tent Grey Blue 2 Man
$149.99
Time Remaining: 7d 16h 44m
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2016 Quechua Tent Camping Pop Up 2 Seconds Easy Fresh II 2 Man NEW
2016 Quechua Tent Camping Pop Up 2 Seconds Easy Fresh II 2 Man NEW
$125.99
Time Remaining: 16d 12h 52m
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QUECHUA ARPENAZ 52 XL FAMILY TENT FOR 5 PERSONS WATERPROOF CAMPING TENT
QUECHUA ARPENAZ 52 XL FAMILY TENT FOR 5 PERSONS WATERPROOF CAMPING TENT
$465.00
Time Remaining: 19d 20h 45m
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QUECHUA 2 Seconds EASY II Fresh  Black Pup up Camping tent 2 MEN
QUECHUA 2 Seconds EASY II Fresh Black Pup up Camping tent 2 MEN
$158.00
Time Remaining: 19h 32m
Buy It Now for only: $158.00

2016 Quechua Tent Camping 2 Seconds XL Air II Pop Up Tent 2 Man
2016 Quechua Tent Camping 2 Seconds XL Air II Pop Up Tent 2 Man
$119.99
Time Remaining: 18d 2h 10m
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2014 Quechua Tent Camping 2 Seconds EASY 1 green Pop Up Tent  1 Man
2014 Quechua Tent Camping 2 Seconds EASY 1 green Pop Up Tent 1 Man
$74.16
Time Remaining: 18d 2h 13m
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Quechua Quickhiker Tent 2 Person Ultralight Lightweight Hiking Outdoor Camping
Quechua Quickhiker Tent 2 Person Ultralight Lightweight Hiking Outdoor Camping
$217.00
Time Remaining: 15d 16h 27m
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QUECHUA Summer Shelter Fresh blue
QUECHUA Summer Shelter Fresh blue
$66.66
Time Remaining: 13d 14h 29m
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QUECHUA ARPENAZ 3 FRESH tent sleeps 3
QUECHUA ARPENAZ 3 FRESH tent sleeps 3
$83.33
Time Remaining: 17d 6h 36m
Buy It Now for only: $83.33

QUECHUA ARPENAZ 4 FAMILY TENT 4 MAN Camping Hiking Outdoor Living Area Sitting
QUECHUA ARPENAZ 4 FAMILY TENT 4 MAN Camping Hiking Outdoor Living Area Sitting
$252.00
Time Remaining: 3d 23h 3m
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Quechua 2 Seconds XL AIR II 2 Man Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent Blue
Quechua 2 Seconds XL AIR II 2 Man Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent Blue
$170.63
Time Remaining: 7d 21h 27m
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Quechua Waterproof Camping Tent 2 Person Double layer Aluminum Outdoor Arpenaz 2
Quechua Waterproof Camping Tent 2 Person Double layer Aluminum Outdoor Arpenaz 2
$79.99
Time Remaining: 24d 3h 37m
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Quechua Tent Camping Pop Up 2 Seconds Easy Fresh III 3 Man NEW
Quechua Tent Camping Pop Up 2 Seconds Easy Fresh III 3 Man NEW
$144.99
Time Remaining: 13d 10h 36m
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2014 Quechua Tent Camping 2 Seconds EASY 3 green Pop Up Tent  double skinned
2014 Quechua Tent Camping 2 Seconds EASY 3 green Pop Up Tent double skinned
$119.10
Time Remaining: 8d 57m
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QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy Blue Pop UP TENT 2016 Camping Hiking Outdoor 3 PERSON
QUECHUA 2 Seconds Easy Blue Pop UP TENT 2016 Camping Hiking Outdoor 3 PERSON
$176.00
Time Remaining: 17d 18h 38m
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Quechua Camping Hiking Waterproofing Tent Couple 2 Two Person People Layers
Quechua Camping Hiking Waterproofing Tent Couple 2 Two Person People Layers
$99.99
Time Remaining: 9d 4h
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Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds Easy II FRESH  BLACK 2 Man
Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds Easy II FRESH BLACK 2 Man
$219.99
Time Remaining: 1d 1h 59m
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2016 Quechua Tent Camping Pop Up 2 Seconds 2 II 2 Man NEW COLOUR
2016 Quechua Tent Camping Pop Up 2 Seconds 2 II 2 Man NEW COLOUR
$125.99
Time Remaining: 16d 13h 44m
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2015 NEW QUECHUA Air Seconds 4 Family Tent 4 Man
2015 NEW QUECHUA Air Seconds 4 Family Tent 4 Man
$368.00
Time Remaining: 19d 14h 9m
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Quechua Waterproof 2 Seconds Easy III FRESH  BLACK 3 Man Pop Up Camping Tent
Quechua Waterproof 2 Seconds Easy III FRESH BLACK 3 Man Pop Up Camping Tent
$219.99
Time Remaining: 1d 1h 59m
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Quechua Arpenaz Base M Shelter 8 Man Waterproof Camping Tent
Quechua Arpenaz Base M Shelter 8 Man Waterproof Camping Tent
$239.00
Time Remaining: 20d 11h 5m
Buy It Now for only: $239.00

