- May 1, 2015 at 6:58 pm #1328510
I recently purchased a Big Sky Chinook 2P tent and thought I'd post a brief review after using it for a few nights in Southern Utah.
From another thread (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=102274&skip_to_post=867477#867477), here are the options I went with and the weights on my scale:
Outer shell: Supr-Sil UL fabric, weight = 17.9 oz
Inner: mesh inner, weight = 16.5 oz
2 Poles: UL aluminum 17-in poles, weight for the pair = 11.0 oz
3rd Pole: heavy-duty aluminum, weight = 7.4 oz
Pole splicer: weight = 0.3 oz
Edit to add some dimensions (measurement accuracy is about +/- 1 inch):
Width of fly at head end: 54''
Width of fly at foot end: 48''
Width of inner tent at head end: 52''
Width of inner tent at foot end: 48''
Length of fly (measured from center at head to center at foot): 94''
Length of inner (measured form center at head to center at foot): 92''
Peak height of fly: 44''
Peak height of inner: 42.5''
The tent requires a minimum of 6 stakes (2 for the head end, 2 for the foot end, and 1 for each vestibule/door); however, there are an additional 8 tie-outs which you can optionally deploy for heavy wind giving a total of 14 stake-out points.
Here are some pictures:
The fly comes very close to the ground:
It has a very deep bathtub floor:
Plenty of room for the dog and I (dog is 50 lbs). The mesh inner has some huge pockets:
Fly and mesh inner are in the MYOG blue stuff sack (which can be compressed to about 2/3 or less of the volume shown):
My first night of using the tent involved setting it up late at night, in the dark, with a storm fast approaching. We were car camping near the trailhead, so the ground was rather hard. Set up was pretty easy. I staked out the corners first, put the poles in the grommets, and then clipped the fly to the poles. As I was staking out the vestibules, it began to rain. I appreciated the dry setup and that the inner sets up with the fly. As a test for wind, I only used the minimum 6 stake-out points. After a gusty night with several hours of rain, I woke up nice and dry. I hardly noticed the wind and did not hear any flapping. I had no condensation on the inside, but lots of dust on the floor and fly. Here is the tent after a night of rain:
One thing to note is that the water shook off the tent fabric very well. Yes, it stretched and sagged a little like normal silnylon. But it seemed to pack up drier than other silnylon sheleters I have used.
I was glad to have a self-supporting tent on this trip. Our camp sites were either very sandy or on hard rock. Yes, I could have pitched a pyramid tarp at these locations, but it would have made things more annoying. Below is the tent pitched on sand. One interesting thing to note is that on the door sides of the tent, there is a toggle a few inches above ground-level (with a loop of elastic on the opposite side of the fabric). I did not know what these were for, and Big Sky told me they are for bottom vents for letting in air. Neat. I liked them. There are also vents at the top which you can velcro close:
I brought a variety of stakes to test: 6-inch Easton nails, 8-inch Easton nails, and Lawson Equipment's "burly" Ti stakes. Surprisingly, the Lawson "burly" Ti stakes held the best in the sand.
After another day of rain and wind (wind strong enough to rip out every stake of our group tarp – my tent hardly budged), I set the tent into drying mode the following afternoon with our first bit of sun. The exposed pole and clips make for handy drying locations:
At this camp location, I was unable to get a single stake in the ground (solid rock with 1-inch of sand on top). It's a mostly free-standing tent, but I of course anchored it down with some rocks to keep it from blowing away:
I purchased this tent because I wanted a shelter with decent interior volume and a fairly small footprint. I also wanted a dry set-up. And for it to be storm-worthy. I went with the Chinook 2P instead of the Big Sky Revolution 2P (very similar tent model) because I liked that the fly on the Chinook 2P comes closer to the ground and that I can use the 3rd pole for extra snow-loading. I plan on sewing up my own mostly-solid-fabric inner tent for the Chinook 2P, which will probably come out much lighter than the standard one and probably better for winter use. I should end up with a tent I can use for all-seasons and car camping too.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the tent. It seems to be very well made (the stitching seems excellent).
