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Published on September 17th, 2011 | by Greg


Room Without Compromises: The Primus Bifrost Y6

At Burn­ing Man this year, at­ten­dees were treat­ed to plen­ty of en­ter­tain­ment and art- ev­ery­thing from large-scale fire­ball dis­plays to the wide ar­ray of camps. One of our writ­ers made the trek to Black Rock City and hit the playa for us, tak­ing out some of our gear to one of the harsh­er cli­mates around. Tem­per­a­tures can vary, but the re­al test is the dust and wind, some­times with gusts that can knock al­most any­thing down. Al­so, this isn’t the sort of test where you try it out for one night care­ful­ly- in­stead, you can ex­pect dozens of peo­ple to po­ten­tial­ly ‘test’ out the gear in­for­mal­ly. Our in­trepid re­porter of­fered some sage ad­vice on so­lar pan­els- the Brun­ton So­laris 26 and Re­store man­aged to keep things charged and glow­ing through­out the en­tire stay and held up im­pres­sive­ly well.

But the more se­ri­ous test came for the Primus Bifrost Y6. Tents get beat­en up- tread up­on in shoes, sand and dust in ev­ery crack, plen­ty of bumps and move­ment to shake those poles, and an amaz­ing amount of stress on ev­ery zip­per. And though it took a bit to set­up, and def­i­nite­ly isn’t for ev­ery­one, we blew away the oth­er tents with this siz­able, durable tent from a com­pa­ny we’re plen­ty fa­mil­iar with. Their stoves have held up to our trav­els, and we gen­er­al­ly like their gear. So it was with plea­sure that we dragged their largest tent- and one of the largest we’ve used- to one of the larg­er par­ties on earth.

Of course, the name might sug­gest a dif­fer­ent use case. In fact, it was pret­ty ob­vi­ous that the Bifrost was meant for even tougher con­di­tions, ones where the tem­per­a­tures can drop to near-freez­ing. The ground sheet is said to be ca­pa­ble of han­dling a 7000 mm wa­ter col­umn, and the rain fly it­self was rat­ed up to 3000 mm. There are sev­er­al guy lines, and these proved cru­cial- a tent this size is quite a tar­get for wind, and we ini­tial­ly found our­selves pulled this way and that. But there are plen­ty of sup­port op­tions of­fered, and with some work, we were able to check out the most im­por­tant rea­son not to go cheap at an event like this- sta­bil­i­ty even in tough weath­er.

It took us about a half hour to set­up, but seemed sim­ple enough to do in half that time with some ex­pe­ri­ence. And when com­plete, it’s a won­der to be­hold- the Y part of the name com­ing from the unique foot­print. There are two sep­a­rate “bed­rooms” that can hold up to three peo­ple each con­nect­ed to a cen­tral dome that works well as a liv­ing room of sorts (or stor­age and ‘dust con­tain­ment and quar­an­tine’). Fit­ting six peo­ple in the sep­a­rat­ed cham­bers was a bit tough- four was spa­cious, but six adults made it a bit tight quar­ters. How­ev­er, the cen­tral shared com­part­ment is enor­mous, per­fect for a siz­able din­ner par­ty or night around a faux-camp­fire. And there’s enough room to fit a cou­ple of more folks sleep­ing. Fam­i­lies re­joice- now the par­ents and kids can have their own spaces! And taller folks- this is def­i­nite­ly the tent for you, with enough space to stand up and ma­neu­ver- it’s over six feet tall at points.

In nice weath­er, vis­i­bil­i­ty is ex­cel­lent, with doors pop­ping open on ev­ery side for ven­ti­la­tion (and easy ac­cess). When night fell, things zipped up nice and tight for cli­mate con­trol. We didn’t get a chance to re­al­ly try out the rain fly’s prowess against huge rains, but did stress out ev­ery oth­er com­po­nent- and ev­ery­thing held up. The on­ly re­al dam­age sus­tained was one door be­ing a bit off-kil­ter now, as some­thing (or more like­ly some­one) fell in­to it with a fair bit of force. But it still works!

The col­or is on­ly so-so. The nifty-look­ing door-to-awning sys­tem has been done bet­ter (though it’s still cool). At 26 pounds, it’s no lightweight piece of kit, and take­down is a bit of a pro­cess. Plus, the Primus Bifrost Y6 costs near­ly $500. Still, for a larg­er group, there is no tent we would rather us, and it feels worth ev­ery pen­ny.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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