The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

The North Face Homestead Super Dome 4 Review

The North Face Homestead Super Dome 4 is not your average tent, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Top Pick Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $350 List | $349.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  True dome shape, three doors for easy access, roomy.
Cons:  Set-up is not intuitive, floral design may be a deterrent for some.
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Wes Berkshire ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 8, 2019
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 17
  • Comfort - 40% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 6
  • Ease of Set Up - 15% 7
  • Workmanship - 15% 8
  • Packed Size - 5% 8

Our Verdict

Aloha! Jimmy Buffett fans and wildflower lovers, your tent is here! The North Face Homestead Super Dome 4, despite its flamboyant, borderline garish look (don't worry, it comes in other colors), is roomy for a four-person tent and offers some truly unique features among the tents we tested. Three doors, a more rounded design than other dome tents, and ample space to store and hang your gear were all things that caught our eye. It's not a tent for those who like a more traditional feel to their camping experience, but for those willing to try something new and take an educated risk (that's why you're here, right?), the Super Dome will meet a lot of needs.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $349.95 at Backcountry$469.00 at REI$499.95 at Amazon$398.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$201.37 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
74
100
0
90
100
0
84
100
0
81
100
0
80
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros True dome shape, three doors for easy access, roomy.Tall and long, barn-shaped, versatile front vestibule, adjustable room divider.Easy, quick set-up, expansive vestibule, spectacular storage designFast set up, built-in large vestibule, lots of ventilation, tall ceiling heightRoomy, large vestibule, simple, classic design.
Cons Set-up is not intuitive, floral design may be a deterrent for some.Only one vestibule, back door is more exposed to the elements, more poles than most.Odd placement of interior pockets, more expensive than many of its contemporariesCan't stand in vestibule, limited views when laying or sitting, poor duffel/stuff sackNot overly innovative, could use more storage.
Bottom Line The North Face Homestead Super Dome 4 is not your average tent, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.A top-notch tent with tons of room and tons of versatility.One of the best tents on the market, the Tensleep has great features that are done well.This one of the best family camping tents we have ever seen at a reasonable price.The Marmot Limestone 4P is great at keeping it simple. A high-quality tent, with a design that will be familiar to experienced campers.
Rating Categories Homestead Super Dome 4 REI Kingdom 6 Big Agnes Tensleep Station 6 The North Face Wawona 6 Marmot Limestone 4
Comfort (40%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weather Resistance (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Ease Of Set Up (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Workmanship (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Packed Size (5%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Specs Homestead Super... REI Kingdom 6 Big Agnes Tensleep... The North Face... Marmot Limestone 4
Weight 13.7 lbs 19.6 lbs 17.8 lbs 20.9 lbs 10.6 lbs
Max Inside Height 6 ft 3 in 6 ft 3 in 6ft 3 in 6 ft 6 in 5 ft 1 in
Floor Dimension 8' x 9'4" 10' x 8'4" 10' x 9'5" 5' 3" x 7'
Floor Area 81 sq ft 83.3 sq ft 90 sq ft 86 sq ft 59.7 sq ft
Seasons 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-season
Windows 4 1 2 2 1
Pockets 12 22 4 6 8
Number of Doors 2 2 2 3 2
Room Divider No Yes No Yes No
Vestibules 0 1 2 2 2
Vestibule Area 0 29 sq ft 38.5 sq. feet (front) 10 sq. feet (back) 21 sq ft; 44.7 sq ft 21 sq ft
Packed Size 7 x 16 x 26 in 9.5 x 16.5 x 25.5 in 5 x 15 x 27 in 9.5 x 16.5 x 25.5 in 27.5 x 10 in
Floor Materials Polyester ripstop Coated polyester oxford WP Polyester 75D polyester 150D Polyester
Main Tent Materials Polyester mesh Nylon/mesh Breathable polyester & polyester mesh 150D polyester taffeta 40D Polyester/mesh
Rainfly Materials polyester w/ 1500mm PU coating Coated polyester taffeta Polyester 68D polyester 68D Polyester taffeta
Number of Poles 2 2 Hubbed Sets, 1 Straight 4 4 4
Pole Material Aluminum 6061/7001 Aluminum Aluminum DAC DA17 14 mm aluminum
Pole Diameter 8.5/14.5 mm 14.5 / 11 mm 12.8mm x 3, 11 mm x 1 14 mm
Design type Freestanding Freestanding Freestanding Freestanding, dome Freestanding
Extras Internal dry lines, hang loops, Velcro lantern loop

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The North Face Homestead Super Dome 4.
The North Face Homestead Super Dome 4.

