BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Slumberjack 6 person Trail Tent > Test Report by Brian Hartman

SLUMBERJACK TRAIL TENT 6
TEST SERIES BY BRIAN HARTMAN
LONG-TERM REPORT
February 02, 2014

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Brian Hartman
EMAIL: bhart1426ATyahooDOT com
AGE: 46
LOCATION: Westfield, Indiana
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 145 lb (65.80 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 20 years throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and most recently in Western USA. In addition to backpacking I enjoy family camping with my wife and kids and being outdoors in general. I would describe myself as a mid weight backpacker. I use fairly light weight equipment and gear but still like to bring more than the bare essentials with me while on the trail.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 1


Manufacturer: Slumberjack
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.slumberjack.com/
MSRP: US $219.95
Listed Weight: 18 lbs 6 oz (8.4 kg)
Measured Weight: 19 lbs (8.6 kg)

Other details: IMAGE 2
Capacity: 6 Person
Seasons: 3 Season
Number of Poles: 4
Number of Doors: 2
Number of Vestibules: 2
Dimensions: 130 x 110 x 70 in (330 x 279 x 178 cm)
Floor Area: 99.3 ft2 (9.2 m2)
Vestibule Area: 2 x 27.7 ft2 (2 x 2.6 m2)
Packed Size: 8 x 28 in (20 x 71 cm)
Wall Material: 75D Polyester No-See-Um Mesh
Floor Material: 75D Polyester 1200 mm
Fly Material: 75D Polyester 1200 mm
Pole Type: Fiberglass

Tent features (as provided by manufacturer)
Color-coded clip construction for a fast and easy setup
Mesh wall panels for optimum ventilation
Internal storage pockets to keep essentials handy
Waterproof, taped seams
Noiseless zipper pulls
Guyout points
Convenient free-standing construction
Ridge pole geometry for maximum interior space
Full-coverage rain fly for a dry overnight experience
Convenient dual-entry design
Quick and easy side-release buckle tent-fly connection

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Slumberjack Trail Tent 6 (hereafter called the Slumberjack or Trail Tent 6) is a 6 person 3 season tent described by the manufacturer as "perfect for any backpacking, fishing or family camping adventure." The Trail Tent 6 is the largest of Slumberjack's Trail Series tents which feature quick and easy set-up, comfortable, spacious interiors and durable, all-weather construction.

The Trail Tent 6 arrived in a generously sized storage sack. Contents included the following items: IMAGE 3

Tent body and rainfly
2 main poles and 2 ridge poles
12 aluminum stakes with small storage sack
4 guylines with tighteners
1 pole sack
1 storage sack
1 page user manual with care and pitching instructions

Materials and Construction: As I examined the Trail Tent 6 on my family room floor, I found it to be well constructed with no loose seems or wavy stitching. The vital seams on the fly and tent body were taped at the factory to ensure a dry interior. In addition, the tent body features a bathtub style floor with 6 in (15.2 cm) sidewalls to prevent flooding during heavy rains.

The tent floor and rain fly are made of 75D Polyester fabric with a 1200mm waterproof coating. In contrast, the wall panels are made of polyester mesh to maximize air flow inside the tent. The two main poles run diagonally across the tent, crossing over each other at the top of the tent in what Slumberjack refers to as an 'X' frame geometry. The poles are held in place by pole sleeves, which help secure them and prevent them from moving. At the bottom of the tent, the main poles are secured in grommets which are located on the stake loops at the four corners of the tent. In addition to the main poles, two ridge poles run parallel to each other near the top of the tent, helping to create steep sidewalls for added interior space and headroom. The ridge poles also add significant strength and rigidity to the tent. All four poles are fiberglass with shockcords holding their sections together. Finally, the tent body clips attach to the main poles, lifting the tent walls and creating the tent's dome shape profile. Below are two photos of the tent with the rain fly removed to show how the tent poles are arranged.

IMAGE 4 IMAGE 5

The tent comes with twelve ground stakes. The stakes are 8 in (20 cm) long and are packed in a small sack along with four guylines. The fly, tent, poles and stakes fit into a nylon storage sack with dimensions of 8 x 28 in (20 x 71 cm). Setup instructions are printed on one side of an 8 x 11 in (20 x 28 cm) sheet of paper which I found inside the storage sack. Care instructions and warranty/repair information are written on the backside of this sheet.

