SLUMBERJACK TRAIL TENT 6
TEST SERIES BY ANDREI GIRENKOV
September 15, 2013
New York, New York, USA
5' 10" (1.78 m)
150 lb (68.00 kg)
I have been backpacking for 6 years, mostly three-season weekend trips in the Adirondacks, and other parks in the Northeastern US. Additionally, I try to take at least one 5-7 day trip each summer to other destinations in Canada, Western United States and Central America. I use lightweight gear on a budget. My multi-day pack weight is around 20-25 lb (9-11 kg). I enjoy sleeping comfortably and cooking a hot meal at night.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.slumberjack.com/
Listed Weight: 18 lb 6 oz (8.33 kg)
Measured Weight: 18 lb 0 oz (8.16 Kg)
Listed Packed Dimensions: 28 in x 8 in x 8 in (71 cm x 20 cm x 20 cm)
Measured Packed Dimensions Factory Packed: 24 in x 8 in x 8 in (61 cm x 20 cm x 20 cm)
Measured Packed Dimensions Repacked by Me: 28 in x 10 in x 10 in (71 cm x 25 cm x 25 cm)
Listed Interior Pitched Dimensions: 130 in x 110 in x 70 in (330 cm x 279 cm x 178 cm)
Measured Interior Pitched Dimensions: 120 in x 106 in x 71 in (305 cm x 269 cm x 180 cm)
Floor & Fly: 75D Polyester 1200 mm
Walls: 75D Polyester No-See-Um Mesh
So you want to house a troop of boy scouts on a limited budget? Slumberjack has the answer for you! For $220, the Slumberjack Trail Tent 6 (hereafter "tent") is a very roomy basic car camping shelter. One won't find any advanced materials or features in this tent but all the basic necessities are well handled at a very attractive price.
In order to give a fair review, I feel obligated to set the expectations first. This is a big six-person car camping tent - it necessarily uses lots of materials and has large dimensions. This implies that it's going to be heavier to carry and more difficult to set up than the two-person backpacking tent that I am used to carrying. I'm taking those two aspects of the tent as a given. Instead, I will focus on other aspects such as construction and features.
The packaging in which the tent arrived was very simple: a cardboard box which contained a duffle bag style brown polyester sack. Inside were the tent, the fly, a sack with six poles, and a sack with stakes and guy lines. A footprint was not included, but the tent floor is made from thick 70D Polyester, so one is not needed.
|Contents - tent, fly, poles, stakes, and compression ribbons|
The tent floor and the fly are made from a thick Polyester which I am sure I will appreciate when the kids are kicking around inside. The rest of the tent walls are made from a much lighter mesh. This is a smart way for Slumberjack to keep the weight of the tent down without incurring higher production costs. In fact the weight I measured was less than the listed weight.
One thing which quickly became obvious is that the materials and construction of this tent are not on par with what one normally sees from more expensive backpacking tents. There were quite a few loose strings coming out of the tent when I first unfolded it. Multiple seams are present on all surfaces, including down the middle of the floor. To give Slumberjack credit, the seams are all weather sealed. There are no integrated compression straps. Instead two pieces of scrap material are included which can be used to tie the folded tent.
The floor area that I measured was smaller than the listed floor area by 5 sq ft (0.5 sq m). There is no exact boundary between the floor and the wall, so I based my measurements on the point where the 90 degree turn naturally formed when I pitched the tent. I am not certain if this discrepancy is due to liberal measurements by the manufacturer or due to construction variations.
The poles are also big and heavy - they are solid core fiberglass, about as thick as a grown man's pinky finger. You can see one of the poles in the picture below. Using hollow aluminum poles here would have undoubtedly saved a few pounds (one kg or so) but would have also added to the price.
|Fiberglass tent pole - as thick as my pinky.|
Given the amount of material that it takes to make a tent this large and the tent's moderate price, it's not surprising that the quality of materials and construction is the biggest compromise that Slumberjack had to make.
INSTRUCTIONS AND SET UP
The instructions are a single sheet of paper with six simple steps on them - similar to what you get with IKEA furniture. It really could not be any simpler.
Step one is to lay out the tent on the ground.
Step two is to cross the poles on the tent.
Step three is to pop the poles into the grommets and put them up.
Step four is to clip the tent to the poles.
Step five is to insert the shorter poles into the grommets above the doors to prop the roof up.
The optional step six is to throw the fly over the top and clip it to each corner of the tent.
I do have to add that due to its sheer size, the tent was somewhat awkward to set up by myself. It has the aerodynamics of a sail, and its pitched height made connecting the fly a challenge for me. For reference I am 5'10" (178 cm). I believe that those two problems are not unique to the Trail Tent 6, and would hold true for any tent of this size. Once I asked my wife to help hold the poles up, it made assembly go very quickly.
|Plenty of room!|
|This is my sail tent!|
The selection of features on this tent is very good. Slumberjack designers put a lot of thought into building very useful features into this tent regardless of the materials use. The clips are color coded for ease of assembly. In fact, the entire assembly process is very simple and intuitive as I noted above. There are four large pockets inside the tent, as well as multiple loops for hanging a lantern or anything else. The doors on both the tent and the fly have tiebacks to keep the doors out of the mud.
Pros so far:
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
Sophisticated features comparable to those found on more expensive models.
Mesh top provides ventilation and weight savings
Very reasonable price for the offering.
Cons so far:
Quality of construction and materials is mediocre
I would like to thank Slumberjack and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test this tent. I am looking forward to trying out the tent on the trail. Please return in a month for the field report.
Read more reviews of Slumberjack gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrei Girenkov