Comfort


The Homestead Super Dome is more dome-ish than your typical dome tent. A standard dome tent has two poles, that go caddy corner, crisscrossing in the middle, which is fine, but geometry teachers everywhere would point out that this means you have four sides and 90-degree corners. That's not a dome, that's a square. The Super Dome has six sides and three doors, making it much rounder in design, and hence, dome-like. At 56 square feet, it's comparable to the other four-person tents we reviewed and that floor space goes straight up to full-standing height (our tallest tester as 6'1" and had no problem standing up throughout the tent). The North Face lists the peak height as 80 inches, but we found this to be a bit deceiving as that height is reached at the top of the main/front door and almost immediately dips a good six inches, but still, even 74" is plenty of headroom for most people.

Peak height is reached right at the front door  before dipping down slightly in the main tent area. That being said  standing up inside the Homestead is still not an issue.
Peak height is reached right at the front door, before dipping down slightly in the main tent area. That being said, standing up inside the Homestead is still not an issue.

As with most tents, the stated capacity is always a little high. That being said, more so than any other four-person tent we tested, the Super Dome might actually be able to hit that four-person standard. We tested it with three people and were plenty comfortable.

Between the height and the six-sided dome design  the Homestead delivers on space.
Between the height and the six-sided dome design, the Homestead delivers on space.

What really makes it viable for three or four people are the three doors. Most family camping tents have two doors, which invariably means you're stepping over, around, even on your tent mates, particularly in the dead of night when you've really got to use the bathroom. The Super Dome utilizes a more triangular spread of doors, one main door up front, and two doors flanking out and away from the back. What this does is allow everyone to have a close and easy exit point.

With two back doors  the Homestead offers plenty of access points.
With two back doors, the Homestead offers plenty of access points.

Nearly the entire front panel of the Super Dome, as well as the entirety of the ceiling, is mesh, meaning fresh air will never be in short supply. Warm days will be mitigated by even the slightest breeze, and if you sleep without the rainfly on, you'll doze off to a full panorama of starry skies.

Mesh venting abounds on the Homestead Super Dome.
Mesh venting abounds on the Homestead Super Dome.

The rainfly provides a reasonable vestibule off the front of the tent for keeping wet and muddy gear out of the tent, but still out of the elements. The vestibule can also be zipped up both sides, rolled, and secured above the door to give you plenty of options.

The vestibule can be rolled up to give you numerous set-up options.
The vestibule can be rolled up to give you numerous set-up options.

Two rows of three deep pockets line opposite walls of the Super Dome, giving you plenty of room to keep valuables off the floor. Furthermore, the pockets aren't sewn into the wall of the tent, allowing them a little more freedom of movement, but more importantly, allowing you to stuff a bit more in them than you would be able to otherwise.

We admittedly find ourselves drawn to the smaller, non-crucial, features of a tent from time to time. In this case, we loved the built-in laundry lines on either side of the Super Dome. Sure, you can always bring your own small rope and string things up, but this way you don't have to, and you'll never forget to. Whether it's drying those wet shorts after swimming in the lake, or just hanging things up and out of the way, it's a purpose-driven and useful feature.

An interior clothesline gives you options to hang up your gear (and to actually dry it out).
An interior clothesline gives you options to hang up your gear (and to actually dry it out).

Finally, we have to tip our hat to the design folks at The North Face for including an oddly large, copper stake with the rest of the more standard stakes. At first glance, we thought it was some kind of super stake (and in a way we were right), meant to go in at the chosen spot on the ground to keep the Super Dome standing in hurricane-force winds. Turns out, it's a dummy, or more accurately, a bottle opener. They even included it, with directions, on the inventory sheet, and let's be honest, who doesn't need a beer while setting up a tent? Well played (and cheers!) North Face, well played.