What I like:
Lots of room inside for the dog and I
Easy and dry set-up
Wind-worthy with all 14 stake-out points (well-placed to help the poles take lateral wind loads)
Large interior pockets are great
High bathtub floor
Very pleasant to use (hard to describe, but I actually ENJOYED using this tent)
What I dislike:
#3 zippers on tent fly and inner began to stick a little with all the sand (I expect with some care they will be fine – they run smooth after washing them – but I would still prefer #5 zippers on the fly). To be fair, it was so sandy, the #5 zippers on my friend's tent completely failed on this trip
I cannot leave the doors open in the rain: by only unzipping them 2/3 of the way, I can enter and exit without getting rain on the inner, but there is no easy way to tie-off the doors at this position
Clips: the tent poles connect via clips. I was worried these clips would be strained and that I might have troubles with them, but they seem very sturdy to me – Big Sky has made them well. I would have no concern using this tent with its pole clips in bad weather. I am sure pole sleeves would be stronger, but for all practical purposes, I think the clips will be fine. Now WHY Big Sky went with clips vs sleeves, I am not sure. Maybe clips are lighter, or they tension the silnylon fabric better – I don't know. They are quite easy to use.
Added weight: the whole tent is pretty light, but it seems it could made be even lighter. It uses bulky plastic hooks to the connect the inner tent's corners to the fly's corners. And it uses 15 of these buckles to connect the inner tent to the fly (surely mitten hooks would be lighter):
I am not associated with Big Sky in any way. Yes, their website is bad (I don't really care). My customer experience with them was positive (emails were answered promptly).May 2, 2015 at 4:13 am #2196257
Nice write up…..
Having used the Mirage 2P and Revolution 1P over the past year or so I'll second the quality of construction, attention to detail, and ease of setup/use of these shelters (they are a joy to use).
"My customer experience with them was positive (emails were answered promptly)."
I had the same experience with both of my tent purchases…….it seems Big Sky has righted itself in the customer service department.May 2, 2015 at 7:43 am #2196271
How does the amount of room in your Revolution 1P compare to your Mirage 2P? Any pics? The Chinook 2P has so much room inside for the dog and I, it almost makes me wonder if I could have gotten the 1P model. The extra space is nice though. I think it would be fine with 2 people.
I was *this* close to getting the Mirage 2P. For about the same price or less as my Chinook 2P, the Mirage 2P would have weighed only 34-35oz. But I convinced myself that the extra versatility and double-wall design would be worth the extra weight.May 2, 2015 at 8:24 pm #2196372Aug 11, 2015 at 2:20 pm #2220457
Carol WBPL Member
@tgaeroLocale: pacific northwest
Hello. Are you still enjoying your tent? Where else have you used the ten? I am considering this tent, but leaning towards the Soul. Also considering the Mirage….How did you end up deciding?
CarolAug 11, 2015 at 3:07 pm #2220463
The tent is working out great. Still my favorite tent yet. I've used it a total of 16 nights now (4 in Utah, 4 in Ansel Adams Wilderness in CA, and 8 around AZ). It's done well in wind, rain, hail, sleet, and mosquitoes. I don't think the optional 3rd pole would be necessary unless I was expecting some seriously bad weather, but it may be nice when setting up on snow
I did not really like the Soul. It has a small vestibule, and it does not seem like the fly comes very close to the ground. I sometimes wish I chose the Mirage for the lighter weight, but I think the Chinook is more weather-worthy: the Chinook has more tie-out points and the fly comes closer to the ground. Not sure if it matters in reality though, particularly since I could have just sewn on extra tie-outs if needed. I do like the flexibility to use the Chinook with different inner tents (solid, mesh, or nothing), even though I only have the mesh right now
Edit: a friend of mine just got a Revolution, which might be the best choice. A little cheaper and lighter than the Chinook, probably similar weather-worthiness, and still versatile.Aug 12, 2015 at 12:14 am #2220566
Carol WBPL Member
@tgaeroLocale: pacific northwest
Thanks for the update. Since you are living in a drier part of the country, I can see how you might wish you got the Mirage. But if you want to do some 4 season backpacking, you can with your tent. I want a whole basement full of this stuff!
CarolAug 18, 2015 at 3:45 pm #2221747
"The tent is working out great. Still my favorite tent yet. I've used it a total of 16 nights now (4 in Utah, 4 in Ansel Adams Wilderness in CA, and 8 around AZ). It's done well in wind, rain, hail, sleet, and mosquitoes."
