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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Slumberjack 6 person Trail Tent > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

Test Report
Slumberjack Trail Tent 6


Initial Report 25 September 2013
Field Report 3 December 2013

Long Term Report 4 February 2014

Name:  Dawn Larsen
Age: 53
Gender: female
Height: 5' 4" (163 cm)
Weight: 155 lb (70 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT gmail DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA

Backpacking Background:
I used to backpack in college a zillion years ago and just in the last several years have backpacked private trails in Tennessee, Missouri and most recently South Carolina. I have been an avid car-camper and paddler in South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. I use a lot of the same equipment for both. I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Missouri (my home state) and Arkansas. I live in South Carolina and am busy checking out the terrain here with my twenty year-old son.

Product Information

Manufacturer: Slumberjack
Maker's website: www.slumberjack.com
MSRP: US $219.95
Listed Weight: 18 lbs 6 oz (8.4 kg)
Measured Weight: 19.1 lbs (8.7 kg)
Listed Dimensions: 130 x 110 x 70 in (330 x 279 x 178 cm)
Measured Dimensions Flat:  128 x 107 x 71.5 in (
325 x 272 x 182 cm)
Capacity: 6 Person
Seasons: 3 Season
Number of Poles: 4
Number of Doors: 2
Number of Vestibules: 2
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
Measured Pole Length: tent - 248 in (630 cm); ridge - 77 in (196 cm)

Tent features from the manufacturer:
Color-coded clip construction for a fast and easy setup
Mesh wall panels for ventilation
4 Internal storage pockets
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 Report
25 September 2013


bag and box

Product Description
The tent came packed in a box and is described as "perfect" for backpacking. It came packed in its own handled storage sack with the following parts:  tent, rain fly, 2 long poles and 2 ridge poles (in a pole bag), 12 aluminum stakes and 4 guylines with tighteners (in a stake bag), and a set of instructions.  

  unpacked and polesstake bag

Initial Observations

Construction and Materials:  I rolled out the tent in my backyard.  The seams appear well sealed and straight. It also appears to be constructed well, but the material, especially the nylon, seems a little flimsy to me compared to my other more expensive tents.  The mesh is much more sturdy than the nylon. The floor of the tent, which is thicker than the walls, extends up onto the walls of the tent providing protection from the rain.  

Setting it Up

instructions  clip
 f;at

I'm bad about not following instructions and so I made sure I looked at them.  I would have been better off eyeballing the tent and setting it up by my instincts. First, it was a bear to set up by myself because it is so big and I'm kind of short. The instructions told me to lay the tent out flat and assemble the shock-corded poles.  I saw that the tent had pole sleeves, but the instructions show images of the poles being crossed (in what Slumberjack calls, X - frame geometry), but not running through the pole sleeves (see image 2 on the instructions above).  I thought, "well, that's weird...," but wanted to follow the instructions. The added instructions for the Trail Tent 6 telling me to use the pole sleeves are in the text at the bottom of the first paragraph. I'm an image person. Yes, I set the poles up by myself, which was difficult, only to realize that I couldn't raise the tent correctly just by using the tent clips.  So I went back and read the instructions. Let me just say, some people are visual people and the instructions would have served me better to include the proper images for the correct tent, as well as written instructions.

Once I fed the poles through the pole sleeves, with MUCH difficulty by myself I raised the poles by half standing inside the tent and half out so that I could hold both poles at the same time to keep them from falling over. I secured the ends of the poles into the grommets on the bottom corners of the tent. I then, per instructions, clipped the upper tent clips to the tent poles (see second image above) and worked my way down the tent evenly. I did not, on this initial try out, stake the tent.  In hindsight, that may have stabilized it and allowed me to raise, bend, and secure the poles much more easily.

tent up   ridge

Image 1 above is the tent without the ridge poles.  The instructions stated to assemble the ridge poles and insert them into the ridge pole cap (see image 2 above).  I am so short that I put one end of the ridgepole into one cap, layed it over the top of the tent and then walked around to secure the other end.  Once up, the tent is very large and has convenient pockets inside the two shorter sides of the tent to hold small items, two on each side (see below).

pockets

Rain Fly
I then tackled the rain fly.  Again, because I am short, this proved to be difficult.  Plus, though Slumberjack advertised "
Color-coded clip construction for a fast and easy setup," the instructions say NOTHING about that. So, of course, after the difficulty of getting the fly on top of the tent, I put the fly on incorrectly. I had to turn it while it was on top of the tent so I wouldn't have to struggle with trying to get it back up on top again.  The color coordinated clips for the rain fly is a great idea. I just wish I'd read or seen an indication of it in the instructions. Two straps that the clips are connected to are black and two are brown (see below, the brown). Once I got the fly turned correctly, I clipped the correct colored strap onto the correct colored clip on the corner of the tent.

color   closed fly  zipper

The fly is well thought out.  There are two entrances that correspond with the two side doors. The corner of the fly, where it zips is longer to create vestibules on both sides. The bottom of the zipper closes with a hook and loop closure. There is a double zipper that zips from the top and the bottom for easy access (see image 3 above).  

open fly

I really like that I can stand up in it.  It is going to be a huge tent for just me, but one that will be useful at festivals or in situations where I might camp for longer periods of time in one place.  For me, it is way too heavy to backpack with no matter how it is advertised.

