Solid, Large, Roomy, Comfy
We really love this tent! It was my fathers day gift to myself.It was between this and the Marmot...the problem with the Many larger tents is the the doors are only screens...the "hard-doors" are the vestibule closure / doors. Too hard for me to get out in the middle of the night to hit the outhouse and keep the dog from getting out, plus a few other design short-falls so I went with the BA instead.
Here is what I noticed our 1st time setting it up:
First it is easy to set-up. It is easier with two people but one person can do it (a standard when camping with little kids).The stakes aren't great so I suggest getting a few extra heavier ones. The footprint is expensive but fits perfectly and adds quite a bit of support and strength to the structure.
The poles are easy to use, insert and attach...and they fit snug and solid. I love the little details like finger-grip points on the pole insert tabs, the way the fly attaches with snaps and tightens easily with sintch tabs.
When the fly is staked-out it adds lots of support to the tent. I like that it can also be removed for an evening star-show if dry enough (Arizona normally is).
It looks massive with the fly on BUT remember that the fly is 30% vestibule...don't let people call you a site-hog!The vestibule is very large, and you can set up two camp chairs under it.
So, after set up in our yard it passed the water-hose test without any leaks, a little pooling when the doors flaps were tied-up, but normal.
We took the fly off so it would cool off a little duringthe day. Nice breeze and airflow with it off. That afternoon we had a dust storm roll through...30+mph gusts of wind. The tent stood strong, no fly on it and only 3 stakes holding it in place! Excellent! We quickly put on the the fly, staked it down and waited out the storm...no problem. Ventilation is just okay...with the mesh doors open it is better.
The back door / fly cover needs a redesign...it is too loose and could use a guy line to support it...it just flops there.
I do not love: The oversized mesh pockets in the back need a center-velcro tab to hold in place. I think that these will wear very quickly. The front needs to be staked and restaked...it is hard to gauge where to place the corners of the vestibule, and hard to zip it if too taught.
Overall I can not wait to really break it in.
Great Car Camping Tent
Me, my wife, and our 3 year old like to go car camping and were looking for a tent to replace a leaky, half fly, cheap tent that was bought at a big box store and would constintly break the fiberglass poles. I would call this tent a 4+2 person tent as there is a main 4 person dome with an attached 2 person tent that has a zip down divider between the two. Also, I would call this a 3+ season tent, though I haven't taken it out in the winter yet. It is easy to set up with mesh sleeves, quality aluminum poles and snap fit ends that fit into grommets in webbing on the tent. The full rain fly is easy to throw on as it buckles to the tent body and can be cinched down with webbing. The fly has shed copuious amounts of rain through the three seasons we've had it. Only one time did it soak through the bottom of the tent, but that was due to ponding water on the site and a hard time staking the fly out due to rocky conditions. It has a nice large vestibule on the main dome's end, but the exit on the +2 person end doesn't have one and could use one. On warm days, it can get stuffy in the tent due to it's darker color and lack of mesh vents on the body. There were some minor quality issues as there was a missing fitting on a door tie and a grommet for holding the poles popped out of the webbing on the tent body, but nothing so far to ruin the integrety of the tent.
One thing of note: I don't know if it's been fixed our purchace or not, but the directions on the tent say to use the yellow ended pole on the vestibule and the orange ended pole over the +2 person end of the tent. This caused the fly to not sit on the tent properly as the yellow ended pole is longer and there was too much of a gap between the fly and the ground on the vestibule, while fly on the +2 end sagged. Switching them around fixed the problem and made more sense anyway as the webbing on the front of the tent is orange to denote it as the front of the tent.
The Perfect Tent For Us !
I originally "cut my camping teeth" on The North Face backpacking tents (VE-23 & VE-25), so I've come to expect my tents to be beyond dependable, and hold up to some pretty "hairy" unexpected weather conditions like driving rain, high winds, sleet, hail and snow (or any combinations of the above). Normal camping for us ranges between 4,000' to 8,400', and at this point in our life, the backpacking tents are "history" (now we want room, comfort, and bigger doors). I love the Flying Diamond 6's aluminum poles, and they do form an exceptionally strong geodesic structure, evidence by our 2nd trip out with it, just last week…..50+ mph winds (all day & night) in Death Valley N.P., and the Flying Diamond never flinched. (For the first time in my life, I'm looking forward to some really nasty weather conditions on a camping trip. I'm dying to take this thing out for a real "test drive"!) It's very roomy, evidenced by the wife & I sleeping in the main room with gear, while the back room is occupied by our 6 month old, 68 pound German Shepherd puppy inside her large kennel, and we still had room to spare. The ventilation is great with the 2 doors and the air vents built into the fly. It's also great for sleeping without the fly on….there's nothing like a celestial light show to lull you to sleep at night. There's lots of mesh pockets, and the gear loft tabs in the roof provide spots to hang LED lights for interior lighting. The only drawback I found was in the front door zipper….it takes a little extra patience to get it around the bottom corner. We love this tent. We've definitely become Big Agnes fans, and in my opinion, structurally Big Agnes rivals The North Face, but without the heavy duty, industrial strength pricing.
This tent rocks!
Buying into a new line of equipment is always tricky business but we got no tricks - only treats with our Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6.
We used our tent for the first time in Rocky Mtn. NP at 9500' with 50-60 mph winds and intermittant rain/slush. The pole design allowed the tent to sway like a tall, limber tree but we never felt like the structure was close to failing. Not a drop made it inside, despite the fact we had several of the sidewall vents open for condensation release.
The small end of the tent is not free standing and requires guy lines and stakes - especially in high winds. Could have used a tab, midpoint on the fly of the small end to secure it as it flapped about when windy. The stakes that come with the tent are a tad puny so we purchased some beefier ones.
