This is the Ultimate TopNotch (Field-Tested) Review of the Tahoe Gear Olympia Tent 2020
In this comprehensive review we’ll be looking at:
- All the important specs for this tent
- Our experience in our ‘Field Test’ with the Tahoe Gear
- The results of our extensive testing… and how well the Tahoe Gear stacked up against other 10-man tents
- So much more…
So if you’ve been scouring the internet for a solid tent at a great price, you’ll love this guide!
- Great price
- Good weather and rain resistance
- Great ceiling height throughout tent
- Easy and intuitive setup
- Requires staking to maintain shape
- Not enough room for 10 people
Tahoe Gear Olympia Tent
Coming into this one, it’s fair to admit that we didn’t have a ton of experience with other Tahoe Gear tents. Since our initial testing, we’ve also tried out their 12 person tent, and have plans to try out their 16 person tent as well.
Needless to say, the brand made a great first impression on all of us.
After spending a few nights out in the woods, I feel confident recommending this tent to anyone who’s looking for a larger family tent. You’ll stay safe, warm and dry through just about any conditions, and you won’t need to break the bank in the process.
Now, as with any tent, there are some cons to this model as well.
Some… interesting design choices were made that require thorough staking.
For anyone who likes to just throw their tent out in a clearing, this could present some issues.
Likewise, the tent doesn’t actually hold 10 people, which is pretty par for the course. Large tent manufacturers tend to exaggerate capacity, stretching a “comfortable-for-eight-campers” into a “fits-twelve”. This normally doesn’t bother us, especially when we consider family camping with the youngsters (who don’t take up much space).
In this case, it was pretty egregious, though; the tent can realistically fit 7 people – though you might stretch it to eight.
All those minor issues aside, the tent held up amazingly well, and we were more than happy to spend a couple nights crammed inside it.
Related: 10 Best 10 Person Tents
Analysis Comparisons and Test Results
The tent is set up in the traditional dome style, with two wings and a main domed living area. However, given its high inner ceiling and arched wings, the tent comes off as more of a family cabin tent.
Unlike other family cabin tents though, you have the benefit of an aerodynamic design which provides solid wind resistance and no straight walls for rain to pool on. In addition, the tent has a solid binding floor which helps prevent any leakage when pitched on wet ground.
The tent is advertised to hold 10 people, though it will comfortably fit 7 average campers plus their gear.
To note: the Tahoe Gear features guy ropes across its body and, unlike many other tents on the market, these are completely necessary for keeping it upright and functional.
Value for Money
We’ve sung this tent’s praises when it comes to weather resistance and design, but can you even afford the thing?
Why yes, yes you can!
Value for Money Rating
Given everything this tent has going for it – as well as its modest price – it’s amazing we didn’t pick the Tahoe Gear for our Best Value Award. The truth is, it was a really tight race and the Core just barely edged it out.
But in all seriousness, this tent is a spendthrift’s dream. You won’t find many tents within this price range that keep the weather outside, stand upright and come with all their pieces, much less tents that perform near the top of our rankings in multiple categories.
Ease of Use
The unpacking and setup process can be effortless or a complete nightmare, depending on a few choices the manufacturers make.
Depending on the tent, the bag may be too small, the directions confusing or incomplete, or the entire process so obliquely unintuitive that you feel like setting the tent on firebefore you’re done.
Ease of Use Rating
Luckily, this wasn’t really the case with the Tahoe Gear.
Though it didn’t walk away with our top spot, the Tahoe Gear still raked in a respectable 8/10 for this category, owing to its fairly simple and intuitive setup, clear directions and generally short time commitment.
There really isn’t much to say for this category. The tent’s bag had enough space for repacking – a massively underrated factor, in my opinion, and the poles didn’t take much finagling to do their job.
Overall, there was only one substantial problem – the guy ropes.
There are three main “optional” parts of a traditional tent: rain fly, ground sheet (this is for more old-school tents) and guy ropes/stakes. In most tents, you can completely omit using any of these and the tent will still function.
As we’ve said before, the Tahoe Gear is not most tents.
Without staking every corner and guy line, this tent will not function. This makes the startup time significantly longer and more tedious, especially if you’re camping on a clear, warm night and you’d prefer to get into bed with minimal hassle.
Durability & Workmanship
This factor tends to scale up alongside a tent’s price. So with everything we’ve said about the Tahoe Gear’s excellent price point, does it really have the durability and workmanship to compete with big-ticket tents on the list?
Durability & Workmanship Rating
Let’s find out!
