Big Agnes Tensleep Station 6 Review
Cons: Odd main tent shape, poorly designed bag
Manufacturer: Big Agnes
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, it isn't as usable because of the size. 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 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 bad weather, the Tensleep Station scored among the top in this metric. A solid dome shape with a rigged, 3-pole structure gives it 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. 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 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 – an acceptable weight for a car camping tent.
A family of four can enjoy a fun weekend in the Tensleep. There are ample storage options for everyone and then some. The vestibule makes for a great sitting area. And should you get stuck in a storm, you can cook three square meals under the protection of the vestibule. The included and pre-attached guylines have a reflective thread that helps keep rambunctious kids and sleepy parents from tripping over them.
The main area could benefit from a little extra room to fit one more air mattress, and the vestibule, when closed, would be nice with a little extra headroom away from the tent body. These are minor nitpicks to what is ultimately a great choice performance-wise.
The Tensleep seems built to last. 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. The clips, zippers, and hangers feel well made and function flawlessly across our tests. Though not our favorite, the bag isn't going to rip or break easily on you either.
Should You Buy the Big Agnes Tensleep Station 6?
The Big Agnes Tensleep Station 6 is a stylish tent with some cool features we would love to see other tent manufacturers explore. The extreme versatility of the vestibule, solid weather resistance, and build quality make this tent a contender in the 6-person market. Unfortunately, the Tensleep Station 6 falls in the middle of our pack but on the higher end of the price range. This tent comes with some neat perks, but for those seeking overall value, consider looking at some of the other options in our lineup.
What Other Camping Tents Should You Consider?
In a similar price range, the The North Face Wawona 6 offers an improvement on usable space from a tent that is not substantially larger or heavier. But if overall value is on your mind, the Kelty Wireless 6 scores nearly just as well as the Tensleep Station 6 at nearly half the price.
— Rob Gaedtke
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