User Review: Big Agnes Big House 4
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $250
Great tent and even better customer service.
- Strong 3 pole design
- You can stand up in this tent
- Easy to set up at night
- Exceptional customer service from BA
- The tent, fly, poles and footprint actually fit easily into the stuff bag
- Reflective material used on the guy lines
- Aluminum pole will take on a slight bend after being set up for a week
- The stakes that come with the tent aren't long enough to keep the tent down in strong wind
- The welcome mat is not good in the rain
I've had this tent for 2 years and counting. I go camping with my son's scout troop at least once a month and we do a family trip about every two months so my tent gets used about 18 times each year. We typically camp in the California desert but also go to the mountains and the beach.
When shopping for a tent, there were 3 things I was looking for. I needed to be able to easily set it up alone, it needs to be able to hold up to strong winds with out caving in and I wanted to be able to stand upside of it.
95% of the time, I set up Friday night in the dark after driving 2-4 hours. The aluminum poles fit together nicely and they do not get hung up on the pole sleeves on the top of the tent. I've had that problem when using fiberglass poles on other dome tents.
When completely staked out, this tent has held up to sustained 30-40 MPH winds and the fly barely flutters. A 50 MPH gust one time started bending poles and we just did a trip in March where we experienced 70 MPH gusts and that was enough to break several pole and bend the majority of the others all to hell.
I haven't been out in the rain much with this tent, everyone knows that it doesn't rain in California so what can you expect. The few times I got caught in the rain, nothing leaked but the welcome mat was a puddle catcher. The simple fix for that is tucking it under the tent if expecting rain.
Ventilation and storage is great. The mesh sides keep condensation from forming and I use all of the pockets on the inside for stuff when I'm base camping or at summer camp. There are little loops to hang things on in the corners also.
The zippers are holding up well and I wax the door zipper about every 9 months or when ever it starts getting hard to close. I've noticed that the poles take on a slight bend after being set up for week but it isn't enough to warrant replacing them and that don't appear to be getting worse. Also the stakes that came with the tent are useless in anything soft but work well in hard pack dirt as long as there is little to no wind. I prefer to use 6" or 8" MSR stakes and keep the BA stakes for back up.
So far this tent is holding up well overall but after that March trip, all three poles were trashed, the fly was torn where one of the broken polls whet though, there were a few other punctures in the tent and one of the tabs where the fly awning pole attaches to was starting to rip off. I contacted BA and described the damage and they said no problem, send everything in and we can fix it. 2 weeks later, I get an actual phone call from the person assigned to handle my repair saying everything was fixed and good as new. I was expecting him to say, sorry this thing was too trashed to fix. The total for the new poles and repairs came out to only $45 bucks! I couldn't believe it.
The bottom line is that this tent meets all of my needs and when I break it, it isn't going to cost an arm and a leg to repair. I will be a BA customer for life.