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 (, 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.  


  1. Great review. I found your site while I was researching these different tents. I've been looking at this one and the Alaknak. This seems like a very good tent. My biggest concern was with rain and snow as I am used to tents having a rain fly on them. This was very helpful. People giving reviews like these are what is very helpful to the rest of us.

    By the way great background on your blog!

  2. Thank you! From talking to people who have the Alaknak, I think it might be a little easier to set up, and possibly have more usable floor space with it being square/rectangular, but I've also heard that water can collect in the corners if not pitched tight. When I was looking for a tent I was considering the Bighorn and Alaknak also, but really couldn't pass up this tent when I found it. The fabric has done well in the rain, and I expect it would do pretty well in the snow also, as long as snow isn't allowed to build up on it.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!


  3. You are lucky to have owned a huge, high-quality tent for camping! Thanks for posting this good review. Have you tried using car rentals too?

  4. I just purchased one and would like to know if there are better instructions for set up on the internet. I have been told that its difficult for a one person set up. I will be hunting by myself and wanted a tent that had enough room for one person plus gear. I also wanted to know if there is any preventive maintenance that should be done prior going to the outdoors. I could use some information.

  5. Gil, congrats on your purchase! I hope you get as much enjoyment out of your tent as I have mine. I haven't found any better instructions anywhere. It just takes a few times of setting it up to get the hang of it.

    It is very possible to set it up by yourself. Just takes a few minutes longer to do, and you may need to stake out the front and/or back and go back and restake them out tighter after getting the middle overhead pole clipped in and in place.

    I believe the tent is ready to go right out of the box in regards to sealed seams. The first setup will require you to add some guy lines to the guy line points. That will take some extra time for the first setup. Putting some reflective flagging tape on those will help to keep you from tripping on them at night.

    The only 'maintenance' I've done on mine over the last few years is to patch a couple of small pinholes in the roof that embers burned through when using the stove. I've also had to re-apply seam sealer to a couple of spots I found some drips. No big deal really, considering how many nights I've stayed in the tent the last few years. I always make sure I fully dry the tent before storing long term. Here in AZ that usually isn't a big deal, but I could see it being a bigger issue in other parts of the country.

    I'd highly recommend the floor liner if you haven't purchased it yet. It is very nice to just unhook the liner, bunch up, and then shake out all the dirt outside the tent. Probably collects 90% of the dirt and other stuff that gets tracked in the tent.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions that I might be able to answer.


  6. Gil. Great review. Our hunting party got this tent about 18 months ago and we have lived in it of over a month. From 25 mile SE of Mt McKinley to the north slope about 50 miles from Deadhorse. It have been the best tent I have ever had or slept in. First year we did not have the vestibule but last month we did. It made a big difference. Thanks again Jon


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