Up until this last year, to be quite honest, the closest thing I had bought to a car camping tent, let alone the Cabela's Alaknak was.... well nothing. I had a passed down coleman 10x10 that barely stood up in the sun, let alone any weather, but that was it. Normally all of my gear purchases are tailored for carrying in a pack, and I would spare little to no money for any sort of other "camping" gear.
Last fall that changed, albeit primarily for work. For those of you who don't know, I work in the woods conducting timber surveys among other contract forestry jobs. In the fall and spring both, I spend a good deal of time working out of town. Last year I decided to forgo the borrowed trailer and RV park that I had been using, and instead pick up a wall tent.Now, some will probably say the alaknak isn't a wall tent, but.... well, whatever. It's a wall tent in my eyes. Anyway, long story short, I looked at a lot of options and ended up deciding to buy a 12x12 Alaknak and a wood stove to accompany it. I also bought the roof panel protector.
My first criteria was setting up the tent by myself. There was no way I could compromise on this one. I work most of the time by myself and would be staying alone for weeks at a time. I needed to be able to setup and break down the tent every week to 10 days as I worked and moved through areas. In theory just about any tent can be setup with 1 guy, but the Alaknak is easier than some others. With the outer poles and the one load bearing center pole (at least in my 12x12), setup by yourself is straightforward and not overwhelming. There is no massive frame to drag a big tent body over.
The second reason I picked up the Alaknak from Cabela's over some other options was my timeline. I came back from several weeks of archery hunting last fall and had a two day turn around to leave for another 6 weeks. This really limited what I could get my hands on, but these tents are in stock on the shelf at Cabela's. I checked the availability online and literally bought the tent on my way back out of town. I set it up that night for the first time and stayed in it for the next 40 days straight.
This tent still may not be cheap necessarily, but I do think its a great deal for what you get. When you sit down and consider that the Alaknak comes with a floor and poles, its actually quite cost effective compared to a canvas wall tent. It also packs quite a bit better in terms of storage space.
Use and Thoughts
So by now I've spent over 60 nights in this tent since last October when I bought it, and I honestly don't have anything bad to say about it that I can think of. Its s synthetic tent, but its still burly, weighing in at well over 60 lbs.
With all the guylines pinned down, it can take a lot of weather. I actually took it winter camping even back in January with temps around 0 degrees at night. I kept the stove going, and in doing so never even zipped up my sleeping bag at night. It held the foot of snow we got without concern, and made for a great weekend. I also had it in a couple rainstorms where the ground flooded. With standing water under the floor it still never leaked in to the tent.
I really have enjoyed every part of using this tent, and will be taking my Alaknak again this spring instead of a camping trailer. It's just a plain awesome tent, and so far looks pretty much as good as new (minus a little dirt). The hardest part about it honestly is drying it out before you go to store it for a while. I look forward to using it for many nights, and many years to come.
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