For families, festival-goers, glampers, and campers who like a lot of space, Therm-A-Rest’s 2017 Tranquility Tents are the perfect basecamp pick.
This summer I traveled by float plane to Orcas Island near Seattle to preview and test out Therm-A-Rest’s first foray into tents, the Tranquilty Series, launching in 4- and 6-person sizes this spring. Tents were the last missing piece in Therm-A-Rest’s complete camping collection of pads, chairs, hammocks, and sleeping bags, and their effort in designing this car camping collection right paid off.
As someone who camps in my three-person backpacking tent for nearly every camping trip, spending three nights at Camp Therm-A-Rest at Doe Bay Resort in a palace-esque Tranquilty Tent felt luxuriously spacious.
There was enough room for me to avoid rolling into my then-stranger tent mate, plus all our gear, and a little wiggle room.
An immediate bonus of the extra space was not having to dart back and forth to my car as per usual to get my socks, pajamas, or the other items relegated to living in my trunk. Plus, the ample headroom and space meant crouching was out and stretching without hitting my bag with my feet was in.
Plus, the glamping trend is growing and a big tent like this makes DIY glamping doable for adventurers who shudder at the thought of paying $180 a night to sleep in a luxury tent at a glamping resort.
Easy Set Up and Take Down
My last attempt at camping in a family-sized tent was when I first began camping in my 20’s. (My parents’ idea of a vacation was booking a hotel in the mountains that looked out at the stars, not sleeping under them.) Our tent came from a big-box store and the pile of poles and fabrics took two pages of instructions, a half-hour, and a lot of arguing to set up successfully.
I worried/wondered if the Therm-A-Rest Tranquilty tents would be a bad flashback of this experience, but was pleasantly surprised by the easy quick-clip aluminum pole and hub system that could be set up/taken down by one person in under five minutes. The freestanding design means set up can be done without meticulously staking first.
These feats will likely save the relationships of partners who purchase it, and prevent kiddie meltdowns by reducing set up time, both big bonuses for families.
The worst part of tacking down a tent is normally the struggle of stuffing a big tent
into a too-small sack. But thanks to the spacious backpack included with both the 4- and 6-man Tranquility tents, stuffing the poles, tent, and rainfly inside is a cinch.
The backpack design makes lugging the tent from car to campsite easier, and the total package weighs in 17 pounds 15 ounces for the 6-man and 11 pounds 7 ounces for the 4-man.
Design & Features
I’ve never thought of tents as being attractive, but the Tranquilty tents just look good. The design inspiration takes nods from “Renaissance-era architecture” with gothic arches and an A-frame shape designed to increase headspace and shed rain fast to keep the tent (and its occupants) dry in a storm.
If you don’t have a sun or shade shelter, the $30 Awning Kit is an affordable add-on that turns the 6-man tent’s unzipped door into an awning/porch area to sit under when it’s sunny or rainy outside. For stargazing nights, you can easily roll back the fly with one hand and enjoy the views.
Another bonus feature of the fly is using it as a solo sunshade for non-camping adventures like boating or picnicking. Skip the tent and pair the fly with the tent footprint, and you have a shady lounging zone without purchasing a separate sunshade kit.
Or double your sunshade space with the Arrowspace Shelter, which can be added on to the front of the 6-person Tranquilty Tent to create a stormproof lounging/dining area and the ultimate basecamp.
Inside the Tents
The well-thought design extends into the tents’ interiors with smart features like solar pass-thru ports (so you can charge a device from a solar panel outside the tent while keeping your device secure), pockets galore, gear loops for hanging jackets or lanterns, corner shoe pockets, and zippered room divider for privacy.
An available Media Port for hanging your iPad and a speaker is perfect for impromptu movie nights under the stars.
The Tranquilty 6-person tent has 6’2″ standing height so even tall folks won’t have to crouch, and while the 4-person version is slightly lower, it’s still much more headspace than many others tents we’ve tested.
Prices and Sizes
Tranquility 6-person Tent $599.95, Weighs 17 pounds 15 ounces.
Tranquility 4-person Tent $479.99, Weighs 11 pound 5 ounces
Available Spring 2017.
Check back for reviews of Therm-A-Rest’s complete 2017 line of hammocks, chairs, sleeping bags, and pads.