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Caddis Rapid 6 Review

This is an excellent easy-up tent, its stunningly quick to set up and higher quality than its competitors.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $270 List | $269.95 at REI
Pros:  Super easy set up and take down, spacious, higher quality than its direct competitors
Cons:  Still mainly a fair weather tent, bulky to carry and transport
Manufacturer:   Caddis
By Wes Berkshire ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 28, 2018
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 12
  • Comfort - 40% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 7
  • Ease of Set Up - 15% 10
  • Workmanship - 15% 8
  • Packed Size - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The Caddis Rapid 6 Tent is an outstanding instant-up tent. It's great for all but the most hardcore big tent campers. It shares many features, and a similar design, with the Coleman Instant Tent 6, but more often than not, the Caddis just does it better. It goes up in under a minute and comes down in about the same. The fly provides good coverage, which is comforting when the clouds get dark, and the ground gets wet. It provides ample, well-placed storage pockets, including a sizeable gear loft. The poles are sturdy, and it's not well suited to heavy winds, it comes with enough stakes and guy lines to hold its shape in at least moderately inclement weather. The quick and easy set-up and take down is enough to make the Rapid 6 a worthwhile investment. But the small touches, and a noticeable increase in quality over its direct competitors like the Coleman, truly set it apart.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Rapid 6 goes up quick enough that you won't miss the sunset.
The Rapid 6 goes up quick enough that you won't miss the sunset.

Comfort


Like almost every tent in this category, it's a bit of a stretch to expect the Rapid 6 Tent to accommodate six people comfortably. Of course, if you travel with small children, or have petite friends, you may be okay. We say that a comfortable capacity for this tent is closer to four.

While spacious  the Rapid 6 would be fairly snug at its stated capacity of six.
While spacious, the Rapid 6 would be fairly snug at its stated capacity of six.

That said, at 100 square feet with a peak height of 6'8", the Rapid 6 has noticeably more room than its nearest relative in our review, the Coleman Instant. The roofline has a gentle slope too, so you don't lose too much of that 6'8" headroom when you meander out to the walls of the tent. Even though the Caddis is roomy, and offers thoughtful features, this simple tent can't compete with the R&D poured into the higher-end competitors.


The roof is made almost completely of mesh, which allows trapped heat to escape overhead. It also gives you a full view of the night sky as you doze off to sleep without the tarp. There are windows on all sides, including the doors, so you can keep a breeze flowing through no matter what direction the wind is blowing.

A nearly full-mesh ceiling provides excellent venting as well as a great view of the night stars.
The included gear loft is a good size  providing an extra storage area.

The large, Hobbit-style door unzips nearly 360 degrees, giving you plenty of room to get that blow-up air mattress inside without snagging it. There are four storage pockets spread evenly throughout the tent. So everyone can have a little place to store their things without reaching over their tent-mates. Caddis also includes a roomy gear loft that is easy to set up with the provided plastic hooks and loops.

The power port in the bottom corner provides easy access for all your electric needs  but also velcros shut when you don't need it.
The power port in the bottom corner provides easy access for all your electric needs, but also velcros shut when you don't need it.

If you prefer to travel with the kind of creature comforts that require electricity (or if you just want to run an extension cord to charge cell phones), the Rapid 6 Tent has a Velcro-sealing power port to appease your electricity-based needs. Small as it may be, the velcro is a nice touch as it will keep out small critters and water. It's the kind of thoughtful detail that seems to abound on the Rapid 6.

The fly on the Rapid 6 covers significantly more of the tent than its nearest competitor  the Coleman Instant Tent 6. It comes nearly to the ground on the sides and rear and provides a small sun shade/vestibule in the front.
The fly on the Rapid 6 covers significantly more of the tent than its nearest competitor, the Coleman Instant Tent 6. It comes nearly to the ground on the sides and rear and provides a small sun shade/vestibule in the front.

Weather Resistence


One of the first things we noticed once we got the Caddis set up (so, about 45 seconds after removing it from the storage bag), was its rain fly. One of our biggest concerns with Coleman's Instant Tent 6 is that the rain fly isn't much more than a glorified hat. In contrast, the Caddis has a proper rain fly that reaches nearly to the ground on all sides except the front.

This is a major win for the Caddis. We don't like to car camp in the rain, and typically try to avoid it when possible, but it's comforting to know that when the local meteorologist whiffs the forecast, you'll still be covered reasonably well. There's no front awning, so there is the potential for precipitation to get through the front, but there is at least a small sun visor out front that should keep some direct rain out. Is it perfect? No. Is it a big improvement over the Coleman Instant? Absolutely. Still, we tested many higher-quality tents that offer far more weather protection.


The Rapid 6's floor is a thicker polyester than its walls, and all the floor seams are taped. The tarpaulin floor on the Coleman Instant is probably a bit burlier, but the Caddis should keep your feet (and sleeping bags) dry.

