I was looking for a tent to go camping with my teenage son for long weekends and this one caught my eye. I wanted to know how it would stand up to a lot of moving about as well as the kind of weather it would withstand. There are many different qualities people look for in a tent, so if you are thinking of buying, there is more you should know before making a decision.
We examine each of the important points, look at some minor side issues and see how they measure up in this detailed review.
Table of Contents
|1. Size |
2. Suitable Mattress
3. Weather proof – for 3 seasons
4. Wind and Rain
6. Winter Weather
7. Insects and bugs
8. Ventilation and windows (see the sky)
10. Easy for one to set up
11. Dimensions when packed
12. General comfort for different scenarios
15. Out of the box
19. Pros & Cons
20 Common Opinions-Consumer Reviews
21 Consumer Ratings
This is described as a 3 person tent and, as is often the case, is more suited to two adults. This is due in part to the sloping walls making the head room at the edges minimal. When there are only two this allows some space for stowing gear.
This tent would be a tight fit for 3 people unless the gear can be stowed outside the tent.
That said, if you’re looking for a tent for a kids’ adventure, about 4 nine-year olds, or even 5 little ones can sleep in this tent. It’s pretty good if you want to take your dog too, even a fairly large dog will leave enough room for two adults to sleep comfortably. This, of course depends on the size of the people – if one of you is tall, you might want to reserve the middle area to allow maximum length to stretch the legs. Sleeping diagonally can help tall people and leaves triangular storage each side.
As for head-room, at 48″ high this tent is not meant for standing up or walking about but it is adequately roomy when sitting or kneeling so that you don’t feel squashed.
A couple of thermarests(TM) will fit comfortably side by side, but if you like an air mattress or a cot you would risk touching the walls of the tent – not good if it’s damp.
A single air mattress will fit, but although you can get a queen sized air mattress inside, it would take up too much space and be a very tight fit so is not recommended.
This versatile tent should serve you well for most camping expeditions with a risk of stormy weather or light rain. If you should be caught in an overnight thunder storm or a heavy down-pour many people have reported that you will stay snug and dry throughout.
The fly sheet creates a small vestibule where you can leave your boots and the integrated mud mat that helps to keep the tent clean inside and has a drainage strip.
The domed shape stands up to strong wind when properly staked down.
Always fit the fly-sheet if there is any risk of rain, and although it looks quite small, it does a good job of deflecting the rain unless you encounter a strong sideways gust. A reminder to carefully choose which way your doors are facing!
The manufacturer claims that this Wenzel Alpine 8.5 X 8-Feet dome tent is waterproof and many consumers report successfully keeping dry in wet weather.
As ever, it is advisable to put the tent up and apply seam sealing before venturing out, even though many have stated that they have never done so and it has remained leak-free.
Video wind test
[vidrocket href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VEmwPV9RnI” width=”560″ height=”315″/]
The tub-style floor welded to the wall fabric keeping it above ground level and is made from tough polyethylene. It is not removable.
The fabric of this tent is very light and is not designed to keep you warm in winter conditions. Users have been camping in temperatures of 35 – 40 degrees F using warmer sleeping bags and extra clothing or blankets and sleeping on a cot off the ground.
Unless you are prepared to suffer some cold, this is not the tent for deep winter camping.
All the openings have a fine enough mesh to keep out even small insects, but be sure to close it up immediately as you go in and out to avoid the rotten little opportunists!
The mesh covered windows and D-style door offer options for keeping the tent well ventilated. The windows are small and condensation can be a problem, even in warm weather, unless the doorway is also used for ventilation. A few users advise keeping a towel to dry the inside in the morning! The extent of the problem does depend on the level of privacy required. If you close everything down you will probably get condensation.
In dry weather you can leave off the rain fly adding yet more ventilation and giving you that delightful pleasure of seeing the night sky.
This is a light weight tent at under 8 pounds and is easy to carry strapped to a back-pack in the supplied duffel bag. This bag also has straps to carry by.
This Wenzel tent is very easy to set up in about 10 minutes or less, even for one person. There two poles for the main construction and a third for the fly. A pair of handy young boys can manage it as well as a healthy middle-aged woman! Of course, it is easier still with two people and more fun too!
