Woods Lookout Tent Review
For years I have looked for a tent that felt impossible to find. I wanted a large tent that could fit at least 5 people AND gear. The tent needed to be waterproof, stable, and with good ventilation. I wanted it to have a rainfly that covered the whole tent. I preferred the tent to have aluminum poles so that we could avoid shattered poles.
Yet the biggest “ask” I had was that the tent be under $400. There are several high quality, large family camping and backpacking tents on the market, but they are all over $500, which is expensive for the average family getting into camping. Yes, a family can start out with a cheap, box store tent for around $150, but those tents leak, and often leave folks unsatisfied with their camping experience.
After our second large, cheap tent began to leak, I started to explore other options. After hours of googling and scrolling the internet, I discovered Woods Canada, a brand less known in the United States. I was happy to discover that they sold an 8 man tent that checked many of my boxes, yet was still under $300.
Woods Canada was generous to send us a sample of their Woods Lookout 8 person, 3 season tent to try out. In this review I will give you an honest look at this tent so you can decide whether it would be a good fit for your family. And yes, they DO ship to the US!
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Woods Canada Lookout Tent: Overview
The Woods Lookout 8 Person tent is a one room, poly ripstop tent. There are two main aluminum body poles, and one aluminum rainfly ridge pole. The aluminum poles are thicker than the average fiberglass poles, but they are less shatter-prone under stress.
It has two large doors for easy access, and large windows at either end. The tent has a waterproof poly floor, and a full rainfly that extends to within 4 inches of the ground.
The rainfly rolls up over the windows and doors for ventilation during dry weather. The rainfly also has two large, zippered vestibules over each door for extra gear storage and weatherproofing.
The body of the tent is nearly 50 % mesh, which provides great airflow.
Side note: Woods Canada also makes a 6-person version of this tent if the 8 person is too large.
Woods Lookout Tent: Specs
- Interior height: 6′ 6″ at the peak
- 2 doors with 2 large vestibules
- No-See-Um mesh panels to keep the bugs out
- Reflective guylines
- Aluminum poles
- Floor size: 14×8 (8P)
- Total interior square feet: 112 ft (8P)
- Rainfly material: Poly rip stop with taped seams at 5000mm water resistant coating
- Weight: 20 lbs (8P)
Woods Lookout Tent: Pros and Cons
Every tent, whether it is $100 or $800 will have quirks that not every loves. Given the $259 price tag of this tent, I expected there to be features missing and things I didn’t like. My list is below.
Pros of the Woods Lookout Tent
- Rainfly extends full height of tent
- Zippers are easy to open and close
- Large windows for ventilation
- Rainfly flaps for windows
- Double vestibules
- Double doors
- Tall ceiling height
- Aluminum shock corded pole construction
Cons of the Woods Lookout Tent
- Doors are larger than practical
- No divider because of door placement
- Aluminum stakes bend easily
- Zippers are not as rugged as a premium tent zipper
Woods Lookout Tent: Setup
This tent is large. Because of this, it can be difficult to set up the first time with just one person. However, because of the simple, two pole design, it is possible to pitch this tent without two adults. The hardest part about pitching this tent is that it is tall, so getting the rain fly properly positioned requires creativity when solo.
We liked that the two pole design was simple to set up. I took a group of teenagers camping and the teens were able to set up the tent without any instructions.
Woods Lookout Tent: Weatherproofing
Spoiler Alert: The Rainfly Works
It has rained every time we have used this tent. When I say rain, I don’t mean just a sprinkle. One of the times it was an actual, half day long deluge. Want to know what is great? This tent didn’t leak!
When I test a tent, I make sure to set it up “imperfectly”. I don’t stretch out all the guy lines, and I leave the fly with some looseness. Why? Well, I want to test how the tent performs in average conditions, not just perfect conditions.
The Woods Lookout tent was not guy lined out, and the fly was not stretched evenly, and yet it still remained waterproof. At lot of this is because the fly extends nearly to the ground, which keeps water from running down the body of the tent.
The tent also offers the ability to stake the rainfly away from the tent–which makes a huge difference in sustained rain. Having the rainfly staked 4 inches away from the tent means the drip line from rain runs AWAY from the tent, and not down the sides of the tent at all.
Most of the leaks we have had in other tents have been caused by rainflies that trickled water down the non-water resistant part of the tent, so this rainfly feature is awesome.