Summary

What I like
It's huge.
I can stand up in it!
It is a very simple design.
I like that the floor extends beyond the walls of the tent.

What I don't like
The instructions are really not very clear.
It is tall for me to set it up very easily.


Field Report
3 December 2013

Field Conditions and Use
This test period I went on 3 car camping trips of which one was a small burn festival. Two were in South Carolina (a total of 6 days and 4 nights) and the festival in North Carolina (3 days and 1 night).  Temperatures ranged on one South Carolina trip from 65 F (18 C) during the day to 40 F (4 C) at night.  The other SC trip was about 10 degrees warmer.  The North Carolina trip's temperatures ranged from 40 F (4 C) during the day to 30 F (0 C) at night.  On all trips there were clear skies and no wind.


Observations

Heat - The first trip was the warmest trip with lots of clear skies and sunshine. As soon as the sun hit the top of the tent, the air inside became almost unbearably hot, even though the late morning temperature outside was about 50 F (10 C).  This tent has lots of airspace and possibly all that air became heated.  Even with the tent door unzipped and the vestibule door unzipped, it was still very hot inside the tent.  That makes me worry about using this tent at a summer festival in an area with lots of bugs.  I wish someone would make a tent in which the rain fly would vent because I use a rain fly for privacy in clear weather. I will have to remember tent placement out of the sun, even in cooler weather.

Use and Set Up - Set up is so much faster when I have just one more person to help.  My set up partner was only about 4 inches (10 cm) taller than me and he commented on how difficult it was to reach the ridge poles.  He remarked, "there's no way you could have set this up by yourself!" Now that I know about the color-coordinated clips for the rain fly, it is a snap figuring how it goes on...in the daylight.  However, I wish they were VERY different colors because setting up in twilight, like I did on the second trip, or in the dark proves difficult to distinguish between brown and black.  

For the burn festival, I have these hanging shelves that help me organize all of my costumes. You can see them in the picture below.  Because the little tabs are in four corners in the top of tent, it makes the placement of the shelves cumbersome.  They hang sort of right in the middle of the tent.  I wish there were some hanger tabs closer to the walls.

shelves


Summary
This tent is great for festivals.  It can hold my cot and all my costumes. I can stand up in it, which makes it so much easier to change clothes. I'll have to remember to place it out of the sun.  It is a bear to put up by myself, though.  I hope to camp when it is windy for the next test period.  I would like to see how this big tent with all its indoor airspace behaves.

What I like
I can stand up in it!
It has lots of room.

What I don't like
It is difficult for me to put up by myself because of its and my height discrepancy.
It gets really hot in there, no matter the outside temperature if it is in the sun.
I wish the color-coordinated fasteners on the rain fly were colors that are more easily distinguished in twilight or dark.


Long Term Report
4 February 2014


Field Conditions and Use

I went on two 3 day, 2 night each car camping trips this testing period.  Both were in January on private land in South Carolina.  The first trip's temperatures averaged 50 F (10  C) during the day with some very light precipitation and mid 30s F (17 C) at night.  The second trip was freaking freezing for us southerners with temperatures in the mid 30s F (17 C) during the day and mid 20s F (11 C) at night, but clear.

Observations

I didn't really observe anything new from the field report aside from the colder temperatures on my two trips.  With that much airspace and only one person, it was very cold in the tent at night, especially on the coldest trip.  And it really did not ever heat up at night like a smaller tent does.  Once the sun hit the tent, as in the field report, it became bearable, or bare-able, whichever way you want to look at it.  :-)

There was some precipitation on the first trip this testing period. I did not use a ground tarp because the grass was fairly thick where I pitched the tent.  The floor of the tent stayed nice and dry. And I do like that the floor extends up the walls. As well, the rainfly did not leak during the night when the rain was falling hardest, though it would still be considered light rain. 

The set up went faster as before because I had a friend to help.  However, even in the daytime, distinguishing between brown and black rainfly clips is difficult if the tabs are in the shade. 

Summary


I will use this tent for summer festivals and car camping with extended stays.  It is huge and perfect for my cot and Burning Man/festival paraphernalia
I love that I can stand up in it.  The main drawback for me is that it is difficult for one person, especially this short person, to put it up alone.  As well, it may need a sunshade over it in the summer if it is not pitched in the shade because it gathers heat so quickly.

What I like
It's huge.
I can stand up in it.

What I don't like
It's difficult for one person to put up.
The rainfly color coordinated tabs are not distinguishable in twilight, darkness, or sometimes even in the shade.


This concludes my Long Term Report. Many thanks to Slumberjack and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Trail Tent 6.



Read more reviews of Slumberjack gear
Read more gear reviews by Dawn Larsen

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Slumberjack 6 person Trail Tent > Test Report by Dawn Larsen



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