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Dana Design Big Joe

rated 4.0 of 5 stars

Dana Design is no longer in business, and the Big Joe has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best three-season tents for 2021.

photo: Dana Design Big Joe three-season tent


Price Historic Range: $211.93
Reviewers Paid: $199.00-$325.00


2 reviews
5-star:   0
4-star:   2
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

I bought this tent about two years ago and took it on a couple trips in Northern Michigan during the spring. Last summer I took it out to the Colorado River near Yuma, AZ. In Michigan we ran into a HUGE rainstorm. Maybe I did not attach the fly correctly, but some water did pool above us. The whole campsite got flooded and it was like sleeping on a water bed, but NO WATER INSIDE! It was raining so hard we could barely hear one another, but we were comfortable.

On the Colorado it reached temps over over 110 degrees. So we used the rain fly for a makeshift cover from the sun. It fit three of us comfortably and I'm 6'4".

My girlfriend and I are going to Thailand for a month and will be doing some camping in the northern parts. I'm a little worried about the weight of the tent, but I wouldn't take any other tent to the rainy hills of Northern Thailand than the Big Joe.

Design: Great design and front area to stash gear
Sleeps: 3
Ease of Setup: First time not bad, I can now do it in the darkness of night with ease
Weight: A little heavy for treks, but makes up for it in spaciousness. Im 6'4 and I have plenty of head and foot room
Price Paid: $325

This tent is a palace for two people and a good shelter for three.

I bought the BJ from Mountain Gear in the winter as to give myself a lot of time to waterproof the seams. I was initially scared of this process, but I set it up in a spare room and took two days to do it right spending a couple hours each day and giving it a few days to dry. The 2001 model supposedly has sealed seams, although it's a good idea to seal the areas where the factory machines can't.

I took it on two treks in the Canadian Rockies and used it in very windy and sometimes rainy conditions. Although the venting is great, with no condensation in close to 100% humidity, it can get slightly breezy, nothing bad but if your sleeping bag is not up to the task you may notice a chill.

Rain-wise, this tent ROCKS; its oversized fly does a great job if it's sealed it well. The plastic window comes in handy, as usually when you buckle down in a tent your blind to what is going on outside.

Set up is awkward at first, but after a couple of set-ups it's quick and easy as is the tear down. The whole bundle stores easily into the sack. I've had problems with other tents, not this one.

My only real complaint, and it could be my own foolishness, are the tent pegs. Although they are sturdy, I noticed that they don't hold the straps too well. After my first trip I went to a camping store and bought aluminium stakes with a hook at the end for $7.50 for 15 pcs. The second time out it worked much better. Perhaps I was doing something wrong, no matter, it works great now.

Design: three season
Sleeps: 3
Ease of Setup: Odd at first, but after a couple times, its quick
Weight: 8lb 6 oz
Price Paid: Retail $385 US I got it for $199 US

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