The Slumberjack features two large polyester mesh doors which allow easy access to its large interior, measuring almost 100 ft2 (9.5 m2). The doors are so large in fact that a full-size inflatable air mattress would fit through the opening. Once inside the tent there are four mesh storage pockets located near the four corners of the tent. The pockets measure approx 6 x 18 in (15 x 46 cm). They offer plenty of storage for electronics, watches, glasses, flashlights and any other items that might otherwise get lost or stepped on. Since the tent walls are entirely mesh, Slumberjack provides a full coverage rain fly that extends almost to the ground. When the rain fly is attached, it creates two small vestibules at the front and back of the tent with dimensions of 24 x 30 inches (61 x 76 cm). The following three photos show a) the interior of the tent, b) the storage pockets and c) the full coverage rain fly.

IMAGE 6IMAGE 7IMAGE 8

TRYING IT OUT

The Trail Tent 6 was a breeze to set up in my backyard (literally - as I'll explain in a minute). It took me roughly nine minutes to pitch the tent and attach the rain fly. In particular, I found it very easy to stake out the tent body, insert the poles into the tent grommets, clip the tent walls to the main poles and attach the fly to the tent via the quick-connect buckles. Things would have gone even quicker with a second person helping, especially the tasks of raising the two main poles and getting the fly over the top of the tent. These tasks were difficult to accomplish by myself simply because the main poles are 20+ ft (6 m) in length and the tent stands close to 6 ft (1.8 m) tall.

Once the tent was erected I staked out the four corners and went back inside my house to get a camera so I could take some photos for this report. To my surprise, when I came back outside only a few minutes later the tent was nowhere to be seen. After staring for a few seconds in disbelief at the empty spot where the tent used to be, I ran to the back of my yard and looked up and down our tree row. Off in the distance I could see the Trail Tent 6, on its side and wedged against the trunk of a large walnut tree. Granted, it was windy outside; but I'd set up my backpacking tents in my backyard dozens of times and never had this happen. What I failed to consider at the time was that my other tents are much more streamlined and shorter in height than the Trail Tent 6. Mental note: the profile of the Slumberjack is much larger than my backpacking tents and will catch wind like a sail if not properly secured with guylines. It took a while for me to get the tent separated from the tree but luckily there were no rips in the tent or rain fly and none of the poles had broken.

Slumberjack has incorporated a lot of nice features into this tent including steep sidewalls for plenty of headroom, large entry doors, lots of storage pockets and factory taped seams. So far my only wish is that the vestibules were larger. This would allow more items to be stored outside the tent while still being protected from the elements. Needless to say, I am looking forward to the next four months of backpacking with this tent.

SUMMARY

What I like:
Lots of interior space and plenty of headroom
Simple design makes for fast set up
Bathtub floors
Large doors allow plenty of room to get stuff into and out of the tent
Plenty of storage pockets to keep stuff organized and off the floor
Mesh walls so air circulation and condensation shouldn't be a problem

What I don't like:
Vestibules could be larger

I have high hopes for the Slumberjack Trail Tent 6. It has all of the makings for a great family tent. It is large, well designed, easy to pitch and appears to be very sturdy.

This concludes my Initial Report for the Trail Tent 6. I will post a Field Report in approximately two months so please check back then for further information.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During the past two months I used the Slumberjack Trail Tent 6 on two family camping trips and a backyard sleepover for a total of five nights. My first outing was a three-night trip to Southern Indiana where we had great weather with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 70's F (23 C). Our second outing was a backyard sleepover that included my kids and one of their friends. The weather was mild with temperatures in the lower 60's F (16 C) and intermittent rain showers during the night and early morning. My third outing was an overnight trip with my brothers to Oldenburg, Indiana (IN). The weather on this trip was much colder with snow and a nighttime low of 12 F (-11 C).

1. We hiked, fished and waded through creeks looking for tadpoles on this family camping trip to Southern Indiana. The terrain was hilly with lots of open and forested areas to explore.

Location: Franklin County, Indiana (IN)
Type of Trip: Off-trail hiking
Distance: 6 mi (9 km)
Length of Trip: 3 nights
Backpack Weight: 24 lb (11 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 72 F to 78 F (22 C to 25 C)

2. Backyard campout. Temperatures were in the low 60 F (16 C). Rain showers off and on throughout the night and early morning with accumulation of 0.25 in (0.64 cm).

