Cabela's Bighorn II Tent Review
I got the Cabela’s Bighorn II tent back in spring of 2010. I did an initial introduction to it here. I’ve gotten to use it multiple times since I purchased the tent. I’ve used the tent on trips that ranged from 2 nights to 14 days in the field. I bought it used and the tent came with a vestibule, floor liner, extra stakes and guy lines, a Tundra takedown wood stove (http://www.kni-co.com/tundra.shtml), stove pipe, and a water tank. My original plan for this tent was to use it as a summer family camping tent and a fall/winter hunting tent. I’ve been able to use it for both of those scenarios and it has performed wonderfully.
Per the Cabela’s website, “It's a roomy single-wall tent made of XTC fabric that repels rain and snow with ease, and is tough enough to handle harsh foul weather. A heavy-duty steel frame ensures support to withstand wind and precipitation. The tent measures 12 ft. x 14 ft. with an 8'6" roof tapering to 5'6" sidewalls. The hexagonal design offers room for cots, gear and a stove around the sides while leaving the middle area open. Three large multiple-panel windows include zippered covers, a clear-vinyl zip-out window and a mesh screen. There are three fold-down shelves that have mesh cup holders. There's a sidewall stove jack, a storm flap and a heat-resistant insert, as well as a zippered opening in the sewn-in floor for a stove. The inverted "V" door is outfitted with a heavy-duty zipper. Includes 12" steel stakes, guy ropes and zippered storage bag. The stakes weigh 11 lbs. Tent and frame weight is 72 lbs. Imported.”
The Bighorn is nice and roomy (especially with the vestibule attached). My family of 5 fits well in it during camping trips. We usually use 3 or 4 cots and one or two kids sleep on the ground on a sleeping pad. So far this tent has served us very well on family camping trips.
For winter trips where I utilize the stove, 2 people are very comfortable, but three can fit inside the tent without much issue. The stove takes up one whole side of the tent and while there is room across from the stove for another cot, putting the coldest sleeper there is a good idea as it can be very warm right next to the stove. The vestibule allows for a small kitchen set up or has enough room to put one or two additional cots. I used the vestibule as a mud room during my 2011 Sept elk hunt to keep boots and gear protected from the weather, but out of the main tent body.
I haven’t used the tent in snow yet, but it did rain 10 straight days while scouting and hunting on my 2011 archery elk hunt. I didn’t have any leaks inside the tent. There was one spot in the vestibule where the seam wasn’t completely sealed and it dripped a few times during torrential downpours. I was extremely satisfied with the waterproofness of the tent, and felt very secure during some pretty intense thunderstorms.
The tent is pretty heavy, and takes up a good amount of space in the back of a truck. While I am able to set it up by myself, it is easier to set up with two people. I have used it for shorter 1-2 night trips with me and one or two kids, but it is really too much tent for that.
The shape of the tent is more hexagonal, and doesn’t allow for as much ‘usable’ space as a traditional square or rectangular tent. I prefer to use large sized cots inside the tent as the XL cots tend to be shin and knee busters due to the angles the cots need to be set up in from the tent floorplan.
There has only been one time I’ve had issues with condensation. It was about 20 degrees and we had the tent sealed up tight. The following nights we vented it better and didn’t have any condensation issues. We weren’t using the wood stove on that trip and instead had a small cook stove that warmed the tent up in the mornings while cooking coffee and breakfast.
The only other issue I can think of with this tent is the lack of places to hang lanterns and other items from the ceiling. There are small loops for clothes lines, but I wouldn’t want to hang too much weight from those loops. There are several internal pockets and fold down cup holders that help with organization inside the tent.
Overall, I’ve been extremely satisfied with this tent. I look forward to using it on different hunts I have coming up this year and many future years. For solo trips or times when it will just be me and one or two kids I will take a different tent with me.