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Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Tent 4-Person: Review & How-To Use

This is my complete review of the Cabela’s Alaskan Guide 4-Person Tent.

This isn’t your average tent review. We’ve ran this bad boy through the gauntlet for almost a decade and counting in rain, snow, and wind.

The tent’s design has remained largely unaltered over the years (except for minor cosmetic changes), so you can rest assured our review is still accurate for new models.

So what do we think?

The Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Tent is a first-class winter tent. It’s somewhat expensive but should last for at least a decade (if not two). I’d definitely buy it again.

Initial Thoughts

Cabela's Alaskan Guide Tent at Father Hennepin State Park

Here are my initial thoughts on the Cabela’s Alaskan Guide 4-Person Tent from a trip to Father Hennepin State Park way back in 2013…

Pull out the tent for the first time and you’ll find that it’s rather confusing looking at all the poles, stakes, and tarps.

It’s quite daunting putting this tent together at first (ours didn’t even come with any assembly instructions).

Luckily for you, I’ve put together a helpful video set-up guide (and I’ve included detailed written instructions below).

Once you do figure out how to put together the six-pole frame, putting on the rainfly and securing any tie downs is easy and straightforward.

In the past, we’ve used the tent mainly for our kids and their friends when RV camping. It’s held up well to the heavy abuse rowdy kids throw at camping gear. It’s kept my family warm and dry in all conditions.

I’d definitely buy this tent again for my family today. But I’m confident my current Alaskan Guide Tent will last for another 10 years.

Long-Term Cabela’s Alaskan Guide 4 Review

Cabela's Alaskan Guide Tent with the Vestibule Rolled Up

We’re coming up on a decade using this 4-season tent and are still pleased with its performance. Here’s what we’ve been most happy with:

Durability

What surprised us most is its durability.

But maybe the Alaskan Guide Tent’s durability really shouldn’t be a surprise at all.

Cabela’s is known for the very high quality of all their camping gear. And this tent has been continually refined for over 25 years of field testing into the beast that it is today.

Our tent is showing a little wear, but it still performs just as well as it ever did. There are a few minor blemishes but no rips or tears. The poles are still strong, the rainfly still blocks rain, and the zippers all work smoothly.

4-Season Weatherproofing

Most people buy an Alaskan Guide series tent for its 4-season capabilities.

No, we haven’t actually used our tent in Alaska, but my family has used it in all weather conditions, including the wind, snow, and rain here during Minnesota winters.

The fabric is 100% waterproof, the floors are made with 3000mm thick abrasion-resistant oxford nylon material (to prevent rips and block moisture), and the rain cover is made of 2000mm thick material.

In this Cabela’s four-season tent, you have water protection from above, below, and all sides!

And that’s not to mention the robust frame, thick rainfly fabric, and geodesic shape to protect against stronger wind than the majority of other tents.

Convenient Features

The tent vestibule is one of this tent’s most convenient features.

It’s a great place to store dirty hiking boots, camp shoes, and other camp supplies. This saves room and keeps the inside of the tent clean and dry. The vestibule is completely waterproof so you don’t have to worry about your gear getting wet.

Multiple gear pockets line the perimeter of the tent’s interior. Such features are standard on today’s tents but the abundance of pockets on the Alaskan Guide is a huge plus. In addition to gear pockets, it has several cup holders as well as a gear loft.

A Few Drawbacks

The Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Tent 4-Person is heavy.

Our family loves canoeing in the Boundary Waters and this tent is a bit too heavy for such trips. For canoeing and backpacking trips, we opt for something lighter, like the MSR Hubba Hubba NX2.

As mentioned above, this tent is also pretty difficult to set up, at least the first couple of times.

Although I’ve now mastered the process (I outline my step-by-step set-up instructions below), it’s still a bit of a pain for one person. Luckily, it’s much easier with a helper.

Like most 4-person tents, there really isn’t room for four adults (especially with gear) in here.

Two adults and two kids, sure. Four (or more) kids, sure. But about three adults is the most you can sleep comfortably. Unless you’re all very comfortable with each other, of course…

Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Tent Pros and Cons

Cabela's Alaskan Guide 4-Person Tent with Vestibule Closed

Like all camping gear (and especially tents), there are advantages and disadvantages to this Cabela’s 4-person tent.

After 7+ years of regular use, we have a good grasp on these pros and cons.

Pros:

It’s durable. I’ve mentioned it countless times already – this baby will last forever with proper care and storage. The frame is rock solid, the tent bottom is extra thick and abrasion-resistant, even the rainfly is made from 75D ripstop fabric.

It’s waterproof. No rain is getting inside this tent. Same goes for snow. Even when the wind is howling and the rain is pouring, the full-coverage rainfly and 3000mm-rated coated tent floor keep moisture at bay.

It’s very sturdy. The 7 shock-corded fiberglass poles and a state-of-the-art geodesic dome shape block very strong wind (I’ve seen reviews of some owners claiming to have hunkered down in 65mph+ gusts in the Alaskan Guide tent).

The vestibule is spacious. Leave your boots outside and keep the interior clean. Makes for more room inside the tent. Vestibule is part of the waterproof rainfly with to-the-ground coverage to keep anything inside of it dry.

It looks stylish. I know, I know, buying a tent isn’t about looks. But when a high-quality tent also looks great, that’s a win win. And the Alaskan Guide is super cool looking in my opinion.