This tent is large. It is also only a two-pole design. Because of this, I was concerned about how well it would hold up in the wind. The tent fly does come with plenty of guy lines to assist with stability during wind.
The tent was used a couple of times with decent winds present. Neither time did the tent collapse or deform enough for rain to get in or the structure to be damaged. The aluminum pole are thick enough that they did not bend from the wind.
In full disclosure, this tent has not yet been tested during heavy thunderstorms, gusty winds, or dangerous wind conditions. The max wind it has experienced was probably around 25 mph.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised about how the tent withstood winds. It definitely isn’t mountain-expedition worthy, but for most wind situations the tent will be reliable.
Woods Lookout Tent: Downsides
This tent came with a large quantity of aluminum stakes. I was actually impressed by the quantity, because so many tents are sold without enough! I noticed that the stakes seemed small and thin, but I figured it was all part of the design.
The stakes work well in soft ground, and hold well to the tent if you angle them properly. However, the stakes will bend if pounding them into hard pack dirt or gravelly tent sites. On our last camping trip we bent at least 2 stakes, and we were not being rough–just normal hammering with a mallet.
My recommendation would be to buy a package of regular tent stakes to slowly replace the Woods stakes that came with it. No need to replace until they break, however!
You can order sturdier stakes from online stores. These stakes from REI have been durable and held up well in our experience.
Some folks will love the fact that this tent has HUGE doors. They are fantastic for airflow, views, and fitting two kids in and out at once. However, because the doors are oversized, and centered in the middle of the tent wall, it makes in impossible to have a divider in the tent.
Not having a divider is not a big deal for most families. For our family it is an annoyance since there are 5 kids, including 3 teenagers, and a mix of boys and girls. The girls like their privacy, and so this tent is not one they can easily share with brothers.
Woods could fix the doors by switching the placement of the doors and windows. Perhaps in the future. Regardless of the door situation, our family is using this tent–it just has become the designated girl dorm.
I touched on this above, but this tent would be extra awesome if it could work with a divider. Teens like their privacy, and this would be the perfect “kid tent” if we could give one side to the boys, and one to the girls.
Woods Lookout Tent Best Features
Having such large vestibules on a low priced family tent is a nice feature. I love not having to bring dirty shoes into the tent, but I hate having shoes wet with dew every morning! The vestibule on this tent can be left with one side open, both sides down, or both sides up.
In fair weather, I like the leave one side down for ventilation, but one side stretched out as a shoe garage. For an even better shoe storage spot, you can use an outdoor carpet under the vestibule so you can avoid even more grit.
Full Length Rainfly
This is the the cheapest family tent I have seen that includes a rainfly that extends all the way to the ground. This makes the tent stay so much drier! If you camp in places that tend to get wet, this tent will not let you down.
Aluminum Tent Poles
The aluminum poles used to set up this tent are a nice feature. Fiberglass poles are more flexible, but fiberglass poles snap. After having two fiberglass poles snap last year, I decided I only wanted tents with aluminum poles.
Woods Lookout Tent Best Uses
This tent is a great option to use as a family car camping tent. Because of its weight and size, it would NOT work as a backpacking tent. This tent is ideal for a group or family of 6 or less with gear, or it can sleep 8 without gear.
It makes a great basecamp tent in all weather situations. The generously sized vestibules help keep shoes and bags dry, while also helping keep the tent well sealed from weather.
Backyard Slumber Party
Summer time and backyard tenting go together so well! This tent is great for a crew of kids to camping out in together. It will keep them dry and provide lots of room for them to to even have a late night dance party.
Woods Tent Conclusion
The Woods Canada Lookout 8 Man Tent is our new go-to for family car camping. We will be using this tent as our “kid dorm” for our 5 children while we go on a long camping road trip. Because it has stayed so dry during storms, I can pack it with confidence, knowing that our gear and beds will stay dry no matter what.
For short, quick camping overnights, our entire family of 7 can fit in this tent, making set up and take down easier when we just need a place to sleep for the night.
I am really excited for the price point on this tent. Woods often has sales, but even without sales this tent retails for $259, making it very affordable. Despite wishing it had smaller doors and a divider, this tent is an excellent choice for a larger family. I am confident in recommending this tent to anyone needing an economical, large family, waterproof car camping tent.
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