How's the ventilation? Any serious condensation on the interior of the fly? If so, did it cause any concerns?
Thanks for your pictures and review. I'm trying to decide between a Revolution or Chinook 2p.Aug 18, 2015 at 5:40 pm #2221769
Ventilation is fine. It has the two peak vents, and you can roll up the bottom of the fly for a little more ventilation, making the Chinook basically equal to the Revelation as far as ventilation is concerned
There have been a couple times when the fly was covered in condensation, but I think those were condition-driven and not the tent (i.e. sleeping in a wet meadow, under a cold and clear sky, with no wind). Overall, it does pretty good, and condensation is usually minimal or nonexistentDec 7, 2015 at 12:37 pm #3369170
Thanks again, John.
I ended up taking advantage of BSI’s 30% off sale (for Forest Green “SuprSil” only) and picked up a Revolution 2P (no window or porch).Dec 7, 2015 at 8:49 pm #3369302
Daryl and DarylBPL Member
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Encouraged by your experience I just ordered a 2 person Revolution with porch and breathable fabric interior.
Took me several hours and a couple e-mails with owner Bob to figure out the options and how to order them.
Didn’t see it on the website but I was pleased when Bob told me that the fabric interiors have mesh near the top of each door AND zippered solid fabric flaps to cover the mesh.Dec 8, 2015 at 12:31 pm #3369421
The Revolution is a good choice, especially if you got it on sale.
My friend got a 2P Revolution in the normal SuprSil fabric earlier this year and used it on a 7-day trip. We were above 10,000 ft all 6 nights. It did great. I noticed the SuprSil fabric seemed to sag less than my SuprSil UL fabric. The vestibule tie-outs on the Revolution also have LineLocs, whereas my Chinook does not. There are actually several small differences.
I think if you are not dealing with heavy snowfall, the Revolution is the better choice – save a little weight and money, and get LineLocs on the vestibule tie-outsDec 8, 2015 at 2:28 pm #3369442
I’ve used both the Rev 1P and Mirage 2P and both are great all around shelters….excellent construction/attention to detail, and well thought out designs.
The Mirage 2P does extremely well in the Sierra during 3 season use and I’ve noticed minimal to no condensation. With the guyouts on the end used, it does well in the wind too.
The Rev 1P, especially with the breathable fabric inner tent, can be used in winter without heavy snow load (as mentioned above) and the inner fabric blocks cold wind and spindrift well. Setup is super easy and provides a nice taut pitch. If I could only have one shelter, this more likely than not would be it.
With both of my orders, and corresponding both prior to and post purchase, customer service was excellent.Jan 10, 2016 at 11:36 pm #3375062
Booyah! I received my Revolution 2P last week and set it up in the backyard today for initial inspection. Looks good. I’m really impressed with the quality. I hope to use it soon and will be sure to post my thoughts.Jan 11, 2016 at 8:45 am #3375085
Daryl and DarylBPL Member
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Timely post as I was thinking about the external pole design last night as I fell asleep. (I have a Revolution on order).
Would appreciate any observations you have on the water tightness of the external pole webbings. Looks like an easy place for water to wick in. .Jan 11, 2016 at 11:04 am #3375104
“Would appreciate any observations you have on the water tightness of the external pole webbings. Looks like an easy place for water to wick in.”
Well, thanks to a set of El Niño storms pushing across the region, shortly after setting up the tent it started to rain. Not hard at all, but continuously for the next two hours while the tent was up. Before breaking it down, I jumped in to check for leaks, drips, etc. I’m happy to report that the interior was completely dry. I didn’t notice any wicking going on along the inside seams.