3. My third trip was to Oldenburg, Indiana (IN). During this two-day outing we did some bushwhacking and also explored several frozen creeks. Daytime temperatures were in the mid 20's F (-3 C) and elevations ranged from 570 ft (174 m) to 780 ft (238 m).

Location: Oldenburg, IN
Type of Trip: Family camping
Distance: 4 mi (6 km)
Length of Trip: 1 night
Backpack Weight: 32 lb (15 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Overcast
Precipitation: 0.75 in (2 cm) snow
Temperature Range: 12 F to 26 F (-11 C to -3 C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

IMAGE 1 SETUP: Setting up the Slumberjack Trail Tent 6 during the past two months was easy with help from a second person. With my kids' assistance I was able to pitch the tent in under seven minutes. We found the quickest method was to stake the four corners first and then insert the two main poles. Then we could erect the tent and attach the two ridge poles. Finally the tent clips could be fastened to the main poles and the rainfly secured. Since the Slumberjack blew away during my initial setup, I now secure the guy lines on the rainfly every time I pitch the tent. Staking out the guy lines has also kept the rainfly from flapping in the wind and/or sagging and touching the tent body in wet weather. Tear down of the tent is straight forward and I usually can get it packed away in ten minutes or so. I have found the storage sack is big enough to fit the tent and rainfly as long as they are neatly folded.

SIZE: Slumberjack did a great job designing the Trail Tent 6. The interior is laid out efficiently and the high angled walls and 70 in (178 cm) ceiling height provide ample headroom for sitting and moving around. In fact my kids were easily able to get dressed while standing. So far the maximum number of people that have slept in the tent at one time is six and it was cramped. With 100 sqft (9.5 m2) of floor space there was just enough room inside the tent for everyone to lay out their sleeping bags. Everything else had to go in the vestibules which provided additional space to leave items outside the sleeping area while still protected from the weather. Unfortunately, the vestibules aren't very large and items placed there blocked entry and exit from the tent. To make room, we ended up leaving some items outside the tent and of course they were covered in dew in the next morning. My wife and I liked having two entry doors. They came in handy more than once so people didn't have to crawl over each other getting into and out of the tent. I also like that the doors are nearly vertical, which makes them easy to climb through.

When my brothers and I went camping in Oldenburg there was plenty of room for the three of us inside the tent as well as all of our gear. Of course we made full use of the storage pockets for our flashlights, watches, glasses, wallets, pocket knives and other items we wanted easy access to during the night or the following morning and the three of us were easily able to stretch out while sleeping.

BREATHABILITY: The Slumberjack breathes very well as the tent body is mostly mesh. With five people in the tent we had some light condensation but it wasn't bad at all. On all occasions we slept with the rainfly on and the vestibules closed. In sub-freezing temperatures, I noticed a layer of ice crystals inside the tent but I actually expected it to be more noticeable.

WATERPROOFNESS: Although the Trail Tent 6 appears well suited for heavy rains with its sealed seams, bathtub floor and double wall design, my appraisal of its waterproof capabilities will have to wait until Mother Nature obliges me. Until then I can only refer to the 1200mm waterproof rating that Slumberjack lists for both the rainfly and floor. So far I have encountered only light rain showers in my backyard and snowfall of 0.75 inches (2 cm) on my last outing. During this time water beaded up nicely on the rainfly and it stayed taut. To date I have not noticed any leaks in the tent floor.

DURABILITY: So far the Slumberjack has performed well in strong winds, snow and freezing temperatures. I have only had one mishap and that was a broken main pole which the manufacturer replaced immediately. I'm not sure what happened to cause the pole to break. I suspect it wasn't seated fully in the adjacent pole insert and cracked under stress when the tent was pitched, but that is just a guess. Luckily it didn't break in two (even though there was an obvious crook in the pole section) so we were able to finish our campout. Cudos to Slumberjack; they were wonderful to work with and I had a new main pole within a few days. See photos below.
IMAGE 2 IMAGE 3

Apart from that incident, the tent's four pole design seems to be quite sturdy. The tent body and rainfly are still in great shape. The interior floor shows no signs of wear and the door zippers continue to work smoothly. The floor bottom has some scratches and scuff marks but that is to be expected when camping in the woods. The tent stakes are doing well except for one I accidently bent while trying to pound it into frozen ground. The tent has not yet experienced a major rainstorm or heavy snow fall so I can't speculate at this point on how it would handle the load.

