I don’t think many people knew or have heard about the LightSpeed tents being sold exclusively at Costco and Sam’s Club. I learned about their products when I was looking for a lightweight canopy that we can use at the beach. When I saw one at Costco, I was immediately amaze on how light, quick and easy it was to setup. It uses a drawstring hub system that allows for quick setup and tear down.
Earlier this year, I was in the market for a camping tent to replace our old and trusty Eddie Bauer Sport Dome tent that my wife and I used to camped in before we had our kids. Again, I saw another LightSpeed tent at Costco online (not available in store). It’s called the LightSpeed Ample 6 that can sleep in up to six person. I was trying to decide between this tent and the Coleman Instant Tent 6. Both boast a quick way of setting up their tents. What I didn’t like about the Instant Tent was first of all, its cabin style design which is prone to being knocked down when hit by a gust of wind. This tent also doesn’t incorporate a rain fly which means that the roof is not well ventilated and can become hot during the summer. On the other hand, the LightSpeed sits nicely on the campsite. I like the large side mesh windows and the huge mesh roof which does a very good job for ventilation. On a hot summer night, you can take the rain fly off and stargaze with the kids or your significant other
Our first experience with this tent was at Big Basin last May. It was still pretty cold, probably in the high 40’s. Setup was a breeze, it took me less than 10 minutes for my first time (without looking at the manual). If it weren’t for the rain fly, I was done with the whole thing in 2 minutes. We brought in some thick blankets but it turned out we didn’t need them. It was warm enough inside the tent. My wife and my kids slept comfortably throughout the night. Tearing down the tent the next day wasn’t bad either, it was quick and painless. I just made sure I let all the air out and it rolled in easily and fit perfectly back in the bag. There’s one thing I didn’t like about this tent though. With its 13’x7′ footprint, I felt like we were cramped inside. The 7′ width does not give enough clearance between the door and the sleeping mats. Another problem with this tent is, the width is not a true 7′ end-to-end. The two ends of the tent kind of wedges in so you lose about a foot or two. We were able to place two hide-away mat (we bought from Costco) but it had to be positioned lengthwise giving us no clearance at all by the door. Last camping trip, we used a queen size air bed and same situation. Now the problem is, the queen size is small for our family so my wife and I decided to get a king size. Guess what, king bed barely fits inside the tent.
Don’t get me wrong about this tent, it’s very well made and looks nice. It just doesn’t satisfy our needs right now. To give more credit to the LightSpeed tent, last week, we went camping in Portola Redwoods and we got rained on. We got a pretty good amount of rain and some wind. The tent stood still and kept us dry, no leaks or anything. I like this tent if it weren’t for the small sleeping area. I went to their website to check if they have a bigger size. They in fact do have one and it’s called Ample 8. The problem is, the LightSpeed Ample 8 has the same width but longer.
So the other day, I returned it to Costco for a full refund. Gotta love Costco’s return policy!!! Now, we’re shopping for a bigger tent that can fit a king air bed with more room for our stuff.
Would I recommend this tent? Definitely! I’d even give it 4.5 stars. But if you are looking for a roomy tent, you need to look somewhere else.