Ultralight hot tents have been growing in popularity, and this Argali Absaroka review was fueled by a desire to see what was different about the Argali Absaroka tent vs other hot tents we’ve tested like the Seek Outside Cimmaron and the Seek Outside Redcliff. The Argali Absaroka 4p hot tent may look very similar to other 4 person, ultralight hot tents in its class, but it offers a few things that are quite unique.
If you’ve spent any time at all in the backcountry during the late season, you likely know the value of having a heat source in your tent. The nights start early and last a long time during the winter months, so having the luxury of a tent that’s compatible with a wood stove has become a necessity for me if I’m backpack hunting during late season. Simply put, the Argali Absaroka 4p tent is a piece of gear that will get you, and keep you, in the backwoods when the cold weather hits or when nasty weather arises that would otherwise send you running for the truck.
Now, as with any ultralight hot tent, the Argali hot tent has its limitations. Don’t buy ANY ultralight hot tent with the expectation that you can now do some winter backpacking and bring a summer sleeping bag and stuff the stove full of wood to have a toasty warm tent all night long. Ultralight stoves are not designed that way, and you’ll still need to pack for a cold weather backpacking trip with cold weather sleeping gear, even if you have a wood stove.
They do, however, make your cold weather backpacking MUCH more enjoyable and can save your hunt if you need to dry out, have a nice warm dinner or breakfast inside your tent, or comfortably get out of a storm.
What Makes it Different? Argali Absaroka Review
At first glance, the Argali Absaroka tent looks like a typical tipi tent that is wood stove compatible with its built-in stove jack. However, a number of features and design ideas make this tent stand out from others.
Argali Hot Tent Materials
While many ultralight hot tents utilize a standard silnylon material for the canopy, all Argali hot tents feature a RipStop SilPoly fabric, which does a much better job of not sagging in wet weather during those trips when you get hit with a storm. During our testing, we had to ride out a few high-country rainstorms, and I was extremely impressed how the material didn’t noticeably sag.
In my experience, silnylon tents have a tendency to stretch and sag a lot more when hit with heavy rain or snow, so it was a very nice surprise to wake up to a tent that had retained it original shape. There was no need to go around and re-tension the tent after the rainstorm, which is something I’m accustomed to having to do with silynlon.
ARC Removable Stove Jack System
One of the extremely unique features that I came to love during this Argali Absaroka review is the ARC removable stove jack system. This unique setup allows you to remove the stove jack if you know you aren’t going to need a stove during the warmer months, saving you about 1/3 of a pound in weight.
You simply remove the tent fabric that covers the stove jack, then unzip the stove jack and set it aside. Once that’s done you can reattach the stove jack cover and you are all set. It’s a pretty slick setup that is simple, easy to use, and versatile.
Full Nest Option
Another unique feature that the Argali Absaroka 4p tent offers is the optional nest. Sure, other tents offer nest options, but this one is unique in that it comes in a full nest option rather than a most typical half nest. In some ways and in some situations I love the full nest, while in other situations, I wish there was a half nest option.
For early season hunts when you don’t need a stove, taking the full nest is perfect to keep bugs out and to comfortably sleep 4 adults. It gets a bit snug with 4 people as you can see, and I found that the width of the nest will accommodate only one of the two people on each side of the pole to have a wide (25 inch) pad. Even two 20 inch wide pads is a bit of a tight fit (as shown on the left below), but it works fine. If you have more than 3 people in the Argali Absaroka, you won’t have much room for gear other than a little space at the head and foot.
In the picture above we had a wide pad (25 inches) and a standard 20 inch wide pad on the right side of the pole, and that was about as much as we could comfortably fit in there. Two 25 inch pads didn’t work so well, though.
On the left, we had two 20 inch wide pads, and there was about 6-8 inches to spare, but on the right is a 25 inch wide pad, which leaves a tight fit for the 2nd pad on the side of the tent that has the wide pad. Having 4 in the tent would be quite crowded, but it would be doable, and there is a lot of head and foot room for gear storage as you can see in the picture below.
One of the unique features of the Argali Absaroka hot tent nest is the massive T-Shaped zipper. As you can see in the picture above, it allows you to open the tent all the way up from one end to the other, making it easy to get settled into the tent rather than everyone tripping over each other when setting up camp.
Trekking Pole or Carbon Pole Setup
One of the awesome things about the Argali Absaroka hot tent is that, if you pair it with the Argali Carbon Trekking Poles, which are actually designed to connect using a threaded attachment. This allows them to stack end to end to be used as the center pole for this, or any other Tipi-style tent. Pretty sweet multi-function use built into the new Argali Trekking Poles!
