Published on September 17th, 2011 | by Greg0
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.