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After one year of using the tent, I am generally very pleased, though workmanship could be better and a few small improvements are needed. I give it four stars to encourage improvements. I used the tent for several trips, including a one-week trip with almost constant rain and a couple of winter trips.
The tent is very roomy, and super tall. I am 6’4”, and this is the first backpacking tent that I can enter and exit without the need to fold myself in two. The vestibules are very big too; you can put an expedition size backpack in each of the vestibules, and still be able to get in and out comfortably. The inner tent has four big mesh pockets and attachments on the top for a possible upper mesh shelf or just to hang something inside. As all other 2p backpacking tents, this is more of a 1.5p tent unless your buddy is on the small side. There is no way you could fit two long-wide pads in it. I always used this tent alone, and for the winter trips it has an ideal solo size for me.
During the rainy week-long trip, the inner tent newer got condensation, except one night when it rained non-stop for 24 hours, and I was obliged to stay in the forest, i.e., no air currents. The bottom of the tent, usually get some condensation, but this is expected given that it is not breathable by design. During the winter trip, the condensation was worse but reasonable. However, I was alone in the tent, and for two persons the condensation will certainly get worse. As pointed out by other users, mesh windows that open for at least half of the door, would be much better to improve ventilation. The current mesh windows are too small.
I made a couple of winter trips, but never had snowfalls during the trips, so I cannot comment on the snow-loading capacity. However, the ground sheet hooks are very small, and impossible to operate in gloves. You are therefore obliged to freeze your hands in the winter to attach and remove the ground sheet. Something bigger or of different design is needed there. The hooks that attach the tent to the poles are in contrast easy to operate in gloves.
Now, to the workmanship. After my first one-week trip with the tent, I discovered that the PU layer in the corners of the inner tent, has seriously deteriorated. I contacted Big Sky, who agreed that this was a defect and send me a replacement. However, inspecting the newly arrived inner, I discovered some defects in PU layer in it also. I decided to keep the tent anyway, as I like it a lot, and will just reapply PU myself when needed. This seems to me a problem of manufacturing when the tents are folded before being completely dry. I hope that this is just a result of rushing orders during the pandemic.
The fabric loops on the outer tent, which are used to attach it to the poles at the corner, are very weak, and one of them has already broken on my tent. I understand that they are made weak by design: a broken loop can easily be replaced in the field by a piece of cord while a ripped tent fabric would be a much bigger problem. Nevertheless, some improvements would be welcome.
The stitchings have some minor cosmetic defects here and there, but nothing functional.
Another problem is that the outer tent zipper storm protector fabric gets stuck in the zippers from time to time when it gets wet. Given that the fabric is very thin, this causes it to be damaged quickly. A snag guard fabric strip is badly needed on the outer tent zippers, and maybe an anti-snagging slider cover.
The way the poles attach at the top of the tent, you need to insert one of the poles into the corners of the tent before the other. However, no indication of which pole should go first is available on the tent. I immediately attached colored cords to the corners for that purpose, but a color indication out of the box would be better.
The ground sheet is made of nonwoven fabric (Tyvek?) and is very light. However, it is also relatively weak; I had a small hole in it after my first trip. As noted by other users, the bottom of the sheet is attracting dirt. Nevertheless, given that it is a nonwoven fabric, it does not absorb water. You can wash it in the nearest lake or river, hang it and it will dry almost immediately. It also means that it will not get heavy after a rain.
In summary: bigger mesh windows, bigger corner hooks and zipper anti snag protection are needed to make this tent perfect. This will add a bit of weight to the tent, but given that it is now much lighter than anything in comparable size and strength, this is not a problem. Workmanship also needs improvements.
I have two tents from Big Sky, the Revolution 2P (w/porch), which I bought directly from Big Sky, and the Chinook 2P which I bought second hand. Both are excellent tents -- the quality and workmanship is top notch, and each have their own unique and desirable features, but since I tend to do more cold weather hiking & camping, I've used the Chinook more -- and after I purchased the mesh inner for it, I've found that I like it for warmer temperatures just as well.
Just like the Revolution, the Chinook is easy and quick to set up -- even for someone as klutzy and uncoordinated as I am. I can be inside and out of foul weather in 4 minutes. When set up with all three poles, it is rock. solid. I have had it out in 35-40mph winds, with higher gusts, and have hardly noticed -- no flapping at all despite the relatively high steep sides. In long heavy rains I have stayed bone dry, and have noticed only the slightest amount of sag in the sil-nylon. The most snow I've had on it has been 3-4 wet, heavy inches, which slid easily off the sides. It did collect a bit on top, but it was easy enough to poke at the roof and pop it off.
The full fabric inner will make you feel as though you are in an absolute fortress -- it's basically a tent within a tent, and it will easily be 5 or more degrees warmer inside than it is outside (which may not sound like much, but it's surprisingly noticeable.)
As cozy as the fabric inner is, it is also the only feature of the tent that I dislike. For me, it feels somewhat claustrophobic -- when the doors are zipped, it feels very tight inside (even though the mesh inner has exactly the same dimensions, it just feels more roomy.) This is just personal preference.
I have found condensation & frosting to be an issue. Camping in the cold is always going to present condensation challenges in any tent -- happiness comes from skill at mitigating it -- but the solid fabric inner is SO solid that it makes this difficult...it is basically like a single wall tent.
If I could make any change at all to the Chinook, it would be to add a larger area of "zippable" mesh to the fabric inner's doors. The current mesh areas are just too small to adequately vent when the doors are closed. I would consider making the very top roof panels mesh as well, as the fabric roof seems unnecessary and it would help improve the ventilation (and perhaps even save a few grams.)