Built-In Vent – Argali Absaroka
The Argali Absaroka hot tent also comes with a built-in vent at the peak of the tent to aid in minimizing condensation. It also has a built-in carbon rod to prop it open while in use, but which can also lay down flat when not in use and storing. Awesome design which makes storing the Absaroka tent easier!
Reflective Cordage and Tie-Outs
I love that the Argali Absaroka hot tent features highly reflective guy out points and guy out cordage to make finding your tent in the dark a breeze. The picture above doesn’t do the tent justice at all, but trust me when I say this tent lights up when your headlamp hits it. Finding your tent in the dark after a long day of hiking is a breeze because of how reflective this tent is.
Looking for an ultralight backpacking tent? Check out our huge selection of ultralight backpacking tent reviews! We’ve tested a lot of them over the years!
The Specs: Argali Absaroka Review
The on-paper specs were an instant point of intrigue when we decided to do this Argali Absaroka review as it boasts some extremely impressive specs along with the unique features mentioned above. One of the especially nice things about the Argali Absaroka is the ability to adjust what setup you want depending on the trip you are going on. It truly is a fantastic option for everything from early season to late season hot tent backpacking.
As you can see above, there are many variables that can affect the total weight. How many stakes do you want to take? Did you add the additional guy lines and line locs? Did you add in the full nest?
Of course, if you add in a wood stove, you’ll need to add in all the stove pieces and some other extras like gloves, fire starter, and maybe a saw. You can go minimalist and keep the weight way down, or add in a bunch of accessories that can really push the weight up there on you. Everyone will want something different here, so pick what you think will work best for you and adjust accordingly after you get a few trips under your belt.
My Field Testing: Argali Absaroka Tent Review
Now that we’ve got all the details and specs out of the way, how did this thing perform in the field for this Argali Absaroka review? Simply put, a shelter that gives you the option to bring a stove simply makes hunts and backpacking trips possible that never would have otherwise happened, at least not very comfortably. The ability have a heat source inside your tent is a game changer. What makes the Argali Absaroka even more versatile is its exceptional performance not only for cold weather trips, but also in early season when you may want more bug protection.
Given the summer release date and when we got our hands on the Argali Absaroka, we were able to use it on several trips during the summer and fall before the cold weather hit. We elected to take the full nest for these trips for more bug protection.
For the most part, these trips didn’t provide much in the way of challenging weather to test out the storm worthiness of the Argali Absaroka tent, but on one of our mid-September archery elk hunts, a storm blew in, bringing with it some high winds and some pretty intense rain showers. The rain didn’t last all that long, but it poured pretty good while the storm had us pinned down.
We spent part of that storm taking cover under a tree, and when we had a small break in the storm, we hunted our way back to the tent up on top of the mountain and rode the rest of the afternoon out in the tent waiting for the weather to break for an evening hunt.
During that storm, the heavy rain didn’t cause any sag in the material like I’ve experienced with Silnylon. This was a welcomed benefit that you get with the SilPoly that Argali uses. The water beaded up and ran off, even after several hours of rain.
Other than that one big rain storm, we unfortunately (or fortunately) didn’t encounter much weather on our backpack trips using this tent. However, I can certainly say that what we did experience was extremely positive and gave me all the confidence I needed to not hesitate taking this tent in adverse weather conditions.
Options & Accessories: Argali Absaroka Review
Argali offers a number of different accessories that can be added when purchasing one of their tents. Thankfully, the stakes come with the tent (some tents we’ve tested don’t include stakes), but you get to decide if you want to add the carbon center pole or use your trekking poles. You’ve also got the option to add in the full nest if you like having a floor and extra bug protection for your trip.
Argali Piton Stakes
The Argali Piton Tent Stakes are extremely lightweight, and we haven’t broken or bent one yet. At just .3 ounces per stake and 1.8 ounces per 6 stakes, these are some of the lightest you can get, and to our surprise, have also been some of the most durable. I can probably guarantee we’ll bend and/or break them at some point, but they’ve done better than others we’ve recently tested.
Argali Absaroka Carbon Center Pole
Another accessory you can opt to pick up is the Argali Absaroka Carbon Center Pole. It comes in at just 12 ounces and is easy to deploy. It’s different than the Seek Outside center pole we tested in that it alternates larger and smaller sections, making assembly easier. It’s almost impossible to mess up which is nice especially when it’s dark and you are hurrying to get set up.
Carbon Pole or Trekking Poles Setup
One thing that makes the Argali Absaroka tent even more versatile is the ability to set it up with one of their Argali Carbon Poles, or by using the new Argali Trekking Poles and screwing them together via the threaded ends. Pretty slick setup that will save you 12 ounces of carbon pole.
