Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life-and travel-leaves marks on you.
----Anthony Bourdain

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Gazelle T4 Hub Tent vs. Rhino-Rack Sunseeker Awning Tent

Comparing these 2 tents may be comparing apples to oranges because there are different factors that come into play when deciding to use each one. I'm going to do my best to provide a run-down of both of them and give you my opinion.

Answering Questions

  • What kind of camping will I be doing? The Gazelle is great for general camping. If we're camping and we want to do some sightseeing, this is the tent. I would use the Rhino-Rack if we were overlanding and were going to stay put for at least a couple of days. 

  • What time of year is it? My first experience in the Rhino-Rack was in the Southeastern USA. That means it was hot and humid. Even with the huge doors on all sides of the Rhino-Rack very little air went through the tent. We put a fan in the top of the tent and didn't get a lot of relief. I've gotta give this question to the Gazelle. I think we would have stayed cooler in it. We've camped in warm weather with the Gazelle and actually ended up getting a little too cool with the fan going. 
    • That being said...I think the Rhino-Rack would be awesome for winter camping. Robert has a little stove that can be brought in and vented out of a door to make it even warmer.

  • Which is faster to set up? Hands down...the Gazelle. While the Rhino-Rack was pretty quick (especially comparing it to your standard camping tent), nothing beats the quickness of a Gazelle. Before putting up the awning tent the awning has to be out, so that takes a few extra minutes. Unless you use the tent as a "stand-alone", which can be done.

  • What about tear-down? Again, the Gazelle. The Rhino-Rack is so airtight that air bubbles in the tent when taking it down. Of course, it helps to have the doors unzipped a bit to let the air escape. Considering the time it takes to put either tent in their respective bags, it really doesn't take that much more time to put the Rhino-Rack away than it does the Gazelle. I just think the Gazelle has a slight advantage. Again, take into account that the awning also has to be put up so add a few more minutes to the awning tent.

  • Which will keep you dry if it rains? This one is a toss-up. We've been in the Rhino-Rack in a good hard rain, and if we had zipped up all of the doors we would have stayed completely dry. The Gazelle has also kept us dry without any problems. The Gazelle will keep you more comfortable when you're in a summer rain because chances are you'll be able to have most of the windows open with the rain fly keeping the rain out. The Rhino-Rack attaches to the awning and has a door so we can easily get into the van without getting wet so this tent may have a slight upper hand. Of course, the campsite could be configured to have the Gazelle next to the awning (when not using the Rhino-Rack) to keep you drier. Like I said, it's a toss-up. Both do equally well in the wind. We've had the Gazelle in extreme wind in Canada on the St. Lawrence and it held up exceptionally well. 

View of the back door of the Rhino-Rack opening to the van

  • What about space? Which one has more room? Keep in mind that the Rhino-Rack is a straight up and down square. The Gazelle gives a little more room on the sides since they bow out a bit. The sides of the Gazelle aren't as tall as the Rhino-Rack. We use 2 cots when we camp. With the Rhino-Rack Robert barely had enough room length-wise. There was no room to walk around the cots at the bottom or top. With the Gazelle, there is a little bit of room. There seemed to be more room on the sides of the cots with the Gazelle as well. I'm not sure how much this little difference matters; all you're doing is sleeping anyway. 

Both cots inside of the Gazelle T4 Hub Tent with room around the sides and bottom to spare

  • What about the cost? The Rhino-Rack Sunseeker Base Tent is $539.10; the Gazelle T4 Hub Tent is $459.99 but they have sales what seems like all the time. At the time of this posting, the Rhino-Rack was out of stock and it looks like it would have to be bought internationally and then shipped to the USA.

The Verdict

As you can probably tell by the above answers, I have to go with the Gazelle. I've gone from having to have a trailer with heating and air to loving tent camping with the Gazelle. I definitely think the Rhino-Rack would be great for cold weather camping but we haven't done much of that in the past. Yes, they are more expensive than the tents you'll buy at a local department store but it's well worth the money...and aggravation of the traditional tent. 
Portsmouth Island, NC

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