Big Agnes Big House 4 Tent Review
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Car camping may not be the most extreme method to get outdoors, but let’s face it, for many of us it’s that or nothing. While we may want to venture into the wild with nothing but a pack filled with supplies, more often we drive out, park and unload our gear for the weekend. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this scenario since it still offers a way to get outdoors and still have a level of comfort. When you have the room to bring along a bigger tent the extra room can be a great asset. The Big House 4 from Big Agnes is a great choice for car camping. It sleeps four (obviously), still has room for your gear, is well packaged for easy packing and unpacking, and is easy to set up.
First off I love the way the tent is packed. The folding bag design means you no longer have to roll up the tent and stuff it into the stuff sack. Instead two large pockets hold the tent and fly, a center pouch holds the poles, a small clear pocket holds the stakes and the whole thing folds in half and clips together using buckles. It is an incredibly simple design and while it’s not the smallest packaging, I don’t mind it at all for car camping. It proved incredibly easy while breaking down the tent. Rather than stuffing the tent and fly into a stuff sack you simply tuck them into the side pockets. The Big House 4 uses 1500 mm waterproof polyurethane in the fly, floor and tent doors. The tent body is made from a rip-stop polyester and mesh. All the seams are taped to make them 100% waterproof.
Putting the tent together couldn’t be easier. With three identical poles you don’t have to search for color coded tabs or sleeves. Just grab a pole, run it through a sleeve to the end point and your done. Two poles cross making a big X while the third crosses in front of the tent for extra support. The fly attaches using color coded male/female buckles. Unlike most other tents, the fly on the Big House 4 doesn’t cover the doors. Instead it uses two smaller poles to arch out the front and rear door creating a small visor for protection. I liked this feature since it kept the tent feeling open even with the fly on. The Big House 4 can be set up by two people in less than ten minutes easily.
The Big House 4 has a lot of nice details inside and in it’s design that come in handy. The front of the tent has a cool little roll out welcome mat for shoes, handy when you don’t want to get wet shoes inside the tent. The entrance has the usual two panels, one that is is the exterior of the tent, the other a mesh panel to allow light and air into the tent while keeping bugs out. A nice double zipper makes this easy to operate. The Big House 4 also has a big sky light, not obstructed with the rain fly on, which really lets a lot of light into the tent. This helps make the tent feel even bigger than it is. The inside of the tent is lined with 12 mesh pockets for items like headlamps, car keys, phone, etc. The height of the tent, 68 inches, is tallest at the center, and I was easily able to stand up inside the tent. The trapezoid gear loft was handy for hanging a light at night and can hold more small items.
Size wise it’s a good fit for those that either like to camp with friends or have a lot of gear. With just two of us for this outing we put all our bags and extra gear in the tent, reducing the amount of trips back and forth to the car. The vestibule, available as an accessory, will provide you with even more room for gear, including bikes. Bigger tents like this are susceptible to windy conditions, but guy lines and plenty of stake points are in place to keep the tent down.
The Big House 4 is a great tent for those trips when minimalism isn’t required. The packing for the tent was probably my favorite feature. It was so simple and hassle-free that it made the process much quicker. There is certainly plenty of room for four people and some gear or two to three people and a lot of gear. The details like the sky light, roll out mat and pockets make your time in the tent more appealing. The Big House 4 is reasonably priced and a tent to check out if you’re in the market. For more info on the Big House 4 Tent and other Big Agnes gear, visit www.rei.com or www.amazon.com/bigagnes.