If we had to pick a definite winner in today’s commercial tents market, it would be Big Agnes. This company has amazed us over and over again each and every year with its new models which always come with the newest technologies implemented in them. The Flying Diamond series is much more than just a couple of tents, though. They offer you spacious designs, quality materials, and most importantly – all that at a price which all families can afford. The 8 person tent from this series can be used as anything from an Everest base camp tent, through a dining room for huge camps, all the way to a two-room, all-season condo made for your family to relax in it.
Our Verdict: The Big Agnes is in a class all its own. It’s able to withstand a wide range of weather conditions, offers plenty of storage options, and it’s easy to set up and break down. The one major drawback is the fact that it can actually only accommodate six people, not eight. While you would be able to squeeze eight people inside the tent, it wouldn’t really leave much room to store your gear. While the tent fails as an eight-person tent, it’s the perfect choice for four to six people who want to camp out in style.
Product Overview And Features
The Flying Diamond Eight is a best-selling model that offers protection from the elements in a spacious tent that will keep you nice and dry in the fall and winter, and cool and dry in the spring and summer. In regard to what type of weather this tent can handle, it’s actually pretty versatile. The insulation will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Additionally, the dual doors allow you to keep the air circulating, preventing the inside of the tent from becoming stuffy and encouraging condensation.
Aside from a large interior, the storage space this tent offers is one of the biggest reasons this model is so popular. Want to stay organized on your trip? Do you often bring too much camping gear? The two included vestibules will provide more than enough space to store your clothing, food, and supplies.
As you can see, this is a tent that has it all.
One of the first points that we want to hit on is that this tent is big. And when we say “big”, we really mean it. Let’s take a closer look at its characteristics and dimensions now.
Doors, Vestibules, Dimensions
The Flying Diamond 8 has two doors strategically placed at both sides of the tent. This not only allows for great ventilation properties of the tent but also allow a better flow when people start going in and out. This feature, combined with the actual two vestibules (or two rooms), creates an environment close to having two tents glued to each other.
Just think about it – you will no longer have to crawl over the other sleeping campers when going out early in the morning or getting back in late at night from the campfire party. You can just take the door closer to your sleeping bag and all this while not waking up everyone.
The two-vestibule design allows for more people to sleep in this tent. However, the second compartment can be used as a variety of other things such as a storage area for all your backpacks. If it’s raining the smaller compartment can be used as a transition zone where all the wet stuff is being left to dry out.
There are other tents which have similar spacious designs and are even cheaper like the Coleman Tenaya Lake Tent but the build quality and the overall material quality which Big Agnes has invested in this tent cannot be surpassed.
The doors here have two closure options. First one is a zip up door made from mesh which sole purpose is ventilation. The other one is a door made entirely from polyester to offer the maximum level of water and wind protection.
Pro Tip: You can use the smaller vestibule as a shade using trekking poles.
We tested this tent out in the open a lot of times and we can surely say it is a perfect 3+ season tent. It can withstand cold weather better than any other tent, as well as boiling hot weather. All this comes due to its great insulation and ventilation. If you want the tent to be fully protected from wind and outside temperatures you can achieve that quite easily pulling a few zippers. In the summer or hot spring camping days, with its windows and doors opened the tent feels both spacious, has great lighting, and never gets too hot inside.
The positioning of the doors prevents moisture build-up as well, which is a very annoying aspect of some tents, especially during night time.
If some of the hikers want to sleep on open windows you can use a fabric wall that comes with the tent to separate the two vestibules from one another. That way, everybody gets what they want.
There are a total of six fly vents at the top of the tent which further improve the ventilation.
The tent’s highly breathable design is perfect for the early fall, spring, and summer months. If you’re looking for a tent that can handle camp outs in the winter, this model is also a great choice. When locked down tight, the extra-thick insulated walls will keep you nice and dry, and warm at night.
Materials And Overall Construction
As we already said a few times, the design and architecture on this tent are impeccable. The fly and floor are made from ripstop polyester which is a great plus in our books. They have a 1500mm waterproof coating as well (polyurethane, as in the other tents we’ve reviewed).
The body of the tent is made of breathable polyester along with polyester mesh parts. All the seams are taped with waterproof tape. What attaches the tent’s body to the DAC pole frame are plastic clips and sleeves.
Want to learn more about the other 4 best tents on today’s market? Head over to our full Buyer’s Guide!
The genius designers over at Big Agnes thought about all the small items that you bring along as well. They made built-in storage compartments and loft mounted gear loops all over the inside of the tent.
The bag in which the tent goes looks like a briefcase and can be easily carried, since it doesn’t weigh too much (24 lbs.). There is a shoulder strap on the bag, so you can put it with the rest of the equipment on your back.
What adds to the lightweight construction of this tent is the lightweight aluminum pole structure. Aluminum is a material which is both sturdy and lightweight, making it ideal for such purposes.
Setting It Up
Setting up this tent really showed us why it is winning the instant tent category. The press fit connectors, plastic clips and tent sleeves attach it to the main pole frame which is constructed in roughly 5 minutes (by two people). All the pole ends, webbing, and buckles are color coded which makes things really easy. Once you follow the instructions guide once, all the other times you will be setting this tent up could be done with closed eyes. There is no guessing or confusion about what goes where like in some other “instant” tents on the market.
We tried setting up the tent by a single person, but it took a little more time since the overall footprint of the tent is quite big. Still, it is possible but far less fun if done alone.
If all the insane features of this tent haven’t been enough, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of it. That might put things easier into perspective for you:
- Lightweight construction
- Beautiful design
- Great ventilation
- Withstands heavy winds and extreme colds
- Can take up all the gear you can think of
- Easily holds 5-6 people at the same time
- High-quality materials
- Easy to carry around when not deployed
- Some customers have issues with the zippers (rarely)
- Cannot fit 8 people, as advertised, without it being far too cramped up inside