DECATHLON 2 Seconds Pop Up Easy to carry Tent 2 Person Green 100 Polyester
DECATHLON 2 Seconds Pop Up Easy to carry Tent 2 Person Green 100 Polyester
$106.48
Time Remaining: 19d 22h 58m
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2016 Quechua Tent Camping Pop Up  3 Man 2 Second Easy 3 III NEW COLOUR
2016 Quechua Tent Camping Pop Up 3 Man 2 Second Easy 3 III NEW COLOUR
$134.99
Time Remaining: 2d 8h 40m
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2016 QUECHUA 2 seconds easy air 2 print NEW
2016 QUECHUA 2 seconds easy air 2 print NEW
$125.99
Time Remaining: 16d 13h 48m
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Quechua Arpenaz 3+ Tent 3 Man Blue NEW
Quechua Arpenaz 3+ Tent 3 Man Blue NEW
$99.99
Time Remaining: 13d 11h 24m
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Quechua Summer Shelter Fresh Waterproof Camping Tent Living Area 190cm x 190cm
Quechua Summer Shelter Fresh Waterproof Camping Tent Living Area 190cm x 190cm
$109.00
Time Remaining: 9d 17h 9m
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2016 Quechua Tent Camping 2 Seconds XL Air III Pop Up Tent 3 Man
2016 Quechua Tent Camping 2 Seconds XL Air III Pop Up Tent 3 Man
$134.99
Time Remaining: 13d 14h 23m
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2015 NEW Quechua Tent Camping QUECHUA Tent 2 Seconds EASY 2 FRESH
2015 NEW Quechua Tent Camping QUECHUA Tent 2 Seconds EASY 2 FRESH
$124.99
Time Remaining: 17h 50m
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2015 NEW Quechua Tent Camping QUECHUA Tent 2 Seconds EASY 3 FRESH
2015 NEW Quechua Tent Camping QUECHUA Tent 2 Seconds EASY 3 FRESH
$144.99
Time Remaining: 17h 33m
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Quechua Living Room 3m x 3m Fresh 10 Man Waterproof Camping Tent Living Area
Quechua Living Room 3m x 3m Fresh 10 Man Waterproof Camping Tent Living Area
$299.00
Time Remaining: 12d 11h 37m
Buy It Now for only: $299.00

QUECHUA Forclaz 3 Hiking Tent 3 Man
QUECHUA Forclaz 3 Hiking Tent 3 Man
$124.80
Time Remaining: 7d 5h 12m
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QUECHUA Camping Shelter 25m x 25m
QUECHUA Camping Shelter 25m x 25m
$108.30
Time Remaining: 8d 14h 27m
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NEW Quechua Tent Camping QUECHUA Arpenaz 41 Family Tent 4 Man
NEW Quechua Tent Camping QUECHUA Arpenaz 41 Family Tent 4 Man
$179.99
Time Remaining: 5d 13h 24m
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QUECHUA Arpenaz 3X3 Shelter 10 Man Waterproof Camping Tent
QUECHUA Arpenaz 3X3 Shelter 10 Man Waterproof Camping Tent
$248.00
Time Remaining: 15h 47m
Buy It Now for only: $248.00

Quechua Arpenaz Waterproof Camping Outdoors Tent 2 Person Double layer Aluminum
Quechua Arpenaz Waterproof Camping Outdoors Tent 2 Person Double layer Aluminum
$89.00
Time Remaining: 1d 1h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $89.00

