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 10×10 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 12×12 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 12×12), 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.