Argali Absaroka Insert
One of my favorite options with this setup is the Argali Absaroka Insert. For me personally, a nest or an insert of some kind is a must in early season as I just sleep better knowing I won’t have a spider or snake visit me in my sleeping bag. Call me a pansy if you want. I’m OK with that.
I like that the Argali Absaroka Insert comes with its own stuff sack to make sharing the load super easy. I do wish, however, that the main shelter stuff sack was big enough to put both the nest and the canopy in if you wanted to, but it’s not. This forces you to detach the nest every time you break down the tent if you want to put it in a stuff sack.
Here are some of specs for the full nest:
- Fabric-15D lightweight mesh (canopy)/40D Nylon 6.6 (floor)
- Weight– 33.8 oz
- Peak Height-72″
- Packed size-9″x7″
One big downside that goes along with this Argali Absaroka Insert is that if you are using the insert, you lose virtually all your storage space for gear as the insert is designed to fully enclose the entire shelter. There is almost no vestibule when using the nest. This isn’t a big deal if the weather is fine, but if you find yourself needing to pull your pack in the shelter and out of the rain or snow, it will all have to come inside the nest with you and potentially muddy up the tent floor.
I felt like even a couple feet of a vestibule would be a great compromise to provide a place to store gear on trips when you take the insert but might have some wet weather.
One other downside to the insert I found through this Argali Absaroka review is that it makes having 4 people in the tent a bit tighter than if you are not using the insert. The insert does not utilize all of the space offered by the canopy. There is about a foot of unused space on either side of the tent. That extra foot would make a big difference on the inside.
Pick an Ultralight Stove
As mentioned above there are a number of great ultralight backpacking stoves on the market, and we’ve had a chance to use a few of them. There are pros and cons to each of them, and what is most important to you will likely determine which you choose. The Seek Outside SXL Titanium wood stove is a great option for this shelter, but you could also go with the next size down, the Large Titanium Stove that would do the trick. Personally, I like to have the extra fire box volume for larger pieces of wood, or in the event I pick up one of their larger tipi tents down the road.
Another great option is the Winnerwell Fastfold Titanium Stove. This little stove is awesome, and we’ve found it to have a better draw when burning. However, the biggest feature that sets the Winnerwell Fastfold Titanium Stove apart is just how fast and easy it sets up. No lose parts, no screws or wing nuts to assemble like the Seek Outside Stove, and it sets up in a fraction of the time. The biggest drawback to the Winnerwell Fastfold is that it is not quite as compact when stored, and it weighs about a half pound more than the Seek Outside. You are trading convenience for weight.
In the video below we go over more of the differences, but I’ve found that the difference in set up time between these two is even more significant out in the field vs. setting them up in the shop.
Extra Parts & Pieces
If you go with the Seek Outside Stove option, one thing I would STRONGLY recommend is to order some spare stove parts to take with you. I learned this the hard way by losing a foot on one trip and having the spring inside the carbon pole disappear on me on another trip. I ended up having to improvise and find a stick to plug in there and make it work. It was a little sketchy though, and I was praying the tent wasn’t going to come down on us while we had the stove cranking.
Now I take the following Seek Outside Stove replacement parts with me in a “spare parts bag:”
- 2 wing nuts
- 1 extra leg (rod)
- 1 extra pole spring
- 1 extra foot
- 1 extra stove pipe ring
I also picked up one of the Seek Outside Stove Pipe Storage Cases, which I also use to hold the rod and spare parts. It’s definitely not a must have, but kind of nice for organizational purposes.
If you go with the Winnerwell Fastfold Titanium Stove, there’s really no need to bring any spare parts. I’d still highly recommend picking up some Bigfoot Bushcraft Fire Plugs no matter which stove you select though!
Which One Would You Choose?
Stove Tips: Argali Absaroka Review
A couple of things became very apparent during this Argali Absoroka Tent review. You can select any number of ultralight stoves to go with this tent, but we had the Seek Outside SXL stove as well as the Winnerwell Fastfold Titanium stove to test it with.
First, I HIGHLY recommend picking up some Bigfoot Bushcraft Fire Plugs. These things are FLAT OUT AWESOME and make getting your fire going so much easier. They are a lifesaver, time saver, and help you not lose your patience trying to get a fire going when you’re wanting to warm up quickly. When things are a bit damp, these plugs are a life-changer, too.
