Columbia 6 Person Dome Tent Review

I work as a forest ranger and love spending time in the woods with my family.  We’ve been having trouble finding a tent that fits our family without being too huge, but the Columbia 6 Person Dome Tent fits our needs perfectly.  It sleeps five people, which means it has room for my wife and I and our three kids without sprawling all over most of our campsite.  This tent is a dream for the organizationally minded.  It has two foot lockers in front that make for the perfect spot to store boots.  The tent stays clean and the shoes stay dry.  There are also four pocket organizers, multiple cup holders, and a gear loft. Keeping a family’s worth of stuff organized while camping can be hard, but we’ve been able to keep our valuables out from underfoot very easily.

Rain is always a possibility while camping, but this tent has stood up admirably to whatever Mother Nature has dished out.  The Cyclone Venting System keeps us from getting too stuffy while the GoBe Dry System keeps the wet outside.  If we’re stuck inside on a rainy day there’s plenty of room for us to stand up and move around – none of that lying down to get changed stuff!  Finally, the tent is easy to get up and down in a hurry: the color coded fiberglass poles and sleeves make a two-person setup a snap.

Pros:

  • Ample Storage: I cannot tell you how many pairs of sunglasses I have stepped on over the years because they’ve been left on the tent floor.  The Bugaboo II takes care of this problem by offering multiple storage options.  The pockets keep all of our debris clean and off of the floor, and the foot lockers mean there’s no excuse for tracking dirt into the tent.  My youngest is famous for spilling a nearly full bottle of water nearly every trip, but cup holders make these accidents much less likely.
  • Very Roomy: This tent is perfectly sized for a family of five.  We can fit a queen and a full air mattress in it with room left over for gear.  It was comfortable for all of us to hang out in during a downpour but not so big that it completely dominates a campsite.
  • Superb Ventilation: The ventilation in the Bugaboo II is fantastic.  Even with the rain fly on the tent stays airy and clear smelling.  It seemed to pick up every little breeze on hot days yet still kept the rain out when the skies were less than friendly.  No matter what the weather we were comfortable.
  • Easy Setup: The color coded poles and sleeves make setup a breeze.  In fact, it’s so easy we sometimes let the older kids set it up while we tend to other matters (or just sit back and relax). The tent fits smoothly back into the bag and the poles straighten out easily even after very long trips.

Cons:

  • One Season Tent: Because the ventilation is so good this tent doesn’t hold up quite so well during spring and autumn camping.  The cold air gets in very easily and makes for a somewhat uncomfortable time.  This hasn’t bothered us too much because the kids don’t get out of school until it’s warm enough to use the tent, and I’d imagine most families who would use it would be in the same position.
  • Stakes May Not Be Strong Enough: The stakes didn’t seem as though they might hold up to repeated use.  The rest of the frame worked beautifully, though, so it was easy to mix in stakes from another tent we had.  It was a great way to recycle old parts and they worked just fine.

The Columbia 6 Person Dome Tent is the perfect tent for camping trips with my family.  It has just enough room for the five of us and keeps all of our items safe and organized.  It goes up easy, keeps dry, and is comfortable no matter what the weather.  We’ve had several happy camping trips with it so far and are looking forward to bringing it out for another season.  Definitely recommended big tents for camping for families who are looking to get a little closer to nature.

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