The Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Model Tent – Reliably Rugged for Harsh Alaskan Conditions
If you are in the market for a new tent that has ample space, rugged materials, years of proven performance, and will handle the harshest of elements, the Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Model should be at the top of your list.
After moving to Alaska one of the first items I began to research was tents. I knew the $60 knockoff tent that I had used in Florida with practically no rain fly wasn’t going to keep me dry or last very long in the extreme conditions. After a few fishing trips using our cheap tent and having our sleeping bags and gear soaked, the next trip this tent was going on was straight to the dump.
Living in Alaska requires top notch gear in order to last more than one season and in some cases it can mean survival. I wanted to get more of a base camp tent that had lots of room for around 4 people and a ceiling around 6’+ for standing up in. Having a tall ceiling can make a big difference when having to change clothes and just the overall comfort while in the field.
After looking at a few different tents I purchased the 6 man Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Model with aluminum poles. I chose aluminum poles due to the extra strength they would provide and the ability to do a quick duct tape fix in the field in case one bent or broke. The aluminum poles will also give you a weight savings of as much as 15%.
Initial set up in the backyard was a little slow not ever setting a dome style tent with the pole configuration it has. Once it was up though it was rock solid and seemed like it could survive anything. Even though most base camp tents are heavier and bulkier, I was still looking for lightweight and somewhat compact. Any weight and space savings you can get will go a long way on multiple day hunts when you have to take a lot of gear in the field.
Each tent comes with 6 poles and are arranged to give the tent a geodesic shape. This shape is what gives the tent the strength to withstand high winds. The entire tent is made of 100% ripstop nylon, except the floor is made of abrasion-resistant oxford nylon with a 3000mm rated coating to stop moisture from the ground. The rain fly covers the entire tent all the way to the ground which is a must for wet and windy climates like Alaska. The tent is actually designed so that the rain fly and tent never touch not allowing any water or moisture to soak through to the inside.
The fly is made of 100% UV-resistant polyester with a polyurethane coating rated at 2000mm. The fly has multiple reinforced guy out loops with heavy-duty nylon cords for tie down points. There are 2 large doors allowing for easy access and lots of air flow if needed. The main door has a vestibule that is integrated into the rain fly. This provides a ton of extra space to store extra gear that doesn’t have to be inside the tent.
There is a U shaped window and 3 roof vents. All windows and doors have no-see-um mesh to keep out insects. There are mesh organizers in the tent and cup holders which really helps out for storing toiletries and other small items without losing them.
The Alaskan Guide Model comes in 3 sizes, aluminum or fiberglass poles, and has the following specifications:
The first real test came only a few weeks later when we went on a fishing trip out of Whittier and camped on one of the islands in Prince William Sound. Arriving back to camp that we had set up earlier that morning, our peaceful cove had gone from sunny and flat to pouring rain and winds blowing 25-35mph with gusts up to 60mph.
6 out of 9 people on the trip slept in the tent that night and the remaining 3 came in during the morning. 9 of us stayed in the tent until late afternoon when we made a fast run back to the harbor.
The tent performed flawlessly without a drop of water anywhere on the inside. Even in the strong winds, the multiple tie downs held the tent firmly in place. While setting it up earlier some of my friends made a few jokes at the funny design, amount of poles, and not wanting to tie down at all the locations. Well after riding out that storm everyone was in agreement that this was by far the best tent they had ever stayed in.
One thing I’ve learned to do during setup of any tent is to always tie down every point you have on the initial set up. Having to get out of the tent in the cold, pouring rain, and wind in the middle of the night to tie down your tent isn’t something anyone wants to do. It can save you a lot of headache and even your tent.
If you need a tent that will keep you, your family, and your gear dry, you need to take a look at the Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Model. This is the tent I can depend on every trip out in the field and not worry about getting wet.
All of the photos in the article feature the 8 man Cabela’s Alaskan guide model tent with the upgraded aluminum poles. With a family of 5, we opted for the larger version, which is a bit taller in the center and boasts a substantial footprint.
On rainy days where you find yourself in the tent for extended periods of time, having the extra space for a little bit of jumping around, playing, drying gear, sorting clothing, or getting organized is fantastic.
This tent in this configuration is larger, a bit heavier to pack, and more expensive than the 6 man Cabela’s Alaskan guide model tent, but for us, the extra space and volume of this tent far outweigh the added cost and size. This is one of those gear items that you ‘buy once, cry once’ and if taken care of will last you more years than you think.
This is a must-have item for extended hunting trips in the Alaskan backcountry.
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