The wall design creates maximum use of interior space. Pockets and gear stashes galore. One in the very top of the main section of the tent would have been nice. We used the smaller end of the tent for our sleeping area and with the partition closed was able to retain a little more ambient heat. During the day with the vents open and the mesh allowed to breath, ventialtion was superb.
Set-up is simple with color coded poles and tabs especially for a tent this size. Flying Diamond is not lightweight but very manageable for a tent its size and with all it's features. The carry case is a stachel (v. duffel) with compartments for holding tent, fly, poles and footprint.
We've had a few large tents but nothing comes close to the quality and features of our Big Agnes!
This is the tent to get
After trying out the basecamp 6 and kingdom 8, I traded them both in and got this. This tent is the perfect mix of sturdy, durable, roomy, and warm for my family of 5 in Colorado. This temt is warm with adjustable vents you can open if you are hot. This thing is great in the wind which is common in Colorado due to the amount of poles and lower profile. To keep things honest, the standing height is not very high so I can not stand straight up but this does not bother me because it helps keep it sturdy in the wind which is more important to me. The kingdom 8 collapes in the wind easy and after a night of that I am very happy to have a tough tent in the wind.
This tent is not full of mesh like the previous REI tents I had which kept the tent nice and warm at night. You can unzip doors and open vents if you want it cooler and I like the option of ME controlling how much ventilation I want in the tent. They give you 20 stakes which was the first tent to give me enough stakes. With that said, they are aluminum and while they are more expensive than the REI steel stakes, they are not as good for the hard ground in Colorado and bend very easy. That is ok, I can replace the stakes for 20.00 and then I will have the perfect tent.
THere is plenty of room for my family of 5 with a small dog. I cant say enough good things about this tent. The only thing people may not like is the lower profile but I find that a positive, not a negative.
Great family fortress!
We were looking for a 3-4 season tent for the family and for fishing trips. We found exactly what we needed in the Flying Diamond 6! Very well constructed and engineered, fly works great and very waterproof (survived nasty t-storm in it the first night in total comfort) Pretty easy to setup after a dry run in the yard. Love all the points where the fly can be rolled up for ventilation. Plenty of guy lines and stakes. Lots of storage pockets inside and space for gear under fly. Awesome for our 16 month old and us with a pack&play easily fitting in the small room. Should easily fit 2 kids in the small room and 3 adults comfortably in the big room.
Two things to be aware of in the new 13/14' model that we received that we were slightly disappointed by:
1. They made the room divider a standard sheet of material with partial detachment points/roll up points (no longer a zippered divider with zip mesh door)
2. The front and back doors now only have 2/3rds coverage mesh as opposed to being full mesh zip outs = less ventilation, but probably better weather resistance
I initially deducted a star for these issues, but if we didn't know about them when we ordered we wouldn't have missed them (they changed the model over the week we ordered), so 5 stars it is!
Nice job Big Agnes (and REI of course), we love the tent and can't wait to put it to use in many more outdoor adventures!
Best family tent on the market!!!
I have had the opportunity to really put this tent to the test over the past 2 years. It is the perfect size for my family of 4. The kids love it because they can be in their own space and access their own "kids" door. The design of the tent is reinforced by over 6 poles that criss-cross each other making it very study and capable of withstanding any weather. We have been in weather of 35 mile per hour winds, snow and heavy down pours of rain. This thing has been tested and proven by my family.
One morning we awoke after an entire night of gusting winds and lightning storm. We all slept right through it because the design of the tent keeps it firmly taught and there was no annoying flapping of the tent or slapping from the gusts of wind. The next morning we saw about 12 tents that were broked and damaged. I have had rough nights in other tents so I know how miserable an evening could be in the wrong protection.
On another occasion, we were surprised by snow storm that swept through Sequoia and witnessed some tents that collapsed from the heavy snowfall. Not the BIG AGNES, it is worth 3 times its retail value!
Great Car Camping Tent
My wife and I used to camp in a big box store tent and when that tent couldn't keep the rain out, I said it was time for a tent with a full fly and a vestibule. It's easy to set up once you've done it a few times. Every time we've gone it's stormed and the tent has stayed upright and bone dry inside. With the lack of mesh, condensation has been a small issue. The fit of the fly doesn't seem perfect and there seems to be some quality control issues. A grommet fell out and there's a missing piece to roll up the center dividing screen. I ended up reversing the yellow and orange poles and the fly seems to fit better. Plus the tent at the end seems to fill out better, not perfect, but better. (Plus it makes more sense with the orange pole to be at the end with orange webbing.) Some issues, but we have been happy with it so far. It's much better than the cheaper tent we used to use.
First, I have only had the opportunity to use this tent a few times so far. With that being said I can compare it to my old tent and this seems to be far superior. There is less mesh to keep you warmer when it is cold. If you need ventilation zippered windows on the doors can be opened and there are 4 places on the fly to allow more air circulation. The design appears to be able to withstand wind well. Remember this is a big tent and has a large surface to be blown against; however, the walls curve more and don't stand as high so its not like the wind is hitting a wall. There are plenty of pockets and it is easy to set up. One down side the small room has to be stacked for the tent to stand.
I bought it mostly for the weatherproof conditions because I use a foam mattresses that I was tired of airing out! The first night was a strong thunder and lightening storm and she held up well and not a drop of water was found in the morning! As a living quarters, it is roomy! It is easy to set up by myself and I like the height for clothes changing. Lights do hang well from the tabs on the ceiling. The vestibule helps keep dirt out and a place to shadow the cooler for quick reaches in! I like all of the rainfly options.