When we moved we got rid of most of our camping equipment, so we had to start over. Since this sand-camping was new to us we decided to start cheap with a cabin tent we bought at, of all places, a grocery store – Aldi. If you don’t have an Aldi nearby you are missing out. They have good stuff at good prices. More about that later.
So, we bought this cabin tent for about $70. Compared to other tents out there it’s on the low end pricewise, so I really wasn’t expecting much. But I did read a few reviews and they were mostly positive, so we took the plunge. In short, it was a good decision because it’s a good, value-priced tent that has performed well for us. Let me tell you about it.
Size: This is an 8 x 10 cabin tent – it’s big – and tall. I’m about 6 feet and I can stand up in the middle of it. It comes with a divider curtain that can be installed to divide it into 2 areas or rooms. There was more than enough room for my wife and I, and 2 larger dogs.
Material and Construction: More than suitable for our use. The seams are taped. For a $70 tent it is well-made.
Poles: The poles are fiberglass with stretch-cord. They are thin, but work well. My only complaint about them is they are cumbersome, especially the 2 main cross poles which are long and a hassle to install. Having 2 people helps. It’s what I would expect from an inexpensive tent.
Setup: Setup is easy the second or third time. Not much different than any other cabin-style tent, I guess. The biggest hassle is the poles, which I mentioned above.
Performance: We used the tent 3 times this year and are satisfied with it. It’s lasted one season of light camping and I expect it will last at least another, if not many more. I was most impressed with it on one trip where we had heavy winds. The tent held up fine in 15 – 20 mph sustained winds coming off the water. At one point we were woken up by a sudden gust at 3AM that rattled the tent, but did no more. Our pop-up canopy however, was nearly destroyed. Fortunately we caught it in time.
One other issue I should mention is blowing sand. On one trip the beach was extremely dry and powdery. This fine sand was being blown continuously and managed to filter it’s way through the screens and into the tent, leaving us and everything inside coated in a light layer of dust. It was hot so we had the window flaps open.
The tent has not been rain tested yet. I suspect it will stay reasonable dry as it comes with a fly and the seams are taped. Time will tell.
Summary: For $70 bucks it’s a great buy. We’ll use it a few years and then look for something else – maybe a pop-up camper. But for anyone looking for a good value-priced tent, I highly recommend this one.
UPDATE August 2017: We are still using this tent and it is proving satisfactory. Again, for a value-priced tent it’s well built and has held up well to about a dozen camping trips. Still recommended.