L.L.Bean King Pine 4-Person
Fabulous screen porch, roomy bedroom. Sierra hailstorms a non-issue. Easy setup for something so fancy.
- Consistently superb luxury car camping tent
- Screen porch is habit forming
- Long term durability mostly excellent
- Fiberglass poles are low rent
- Isolated adhesive failures
- Rain fly does not cover the porch adequately
- Stakes are low quality plastic
Our 25 pound first model King Pine Dome 4 has served us well for nearly a decade car camping in the eastern Sierra Nevada and around the American Southwest. We love the affordability and 5-star access to national parks and forests of car camping.
We can set it up in 20 minutes using head lights. We can break camp and be gone without a trace in 30 minutes. Fitting it in the duffel style zipper stuff sack requires careful attention folding and rolling. We usually get it right the first time.
Our version was panned by users in rainy, buggy regions for the revealing rain fly cut around the porch. Rarely an issue for us. We have woken up at 9,200 feet with three inches of hail, toasty warm completely unaware until looking outside. The porch got wet but the California sun dried it by 9:00 AM. I walked our 45 pound corgi around the campground observing half a dozen shelters collapsed under the weight of the hail. Not us. Nowhere near.
The porch is perfect for getting dressed and lacing up your boots for a day hike. Sufficient room for the corgi sleeping in his crate, our duffel with clothes, and a low chair, with a path to the exit. So nice for kicking back and reading with a beverage on a sunny afternoon. Most bugs are kept out, but there are gaps in the skirting around the base. No problem in Death Valley for Thanksgiving.
The bedroom has full zipper doors front and rear, solid fabric, or screen. Pockets line the non-door sides. There's loop for a lantern in the center of the ceiling. I barely stoop standing up and I am 6'4". Floor space is generous. We use the factory footprint. No holes. No worn spots. No leaks. Leak testing the floor isn't realistic in the low clay soils where we camp. They drain immediately.
I remain impressed with this thing in wind for so tall a structure. Follow the directions and stake out the fly and you are not going anywhere. The tent feels robust and over engineered.
The adhesive failure came last year in the rain fly where its pole is meant to be held dead center to form a crown for water to run off. The glue holding the velcro tab gave up the ghost. Now the pole bows off to one side creating a dish in the tightened fly. No leaks but it is not correct.
The present problem is that we are in the market for a new tent and the reviews on the present, third iteration of this tent concur that Beans fixed something that wasn't broken. Version 2 with aluminum poles and a stitched through or welded tab for fly center pole was all that was required. But they gave the job to people who don't actually use the product and we are persuaded that new, foreseeable flaws have emerged.
Notice also this is a top-dollar, high end example in the market. We got our version 1 in the wake of the revolt over its skimpy porch rain fly for a bargain basement $249. Replacement is the better part of $500. Like Bruce Springsteen singing about his glory days we hope Beans gets back to what works.
5/11/2018: Just returned the fire sale priced final version of this tent as it goes out of production. Zero pockets in the bedroom. Footprint does not cover the porch area like the old model so you track everything into the bedroom. Plainly no campers/hikers running Bean's since Leon Gorman passed away. Design errors are replete and glaring. $500 non-insulated rain parka in their store has no pit zips, and the pockets are down low where your pack's waist belt will cover them; stowable hood has been deleted.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $249
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Reviewers Paid: $249.00