The Great Outdoors.
For some, venturing out into the unknown is like opening presents on Christmas morning.
For others, scenes from Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Revenant are the only thing that comes to mind.
I have so many fond memories of spending the night in a tent.
Growing up, my dad and I would “camp” in our backyard, sharing snacks and sitting next to a fire.
In high school, my cross-country team’s overnight trip sleeping next to the river made for great team building.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve had similar experiences and you’re hoping to rekindle those memories.
This time, with a loved one or maybe even your own kids.
I finally wanted to put my stake in the ground (pun intended) and invest in a top-quality tent.
After some research, one outdoor brand kept popping up: Snow Peak.
So, I grabbed their signature Alpha Breeze tent and put it to the
Snow Peak was founded in Japan all the way back in 1958 by rock climber Yukio Yamai. After returning home from World War II, Yamai found comfort in camping and climbing Mt. Tanigawa in Japan.
He was disappointed with the gear available at the time, so he started making his own using metal components from top craftsmen in his hometown of Tsubame-Sanjo.
Today, Snow Peak is still headquartered in the Niigata region of Japan.
The brand dubs itself as an “outdoor lifestyle creator.” They make everything from chairs and flasks to apparel and tents, and offer a conditional lifetime warranty on their hard goods.
The Alpha Breeze tent is Snow Peak’s U.S.-exclusive four-person tent, designed “specifically for the North American camper.” It claims to offer superior ventilation with its four entry points and loads of space for sleeping and hanging out.
Things to Consider Before Buying
The Alpha Breeze tent has several distinct features that separate it from other similar models. A big one is the price.
At almost $500, it’s certainly an investment.
When I saw that, I gulped a bit. I get it.
Also, I’m not camping every weekend so a) I didn’t at first understand all the features to look out for and b) I wasn’t sure if I needed the top of the line tent.
Something else to take into consideration when making a purchase like this is how much room you’ll need. Are you going to be camping by yourself or with your whole family? Do you need something two times the size or a tiny solo tent?
Different problems call for different solutions
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
Unboxing and First Impressions
The Alpha Breeze tent comes with free shipping, as well as free returns if you decide it isn’t for you.
It came tightly packaged in a standard cardboard box. I wouldn’t have necessarily thought this was the fanciest tent at first glance. It’s manufactured in Vietnam and has some cool looking Japanese writing on the packaging, which really speaks to the company’s roots.
Beware when carrying it inside, it is heavy.
They sealed the box with multiple layers of tape, so make sure you grab a box cutter or some keys.
All the tent’s components come in the handy carrying bag. It holds the body of the tent, the fly sheet, and a bunch of poles, pegs, and guy lines.
Is it just me, or is it always easier pulling a tent out of a bag than it is putting it back in? It’s one of mankind’s great mysteries.
The Set Up
I’m going to put it bluntly: Setting the Alpha Breeze tent up was a pain.
Snow Peak includes a 16-page manual that illustrates all the steps, like an IKEA assembly, but it was still very confusing.
In theory, you should be able to set everything up with two people, but I grabbed my siblings to help with the setup. How many monkeys does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Like any tent, threading the poles through the openings and sleeves was more challenging than I thought it would be.
You have to balance force and aim to make sure the poles get where they need to be.
There are about 15 steps to complete to get your tent fully erect. It took us about 30 minutes, but if you’re more experienced, it’ll probably take you more like 15 minutes. Here’s a brief summary of the process:
- Insert main poles to set the skeleton of the tent
- Connect the inner tent with the fly sheet via the plastic buckles
- Nail down the pegs to hold the tent in place
- Attach the awning to protect against rain
If you’re still scratching your head after a while, Snow Peak has a setup instructions video which did help:
Thankfully, setting up a tent is a one-and-done type of situation, at least for the night. So if you’re not a mechanical engineer, this will still work for you after you get some practice.
Sleeping and Relaxing Space
Where the Alpha Breeze comes up short in setup, it makes up for it in space.
This tent is big. The official capacity is four people, but I think you could fit five to six depending on the size of the others.
From the outside, there are multiple different entry points which is convenient, but they also help with ventilation. Nothing is worse than an over heated tent in the summer.
In the tent, there are three pouches for belongings. I’m not sure why they put three pockets in a four person tent, but they’re big enough to hold everyone’s phones.
