Expert Review: The North Face Wawona 6 Person Tent

This review is my honest opinion of the tent, which I have purchased with my own money twice, once in 2004 and once in 2008.

The North Face Wawona 6P tent set up at a camsite.

Base Camp for Huron Peak in the Sawatch Range of Chaffee County Colorado. sPhoto courtesy of Jenny B.

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About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the tent, which I have purchased with my own money twice, once in 2004 and once in 2008.

My take

I love The North Face Wawona 6P tent for multi-day family car camping. My husband and I take our three kids into the backcountry of Colorado to live in this tent. This is a great option for families with 2-3 kids and 1-2 dogs.

About the tent I own

  • Product Model: Wawona 6 person
  • Size: 4 adults or 2 adults and 2 kids

About me

  • Height: 5’ 3”
  • Weight: 120
  • Experience: 50+ years of camping

Test conditions

  • When I bought the tent: 2004, and again in 2008
  • Days tested: 100+
  • Number of occupants: 5
  • Total pack weight: 15lbs approximately
  • Used for: Car camping
  • Where I’ve used it: Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming, California, Florida, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Michigan
  • Seasons I’ve used it in: Spring, summer, and fall

How it performs

Breakdown Speed
Interior Space
Setup Ease
Weather Resistance

What I was looking for

Because my husband was a public school teacher, and I worked part-time at REI, we had our summers to explore. We were looking for an amazing shelter from big storms in the mountains. A tent where our kids would have plenty of space for their toys, gear, clothing, etc. After a few years, we adopted a dog and needed a tent to accommodate his soft-sided crate.

Why I chose this gear

I chose the Wawona because I owned a smaller North Face tent from 1994 and it was bomb proof. I did not look at other options because for the price this tent provided exactly what I wanted in regards to those factors above.

What I love about it

  • Ease of setup: It’s not a difficult tent to set up, it helps to have two people. First time, it probably takes about 30 minutes to set up, but after that it takes about 20 minutes.
  • Breakdown speed: It is quite easy to take down. It takes about ten minutes to break down.
  • Weight: It is not a backpacking tent unless I want to split up the parts between hikers, which I did in the Grand Tetons.
  • Performance in rain: It does extremely well in wind and rain. No leaks for sure if you seam seal it each year. But basically, it's good the way it is. I also dig a trench around the tent and put it in a good spot if it storms.
  • Performance in wind: It does not require guide wires; if staked down it will hold up to wind.
  • Performance in the snow: We tried winter camping in the fall; light snow was not a problem.
  • Performance in desert areas with no trees: We camped in Joshua Tree and the Badlands in South Dakota. If we removed the fly it was very well ventilated.
  • Performance in wooded areas with lots of trees: It does fine in wooded areas, the mesh is sturdy against insects and the design works well for morning dew.
  • Performance when camping with a partner or group: It is very easy to sleep my entire family and our belongings in this tent.
  • Special features: The vestibule is awesome. It is high enough for most people to enter and exit. It has plenty of room for wet gear, soft-sided dog crates, kids toys, and lots of shoes!
  • Stability: The tent is very stable in storms. We were in plenty of storms in this tent, one in the Grand Tetons that lasted for days.
  • Durability The poles have never bent and the rain fly always kept us dry. One time the zipper stopped working, so I sent it to North Face. They replaced the entire tent after owning it for only five years. The second one we have had for 15 years with no issues.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Other: Each spring I’d wash it, seam seal it, and spray down the lower quarter of the tent with DWR spray. If the kids accidentally put a small hole in it I’d repair it with repair tape.

Favorite moment with this gear

For a decade or more we would camp in this tent with our kids and each night we would read classic children’s books to them under the stars until they fell asleep. They loved stories like Oliver Twist, Last of the Mohicans, Moby Dick, Tom Sawyer, etc. They’d sleep soundly in their bags under windswept pine trees and the lapping river.

Value for the money vs. other options

This tent is worth the money because it will last decades if taken care of. North Face is a highly reputable company that has been making mountaineering tents for a long long time. If you have any issues they will help and that is worth the cost. The vestibule alone is worth it. There are not many other comparable tents out there that are reasonably priced and well-built. Most tents around this price that will house 6 people are either very expensive and more of a 4-season or they are cheap and poorly made.

Final verdict

It is a tough but fun tent that will deal with three kids and two dogs.

Selling The North Face on
The North Face Wawona 6 Person Tent
Meet the author
Camping & Hiking Expert Jenny B
Jenny B
Camping & Hiking Expert
Jenny here! How can I help?
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Written By
I love helping folks find gear for big adventure trips. I've been an outdoor enthusiast all my life. Racing in the Ice Man and Ore to Shore. Rock climbing all over the USA and a bit in Canada. I own camping land in Colorado with views of the continental divide and sleep over on many weekends. I've...

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