Simply because of the design, the Caddis, like the Coleman Instant is susceptible deforming ing high winds. Unfortunately, this is simply a function of the instant tent design. Because all of the poles are permanently attached, and because they have to fold in on themselves to store in any kind of reasonable way, you're left with some joints that lack the rigidity of a single, straight pole line. So when the wind really howls, the structural integrity is going to be tested at those joints. To combat this, the Rapid 6 comes with a fistful of stakes and guylines on all sides to strengthen and support the tent. We found a noticeable difference in the rigidity and strength of the tent when roped out the guy lines and staked everything down.

The poles of the Rapid 6 fold in on each other making the set up/take down process a breeze.
The poles of the Rapid 6 fold in on each other making the set up/take down process a breeze.

Ease of Setup


This is the section you came for if you're interested in the Rapid 6. This is what sells the tent. Rapid is not hyperbole. The tent goes up in under a minute.


Like the Coleman Instant, the Caddis has a fairly simple design. Four tentpoles emanate from a central hub. They unfold and then extend out and until you're standing there looking at a fully set up tent and wondering where you set the cooler. Because you're going to want to enjoy a cold beverage watching your non-instant tent friends struggle for the next 20 minutes.

The flexible corner joints keep the poles and tent together in one unit  which is the key to the super quick set up.
The flexible corner joints keep the poles and tent together in one unit, which is the key to the super quick set up.

The whole tent can be set up by one person without any particular experience or know how. Still, an extra set of hands with the fly does make it easier to pull it over the 6'8" high point. The fly attaches with simple buckles and one small pole slides into eyelets to create the small sunshade in front. Dropping the Rapid 6 is also quick and easy. Lower the poles, fold them in on each other and start stuffing it into the storage bag.

The pole locks are smooth. They snap into place easily  and snap back in without having to use much muscle.
The pole locks are smooth. They snap into place easily, and snap back in without having to use much muscle.

Workmanship


Aside from the common constraints of any instant-tent, the Rapid 6 is a solidly built home away from home. The poles are sturdy, the polyester walls and ceiling are thick, and Caddis paid attention to every detail.


We mentioned that the floor (clearly the side most likely to take a beating) is made with a thicker polyester than the rest of the tent. The Rapid 6 also comes with floor repair tape just in case you miss a rock underneath the tent during set up and have to patch a hole. We also noticed that the extension locks on the main poles are smoother and easier to operate than the Coleman Instant Tent. All in all, we are impressed with the craftsmanship and durability of the Caddis.

The storage bag is bulky  but that does make it easier to pack the Rapid 6 up. It even provides a separate pocket on the bottom for the stakes and single fly pole and comes with a patch kit for field repair just in case you accidentally puncture the bottom or side of the tent.
The storage bag is bulky, but that does make it easier to pack the Rapid 6 up. It even provides a separate pocket on the bottom for the stakes and single fly pole and comes with a patch kit for field repair just in case you accidentally puncture the bottom or side of the tent.

Packed Size


Petite is not a word we would use to describe the Rapid 6. The storage bag, a long rectangular affair, is a good eight inches longer than the Coleman Instant's. Then again, you're family camping, likely within a bowling-ball-toss of your car. It's not like you're hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with this thing on your back.


The upside to the slightly larger bag is that getting the tent packed away is fairly easy. We didn't have to pull the sides of the zipper, strain, huff, and puff to get it all back in its home. We've all struggled with tents (or at least suitcases) this way, right? It's nice to have a storage bag big enough to eliminate that hassle.

The storage bag also has a small zippered pocket on the bottom to keep the one small pole and all the stakes separate from the tent itself. Another nice touch from the folks at Caddis. It keeps you from losing critical pieces of your tent and separates them from the tent fabric so there are no accidental tears or rips during storage and transport.

Best Applications


The Rapid 6 is the perfect everyman tent. It's great for sunny days and cool nights. It's not going to perform well in the snow, or during tornado season in the Midwest, but for the conditions we all dream of camping in, it'll perform like a champ.

The Caddis Rapid 6 (here on the left) offers significantly more fly coverage than its closest competitor  the Coleman Instant Tent 6 (right).
The Caddis Rapid 6 (here on the left) offers significantly more fly coverage than its closest competitor, the Coleman Instant Tent 6 (right).

Value


For what it is, the Rapid 6 Tent is a great value. If you're looking for a four season tent, or want more of a base camp experience, this isn't the tent for you. If you just like being outside somewhere beautiful, enjoying the outdoors with friends and family and you don't want to break the bank to do so, this is your tent.

Not only does it come in at less than half the price of some other tents we've reviewed, but it also sets up and breaks down in way less than half the time. You're left with more money in your pocket and more time to enjoy your trip. The price point is higher than the Coleman Instant's, but at least in our eyes, it's worth the extra investment. The insurance and peace of mind offered by the rain fly alone will make you glad you splurged the first time it gets dark and stormy.

Conclusion


This is the instant tent we've been looking for. If you want a quick, hassle-free experience, look no further. If you've ever felt exhausted while setting up a tent, or even reached the point of shouting at it because the stupid pole won't go in the stupid hole, here's your cure.


Wes Berkshire