The ceiling of the tent is pretty tall (about six feet). One of my least favorite things about camping is having to duck when entering and exiting the tent. That’s not really an issue with the Alpha Breeze.
One of the shining features of this tent is the “awning” that’s included. After you get the main body set up, there’s a “roof” attached to the fly sheet that protects against rain or other elements.
It’s also a really handy feature if you like to read or just enjoy a morning cup of coffee. Simply set up a chair under the hood and it’s almost like sitting out on the patio. Of course, minus the rocking chair and civilization being just feet away inside your home.
Tearing the Alpha Breeze down was a lot quicker than putting it up. You simply remove the stakes and poles and fold up the tent body.
When the inner tent and fly sheet have been spread out on the ground with the metal components set aside, you fold the ends in towards the middle and roll it up like a sushi roll.
Stuffing it back into the bag was a challenge, but with two people you can get the job done relatively easily.
What Do Other Reviewers Say?
Snow Peak is a beloved brand in the outdoor industry. I have a few friends in Colorado who pretty much live outdoors and they all agreed that they make some great products.
The Alpha Breeze tent has gained a lot of popularity since its launch. Customers love its spaciousness, ventilation, and height.
Like me, others found the setup and instructions to be confusing, but smooth sailing once properly erected.
It currently has an average of 4.9 stars from past customers.
Professional reviewers noted how much they like the awning and ceiling height compared to other tents they’ve owned.
Naturehike Cotton Retro A-Frame Tent
The Naturehike Retro A-Frame Tent is a similarly shaped 4-person rectangular tent. The major difference is the fabric composition.
The Alpha Breeze inner tent and fly sheet are both made of polyester whereas the Naturehike is made of cotton cloth. Naturehike does not recommend letting the A-Frame Tent sit in the rain for long, which could be problematic if you get caught in a storm.
While the Naturehike A-Frame Tent is about half the price as the Alpha Breeze, it doesn’t come with an awning like the Alpha Breeze does.
If you camp more than once every few months, I’d opt for the Alpha Breeze as its additional space and features are well worth the additional cost.
Eureka! Timberline 4XT 4-Person Tent
The Eureka! Timberline is a classic tent from the outdoor brand. It’s made of a similar polyester fabric that performs well against the elements.
At about half the price, you won’t get as much space, height, or features as the Alpha Breeze, but functionally it does the trick.
The Eureka! Timberline is a solid option if you’re on a budget or if you only camp once or twice a year.
My Thoughts Overall
What I Like
- Spacious area for sleeping and relaxing.
- High ceiling so taller guys don’t have to crouch.
- Extra awning adds security against sun and the elements.
- Free shipping and returns.
- Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.
What I Don’t Like
- Setup is hard, especially for someone like me that’s not a camping expert.
- The price is higher than comparable tents.
Who Is the Alpha Breeze For?
The Alpha Breeze tent from Snow Peak is good for campers of all experience levels, and perfect for experienced outdoorsmen. It’s great for families and groups as there’s enough room and features to accommodate multiple people.
Snow Peak makes great products for people who love the outdoors and the Alpha Breeze tent is no exception.
Yes, it’s on the pricier side. Costing almost double as a lot of other tents available on the market. But, it brings more features and space.
The shipping, delivery, and unboxing were quick and simple. But setting up the tent for the night proved to be a challenge. Even though instructions say it’s a one-person job, I’d definitely recommend having a buddy on-hand to help.
Once the tent was set up, this became one of the most spacious and comfortable pieces of outdoor equipment I’ve ever used. It’s tall enough that you don’t need to crouch inside and it can comfortably hold up to four people.
The added awning is a nice touch, especially for peacefully sitting outside in the morning.
While the price tag may be understandably too high for very casual campers or those on a budget, if you’re ready to invest in a tent that will confidently perform and you’ll get a lot of use out of, Snow Peak’s Alpha Breeze is a best-in-class option.
The Alpha Breeze has some of the best and most useful features I’ve encountered among similarly priced tents. Assembly is difficult, but once set up, the durability and utility make it an excellent option for families and small groups.
Why is Snow Peak expensive?
They use top-tier materials and their products are designed by some of the best craftsmen in the world.
How much does the Snow Peak Alpha Breeze weigh?
It weighs 24.2 pounds.
How many stakes does the Alpha Breeze have?
It comes with 20 duralumin pegs.
Is the Alpha Breeze suitable for a couple?
Yes, the tent is designed for four people, but it is also suitable for a couple.