Big Agnes Big House 6 Deluxe Tent: A Long Term Review
Penny and I lived in our Big Agnes Big House 6 Deluxe tent for just over ten months. That breaks down into about 300 days of using and trying not to abuse our beloved Big Agnes Big House 6 Deluxe tent.
Full disclaimer: This is NOT a tent designed for long-term living. Penny and I took a chance on the Big House Deluxe to see how it would hold up to prolonged use. Big Agnes is an amazing company with excellent customer support but if you choose to live out of a polyester tent like this for 300 days you really shouldn’t hassle them about any warranty repairs. That being said, having lived out of this thing for almost a year I can tell you with confidence that you probably won’t need to call them about much of anything.
The Big House 6 Deluxe tent (2017 version) is an impressive and beautiful three season tent. We received many compliments from friends, family and total strangers during our travels. Our picture of it at Yosemite National Park was one of our most popular Instagram posts.
The head room is this tent is definitely “deluxe.” Penny, who is six feet tall, could easily stand up and move around. The walls are vertical enough that nearly all the floor space (75 sq. ft) is usable. We were even able to fit a queen sized air mattress into the Big House Deluxe and still have some room on the sides and a decent chunk of space at the foot.
Penny does want to point out that as a taller person while the height of the tent was great, she still had to do a lot of stooping to unzip the much shorter doors.
On the slightly taller main door, there was a strange point of tension on the upper right hand corner of the zipper. It appeared to be caused by an overly taut part of the fabric directly to the right of the door. If you plan on using this tent infrequently it will probably be fine but since we used the tent for such a long period of time this “tight spot” was frustrating and ultimately led to a failed zipper.
In order to mitigate the problem, we tried to pitch the tent differently but the fabric was still too tight in that one spot. It may be a design flaw or we may have received a defective tent. Regardless, if you keep your zippers clean and are gentle with them they should be fine. We used a zipper cleaner / lubricant from M Essentials to keep the small nylon teeth on all our zippers as clean as possible.
Since we were living in this tent, we used it to lay around and watch our favorite shows. Big Agnes advertises “side wall pockets sized for i-pads” as a tent feature! We were happy to find that if you propped an iPad into the gear pocket and you maximized the screen brightness you can easily view videos through the thin white mesh. Not only was the white mesh great for watching videos but it really helped in quickly identified whatever other gear you stowed in the pockets. We wish more tent manufacturers thought of these things when designing their shelters.
Specs and Sizing
At 14 pounds packed, including the footprint, this tent is not for ultra-light crowd. It is meant to be a car-camping tent for a couple or small family who really want a lot of space. Big Agnes advertises this as a 6 person tent but, as is common in the outdoor industry, they’re overly ambitious with their estimates.
See below for the crammed configuration they require for six adults to fit into this tent.
In our camping experiences, we comfortably fit four adults, their gear, and one dog in the tent. All adults slept with their heads facing the same direction and we had enough room to turn around without bumping into each other.
The tent is easily broken down so that if you and your backpacking partners want to break up the pieces between your packs it wouldn’t be too heavy. If you split the weight between 4 people you’re only looking at 3.5 pounds each.
We knew that the California sun would beat down on our rainfly and destroy the waterproofing in spite of the factory UV protectant applied by Big Agnes. Penny and I took measures to prolong the life of our rainfly and used Nikwax TX.Direct and Nikwax tent and Gear Solarproof sprays. Both of these products are recommended by Big Agnes and were found at our local REI store. Unfortunately in this case, since the Big House 6 Deluxe is such a large tent you’ll need a lot to throughly apply each product and that can get expensive.
Our rainfly worked perfectly for the first six months or so we had it outside which is actually a very good length of time for polyester. Penny and I weathered heavy rain and the tent floor and rainfly held fast, keeping us and all our possessions dry. Big Agnes tape all the seams and create the polyester rainfly and the floor with a 1500mm waterproof polyurethane coating. For the price of the tent we would have liked to see the bathtub floor coated with 3000mm polyurethane coating but with a properly positioned footprint you’ll probably be fine.
The Big House 6 Deluxe held up surprisingly well to strong winds. In Southern California, we get what are known as the Santa Ana winds, nicknamed the “Devil Winds.” On average, gusts are 46 MPH but can reach as high as 92 MPH. Due to where we pitched our tent we didn’t receive gusts at nearly that level but, in spite of its high-profile shape, the Big House 6 Deluxe did hold up to winds in excess of 20 MPH.
Unfortunately, the rainfly merely sits on top of the tent (with a small buffer to prevent the fabric from touching) and so there is no way to truly seal the tent from strong windy weather and a huge layer of dust found its way into our test. I imagine if there was heavy winds along with rain the inside of the tent would be wet, too.
- Spacious with a high ceiling
- Breathable polyester
- Stands up better than expected to strong winds
- Easy to pitch and tear down with color coded assembly
- Durable and water-proof
- Customer Support is top-notch
- The carrying bag design is great!
- Easy to see at night
- Plenty of space, pockets, and loops for gear
- Made in China
- Some taut areas cause tight spots for the zippers
- Guy-lines pulled apart like paper towels after only 30 days in the sun.
- Bathtub floor could have better polyurethane treatment
- In high winds, dust or rain *will* get in your tent because there is no way to really keep the elements completely out
- Bees don’t see a tent – they see a giant yellow flower and are determined to get inside
We highly recommend the Big Agnes Big House 6 Deluxe tent as a 3-season car camping tent that will comfortably fit up to four people. This tent is made of good quality materials and the staff at Big Agnes are cheerful, knowledgable, helpful, and dependable.
We were not paid in any way for these reviews and recommendations. All of these items were purchased with our own money. We strongly prefer to shop locally when and where possible. If you do, however, decide to to purchase an item via the links provided we will earn a small percentage and be immensely grateful for your support.
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