L.L.Bean King Pine HD 4-Person Dome
Top dollar car camping tent, once you try you won't…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $299
Top dollar car camping tent, once you try you won't go back.
- Screen porch
- Sturdy construction
- Easy setup
- Thoughtful details
- Roomy, simple design
- 25 pounds
- Fiberglass poles
- Factory stakes are fragile.
I write here about the old model King Pine Dome 4.
If you can't have the nicest house where you live, this tent will play the part in any campground.
I have replaced the shatter-prone plastic stakes with steel stakes for the 8 required for the tent body.
The footprint is color-coded matching the tent body for routing poles and tent body quickly. The poles are shock-corded fiberglass with hard mounted aluminum sleeves to join them as one long pole. The aluminum sleeves will catch on the long fabric enclosures supporting the roof forcing you to step on the footprint to reach in and hand feed the poles at times. All the same even in darkness with flashlights after a long drive the tent goes up promptly. Simple snap mounts hook onto the poles to form the tent body.
The rainfly has its own pole that fits under tension into two pockets under the fly, on the tent, creating a definite crown in the roof for water to run down. Color codes are all the same for a perfect fit but it's a large piece of fabric easier to manage with practice. Typically I guy-out the fly in three locations around the main room so loose fabric doesn't flap in the breeze.
Cleverly two of the four main poles support a total mesh area including the door forming the fabulous footprint floored screen porch. At ground level there is solid fabric draping down to the ground to keep bugs out. We have the dog sleep out here in his crate. There's still room for a folding chair for shoes on/off or reading a book in the afternoon, and a duffel bag. The porch also acts as a mud room/foyer trapping dirt before it gets to the main room.
Our model will hold four people in the main enclosed room. Nearly vertical walls with storage pockets the length of each side wall make it practical. Across from the door connecting to the porch is another entry on the far wall. There's a mesh/fabric option on both doors, and mesh in the ceiling, for ample ventilation. Loop in the ceiling for a lantern. Standing up straight in either room in the tent is no problem and I'm 6'4".
We got a deal on this tent because users in wetter climates had prevailed on Bean's to redesign the rainfly for even better rain protection compared to our version. Present designs have this change near as I can tell. We pretty much always use the tent in the Sierra Nevada in California and desert southwestern United States so we cannot comment on the tent's ability to withstand truly heavy rain. That said the tent is heavy, and flimsy nowhere. I can't foresee a problem short of a tornado or a hurricane, or maybe a blizzard.
Packed size is 30'"by 10", a medium-sized 25 pound duffel bag. Stowage bag has handles like a suitcase so it is easy to handle. More than reasonable to my backpacker sensibilities. Durability has been great over the six plus years since we bought it. One velcro fastener holding the rainfly pole came adrift and that's it. Factory stakes aren't engineering masterstrokes but new steel stakes are $1 a piece at REI.
It's a bulbous large shape but the muted earth tones of green tent body and tan rainfly never flaunt your good fortune. The porch makes keeping an orderly camp easy as you leave for day hikes or dunks in a hot spring. When this one wears out we will buy another without question.