|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – Fall Gear Guide 2009
This four-season tent palace isn't just spacious inside, it has a 26-foot vestibule.
You know a tent is big when you have to decide which room to sleep in. Such is the dilemma with this four-season palace. For high-mountain basecamps and family camping trips in challenging weather, the six-person Flying Diamond combines deluxe space with true storm-worthiness. "On my first test trip, it rained more than on any other outing I've taken in the past 11 years," reported our Idaho tester after she, her husband, and two daughters returned from what was intended to be a rock-climbing trip to City of Rocks. It could have been a miserable weekend–climbing washed out, huddled in a cramped and soggy tent. Instead, she says, "It was one of the most memorable weekends we've ever had. The adults set up chairs in the 26-square-foot vestibule, while the girls and our dog had a giant–and bone-dry–playroom."
And with a peak height of 5'6", even the tallest kids could stand up comfortably, and the tent is solid in wind despite the high profile, thanks to four crossing poles. Color-coded webbing and buckles make it easy to pitch for such a large shelter (90 square feet inside); polyester zip-in panels over the mesh windows trap heat; a dozen mesh pockets keep headlamps and gear clutter under control; and a removable fabric divider creates two rooms for added privacy. Caution: With a total length of 17 feet, this mansion is too large for some tent pads and campsites. $500; 19 lbs. 14 oz.; bigagnes.com