Quechua 2 Seconds Easy II FRESH  BLACK 2 Man Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent
Quechua 2 Seconds Easy II FRESH BLACK 2 Man Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent
$159.00
Time Remaining: 16h 34m

Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds XL AIR III 3 Man Double Lining
Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds XL AIR III 3 Man Double Lining
$149.00
Time Remaining: 2d 16h 11m

NEW Quechua Tent Camping QUECHUA Arpenaz 41 Family Tent 4 Man
NEW Quechua Tent Camping QUECHUA Arpenaz 41 Family Tent 4 Man
$179.99
Time Remaining: 19d 13h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $179.99

Quechua Tent

The Lares Valley Trek: Off the Beaten Track

Like many travellers I've always been partial to seeking out the less trodden, more "authentic" locales. Maybe it's just for bragging rights, or perhaps because I've been put off by movies exposing "the Real Cancun" and the like. Whatever the cause, this compulsion of mine to choose the more remote and quieter path has consistently delivered rewarding insights and richer travel experiences.

It's been a long held ambition of mine to follow in the footsteps of the ancient Incas on an adventure of Peru, and visit the mountain ruins of Machu Picchu. However, when I went online to research my options it was revealed that the famous Inca Trail has become so busy with tourists that UNESCO requested the Peruvian government to require permits - 500 released per day - to prevent its overuse and degradation. I got the impression that this path had perhaps been a bit too well trodden already.

Few know that there is actually more than one way of trekking to the lost city of the Incas - the standard Inca Trail, and a different route called the Lares Trek. The trek involves two nights camping and a third hotel night in a small town called Aguas Calientes located at the base of Machu Picchu, which we would visit on the last morning. The Inca Trail, by contrast, spanned three nights on the trail and arrived directly at Machu Picchu early on the fourth day.

For me, the Lares Trek was an easy sell: I was lured in by descriptions of a cultural hike that traversed highland Incan settlements. We would hike passes over 4500 meters in altitude and meet a minimum of other ‘western traffic'. And the extra day I would save in my holiday would be an excellent recovery day, if I needed it. What could be better?

Day 1:
There was an air of excitement and nervousness as our minivan filled with 16 fellow trekkers and set out from Cuzco towards a mountainous backdrop. Small, concrete-bound, bustling Peruvian towns gave way to pastoral scenes of verdant fields. The mountains that once loomed in the distance now loomed over our heads, and soon after our bus began to negotiate steep S-shaped turns as we climbed ever higher. The landscape became remote and barren; the ground covered with large boulders strewn so randomly it appeared it had hailed stones the night before.

Finally we arrived at our departure point, a small, nondescript town of Lares, tucked behind large, rocky outcrops. Our guide, a jovial Peruvian man with a surprisingly young face, quick laugh and neatly pressed shirt named Julio Cesar, ushered us out of the bus and we tentatively followed.

"Though we will meet many people over the next three days, this is the last place you'll see anything that resembles a town," Julio said. Here we were introduced to four stocky locals who smiled awkwardly at us. "A word of advice," Julio said, motioning towards the men . "You can curse at me all you like, no problem. But, please, for your own sake, try to be nice to these guys." As our porters, this group was responsible for cooking all our meals, setting up and taking down camp and, with the help of llamas, carry our packs. All we had left to do was hike, although we would soon discover that this was not going to be just a gentle walk in the park.

We set out, walking single file along a thin trail. It was arduous at first and there was little chatter. We had already surpassed the altitude of Cuzco by 500 meters and, though the terrain wasn't steep, I could hear myself taking heavy breaths. I noticed we were headed toward a cluster of homes and wondered if Julio was wrong when he said we wouldn't see any towns along the trail. When we arrived in Huacahausi, our first stop, I discovered the answer: it all depends on your definition of a town.

Huacahuasi was characteristic of many of the communities we would pass through over the next couple of days. These were remote outposts consisting of simple, wooden structures scattered haphazardly on lonely plains. The locals became a familiar sight: sheepish but playful children with bright red, frost bitten cheeks wearing rainbow coloured hand-woven fabrics to keep them warm. A curious mom often observed quietly in the background. Things here were exceedingly simple: no electricity, running water or modern comforts. This was life in the Andes as it has been since time immemorial.

As our group gathered, Julio distributed bags of bread to each of us, which he encouraged us to hand to the kids. "Keep in mind for those giving out candies that toothbrushes have yet to hit the Andes," he said and tapped a boy with blackening teeth on the head.