All in all, the Slumberjack Trail Tent 6 has performed very well during the past couple of months and I have enjoyed using it for family campouts. It is well constructed, easy to set up and has enough floor space for up to five people with plenty of headroom. Tear down is equally simple with the large storage sack. The tent remains in great condition, with the door zippers functioning smoothly and the tent floor and rainfly still completely waterproof. Although I had one of the tent poles break, the others show no signs of stress or cracking. The vestibules are not huge but they provide adequate storage for essential gear. The tent's four pole design and polyester body offer strength and rigidity in windy conditions and I have had minimal condensation inside the tent thanks to its mesh body. Though I have only had it out in light rain and snow the Slumberjack appears suitable for poor weather trips. My experience so far is that this tent is well suited for 3 season camping.

SUMMARY

This concludes my Field Report for the Trail Tent 6. I will post my Long Term Report in approximately two months so please check back then for further information.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I was only able to take one trip with the Slumberjack during this test period due to unusually nasty winter weather that's been going on for the past month. On this trip I camped solo as my kids and brothers weren't interested in venturing out into a winter storm that was scheduled to hit that night. I don't blame them as 13 in (33 cm) of snow fell overnight and temperatures dropped to -7 F (-21 C) with strong winds making conditions less than ideal for driving much less camping in a 3 season tent. Thankfully there were several large evergreen trees near my campsite and they provided adequate protection from the worst of the wind and snow until morning.

Location: Noblesville, Indiana (IN)
Type of Trip: Camping
Distance: 1.5 mi (2.4 km)
Length of Trip: 1 night
Backpack Weight: 26 lb (12 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Overcast with heavy snowfall followed by gusty winds
Precipitation: 13 in (33 cm) of snowfall
Temperature Range: 18 F to -7 F (-7 C to -21 C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Slumberjack performed exceptionally well during my polar adventure this test period. The tent set up quickly and even though it wasn't rated for four season use it proved itself capable of withstanding high winds, heavy snow and subzero temperatures. Although initially I had concerns about pitching the tent in this weather it performed admirably. After my mishap a few months ago during which the Slumberjack blew away in strong winds, I've conditioned myself to always stake out the tent. On this occasion, I used all twelve stakes and four guy lines and the tent stayed firmly in place. The rainfly did a good job of deflecting the wind while the fiberglass poles were able to handle the stress of the cold and weight of the snow with no problems. The ridge poles did a good job of distributing the weight of the heavy snow on top of the tent, allowing the tent to handle much more weight than it ever could have with just two main poles.

There were no durability issues with the tent body, rainfly, poles, zippers, or any other components during this test period. The tent floor also remained in good shape despite being trampled on with boots and paws. Finally, the bottom of the tent still looks practically new as I always use a ground cloth to protect it from sticks and sharp rocks.

The Slumberjack didn't do much to keep me warm in below zero temperatures but that's fine because it's a three season tent with mesh walls. The mesh is there to minimize condensation issues during summer months. Although I had no major condensation issues with the Slumberjack, on my last campout I awoke to a winter wonderland in my tent, with a blanket of frost and snow on my sleeping bag and everything else in the tent. Strong winds had forced a significant amount of snow under the rainfly and into the tent during the night. After assessing the situation the next morning, I decided against packing the tent neatly in its storage sack as I knew I would just have to set it back up again to dry out once I got home.

Even though the rainfly allowed some snow into the tent, things could have been a lot worse. Slumberjack did a good job of designing this rainfly to be a lot longer than most to prevent wind, rain etc. from coming into the tent. On this campout I appreciated the fact that Slumberjack designed two doors on the tent so that I could enter and exit from the direction opposite from which the wind was blowing.

SUMMARY

The Slumberjack is a great family tent. It was easy to set up and tear down and had plenty of room for five people with gear. It proved to be durable throughout testing, even surviving the now famed 'Polar Freeze'. My family and I will continue to use this tent on future campouts.

This concludes my Long Term Report and this test call. Thanks to Slumberjack and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Trail Tent 6.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of Slumberjack gear
Read more gear reviews by Brian Hartman

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Slumberjack 6 person Trail Tent > Test Report by Brian Hartman



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson