If You Don’t Want To Buy a Tent Trailer
At the end of last summer, our faithful dome tent of nine years finally told us it was time to retire and look for a new tent. The tent, Chinook Twin Peaks Guide 6 was a great tent for the east coast and there were three aspects of a new tent that we wanted:
- Stand Up Ceiling
- Divided Rooms (tent & screen tent)
- Full Rain protection
So after some searching, I opted for the Kodiak Canvas Cabin Tent with Awning (model 6133) as opposed to the current slate of dome tents. The features that sold us were:
- 5’10” to 7’5″ peaks
- Attached awning with optional wall enclosure
- Water resistant canvas.
It wasn’t cheap, especially shipping to Canada, but the premium was worth it the first night we pitched the tent at our first camping trip of the season.
As part of our purchase, we also got the ground tarp and awning wall enclosure. Thinking back, all of these items I would consider necessary if you were to purchase this specific model to take full advantage of the 17 x 12 feet footprint.
It’s A Big Tent
It’s no joke, this tent is BIG. It also comes in multiple bags. The thing to remember is that this tent is meant for multiple days so it is built to withstand some weather. It’s also a tent that you can’t stuff in a hatchback and expect to fit in the rest of your gear unless you have a trailer of some kind.
- Hockey bag sized bag that contains the tent.
- Heavier bag that contains all the poles (the heaviest)
- Bag for tent stakes
- Gym Bag sized bag for the wall enclosure
- You’ll need a bag for the guylines
But Yet Setting Up The Tent Isn’t Hard
You can put this tent up by yourself, but as with most dome tents of this size, two people makes things go faster. The easiest way to figure things out is to start by laying out all the poles and organize them by side – middle – side. You’ll quickly see that the poles are mostly in sets of three: two for the sides and the longest one is for the middle. Once you lay things out in this manner, the battle is half won.
Following the instructions is also very useful. When they say to start by staking the corners, don’t pull the tent taught. Give it some slack. Then you can thread the ceiling and support poles. I won’t go into detail here, but the most annoying part of having this model with the awning is threading the poles through the sleeves that are in the front of the tent. It can slow you down.
Roll Up the Awning
Once you have the poles in place and ready to push up; you could roll up the awning but either way you’ll be under the awning at some point. You can’t pack the tent with the awning rolled up. But I don’t regret getting this model as opposed getting the cabin tent without the awning. Having this extra shade and wall enclosures will give us an 8 x 8.5 area that we can utilize on a rainy day and not spend the entire camping trip in the sleeping area.
Ground Tarp, RV Carpet Footprint & Other Accessories
I mentioned above that some accessories to get when purchasing this tent are essential. First is the 12 x 9 ground tarp. This will be a little smaller than the tent itself; that’s for rain not getting underneath the tent. It also provides a good idea where to position your tent before you haul out the tent bag.
Another accessory that you can which ended up being a great addition is a 12 x 9 RV carpet. This carpet is for the awning to allow us to get our shoes off and reduce the dirt coming into the sleeping area. Also great in rain. It is a little bigger than the awning and you can always stake thought the weaves when setting up the wall enclosures for the awning.
What else do you need which could be handy? Well LED string lights for the awning and sleeping area. My favorite is the ENO twilight LED provides enough light for the evenings outside while giving a nice ambiance under the canvas.
Another item to consiger is extra set of guy lines for the awning. During rain days, water can pool along the sides in between the velcro tabs. You will notice two tabs along the sides. Using Nite-Ize Carabiner figure 9 lines will fix that problem.
Finally the awning wall enclosures are a necessity if you have bad weather in the forecast and want to keep your gear dry.
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Performance In Rain and Wind
You’d think that one inch steel tubes you be sturdy in wind and rain. And yes, that would be correct. The cabin tent performs very well in the wind. It is important to properly stake the tent and tie the guylines. Once secured, this thing isn’t going anywhere.
But how about rain? Luckily on our last trip of the season, we got a full rain day. So I sent off the girls and stayed in the tent to see how it would perform. I have to say that I was pleased. The canvas did a great job repelling the water. When you touch the inside of the tent wall or ceiling, it would feel damp but not wet. As long as your tent is stakes out and taught ceilings, the water will have a place to go (ie – to the ground).
The only downside is the drying time. If you are in an open area with a breeze you can expect a few hours until it is dry enough to pack. Otherwise you will have to unpack at home and allow it to dry properly.
Overall Tent Impressions
Overall I have to say that I’m glad that I spent the extra money on this tent. It totally transformed our family camping experience. We can fit a queen sized air mattress, a cabelas camp cot and storage bin. After our gear is laid out, we still have plenty of room to walk around and ceiling height to get up and change. The awning provide room for our chairs, sidetable and cooler.
The tent floor is 16 oz vinyl and is noticeably thicker resulting in a dry floor if you don’t have a ground tarp. However I would put a buffer between the floor and the legs of your cot of camp chair to reduce the stress against the floor.
Tear down is easy and the tent does fit easily in the provided bag. One of the few tents I’ve owned that is able to do that considering the size of the tent.
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