We continued on an ascending rocky path. The day was getting late and the moon hung delicately over the distant mountains. The group settled into three distinct ability levels and I strove to stay in the first, with the second group only slightly further behind. The third, mostly older contingent slowly trailed.

This spread meant that by the time everyone arrived into camp, the sun had completely retired, the sky was studded with a million stars and the temperature had dipped to sub zero. We huddled in the food tent, and blew into our hands, listening to wind whistle outside. Though the meal was excellent- a multi-course feast of soups, potatoes and meats we ate in exhausted near silence before each of us unceremoniously snuck off to our tents. All were aware that day two is by far the most difficult on the trek.

Day 2:
I would say I awoke, but that would imply sleep, which never fully came. It's a common symptom of altitude and, given that we were at 4200 above sea level, I had a disrupted and shallow sleep. But when I poked my head out of the tent I still felt exhilarated. The sky was a crisp blue and our camp was perched on a small, flat plane, enclosed by rocky walls. Beyond the camp stretched a valley, which meandered up to a sharp climb. This, I assumed, was the first pass.

As the porters fitted the llamas with our packs the group chatted, speculating about the difficulty level to come. "Hiking is like a construction site," Hidergaard Burke, a bubbly woman with a kindly, grandmother demeanor said. "Your mind directs the operation and your legs do the grunt work". As we began to walk and I noticed the strong effect altitude exerted on my muscles, which ached with an acerbic burn. Grunt work indeed. My lungs clamored for breath against the frigid mountain air. I felt nauseous. I slowed. The trick, I learned, was to make methodical, plodding steps.

As we ascended, the path became less logical, often branching off into sub-trails which converged further up. Finally I noted that the trail dropped in the distance. The pass was just beyond. I scurried up one final climb of loose shale and looked over the horizon. I had arrived. On the other side, a steep drop and a lake shimmered in its bowels. Even through the fatigue and altitude- now 4650m - the view was spectacular, and the feeling of achievement and satisfaction was fantastic.

The rest of the group met on the pass and we all marveled at the site and took a few deep breaths together before continuing on. There was a general sense of relief - it was all downhill from here. We spent the remainder of the day on a fairly easy, undulating downgrade.

With the tough trekking done, the second night's camp had a much more lively spirit. There was enough oxygen in the air to make a campfire and, after another multi-course dinner, even the older group managed to stay up and chat past 9 o'clock.

Day 3:
By day three, we were immersed in the Lares Valley, walls that jutted out on either side of the trail.

There is a single image that stuck with me from the last morning of our trek. As I rounded a pass, a little girl and boy were seated patiently on a hillside. The surroundings were bare and an unforgiving grassy cliff flanked one side of the trail. There was not a single human dwelling in sight.

Familiar things ran through my head: Shouldn't these kids be in school? Where's their mother? Isn't anyone responsible around to wipe the snot from that boy's nose? And look at their clothes- they're in complete tatters! But as I approached and saw their vibrantly colored clothes and heard them quietly speaking Quechua, it occurred to me that life 4500 meters in the remote Andes has its own logic and I was witness to one of the few places in the world where western thinking doesn't totally apply. I handed them my final circle of bread which they graciously accepted, and continued my descent through the valley.

Soon the temperature warmed, green fields appeared and real populations emerged. Then a road, then a car, and finally we ended our trek in the ancient Incan settlement of Ollantaytambo.

What came after trek should be the highlight of an adventure to Peru: we caught the train to the small town of Aguas Calientes and the following morning a bus to Machu Picchu. And though the ruins truly are a marvel, I couldn't help consider that for most travelers, including the ones that arrived via the Inca Trail, Machu Pichu is the archeological remnant of an extinct culture of the Andes. Through the Lares Trek, however, I came to realize that just beyond these inert rocks and ruins is something even more fascinating: a flourishing Incan culture that remains almost totally unaltered by modernity and virtually untouched by outsiders.

About the Author

A keen traveller himself, Ben McIntosh works as communications coordinator for adventure-travel specialists Tucan Travel.  Tucan Travel is a specialist adventure tour operator with hundreds of high-quality, affordable and exciting adventures to worldwide destinations. Choose from over 470 group tours, Independent Travel packages and Expedition Cruises to Europe, the Middle East & North Africa, Asia & Russia, East & Southern Africa, Latin America and Antarctica.



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