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Alps Mountaineering Lynx 4 Overview
The Alps Mountaineering Lynx 4 is a dome style tent with two doors, full vestibules, and plenty of space. Alps has labeled it a “backpacking” tent, but in my use an eight pound, 10 ounce tent is poorly suited for carrying around (and more than double the weight of my actual backpacking tent!).
I lived out of the Alps Lynx 4 when I was working as a full time river guide in 2011, and it proved to be a perfect little car camping home for me in an idyllic riverside setting. Some staples never really change, and the current Lynx 4 is as roomy, easy to set up, and durable as the ones made at the beginning of this decade. To illustrate just how spacey and homey this tent can be, I fit a full sized foam mattress, pillow, down comforter, tote of clothes/gear, and a welcome mat all inside the tent space.
The other tent to consider in this price bracket is the Eureka Copper Canyon 4, which is also made in a (very popular) 6-person version. The Copper Canyon is tall — you can probably stand up in it, and it’s meant for use with cots and air beds. It’s a great option for those that want a more cabin-esque car camping tent. We felt the dual doors, easier setup, and full rainfly of the Lynx 4 were worth more than height, but some may not agree.
Read on for the full Alps Mountaineering Lynx 4 review.
Lynx 4 Specifications
|Feature Type||Feature Specs||What This Means|
|Packed Weight||8 lbs 10 oz. (3.91 kg)||Lightweight for a car camping tent. This packs small and will fit in your car easily.|
|Wall Type||Double||The Lynx 4 has a separate rain fly and tent body, which makes it a double wall tent. This helps with condensation and airflow.|
|No. of Doors||2||The Lynx 4 has two functional doors. This is great for car camping with multiple people, and many car camping tents don’t have this.|
|Sleeping Capacity||4-Person||It’s not a sprawling four-person area, but can fit four adults if necessary. Three is more comfortable. If any of the people are children, you’ll be fine.|
|Seasons||3-season||The upper half of the Lynx 4 is mesh, and the materials aren’t quite rugged enough for heavy winter. Best in three seasons.|
|Packed Size||23.5 x 7 in. (60 cm x 17.7 cm)||Fairly small pack size for a car camping tent.|
|Floor Dimensions||8.5 x 7.5 ft. (259 x 228 cm)||Almost a full square, the Lynx 4 has an extra foot of length to store clothes, duffels, etc.|
|Floor Area||64 sqft||A surprising amount of square footage for the weight. The floor is large.|
|Peak Height||52 in. (132 cm)||A low peak height for a car camping tent. The Lynx 4 is in the dome style of backpacking tents, so don’t expect to stand up. Sitting up fully is fine, but if you want a really high tent look elsewhere.|
|No. of Vestibules||2||Two doors means two vestibules, which is great for weather protection and creating areas for your extra gear, like shoes or backpacks. Very handy, and can be used for small pets as well.|
|Vestibule Area||12.5 sqft per vestibule||Average size vestibule area. More than enough space for your shoes, and a small pet could sleep here!|
|No. of Poles||2||Two simple poles, which clip on, rather than slide through a sleeve. Incredibly easy to set up.|
|Pole Material||7000 series aluminum poles||The Lynx 4 poles are made with backpacking standards, so they are very tough, flexible, and not prone to break.|
|No. of Interior Pockets||2 mesh pockets, 1 gear loft||There aren’t a ton of internal pockets, so store what you need at hand smartly. The included gear loft lets you put lights, clothes that need to dry out, or anything else above, which is unique for car camping tents.|
|Rain Fly Material||75D 185T polyester, 1500 mm||Standard material thickness for a rain fly.|
|Floor Material||75D 185T poly taffeta floor, 2000 mm||Standard material thickness for a floor.|
|Mesh/Body Material||Not Listed||Alps Mountaineering doesn’t list the specs for the body material, but our guess is it’s the same as the floor material. And the mesh is NoSeeUm.|
|Footprint, Fast Setup?||Lynx 4P Footprint, $44.99||If you want the extra foot print, get it. But the floor of the Lynx 4 is pretty solid. You can also use a tarp.|
|Manufacturer Warranty||Limited Lifetime Warranty||Alps Mountaineering will cover defects in materials or workmanship for the life of the product. If it stops working, you can send it in. It does not cover normal wear and tear or abuse.|
|Retail Price||$199.99||A very reasonable price for the quality of tent you get. It’s often on sale for less, too.|
Gear Review of the Alps Mountaineering Lynx 4
Origins: Easing You In
To test the 2017 model of the Alps Mountaineering Lynx 4, I brought it back to old haunts — the South Fork of the American River in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. I packed my car up after work on Tuesday with my rafting equipment, enough gear to last a week on the river, and the Lynx 4.
While I still own the 2011 Lynx 4, these days on car camping trips I usually sleep on a mattress in my trunk or just under the stars. Summer has its luxuries. It has been great to set up a real camp (with a real home) by the river again.
Revelation: The Moment I Knew
If there’s one thing most car campers have in common, it’s the concept of “easy.” Dinner may be elaborate and delicious, but it should be easy, too. And chilling next to a fire after dinner should be easy, just like relaxing in chairs is easy. The same goes for setting up camp.
The Lynx 4 shines in the “easy” field. You lay out the full tent on the ground and connect the two aluminum poles together, then lay them across the tent. There are a handful of quick clips on each side, which you snap onto the poles, and voila — it’s up.
The rainfly is simply held and tensioned on the four corners with easy to release buckles. I did this by myself, and you can too, which is impressive for such a large tent.
