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The Big Agnes Big House 4 Deluxe tent blends excellent quality with ultralight materials, creating a roomy tent with vertical side walls that is still very packable: The Big House 4 Deluxe tent weighs in at about 11 pounds — perfect for small car camping.
Big Agnes is most well known for its high-quality ultralight backpacking tents, but the company has been making larger camping tents for years. To get us a closer look at the new Big House 4 Deluxe, Big Agnes sent us a review unit. This is what we learned:
Big Agnes Big House 4 Deluxe Tent Review
Let’s start with the poles, which are made from a lightweight and durable aluminum, which is a positive indicator of the overall tent’s quality. (Not all tent designs require aluminum poles, but you usually only find aluminum poles in higher quality tents that manufacturers are proud of.)
The poles basically x-cross over the top of the main rectangle portion of the tent, connecting through sleeves at the top, which is also a durable design. The sidewalls clip onto the poles. I was able to erect this tent myself without any trouble, but first-timers could likely use an extra hand or two to help lift the tent after you place three ends of the poles at their respective corners.
The floor is 7.5 feet x 8 feet, which will fit four people using smaller sleeping pads with ease. If you’re camping with kids, you might have room for an extra kid or dog at your feet. If you want even more room — for instance, if you want to use larger air mattresses or camping cots — take a look at the 6-person Big House 6 Deluxe.
The interior height is 5’8″ in the 4-person model while the 6-person option rises up to 6’6″ in the center.
Big Agnes Big House 4 Deluxe Tent: Plenty of Pockets!
Inside, Big Agnes gives you ten interior mesh pockets and two bin pockets that function kind of like bedside tables. Plus, some of the sidewall pockets are suitable for tablets like the Apple iPad. There is more, though, when it comes to organization: You’ll find several loops up high around the tent that you can use to attach gear lofts (sold separately or bring your own).
You can also use these loops for the Big Agnes MtnGLO Tent & Camp Lights accessory, which is kind of cool and offers a lot of even lighting inside the tent — or outside hung over an eating area.
The two doors have large zippered openings with mesh-covered windows that zip open for extra ventilation. The front door also has a very handy loop that you can use to stash the door off to the side. It’s fast and so easy that kids can figure it out — no fumbling for toggles here.
The main body of the tent is polyester along the walls, which then transitions to a mostly mesh ceiling, which is great for airflow.
The full-coverage rain fly has color-coded buckles to help you figure out where the corners go. Once you have it oriented correctly, you’ll want to use the velcro tabs that wrap around the tent poles. This will connect the rain fly to the main body of tent, which you want if you get any wind. And speaking of wind, you definitely want to stake this tent down and use the guylines. Technically you don’t have to, but this is a tall, high-profile tent — just stake it down and you won’t be sorry if a windy afternoon thunderstorm kicks up. Once it’s staked out, it’s much sturdier and should be capable of handling some decent wind gusts. If you know you’re camping up high or on a beach with serious sustained wind, I’d recommend that you go with a dome-based design with more poles — like the Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6.
1-person setup: Postion three pole ends in corners, lift with the fourth.
Our favorite camping tents — and the Big House is one of them — typically have large vestibules, which are basically sections of a tent that are outside of the main body but are still covered and connected to the main tent rain fly. They’re great for storing gear, muddy shoes, camp stoves and coolers to keep them out of the sun — and whatever other gear you might want to keep out of sight when you leave your camp to go fishing or hiking.
The Big Agnes Big House 4 Deluxe doesn’t automatically include a vestibule, but you can add one as an accessory. It’s called the Big House 4 Accessory Vestibule. It adds about two pounds to the total weight of your tent system, but you gain 32 square feet of space. Is it worth the extra cost? We think so — like I said, we’re big vestibule fans. Of course, if your budget doesn’t permit it, you don’t have to get the vestibule right away — or ever. On the one hand, it sucks that Big Agnes doesn’t include it — but on the other hand, it’s great that you can nab the main tent for a lower cost if you don’t want the vestibule. If your budget is tight, this lets you get into a higher quality tent this year . . . and then maybe upgrade it with the vestibule next year. (The overall quality of this tent should last you many seasons of typical camping use.)
Big Agnes Big House 4 Deluxe: Any Cons?
There is only one small con to the Big Agnes Big House 4 Deluxe and that’s the coverage of the rain fly design around the front door — because the tent is designed to let you use a vestibule or avoid one altogether, there is no built-in vestibule for the main tent. If you’re camping in the rain, this means you don’t have a large coverage area to drop your shoes or shelter the door area if the weather is bad. If you mostly camp in great weather during the summer, this is barely a con at all . . . but if you 3-season camp, you probably want to spring for the add-on vestibule to give you extra protection.
Big Agnes Big House 4 Deluxe: The Verdict
The Big Agnes Big House 4 Deluxe is a fantastic camping tent. It’s great for small families and it ramps up to a 6-person version that’s just as good, if not better than the already roomy 4-person version. The vertical sidewalls make the interior feel roomy and open, and if you’re camping with kids, you’ll definitely appreciate the many mesh pockets, as well as the ability to stand up and move around inside the tent.
Finally, we have to say, the “Green Leaf” version is just a sweet and jaunty design. If you appreciate a tent color scheme that evokes a good time, wow, the “Green Leaf” version looks great. And how about that built-in welcome mat? It does a surprisingly good job of setting the tone for a good camping experience. Even if you are the kind of guy who initially thought it was kind of cheesy — like me — you might be surprised when you end up appreciating not only its function but the point it makes, too.
All-in-all, the Big Agnes Big House 4 Deluxe camping tent is lightweight but roomy, durable and designed for straightforward livability. With the add-on vestibule it transforms from a very good tent into an awesome tent. The build quality is excellent, so this tent should last through many outings. If you want to use cots or bigger air mattresses, the 6-person version will give you a bit more sprawling room. Highly recommended.