It’s easy to pack up too. Instructions are sewn into the bag and are water proof.
The supplied carrying case and is about 8″ to 12″ in diameter and about 20″ long. The case has a carry strap.
A gear loft at the top for smaller items, a hanging pocket and the decent carry bag with strong straps add to the comfort of using this tent.
The ease with which this tent can be pitched and taken down makes it a good choice for campers who like to move around. If you are touring by car or motorbike, you don’t want to lose time with chores and if you arrive at your night time stop later than expected, you won’t be faced with a problem before settling in.
Several users have been backpacking with this tent and say it was light and small to carry – although I wouldn’t want to carry it too far in a day, along with all the other gear!
The sturdy construction of this tent makes it a popular choice for activities with scouts and other outdoor adventures with children. It’s easy for beginners and many have learned to love the outdoor life with this tent.
It cannot be called a family tent for static camping over a long period, but a small family or a couple with a dog can certainly use this tent for stop-overs on long journeys.
Solo campers, on the other hand, have made long trips into the wild using this tent.
The tent is freestanding without stakes for use in the back yard or indoors in a play room – you can pick it up and move it around easily.
Always stake in down though, when camping in the open country or in a camp site. The stakes that come with the tent are metal, but quite small. You might find that longer stakes than those supplied will serve better in soft ground, especially when it’s likely to be windy.
This tent with a pentagonal construction is made with Weather Armor™ fabric has a polyurethane, water resistant coating and is UV resistant. It has double stitched, lap-feld seams and a welded floor. The material is light but tough and should give years of service.
It has a fiberglass frame of 3 poles that are flexible in wind.
Wenzel is a long established company providing outdoor gear with the emphasis on ease and comfort. They have been in business for over 120 years and have a reputation for adapting to modern needs and desires.
The tent is supplied with all that is needed to set off on your camping adventure. Stakes, flysheet and carry bag are included.
A set of longer stakes might come in handy and a hanging led lamp would be useful too.
Spares: Tent poles are available from Wenzel for approximately 5-7 years from the date of manufacture
Base: 8.5 by 8 feet
Center height: 48 inches
Interior space: 49 square feet
Door: Dutch D-style
Floor: Welded polyethylene
Frame: Fiberglass (with pole pockets)
Carrying weight: 8 pounds
Color: Light Grey/Blue/Gold
Suitable for backpacking or backyard
Size of: 8′ 6″ x 8′ with a center height of 4′
Easy set-up, 3-pole pentadome tent with removable rain fly
Middle pole creates vestibule for gear storage and weather protection
Shock corded fiberglass frame poles
Quick and easy setup
Integrated mud mat with drainage
Sonic-sealed polyethylene tub-style floor
2-side zippered windows for added airflow when desired
Includes ground stakes, gear loft, hanging storage pocket and storage duffle
Sleeps 3 (read notes about this)
Easy to set up and take down
Withstands strong wind
Freestanding when needed
Good carry bag
Roomy for two people
A tight fit for three people
Condensation can be a problem, the windows are small
Supplied stakes may need to be replaced with longer ones in some situations
Not tall enough for adult to stand upright
Unsuitable for freezing winter weather
Almost everyone who expresses an opinion on the size says that the tent is unsuitable for three full adults as it leaves no room for gear. These same people sing its praise, as far as space is concerned, for one or two people!
A large proportion of reviewers had no problem with wet weather although a few were badly affected by condensation. The light weight and ease of carrying this tent is often commented on, together with exclamations of delight at the ease of pitching the tent.
Some users feel the poles are too thin. I have not set a great deal of store by this opinion as no problem was reported relating to this.
A small number of users said that the poles were delivered broken. There is no evidence to support the idea that this is a manufacturing problem, and they were able to send them back for refund or replacement.
As there is some mention that the ‘blue’ color is more ‘purple’ than the picture this indicated that the color may be variable.
There is a very high occurrence of 4 -5 star ratings over several years for this tent.
This is a quality tent in the medium price range made by an old and reputable company, so once you decide that the size and features are the right thing for your kind of camping, it should serve you well for a long time. The sturdy quality and versatility of the Wenzel Alpine 8.5 X 8-Feet Dome Tent is why I think it is good value for money