User Review: Bibler Ahwahnee
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: +$600
Have traveled all over the world in this tent in all conditions and have never found anything better or more versatile.
- Very light 4-season tent
- Bomb proof in all conditions (very high wind, snow, ice, rain, and heat)
- Very versatile! Tight as a clam shell or open it up like a wind tunnel to just give shade on the hottest days
- Can be set up from inside the tent
- Tight fit with the fabric makes it much easier to pitch with two people (can be fixed)
- Expensive! (but worth it)
- Interior is tough to clean because of the Todd-Tex
- The vestibule is a must for two people and packs due to space (get the vestibule!)
We have been using this tent all over the world and in every condition for the past 7 years and it is still going strong. We are avid travelers and we have used this tent in snow, ice, rain, high wind, desert, high and low altitudes, saltwater and fresh water trips, cycling trips, alpine, and everything else you can think of. We even lived in this thing for 2 years when we walked around the world.
Okay, I will get on with it. The point is that this tent has seen a lot of action and has been put through the ringer.
This is hands down the best tent that we have every used. It is built like a rock and still going after all of these years. We have slept in this tent with the bottom sitting in water and stayed totally dry. One of the other reviewers said that the fabric was leaking on their tent but, this is very unlikely.
What was probably happening was that they did not have proper ventilation happening in certain conditions (especially in humid climates, like Ireland). It is best to leave a slight opening at the top of the door (with the mesh door still closed all of the way). A person breathes out a good liter and a bit of water when sleeping and it will condense on the walls and such if there is not proper air flow. Leaving this little opening at the top of the doors will keep everything nice and dry (even in inclement weather).
One feature that we were especially grateful for (many times over) was the ability to set up the tent from the inside. There have been many days when really bad weather hits and you just want shelter as fast as possible. You can fling out the tent, dive in it with all of your gear (zipping the door behind you), and take your time pitching the tent while staying dry and warm. This is also an absolute lifesaver when you are being swarmed by thousands of insects that have chosen you as there next meal.
On the downside, the fabric is a bit tight so it can be a lot of work to get the tent up from the inside with one person. This is actually not so bad in cold weather because it is a great way to warm up the body. As the tent ages, the fabric will get worked in a bit and the tightness will lessen, which makes set up easier.
This is an extremely light tent (just over 5 lbs), you cannot get this kind of ease and protection with many 4-season tents. The Todd-Tex material and single-wall construction is thicker than other tents, so it does not require the additional rain shell that many tents use. This reduces a lot of the weight and set-up time. The poles being on the inside adds greatly to the ease of set up and versatility. The additional, optional vestibule(s) are great additions for parties of two, because you have a sheltered place for expedition-sized packs, dirty boots, and a cooking area in bad weather.
The versatility of this tent is amazing. We went through the most diverse weather conditions. Heavy wind: which can be endured using the guy lines (total of four) without any issues. Rain: keep the top of the exterior doors open just a touch to prevent condensation build-up, the small openings will be covered by the tents built-in visors. Summer heat: open up both external doors, and you have an amazing sun shade with more air flow than any other tent. Snow: put down your sleeping mats and cuddle into your sleeping bags, it will be a nice dry night.
One other thing to consider is that the mesh doors are kind of a tight weave. This can make a difference on a really hot day when the breeze is not very strong and you want to keep out insects, dust, and debris. The mesh weave is tight enough to keep everything out but, the wind flows through it less freely than with many other tents. This combines with the thick Todd-Tex to create warmer conditions compared to other tents with thinner side walls and mesh weaves that are more loose.
All things considered, this is the best, most durable, and most versatile tend that we have ever used. There are warmer expedition tents but, you would never want to try to carry one on your back (they are very heavy), they cost thousands, and you will overheat in hot weather (without a cooling system). There are lighter tents but, they are not nearly as tough or warm in extreme cold.
This tent truly does perform better in every condition and every environment. It does it all and it does it VERY well!
Where to Buy
The Bibler Ahwahnee is not available from the stores we monitor.
You may be able to find it new or used at one of these sites:
Retailers: Do you sell this product? List your site here.