Big Agnes Tensleep Station 6 Review
Cons: Odd main tent shape, poorly designed bag
Manufacturer: Big Agnes
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Big Agnes Tensleep Station 6
|Price||$424.96 at Amazon||$643 List||Check Price at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Option rich vestibule, great weather resistance, excellent storage||Massive interior, great construction, easy to pitch||Spacious, great layout, durable, very family friendly, high value||Huge doors and large vestibule, lots of pockets, highly weather resistant||Spacious, lightweight, quick to pitch|
|Cons||Odd main tent shape, poorly designed bag||Expensive, odd ceiling pockets||Not the easiest to pitch, only one door, odd bag||Runs warm, views are a bit more restricted||Uses a hub pole system, not wind friendly|
|Bottom Line||For those more interested in a stylish vestibule with great storage and weather options, this tent has some worthy features||The best balance of size, quality, style, and ease of use we've found||This tent has one of the best uses of space we have ever seen, a great choice for families or campers with lots of gear||An excellent mountaineering-inspired tent that is ready for both inclement weather and summer fun||This spacious and user-friendly tent is a feature-rich option that is very fairly priced|
|Rating Categories||Big Agnes Tensleep...||Marmot Halo 6||The North Face Wawo...||REI Co-op Base Camp 6||REI Grand Hut 4|
|Space And Comfort (35%)|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Family Friendliness (10%)|
|Specs||Big Agnes Tensleep...||Marmot Halo 6||The North Face Wawo...||REI Co-op Base Camp 6||REI Grand Hut 4|
|Weight||18.0 lbs||21.0 lbs||21.9 lbs||20.625 lbs||13.7 lbs|
|Max Inside Height||6' 3"||6' 4"||6' 6"||6' 2"||6' 3"|
|Floor Dimensions||10' x 8'||9'10" x 9'10"||10' x 8'6"||9'2" x 9'2"||8'4" x 7'2"|
|Floor Area||80 sq ft||96.7 sq ft||85 sq ft||84 sq ft||59.7 sq ft|
|Windows||2||Mesh top||2||Mesh top||3|
|Number of Doors||2||2||3||2||2|
|Vestibule Area||38.5 sq ft; 10 sq ft||32 sq ft||44.7 sq ft; 21 sq ft||40 sq ft||35 sq ft|
|Packed Size||5" x 15" x 27"||25" x 14"||9.5" x 16.5" x 25.5"||11" x 24"||24" x 10" x 10"|
|Floor Materials||1500mm PU-coated polyester||70D nylon||75D polyester||Polyester||150D coated polyester|
|Main Tent Materials||Polyester and polyester mesh||40D polyester No-See-Um mesh, 68D polyester ripstop||150D polyester taffeta||Polyester||Mesh|
|Rainfly Materials||Polyester with a 1500mm waterproof polyurethane coating||68D polyester ripstop||68D polyester||Polyester||75D coated polyester|
|Number of Poles||4||4||4||5||1 hubbed|
|Pole Material||Aluminum||Aluminum||14 mm aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum|
|Extras||Highly configurable vestibule||Vented fly and color-coded poles||Internal dry lines, hang loops, Velcro lantern loop||4-Season||Ceiling zippers to reach top clips|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Coming in with a footprint of 80 sq ft, a max height of 6' 3", and a vestibule that adds another 38.5 sq ft of space, this tent is ready for lots of people or lots of gear. The tent also has a small rear door with an additional 10 sq ft vestibule making it ideal for sneaking past sleeping dogs or children in the middle of the night.
Space and Comfort
The main tent structure of the Tensleep comes in as the smallest of our 6-person tents with only 80 sq feet of space. The three-pole structure pulls out two sides giving an octagon-style vibe to the interior. Though it looks cool, because of the size, it isn't as usable, and fitting more than a full and twin air mattress isn't going to happen.
However, the Tensleep Station did nail the vestibule category. This thing can be configured in some pretty cool ways and is the most versatile vestibule in our lineup. Our favorite configuration was turning the enclosure into a proper awning (which does require some sticks/poles which are not included and guylines). When the vestibule is totally enclosed, you can open the two side windows to let in a breeze and some additional light. The vestibule does have a fairly sharp angle profile, though, requiring you to sit a bit closer to the tent than ideal.
A few other comfort options include two gigantic pockets on each side of the tent, a rear escape door, and a rollable fly making temperature adjustments much faster.
Well equipped to tackle both good and bad weather, the Tensleep Station scored among the top in this category. A solid dome shape with a rigged, 3-pole structure gives it both stability and aerodynamic characteristics. The additional pole for the rainfly helps keep the vestibule sturdy, as does its long-slanted shape. But the rainfly/vestibule adds much more than strength — it adds versatility too. Windows allow for great airflow, and the option to roll the fly halfway up and attach it with the included straps is a great hot day feature. The vestibule also has floor flaps to enclose it completely, a feature not found on any of the other tents in our review. Though the shape and features fair well in bad weather, the stakes are a little small for the overall size of this structure. And as cool as the fly is, ditching it all together adds a great option for warm nights.
Ease of Use
Color-coded poles, clips, and grommets allowed this tent to be pitched in 7 minutes 14 seconds and with zero frustration in the process. Where things fell on their face is in regards to the bag. The Tensleep Station bag is designed for you to fold the tent and then slide it into each side. Rolling a tent to the right width is hard enough to do, but expecting users to fold a tent and rainfly to the right length and width is a bit absurd. Let's just say that once you open this tent, the bag will never look as good.
The weight of the Tensleep is right smack in the middle of the pack at 18 lbs. A totally acceptable weight for a car camping tent.
The Tensleep seems built to last. Both the fly and the main tent walls are polyester rip-stop, and the floor is thick, 1500mm PU-coated polyester. Every seam is taped with waterproof polyurethane tape, and the poles are thick and strong. All of the clips, zippers, and hangers feel well made and functioned flawlessly across our tests. The bag, though not our favorite, isn't going to rip or break easily on you either.
When it comes to square footage, a family of four can easily enjoy a weekend of fun in the Tensleep. There are ample storage options for everyone and then some. The vestibule makes for a great sitting area both when open and when closed. And should you get stuck in a storm, you can easily cook three square meals. The included and pre-attached guylines have a reflective thread that helps keep rambunctious kids or sleepy parents from tripping over them at night.
The main area could benefit from a little extra room to fit one more air mattress, and the vestibule, when totally closed, would be nice with a little extra headroom away from the tent body. That said, these are minor nitpicks to what is ultimately a great choice performance-wise.
Scoring in the middle of our pack but the higher end of the price range, value isn't what you are buying with the Tensleep Station. If you are looking for a fancy vestibule with some neat perks, you might be able to justify the price point, but for those looking for overall value, consider looking at some of the other options in our lineup.
The Big Agnes Tensleep Station 6 is a stylish tent with some cool features we would love to see other tent manufactures explore. The extreme versatility of the vestibule, solid weather resistance, and build quality make this tent a contender in the 6-person market. However, it is rather pricey, and the poor bag design, smaller interior footprint, and weak stakes make it hard to justify the price. That said, if you find this tent on sale, you should have no reservations about snagging it up — there's a lot to love.
— Rob Gaedtke