Looks like a stake  works like a bottle opener.
Looks like a stake, works like a bottle opener.

For those who need instructions to quenching their thirst  North Face has you covered.
For those who need instructions to quenching their thirst, North Face has you covered.

Weather Resistance


The Homestead Super Dome is a bit Jekyll and Hyde with its rainfly. Upfront, the coverage is great; there's a good-sized veranda that goes all the way to the ground, keeping you dry and giving you a place to put any wet or muddy gear too. Oddly, and it's part of the design, so bear with us here, as the rainfly goes around the back of the tent it relies on a series of hooks and washers that only go down, at most the top half of the tent. Here is another place where traditionalists are going to cringe. Remember how the front of the tent is mostly mesh? That's why the fly dominates at the front. The back of the tent is almost entirely a thicker, 75 denier polyester, the same weight polyester as the rainfly, so you basically already have a rain fly around the back before you even put on the proper rainfly. The only difference, and it's worth noting is that the waterproof rating on the walls of the main tent is just slightly lower than on the fly (1200Mm to 1500Mm), though both employ the same polyurethane coating. While we couldn't coax any rain out of the sky during our testing (and we did an impressive rain dance), we'd feel comfortable with the Super Dome in a light afternoon shower, but if something truly torrential rolled in our apprehension and anxiety might take over.

Rainfly coverage on the back of the tent is lacking at first glance  but when you realize everywhere not covered by the fly is made of the same material as the fly  you begin to see what the folks at The North Face were thinking.
Rainfly coverage on the back of the tent is lacking at first glance, but when you realize everywhere not covered by the fly is made of the same material as the fly, you begin to see what the folks at The North Face were thinking.

Ease of Setup


Despite the storage bag's claim to an "Easy Pitch Design", we would be very hesitant to use the words "ease" or "easy" when referring to setting up the Super Dome. Our first attempt, admittedly without reading the directions, took roughly 20 minutes. With some practice, we got it down closer to ten, but it's still far from an easy up. The problem is simply that because of its unique design (a lot of curves and wide angles) it's counterintuitive to set up. To North Face's credit, they do try to make it easy by color-coding the poles and grommets. Green goes to green, red goes to red. Unfortunately, before any color gets where it's going, it makes turns and twists that will have you wondering if you might be setting up a roller coaster rather than a tent. Setting it up does get easier with time and practice, but easier is not the same as easy.

This look is a mix of keen concentration and confounded frustration. Putting the Homestead Super Dome up takes a little practice.
This look is a mix of keen concentration and confounded frustration. Putting the Homestead Super Dome up takes a little practice.

Packed Size


The Homestead Super Dome packs down to the size of an average duffle bag. There's nothing particularly fancy about the storage bag, but the final size is wholly manageable and thanks to a cinch line around the top of the bag, it can be stuffed back in like a sleeping bag stuff sack. All told, a very easy pack up.

The Homestead Super Dome  ready to travel.
The Homestead Super Dome, ready to travel.

Workmanship


Despite having a non-traditional design, the quality of the Super Dome is still high. The poles are thick, sturdy, and should stand up to many season's worth of windy days. All seams are taped, which should keep you dry when the clouds roll in. The 75 denier polyester is thick to the point of almost being burly. All in all, the Super Dome has a sturdy feel to it that cheaper, poorly-designed tents do not. This tent should give you a great many nights outdoors.

The Homestead Super Dome is a solid four-person option.
The Homestead Super Dome is a solid four-person option.

Value


The Homestead Super Dome is a mid-level tent at a mid-level price. That's a good value. You're not paying for more than you're getting. The value we see is in its innovation. It's a quality tent, with unique features, but you're not going to pay the inflated price you tend to see in other new, shiny, and innovative toys.

Conclusion


The North Face Homestead Super Dome 4 tent is a unique tent with some great features and a couple of small flaws. It offers some interesting solutions to the space and height conundrum, so long as you have the patience (or maybe another beer) to set it up.


Wes Berkshire