As you probably picked up on earlier in this review, the balance of excellent workmanship and a fantastic price put the Olympia on a whole different playing field from most other tents on the list.
Not only did it survive our various puncture, tear and falling-object tests – it passed them with flying colors! And while that was partially due to the solid materials used to construct the tent, a lot of the credit has to go to the tent’s design.
As I had said before, the Tahoe Gear combines high walls and ceilings with the durability of a traditional dome tent,giving inherently more toughness than you might get from a regular family cabin tent. The result is a tough, long-lasting tent.
Without proper water and wind-proofing, you may find yourself leaving camp earlier than you’d anticipated!
So how does the Tahoe Gear handle the inevitable bad weather that comes with camping?
Weather Resistance Rating
Very well, in fact!
Once again this tent really exceeded our wildest dreams, showing that you can find good weather resistance on a budget. Not only did the tent shrug off our rain tests (both a bucket of water and a 30-minute sprinkler session), but it also barely shook during windier nights.
We’d been initially worried about the rain fly seams, which seemed like they might let water through. But on further inspection, we found they were completely reliable. In fact, the entire rain fly canopy worked better than most tents we tried out, possibly on account of the tent’s steep wall height.
See, the wall height results in a steeper surface, which typically works better to slough off rainwater before it can permeate the rain fly. So while 10 person tents are notorious for weather-related issues, the Olympia really stepped up.
As a result, this tent is rated as a 3 season tent. And unlike supposedly “3 season tents” we’ve reviewed in the past, I’m confident in this tent through spring, summer and fall. Basically, as long as you’re not getting snowed on, you’ll be just fine.
Finally, there’s comfort. Can you sleep well at night? Do you have plenty of room for all your gear – and your people? What about added amenities that give you a taste of home?
Unfortunately, our review ends on a bit of a sour note for the Tahoe Gear.
While the tent itself contains everything you need for a successful camping outing, it doesn’t go much beyond that.
Many of the tents – especially family cabin tents – in this size range come with an attached screen room. And while the screen room isn’t completely necessary, it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors, even when it’s rainy or buggy.
But that’s not all…
While the Tahoe Gear lost some points for the lack of a screen room, the real killer was the lack of internal space. As I mentioned earlier, the tent doesn’t hold as many people as it had advertised, and trying to squeeze ten people into this (supposedly) 10 person tent is a terrible idea!
So despite the nice features (predominantly mesh design that offers great ventilation, for instance) the tent didn’t carry its weight in this category.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What does 3 Season mean?
Ans: A 3 season tent should let you camp throughout Summer, Spring and Fall, barring unseasonably cold temperatures and/ or snow. A four season tent will be insulated and tough enough to let you camp during snowy conditions as well.
What is the biggest tent on the market?
Ans: While tents like the Olympia are large, they are by no means the largest on the market. Large manufacturers make 16 person tents and up, allowing you to camp with your entire extended family or another huge group of people!
What are some features to look out for when you’re buying a used tent?
Ans: Always make sure all the necessary pieces are in your tent. This should include the main tent, a pole bag, a stakes bag, a rain fly canopy, and in some cases a ground sheet (which goes underneath the tent floor). Many people try to sell incomplete tents online.
How can I stay cool at night in my tent?
Ans: Many tents have a mesh design that improves ventilation and lets in cool night breezes. If not, consider camping out in your tent’s screen room (if it has one).
Our Final Verdict:
Tahoe Gear Olympia Tent
So we’ve had some good categories and some not-so-good categories for this tent. But how does the Tahoe Gear compare to the rest of the field once we’ve crunched all the numbers?
Let’s find out.
So there you have it – the best tent on our list that didn’t take home one of our TopNotch Awards.
While there were a few flubs in the design of the tent – primarily the baffling idea that you would need to stake the entire front side of the tent for it to stay upright – Tahoe Gear’s care and patience with the design really shone through during our testing.
Pairing the generally high quality with a knockout price, we were hard-pressed to find anything too negative to say about this fine tent.
All in all, I was very impressed and I’d be happy to recommend it to anyone – friend, family or stranger – for their next camping adventure.
Tahoe Gear Olympia Tent
So there you have it!
We’ve done the hard work – now it’s over to you, is the Tahoe Gear going to be on your next shopping list. This is a great value tent, stand up well against the elements, and scored well in our overall ratings – What’s not to like.
Well, funny you should ask…
It is a little cramped and realistically can only fit 7 people.
If you are looking for a 10 person tents check out our top recommendations below.
Tahoe Gear Olympia Tent
Tahoe Gear also makes a 16 person tent – the Ozark, which is larger and built in a more traditional family cabin tent style.