BSI claims seam sealing isn’t necessary, but I’m just not sure. I’m going to keep a close eye on the seams, especially those pole webbings you mention. I think a good blast with the hose is up next…Jan 11, 2016 at 11:31 am #3375118
My friend and I haven’t seam-sealed our Big Sky tents. No issues with water leaking/dripping so farJan 11, 2016 at 1:11 pm #3375154
Thomas WillardBPL Member
I have been keeping a close eye on BSI tents to supplement my Zpacks set-up. How long was the wait from order to delivery?Jan 11, 2016 at 4:43 pm #3375209
My order took 5 weeks, which was within the time estimate I was given. A month to ship from date of purchase and a week in the mail.Jan 11, 2016 at 5:18 pm #3375215
Here are some pictures of the seam near the external pole clips:
On the other side of each external pole clip (on the inside of the tent) is a mini buckle that the inner tent connects to:
Each ridgeline seam is covered with a piece of fabric on the inside, like binding but with silnylon; as such, there are no ridgeline stitches exposed on the outside. I am guessing this “binding” is why the tent does not need to be seam-sealed, but I could be wrong – someone please correct me if I am :)
I initially ordered and returned a Big Sky Soul X2. It shipped in 11 hours. My Chinook took about 2 weeks to shipAug 2, 2016 at 5:20 pm #3417933
I’ve had a chance to use the Revolution 2P on a couple of trips with my son and it’s working out great. No precip, but it’s dealt with moderate winds (25 mph+) just fine. I look forward to many more nights in it.Oct 11, 2016 at 8:49 am #3430538
Ken MBPL Member
New member, lurked as much as I could then recently joined. I have 11 months of use with my Chinook solo and posted this review on BWCA.COM, Have been very happy with it! KM
I received my Chinook solo tent 11 months ago. Initial preview
40+ nites of use in 12 different locations WI, IL, MN, so time for some conclusions.
Very pleased with this solo tent, roomy with 2 doors, 2 large vestibules, self standing, very waterproof (used 18-21 Sept. in Chippewa Falls/Hudson area 5 inch rainfall 21st.), strong and versatile shelter.
June bugnet and footprint.
Components, outer tent 22.4oz basic part. Poles, 3 season 14 inch DAC 2 poles 10.7oz, optional home built 4 season Easton 14 inch 2 poles 12.7oz, optional 3rd pole 14 inch 4 season DAC 5.9oz, optional my supplied 8 MSR Groundhogs 4.2oz, optional home built guyline set of 6 1.5oz, optional home built groundcloth/footprint of Tyvek 4.2oz, optional my supplied bugnet 6.5oz, full fabric interior 14.2oz, optional my added Granite Gear 13 L packbag 2.5oz. Most often used configuration 3 season poles, 4season 3rd pole, fabric interior groundcloth/footprint, guylines, stakes, 3lbs 12.6oz. Lightest configuration, exterior only, ground cloth, 2 poles stakes, 2lbs 9.5oz.
Full setup packs loosely in a 13L PackStuffer bag from Granite Gear,
Past question from Boonie is to compare to a TarpTent. Hard to do because, I’ve never used one, and the options available for configuring the Chinook, also the Chinook is fully freestanding using 3 poles and a cross cord,
flipped on it’s side.
Far as wind is concerned I have a set of guylines rigged that attach to both frame poles and fly body,
Guylines have been upgraded to phosphorecent white, but have rarely been needed. The fabric interior makes it warmer than all mesh but still gets good ventilation and noticeably reduced condensation. Even in fly only use it has limited condensation on the fly after a nites sleep.
The only problem to pop up over the 40 nites is snagging the door zipper on the fly body, easily remedied with careful use.
The Big Sky line of tents is very interesting and offers custom ordered configurations. They handled my order promptly, delivered in excellent condition. Have had no other contact with them on service or repairs as none has been needed. Specifically I can heartily recommend the Chinook solo, solo+, and 2 person versions.
Mine will see much more use for sure!
setup video Ottawa Lake camp
Other solo tents I have owned and used, Eureka Mt.Pass solo, Mountain Hardware Wing solo, Mountain Hardware Stilletto solo, Big Agnes CopperSpur UL1 solo.Oct 11, 2016 at 10:34 am #3430561
Thanks for your review, Kenneth. The Chinook’s versatility is quite impressive. I especially like the idea of using a simpler mosquito netting rather than a full blown inner to save weight.
Guylines: That’s a nifty way to include the poles at the attachment. I’ll have to give it a try next time.Oct 3, 2018 at 12:56 pm #3558236
Michał BBPL Member
Could any of the owners of this tent share some long term experiences? Any issues or failures?
I’m looking at it as a cheaper alternative to Hilleberg Allak for 4-season use. I know that it’s a bit smaller, but are there any other things that could disappoint me? Does the pole design with the one bent pole cope with the wind as well as standard 3-pole dome designs?
Also why is this tent so light? Lighter than other similar tents by 2-3 pounds. Did they make any compromises?
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