We have two tents in our assortment of camping gear: one for car camping and one for backpacking. For backpacking we have the Marmot Catalyst 2 Person tent, which is a great lightweight, durable option for hike-in camping. As for car camping, we use the Slumberjack Daybreak 4 Person tent, which is our favorite car camping tent we’ve ever had.
Side note on the difference between car camping and hike in camping: car camping is when you are able to pull up to a parking spot and camp right next to your vehicle. This makes it easy to have more camping gear and cooking supplies since you can store everything in your car. Backpacking or hike-in camping involves carrying everything with you on your back, so it requires planning and light-weight equipment that can easily be carried anywhere from a couple miles to hundreds of miles.
While Slumberjack may be a lesser known outdoor gear brand, they’ve definitely earned our business. Coming out of high school when we were first getting into camping, our first tent we got together was from Walmart. I know, it’s a dark time in our past. But we were just getting into the outdoors and didn’t have much money. Over the years we’ve had tents come and go, but once we purchased this Slumberjack, we knew we had something good.
- Dimensions: 8’3″ x 7′
- Area (Sq. Ft.): 57.75 + 22.2
- Interior Height: 4’10.5″
- Pack Size: 7″ x 26″
- Minimum Weight: 9 lbs. 15 oz.
- Packed Weight: 11 lbs. 2 oz.
- Floor Material: 66D Polyester taffeta w/ 1200mm coating
- Fly Material: 66D Polyester taffeta w/ 1200mm coating
- Wall Material: 40D Polyester mesh
- Roof Material: 40D Polyester mesh
- Netting: 40D Polyester mesh
- Lightweight and compact: We use this tent for car camping, so pack weight isn’t as important than if you were hike-in camping, but it’s still a factor to take into consideration. When packed, it weighs only 11 pounds and 2 ounces and measures 7 x 26 inches. Not the smallest tent you’ll ever own, but definitely not the largest either.
- Ventilation: The walls and ceiling of the tent are Slumberjack’s “No-See-Em” mesh, which provides bug-free ventilation and great visibility for stars and wildlife.
- Protection from the Elements: Even though this tent seems to be mostly mesh, the full coverage rain fly ensures a dry and comfortable night, even in heavy rain and wind. The fly goes on easily and quickly, and stakes into the ground a few inches away from the tent, which redirects rain away from your footprint (sold separately).
- Easy to Assemble: Slumberjack used classic multi-diameter fiberglass poles that easily extend and connect so you can pop your tent in a matter of a couple of minutes. You can set camp with one person, or two people makes it that much easier. Plus, the simple tent pole design allows for plenty of space inside, while still being quick and easy to set up.
- Options: This tent is offered in 2-person, 3-person, 4-person, and 6-person sizes. Although there’s only two of us, I like to use a cot when car camping so we purchased the 4-person. It allows for room to change clothes and sleep comfortably without being squished in a small area.
The Main Points
The feature that stands out the most, and by-far is our favorite part of the tent, is the all mesh canopy. This is exactly what we were looking for in a tent and the Daybreak did not disappoint. The tent floor is polyester, and the polyester continues up the side of the tent for about one foot. The rest of the walls and ceiling are made of Slumberjack’s “no-see-em mesh,” which means there’s superb air flow for those warm summer nights. But perhaps an even better reason to get a tent with a mesh ceiling and walls is the stars. Camping in remote places, such as Guadalupe Mountains National Park, where the stars seem to outnumber the grains of sand on a beach, is even more breath-taking when you can wake up in the middle of the night and see the Milky Way above you. Easily one of the best parts of any camping trip is looking at the stars all night, while still being protected from bugs and critters.
Another cool features is that you can use trekking poles to convert the vestibule into a shade awning or it can be rolled up like a traditional tent opening. I’ve heard you can also use sticks to accomplish the awning look, but trekking poles are much easier. This vestibule is also a decent size, so it’s great for storing smelly hiking boots and extra stuff outside of the tent at night, while still protecting it from the elements.
What is a tent vestibule? Think of it as a mudroom or porch, just before you actually enter your home. This area is great for storing gear when the tent is too crowded or for changing and leaving wet and/or dirty clothes outside the clean, dry area of your tent.
While the footprint and trekking poles are sold separately, the tent does includes steel stakes and reflective guy lines. We’ve found that the awesomely designed rain fly doesn’t make a lot of noise in the wind, aka low fly rumble.
There’s multiple mesh pockets on the inside of the tent for storage and easy accessibility to smaller items, as well as multiple sewn in loops on the interior of the tent, which is where we hang our lights (or you can hang a mesh storage canopy up there).
Like I’ve already said plenty of times, this tent is easily the best tent for car camping we’ve ever owned. It’s held up extremely well, and it’s one of our favorite parts of car camping. We feel like the tent is prepared for anything we throw at it (snow, wind, rain, etc.) and is ready to stand the test of time as one of our favorite items in our fleet of camping gear.