North Face Wawona 6
This is one of the most comfortable tents we tested. The main tent has a peak height of 6'8", and most of the tent is over 6 feet tall (once you get to the edges of the tent, a six-footer will have to duck a little). The vestibule is about a foot lower, and only people 5' 6" or shorter can stand upright. It would be nice if the vestibule were a little taller, but it's passable. The Kingdom 6 Garage is also much lower and requires you to hunch over.
Overall, the Kingdom 6 scores higher for comfort because it has two rooms and more versatility with a fly that will go on, stay off, or go half up. That said, the Wawona comes with the vestibule built in which makes set up faster and means it is more weather resistant than the Kindom Garage which costs an extra $100 ($170 with poles). Some people may also prefer the simplicity of the Wawona. The Kingdom requires installing a fly and then adjusting it if you want to see out the sides. The Wawona comes with flaps that are easy to open and close to get better views and ventilation.
Comparing the Wawona vestibule (left) with the REI Kingdom 6 vestibule (right).
Like most 6-person tents, it's a little tight for six people. Four people fit better. The Wawona has a bit more space than the Kingdom 6. That said, the Wawona just has one big room where the Kingdom 6 lets you divide the tent into two compartments for separate couples or kids.
The Wawona will sleep six, but most people will only want to sleep four in order to keep a little breathing room between sleeping pads.
There are many options to ventilate the tent. Two large flaps roll up to both give good views and allow cross drafting. There are also two vents at the top to keep condensation down. They have smart little stays that prop the vents open. Because the vestibule has two doors, and there is a third door at the end of the tent, you have three large doors total to get air circulation. Add the two big windows and the two big vents, and you have seven different ways to control air circulation to control moisture built-up and stuffiness.
There are ten pockets to hand and sort things. Also, a line runs around the inside of the ceiling for hanging items to dry out.
Kids love the space to play. Note the large mesh pockets on the left for storing gloves, headlamps and misc items.
This is one of the more weather resistant tents we tested and scores just behind the Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8. One big advantage over the Flying Diamond is a bigger vestibule area to cook and hang out during storms. The vestibule area is big enough for two full-size camp chairs and a small table. Alternately, you could get four small stools around a small table.
We give the Wawona a higher weather resistance score than the Kingdom 6 for a few reasons. First, its shape is much better in the wind, and the tent doesn't bend and shift much compared to the Kingdom 6 (See how it performs in 20+ MPH winds here.)
The Wawona 6 comes with loads of burly stakes. Bring a hammer for easy installation.
To get optimal rain protection from sideways rain, you need to buy the Kingdom 6 Garage. However, the Garage connection to the main tent is not as air and water tight as having a built-in vestibule like on the Wawona. The Wawona has vents at the top of the tent to lower condensation during a rainstorm if everything else is zipped up. The Kingdom 6 lacks this feature.
For maximum weather resistance and tent protection, you can buy a footprint for another $65. The footprint fits perfectly and is a lot more compact than a giant tarp. But a tarp is a lot cheaper. Or just choose your site carefully and don't bring a tarp or footprint. For the lightest option, consider a sheet of Tyvek.
While the first time setting up any big tent is intimidating, this tent is one of the easiest to set up and the fastest. It's one of the few tents of this size that is relatively easy to set up with one person.
Ease of Set Up
This is one of the fastest high-end tents to set up. One person can quickly assemble the tent in less than 7 minutes. Put the gold poles on the gold sleeves with gold clips. Put the gray poles through the gray sleeves with gray clips. Next, raise the gold poles and then the gray ones. Add the clips last. Stake out the tent and use guylines if expecting wind. It's that easy.
Gold clips to the gold poles and gray clips to the gray poles. What could be easier?
Compared to other top-scoring tents, the Wawona is the easiest to set up. One note about the duffel storage bag: it doesn't close that tight. It's hard to keep the contents from spilling out. Some cross compression straps would have helped a lot and we found adding one or two helps a lot.
This tent has a relatively standard packed size for this category — it's about the size of a big camping sleeping bag.
It comes in a big duffel with handles that is easy to stuff - you don't have to carefully and precisely role it up to get it to fit in its bag. It's doesn't have the backpack straps that some tents do, but it is still relatively easy to pack and carry.
We approve of the large carrying sack that is easy to stuff the tent into. No "tent origami" required to fit this tent in its bag.
We expect the Wawona to have a longer life than most tents. Most of the components, including the tent poles and stakes, are sturdy.
Because the gold poles do have a bend, we recommend using extra caution when setting up the tent to not bend them the wrong way.
The Wawona is a tent for all conditions that more frequent campers will gladly pay extra for in exchange for more features, comfort, durability, and weather resistance.
For many people, this is the best family camping trip you can buy.