Just like that the tent can be set up and ready to go for a good night’s sleep in the outdoors. The simplicity of this design allows for a super quick set up, which means more time playing in the outdoors. This was the moment I knew I loved the Lynx 4.
Beyond the ease of setup, there’s a lot to love with the Lynx 4.
The thing you’ll notice right away is the double door setup. This allows for easy entry and exit, which is critical when there are two, three, or even four people in the tent. It’s a dome style tent, so don’t expect to stand up fully, but there is a decent height and its structure is better suited for wind.
With the two doors, Alps Mountaineering uses a full-sized rain fly to create two vestibules. This design is more common on backpacking tents, but works really well for car camping. It creates a more private experience, allows you to store shoes and other items outside the tent, and provides excellent weather protection. I even kept a little welcome mat in my front vestibule to keep the dirt out of the tent.
During my week of testing I left the rainfly off most days and the half mesh walls were great — they allowed the wind to come through and cool me off for the 100 degree days and 70 degree nights. The lower, non-mesh half gave me some privacy from all the other rafters at camp.
There was one night when a little rain and wind came through and the rainfly held up great. I remember camping in a Walmart tent years ago in a rainstorm and waking up every other hour to avoid the little wet puddles coming into the tent. That is not a worry in my mind with the Lynx 4.
After ease of setting up, I’d say sleep comfort is the strongest trait in the Lynx 4. Sometimes when I’m at home in bed I dream about being back riverside, sleeping in this tent. There’s plenty of headroom to change and plenty of room to have company over. By company, I mostly mean my three-legged pit bull, who also loves the comfort of this tent.
The maximum amount of bodies I’ve slept with in this tent are myself, another person, and my dog. Everyone slept well, with plenty of stretching room in the morning. I’m sure three adults could sleep very comfortably. Four would certainly fit, but will probably push the limits of comfort.
After six years and a summer of full time use, I’d say my old Lynx 4 is still holding up pretty well, which is pretty impressive. The seams are strong, there are no issues with the zippers, and the clips are all still intact. The only problem I’ve had after all this time is the floor — it’s starting to tear up.
I don’t always use a tarp under my tent and my favorite camping buddy also happens to have sharp paws. The combination of those two things could easily lead to a few holes in the floor.
The new Lynx obviously has no holes, and feels super durable. The floor and rainfly are made with 75D 185T material, which is fairly strong. They both seem very solid with the one week of testing I did, and kept me and my stuff completely dry in the rain that came through that week.
Ease of Setup
As I mentioned, the ease of setup is my favorite part of the Lynx 4. Setting it up myself took only three minutes. It has two poles, four hubs on each corner, and a couple of clips. It’s pretty self explanatory, too — about a thousand times easier than putting together Ikea furniture.
The rainfly is also super easy to toss on. You just match the corners, clip the corners in, and then tighten the the straps. This step takes less than 2 minutes. The vestibules are the hardest part to set up, which is frustrating because on most other tents it’s a simple process. Beyond that, the Lynx 4 goes up in about 5 minutes.
This tent has the perfect amount of space for a full-time single dweller, a part-time double, an overnight triple, and an emergency quadruple.
Alps Mountaineering calls this a “four person backpacking tent,” but that’s a classification I don’t agree with. Realistically this can sleep 2-3 people comfortably, and due to the weight it’s really meant for car camping. It does have the features of a backpacking tent, notably its dome style, easy clip in poles, double doors, and dual vestibules, all of which make it comfortable. For reference, many “4P” tents can actually sleep 2-3 people comfortably.
It measures 5’ wide and 7’6’’ long, plus a little extra vestibule space.
I love waking up in this tent. There’s a nice soft morning light that shines through the rice colored half-mesh walls. The air that does come in through the mesh is breezy and crisp. It’s so nice that it’s hard to go out and get my morning cup of coffee.
When there’s weather, I toss on the dark rainfly and the tent transforms into a cozy hideout from the world. The lighting dims and it becomes the ultimate card-playing room to snuggle up in.
Certainly this would be a heavy backpacking tent, but as a car camper, the only grievance I can think of after six years of use and retesting the most recent model is the design of the guy wire cord that secures the vestibule. I wish it was easier to use. It takes about the same time to set up the entire rest of the tent as it does just to secure the vestibules down with the guy wires provided.
The guy wire cord that comes with the tent seems over engineered. There are three minute youtube videos just teaching people how set this one part up. I personally used a trucker’s hitch with the cord they provided.
The vestibule was worth the setup when I was staying in it for longer periods, but to be honest I skip this step most of the time these days, unless it’s a very windy day. You can also stake the vestibule out without a guy wire (there are loops in the rainfly for this), but to really secure the tent the wire is nice.
I also wish that the rainfly had better ventilation, but this seems to be an issue with most tents. There are mini windows on the rainfly that attempt to ventilate, but they don’t quite fully get the air going. Maybe this can be an engineering breakthrough for a future generation Lynx 4.
The Lynx 4 is a standout tent — a car camping tent of tents! If you’re looking for ease of set up, comfort, and durability, then the Lynx 4 is the tent for you.
Where to Buy Alps Mountaineering Lynx 4
We tested the Alps Mountaineering Lynx 4, which comes with the tent, rainfly, gear loft, stakes, and guyline. Alps Mountaineering also makes the Lynx 2, which is a backpacking tent. The Lynx 4 is also billed as a “backpacking” tent in the official language, but we don’t think it’s great for that purpose. It’s better suited for car camping, and makes an excellent, economic choice. It’s often on significant sale!
Compare Alps Mountaineering Lynx 4 prices below.