The Cabela’s Orion Backpacker Tent is an entry-level backpacker tent with a stable and durable design. It’s roomy enough for two backpackers, and most importantly, the Orion has a fantastic price point for beginners on a budget.
The new for 2017 Cabela’s Orion comes in a 2-person and a 3-person version, and Cabela’s sent along a 2-person review unit for us to check out. In short, the Orion is a little heavy but it boasts great overall quality. Let’s take a closer look.
Cabela’s Orion Backpacker Tent Review: Specs
The affordable $119.99 price point for the Cabela’s Orion 2 is the tent’s best feature, but it also delivers great usability. The 88” x 57” floor doesn’t skimp on space for two adults, and it’s wide enough to handle two larger 25″ x 77″ wide backpacking sleeping pads.
The poles are 7001 aluminum and great quality for the price point. Basically, if you’re looking at a lightweight backpacking tent, you want aluminum poles (not fiberglass).
The floor and walls are made from 68-denier polyester taffeta, which means its very durable — but a little heavier than the materials used in high-end ultralight backpacking tents. So, on one hand, the tent has strong fabrics. On the other hand, it weighs twice as much as tents that cost four times as much — which, if you’re on a budget, is not a bad trade off at all.
At 5 lbs 8 oz, if you split the load with a partner backpacking, your weight per person is about 2 lbs 12 oz — that’s totally doable and acceptable for most recreational backpackers.
Cabela’s Orion Backpacker Tent Review: Easy Setup
The Cabela’s Orion 2 tent is easy to setup — it has a standard and excellent x-pole design that results in a freestanding tent. We’re big fans of freestanding backpacking tents because of the overall versatility. You can pitch a freestanding tent most anywhere.
The bright red aluminum poles fit into holes at all four corners and then arch over the tent body. Clips attach to the poles and stretch out the mesh body. The separate rain fly goes over the top.
The floor is a bathtub-type floor, which means the waterproof fabric extends up the sidewalls about 8 inches or so. This prevents moving water or side-blown water from getting your sleeping pad or sleeping bag wet.
There is one downside to the Cabela’s Orion 2 and 3-person tents: They only have one door. We prefer backpacking tents that have two doors so each occupant can easily exit in the middle of the night when nature calls. Of course, if one partner consistently sleeps through the night, this isn’t that big of a deal. However, one door also means that you have a single vestibule. Because storing your backpacking boots and maybe even your backpack underneath the vestibule keeps them dry, having only one vestibule means you might have to get creative with stacking your gear so it stays covered in a rain storm. Some backpackers use separate rain covers for their backpacks, so if you have a rain cover, there is still plenty of vestibule space for two pairs of backpacking boots.
The 1-door vs 2-door question is mostly about convenience. If you’re willing to forgo a two-door setup, the overall design and quality of the Cabela’s Orion 2 is excellent, especially considering its reasonable price point and the Cabela’s Lifetime Guarantee.
For causal backpacking, the Orion is a competitive tent . . . but we actually prefer the similar Cabela’s Axis backpacking tent over the Orion if your budget can creep up another $50 or so. Why? The Axis has two doors and two vestibules and its pole system is designed to provide a bit more verticality in the sidewalls, which makes the tent feel roomier on the inside. Still, we wouldn’t hesitate to ride out a backcountry rainstorm in either tent.