Cons:

It’s heavy. The current (2021) model of the 4-person Guide Tent clocks in at 24 pounds 11 ounces.

It’s tricky to set up. Pitching this tent is a pain at first! It’s much easier with a helper, although I’ve learned to do it in under 15 minutes all by myself.

It’s expensive. There are much better options for those looking for a winter tent on a budget. To counter that, the Alaskan Guide’s durability means that the tent will last for a heck of a long time before it requires replacement.

Best Uses for the Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Tent

Ruth and Dad in the Alaskan Guide 4 Person Tent from Cabelas

The Four-Person Alaskan Guide Tent from Cabela’s is made with harsh conditions and heavy use in mind.

Many users prefer to use it as a compact basecamp shelter for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities, especially when inclement weather is expected.

It’s the ideal tent for 4-season camping. It continues to perform well after nearly 10 years in all conditions, including Minnesota winters.

When I’m hunkered down in this Cabela’s 4-person tent, I never worry about it coming down – the pole system is very strong and sturdy.

Yet, the removable rainfly also makes this a great tent for summertime camping. The tent body is very breathable thanks to mesh windows, walls, and vents.

In fact, my family has mainly used this Cabela’s Guide Tent for family camping at state parks and private campgrounds in decent weather rather than in harsh winter conditions.

Who Do I Think the Alaskan Guide Tent Is Best for?

This isn’t an ultralight or even lightweight tent.

It’s heavy, bulky, and not the easiest in the world to set up.

But it’s made to last.

This is how tents used to be made when your granddaddy went camping.

Nothing fancy, just rugged materials that last forever and keep you dry.

I’ve tried out a lot of camping tents (check out my other camping tent reviews) and this is one of the best of the best for the BIFL (buy it for life) crowd.

I’m not sure if it will truly last a lifetime, but my family has gotten almost a decade out of it and I suspect it will last at least a decade more.

How to Set Up the Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Tent 4-Person Model

It’s easier to set up the Alaskan Guide Tent with two people, although as you can see in my video above it’s possible with one person (takes me about 15 minutes).

Spread out tent. Open the tent body on the ground with the top facing up and door facing your preferred direction.

Pound in stakes. Install the stakes at about a 45-degree angle away from the tent. I prefer to put in all the stakes at the beginning. Some people prefer to start with just a few.

Assemble tent poles. The 4-Person Alaskan Guide comes with 6 tent poles and a vestibule pole. The smaller pole is for the vestibule, the others are all for the tent body.

Put poles in sleeves and attach clips. Lay poles in position on the tent by pushing through pole sleeves. Attach tent clips.

Place pole ends in holders. Put the pole ends in the holders near the stakes on the body of the tent. Do both sides of a pole at once before moving to another.

Lift poles up as you assemble. The tent will begin to take shape and stand upright after the first one or two poles are placed in their end holders.

Adjust tent and stakes as needed. After all the poles are installed and the tent is standing, you’ll likely need to adjust a few of the stakes to expand the tent to its full size.

Set up rainfly. Expecting rain or snow? The short seventh pole is for the rainfly. Place it through the sleeve near the back of the vestibule. Hook it into the pole holders on either side of the door. Attach the shock-corded hooks on the rainfly to the holders on the sides of the tent.

Stake out vestibule. Attach stakes to the front two corners of the vestibule. Use the guy lines to stake out the other edges of the rainfly if you’d like.

And that’s how you set up the Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Geodesic Tent!

Larger Models Are Available

Cabela's Alaskan Guide Tent Near Camper

My review covers the 4-person model of the Alaskan Guide Tent.

Cabela’s also currently offers it in a 6-person model and 8-person model, although I’ve personally never used either.

Looking through the specs and user reviews for these, it looks like both larger models are built with the same design and materials as the 4-person model, just with slightly more interior space (remember this adds slightly more weight).

If you like the looks of the Alaskan Guide Tent but need something a little bigger than the 4-person model I reviewed today, I feel confident my experience translates well to both the 6-person and 8-person models.

Is the Cabela’s Alaskan Guide the Right Tent for You?

I’m a still a big fan of my Cabela’s Alaskan Guide 4-Person Tent.

It’s going strong over a decade since we bought it and I’m confident we’ll still be using it in another decade.

If you’re looking for a “lightish” winter tent or a seemingly bulletproof family tent, then I think this is the tent for you.

Happy Camping!

Dick Plank

Friday 4th of June 2021

I have owned the 6 person version for over 11. I have used it in everything from frozen arctic caribou hunts in Alaska to beach camping in Louisiana in the summer, and in my opinion it’s the best tent they have ever made. The only complaint I have is they should add a stove jack in it for extreme winter camping.

Jamie H

Tuesday 30th of June 2015

We've owned a Cabela's Alaskan Guide tent for 15 years and we LOVE it. Doesn't look like much has changed as far as design and why would it? As the author of this post said, it is a bit heavy but worth it's weight! We've used it in extreme wind and it held it's own. One whole side of the tent was blowing inward but the tent itself did not move. We've also used it in extreme rain. Ours has consistently been the only tent to stay dry in storms. We've abused the hell out of our tent over the last 15 years but it still looks and functions the same as it did when it was brand new!

Al

Monday 13th of April 2015

Great stuff- watched your video too. Just got the same tent this past weekend as a gift from my dad. Going to take my two kids backyard camping this weekend.