Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Huge versatile vestibule, zippered internal door, easy to store in bag, great ventilation, good in wind, lightweight poles.
Cons: Small tent stakes bend easily, carrying bag material could be more reinforced where tent poles rub against it.
Best Uses: Camping with big groups in spring, summer and fall.
Manufacturer: Big Agnes
If you are looking for a tent that will keep you comfortable all year long, then the four-season Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8 is for you. This tent allows you to go camping whenever you want, regardless of what the weather might be. Its dome shape and pole structure make it ideal for windy conditions while the huge rain fly and vestibule handle the rain and snow.
Another huge plus with this tent is the carrying bag that conveniently separates the rain fly from the tent body and poles. It also has big pockets that allow you stuff the material, unlike most tents that require meticulous folding and rolling. The bag saves you time and your sanity; no more wrestling your tent into a stuff bag that it barely fit into when it was factory packed.
Big Agnes put a lot of workmanship into this tent, from the ripstop polyester to the awesome rain fly and vestibule. The one thing we don't like about the rain fly is the color scheme, but that's not really a big deal. If you are wondering why Big Agnes named this tent the Flying Diamond, then here's why:
"The Flying Diamond Ranch is the largest remaining ranch in Routt County. In 2009, ranch owners sold their development rights to a ranch closer to Steamboat Springs, securing the area's status as a nature preserve for at least another generation."
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Flying Diamond 8 scored fairly well for comfort. It doesn't have the most standing room and you often have to crouch to open one of the doors. The top is designed so that with the rain fly off you can see the stars through cool mesh windows.
This tent has the best vestibule of all the tents tested. We loved how much extra space they gave us for gear, and in the heat of the day we could pitch up the vestibule to create a sun shade in front of the doors.
The rainfly also has six vents that are key to its breathability and allow all the moisture to escape without a problem.
Credit: Big Agnes
If you are looking for a tent that doesn't compromise comfort for too much storm resistance, then check out our Editors' Choice award-winning REI Kingdom 8. The Kingdom 8 didn't perform as well in bad weather but it was the most comfortable tent and was still decently storm resistant.
Out of all the camping tents we tested, the Flying Diamond 8 is the most storm resistant. Now it's not a hardcore four-season tent like one of the $5000 Mountain Hardwear Space Station, but it will get you through snow and high winds better any of the other family camping tents we tested. If you are looking for the best four-season tent, check out our review: The Best 4 Season Tent Review
This and the Kodiak Canvas 6-Person Flex-Bow Canvas Tent are the only four-season camping tents we tested, but we like to call them 3.5 season tents since they can't handle heavy snow loads. This tent will get you through just about any rain or wind storm you encounter, and will keep your friends and family dry.
Great workmanship goes hand-in-hand with this tent's elite storm resistance. It uses DAC featherlite poles, along with a breathable ripstop polyester tent body and a polyester PU coated floor. The floor is not as durable as some of the the other tents we tested such as the Kodiak Canvas 6-Person Flex-Bow Canvas Tent, therefore we recommend that you buy a footprint for it, since it doesn't come with one.
This tent has two doors, each with their own vestibule. It also has plenty of pockets and an internal divider, which gives you the option to have two rooms. We liked to either use the smaller room for our extra gear to keep it clean inside the tent, or as a private changing area.
This tent is also freestanding. which makes it a little more versatile, but we recommend staking it down and keeping it taut for optimal storm resistance and comfort. It has multiple reflective attachment points on the rain fly, making it easy to spot at night.
We do wish that Big Agnes put more sturdy tent stakes in with this tent, since the little hook ones bend easily. We suggest investing in some bigger tent stakes.
Overall this is a very sound and well made tent
Ease of Setup
This tent is confusing to set up at first and a little overwhelming due to its size. But the job can be done with two people if you follow the directions conveniently located inside the bag. The poles and webbing are color coded, which helps, too. We tried setting this up without the instructions the first time and it took 25+ minutes. After practice and following the instructions, we halved our time. With two people it took us 13 minutes to set it up and 12 minutes to take it down and put it away in its bag.
The Flying Diamond comes in an awesome folding bag with separate compartments for the tent body, rain fly, and poles. We would love this bag even more if they added backpack straps like the REI Kingdom 8, but nonetheless this bag makes the otherwise dreadful task of taking down and putting away a tent a lot easier.
The bag has two big elastic pockets that you can stuff the tent into, a pole bag built into the middle, and a mesh pocket on the outside of one of the compartments for the guy lines and stakes.
Other Versions and Accessories
The Flying Diamond 4, $450, is the four person version of this tent, while the Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6, $600, is the six person version.
The Big Agnes Gear Loft, $22, can be used to store any extras or items you want to keep close. The trapezoid loft fits the Flying Diamond 6 & 8 and includes attachment loops.
A footprint can also be purchased for this tent and is available for both the six and eight person tent:
Flying Diamond 6 Footprint, $70.
Flying Diamond 8 Footprint, $80.
— Devin Chance
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Most recent review: July 22, 2014
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