Although this might have sounded negative, I truly do love this tent and think it is superior to any competition; I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys winter camping. I am a big Big Sky fan; I have found their customer service and support to be prompt, honest, and hugely helpful. You will not regret this purchase.
Bought the tent recently, so this is only a “first impression” review, based on use on one weekend-trip. In Mid-Norway, where I live, we are usually abundantly blessed with opportunities to test tents in bad weather, but the weather on this trip was actually pretty nice (except for some fairly strong wind), so no review on water resistance and use in very cold weather.
The first impression of the tent is great. Easy to set up and take down (also when windy), good height and somewhat thin, but non-slippery floor. The tent can be completely open when using only two poles (to enjoy the scenery when the weather is nice), while the third pole can be added if more wind is expected. This is a brilliant solution, I’ve been searching for years for a tent that is both fairly light, can be opened completely in nice weather, while being robust enough for the rough weather conditions. Seems that I have found one, can easily torn out to be my favourite tent. Heck, even the colour is great (I bought grey). The tent is tall and does take a bit of beating when the wind is blowing on the broad side of it, but with all of the guy-lines on and three poles, my impression is that tent stood firmly.
I am 197 cm tall, and struggle to find tents that are big enough. The Chinook is definitely tall enough, but bit on a short side for my 203 cm long sleeping mat and 230 cm long sleeping bag. When I place the mat diagonally in the tent, it is just about long enough that the sleeping bag do not touch the inner walls too much, so I think it’ll be fine for solo use. A few more centimetres in length would make it perfect.
Negative sides so far: Only major thing I see is that it will rain in the tent when the door is open due to vestibule roof being narrower than the bottom of the tent. I’m not sure whether this is to be considered a design flaw or a decision made to maximise space while holding weight down, but entering the tent in strong rain will demand care. Apart from that, I only have a few small picks: There’s no repair kit (you want one if you want to use the tent mid-winter), no pole-sacks and 3000 mm hydrostatic pressure for the floor means you’ll have to use footprint if you want to use the tent on marshes or wet snow.
All in all, excellent impression so far, will try to post additional review when I’ve been using the tent more.
Oh, one last thing, tent arrived quickly to Norway, from a warehouse in UK and customer service of Big Sky was very helpful with changing the order when I forgot to order footprint together with the tent.
Light tent and pleasant way of setting up. Clear attention has been paid to compactness yet spacious inner tent. A second inner tent makes this tent complete.
I would like to use if there is a sand color fly sheet.
The Chinook's Breathable Fabric inner has Mesh Netting windows each side than can be opened... so almost like half mesh. Thank you for your review.
I have the Big Sky Chinook 2p tent and I have a rip on the door of the 4 season insert, 2 inches long in a L shape. What is the best way to repair it? and what kind of seam sealer should I get for this tent? Thanks!
It sounds like the 2 inch "L" shape tear is in the Breathable Fabric inner, correct? If yes, then seam sealer is not required. For a temporary fix, Gear Aid Tenacious tape would work. For long term fix, the tear should probably be sewn... we think a local sewing shop should be able to do this for you. We suggest taking it to them to get their feedback. If no local sewing shops, maybe contact https://rainypass.com/ in Seattle, WA.
What is the weight of the tent with just two UL poles?
Set of 2 poles: 2P poles, DAC NFL 8.7mm, 3-Seasons rated, Ultra Light, weight: 363g +/- 5g (12.5oz +/- 0.1oz)
Set of 2 poles: 2P poles, DAC NSL 9mm, 4-Season/Winter rated weight: 482g +/- 2g (17.0oz +/- 0.1oz )
1pc pole: Chinook 2P 3rd pole, DAC NSL 9mm, 4-Season/Winter rated weight: 212g (7.5oz)
What is the weight of the Big Sky Chinook 2P
weight is listed under "specifications"
Is the inner tent floor pu coated, and if so, what is the expected lifetime of the pu before it starts to degrade/smell?
Outside of the floor fabric is silicone coated, and inside is PU coated and seam taped.
The life of the PU coating depends on a lot of factors... weather (heat and humidity), use, etc. ... We have had some luck restoring PU fabric with https://bigskyinternational.com/products/gear-aid-seam-grip-tf-tent-fabric-sealant
Does the weight include the pegs and guy lines?
Tent weight includes outer, inner, and poles. Since people use different types and quantities of stakes/pegs and guy lines they are not included in the tent weight.
What is the weight of this 2 man tent with the breathable fabric interior if you leave the 3rd pole at home?
3rd pole weighs 204g (7.2oz)
Are there snow flaps on the outer?
Are there snow flaps on the outer?
> no, at one time we offered them, but there was not enough demand so the Snow Flap option was discontinued.
What are the dimensions and square footage for the floor?
The dimensions for Big Sky's Chinook 2P tent floor are:
- Length: 230cm (91in)
- Width head end: 135cm (53in), width foot end: 120cm (47in)
- Interior height: 107cm (42in)
Thanks for your interest!
Can you tell me the fabric weights of the floor and the fly and also teh inner dimensions of the tent (width, height, length)?
Can you tell me the fabric weights of the floor and the fly
> here is some fabric info:
also the inner dimensions of the Chinook 2P tent (width, height, length)?
> internal width headend: 135cm (53in) footend: 120cm (47in)
> internal peak height: 107cm (42in)
> internal length: 230cm (91in)
Is the floor seam sealed?
Yes, the floor is seamed sealed and the fabric has a hydrostatic rating of 3,000mm so it is very waterproof. It also has a non-slip surface to help keep your mattresss from sliding around.