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Black Diamond Ahwahnee

rated 2.5 of 5 stars
photo: Black Diamond Ahwahnee four-season tent

Great tent with major flaws.

Pros

  • Super strong
  • Super headroom
  • Light
  • Comfy
  • Airy
  • Great views
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • The loops that hold the awning pole are insanely tight, risking tearing.
  • The DWR washes away and the tent leaks eventually, right through the walls, badly.
  • IT STINKS, and it will stink just as strongly literally +10 years later. A chemical smell from the fabric. It is tolerable with windows open and I just lived with it, but it is pretty strong when the tent is closed up and not particularly nice.
  • The Toddtex MUST be dried thoroughly or it will mildew like crazy. DO NOT pack this tent at all wet. Good luck with that...
  • BD customer service sucks.

I owned two of these (Bibler and BD)—and used them heavily over 20 years. I loved them until the sleeping in a pool of water spoiled the fun

The tent is great until the DWR bites the dust and it starts to leak. The Toddtex will pull water through the tent from outside to inside once the DWR finish wears off. It took years to happen, but once it was shot, it was impossible to fix. I renewed the DWR with top-rated products, several times, and it kept leaking anyway.

My first tent developed a lot of mildew inside, from packing it a bit damp. The Toddtex works wonderfully when new, but in heavy humidity and cold, it will always get damp inside (not the leaking issue, just its fuzzy nature at work). I have bad mold allergies, so out of paranoia got rid of that and bought a new one. 

With my second tent, I was fanatical about drying the tent before packing it. Even to the point of carrying a hairdryer on bike tours, and finding juice to dry it out if I had no sun or wind. I would hang it under a bridge in a breeze if possible before going that crazy. :)

I treated both tents with kid gloves, kept greasy head and hands off surfaces, kept it out of the sun except to dry it, and it still developed bad leakage over time. 

So it is a great tent for a while, but honestly, after getting a Hilleberg Allak, I would never ever dream of owning the Ahwahnee again. 

The stink issue is not to be ignored, though I did. 

Bonus reason to stay away: BD customer service was rude and utterly unhelpful.

Background

20 years, two tents

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $550

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The Bibler Ahwahnee is sold under the Black Diamond brand

The Ahwahnee was previously known as the Bibler Ahwahnee.

Specs

Price MSRP: $899.95
Current Retail: $999.95
Historic Range: $509.73-$999.95
Reviewers Paid: $550.00
Capacity 2
Weight 3.14 kg / 6 lb 15 oz
Area 3.08 sq m / 33.1 sq ft
Dimensions 229 x 135 x 135 x 114 cm / 90 x 53 x 53 x 45 in
Packed Size 20 x 48 cm / 8 x 19 in
Doors 2
Season 4
Product Details from Black Diamond »

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