Don’t Let it Get Too Low
Second, once you get the fire going, make sure you don’t let it go down too far before adding some wood. I found out the hard way that the fire may not come back to life if you don’t do this. In fact, I found that adding wood BEFORE you notice the fire cooling down works best in keeping it roaring.
I brought a small, lightweight saw to cut some larger pieces, which helps in keeping the fire going longer after you go to bed. It’s a little extra work to cut fire wood rather than just snapping it with your foot, but cutting up some larger pieces will give you some extra burn time if you do.
Bring a Saw & Gather Enough Wood Early
Bring enough fire wood in your tent for a couple days if possible. This was especially helpful when a storm rolled in while we were out hunting and soaked all the wood that we hadn’t already put in the tent. We would have had a much harder time finding dry wood had we not gathered a couple days worth as soon as we got camp set up and brought it inside.
Make sure to cut some larger pieces if you can to help the stove burn for as long as possible without having to add more wood. The smaller pieces that can be broken by hand burn very quickly and you’ll find yourself adding wood about every 30-45 minutes, and the stove will burn too hot and be tougher to regulate the heat output.
What I liked: Argali Absaroka Review
The list of things I fell in love with after doing this Argali Absaroka review FAR outweighed the list of things I didn’t like. Hot tents are an absolute game changer if you do any amount of mid to late season backpacking and will change what you think is possible in a hunt or backpacking trip. The quality and craftsmanship that Argali puts into their tents is top notch. You can make them a full double-wall shelter, hot tent, or floorless shelter depending on what accessories you select.
Here are the things I liked about this Argali Absaroka tent:
- Stove jack location (off centered)
- Easy setup
- Insert super easy to install
- Perfect for early and late season use
- Very lightweight
- Silypoly material
- Material didn’t sag when wet
- Door keepers easy to use
- Zipper has flap (keeps zipper from freezing/locking in freezing temps)
- Huge nest opening w/ T-shaped zipper
- Reflective loops and guy line included
- Loops to hang/dry gear (when no insert used)
One of the main things that had kept me from diving into hot tents before this was the cost. These things are not cheap, but the Argali Absaroka hot tent is much more reasonably priced than others out there. This is much appreciated as the cost of ultralight gear adds up quickly. Aragali has been able to bring a super high quality hot tent to market for a reasonable price.
What I didn’t like: Argali Absaroka Review
There weren’t a lot of things that I didn’t love about this tent after testing it for this Argali Absaroka review. However, we did find a few things that we felt could be better. For one thing, an internal guy out point to pull the netting towards the canopy would increase interior space. We also found that the nest was a square, whereas the canopy wasn’t, so you lost usable space that the canopy offers when you use the nest. Now to be fair, in the picture above, we could have raised the height of the center pole and reduced the unused space on the sides, but either way, there is a fair amount of space that isn’t utilized.
This space could be used as gear storage, but it’s not easy to access like a vestibule.
- Nest needs to have attachment point on sides
- Very little vestibule/gear storage area if using insert
- Tight for 2 wide pads on each side of center pole
- Nest and canopy don’t fit in one stuff sack
- Nest smaller than canopy – loses usable space
- No guy line/extra stakes included
- No loops to hang gear in insert
- No half insert offered (yet…but they will be soon)
If you choose to use the guy out points, you’ll need to purchase a couple more stakes and tie on the guy line yourself. While I wish every tent out there came with the extra stakes and guy line to fully guy out the tent, pretty much none of them do.
I really wish they offered a half insert for those times when you might want the protection of a floor, but still want to use the stove. Currently, it’s either the insert or the stove, but the folks at Argali informed me that a half insert is on the way! I’m excited about that. In the meantime, one option I did find to work well was to snag a Seek Outside Cimarron Half Nest, and that worked very well in this shelter. Just an idea if a half nest is something you find yourself wanting before the release of the Argali half insert.
Conclusion: Argali Absaroka Review
After doing this Argali Absaroka review I would HIGHLY recommend the Absaroka if you are in the market for a tent that can be used year-round, especially for times in the cold where you’d be sent packing if you didn’t have a wood stove. It is so versatile and accommodates every situation so well, it really is the only tent you would ever need for backpacking, unless you needed a freestanding tent. It’s a mansion for 2 people, big enough for 3, and a tight fit, but doable, for 4, all while keeping the weight to a minimum.
When the temperatures turn cold, the ability to quickly and easily convert it to a hot tent will not only keep you in the backwoods longer, but will make your trip so much more enjoyable along the way. The ability to dry out, warm up, and relax by the hot fire inside your tent at night completely changes the way you approach late season and cold weather backpacking and hunting trips. Many more trips are possible and enjoyable with this hot tent!
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