We've been testing out the excellent Robens Kiowa family tipi tent. If you like this tent or want to use a wood-burning stove in your tent, read this.
We have liked using the Robens Kiowa tent, especially when combined with the Robens Volcano stove. This tent has lots of character, and people have been impressed with it at every campsite we've taken it.
Our Score: 8.8/10
We've given the Robens Kiowa Tent the Thumbs Up award.
- A fast-to-pitch large tent that you can use a wood burning stove in :-)
The not so good
- A strong gust of wind took the tent down before I had finished pitching it and we lost a few groundsheet anchors in the process, but otherwise, the quality of this tent has been very good.
This was a hands-on product review. The product was supplied to us to test and conduct the review.
Robens Kiowa Tent has a recommended retail price of £1429.99.
Robens Kiowa Tent Videos
Robens Kiowa Tent Photos
Have you ever wanted to sleep in a wigwam as a kid?
Do you fancy the idea of a traditional-looking tent with a wood-burning stove in it?
Do you want a large family tent that’s quick to put up and not too heavy?
If you said yes to any of those questions, then you owe it to yourself to take a closer look at the Robens Kiowa.
Traditional Looks but Modern Tent
The Robens Kiowa is a modern tipi style of tent, where the tent is held up by a central pole.
The useful porch area of the Kiowa gives it a slightly different shape than many other tipi tents. It looks a little like a cross between a wigwam and an igloo. And we like it. :-)
The tent uses modern technologies despite its traditional looks, as you would expect from Robens.
Heavy canvas has been replaced with lighter polycotton. The heavy wooden central pole found in traditional tipis is a lightweight aluminium pole that neatly folds up to make it easy to transport.
Inside the Robens
You enter the tent through its sizable porch, which is big enough for a family’s set of boots.
There is a groundsheet for the porch that clips into place. We left this out when it was very wet (as our boots were very soggy) but used it when camping in drier weather.
The porch has a second internal door. This second door can be unzipped to expose a flyscreen, enabling you to get plenty of fresh air without the bugs.
The main tent area is large with lots of headroom.
It feels quite warm inside the Kiowa. This comes from the polycotton fabric that insulates better than polyester tents, and the light has a warm glow as it shines through the light mocha tent skin.
You can find a window on either side of the door. These come with blinds and another flyscreen protecting you from the bugs.
Below each window are handy storage pockets.
The groundsheet in the Kiowa can be unzipped and removed or just unzipped a little so that you can pass in a cable if you are on an electric hookup.
Robens recommends that the groundsheet be rolled back if you use a stove in the tent….more on that later.
Extras for the Interior
Robens Kiowa Tent Carpet
You can get a carpet to fit the Robens Kiowa…and the Kiowa carpet makes such a difference, immediately transforming the tent with a homely feel and making it even warmer.
The carpet has a waterproof rubber backing and is quite thick, providing very good ground insulation.
It is well worth getting the Kiowa carpet, especially if you aren't using the additional inner tents.
The carpet can roll up on itself, complete with carrying handles, so you don't need a separate bag.
Robens Kiowa Inner Tent
There’s an optional inner tent that enables you to split up the interior with 2 three-person bedrooms.
This wouldn’t work well for our family, but you may prefer an inner tent.
One thing to note is that you can’t use a stove with the inner tents in place.
Pitching the Robens Kiowa
I want to say that we pitched it perfectly the first time…but that wasn’t the case.
The instructions led us to believe you pitch it differently to how I thought, and the Robens pitching video wasn’t too helpful. However, after a bit of discussion between Shell and me, we realised you pitch it as I expected.
You can see this video of our first test pitch, and looking back, I don’t think we did too badly after all. ;-)
So, to clear up any confusion, here’s how we pitch the Robens Kiowa.
- The Robens instructions (and video) will tell you to attach the groundsheet. Our Robens came with it pre-attached so you can skip that first step.
- Unfold the tent and position where you want the door to be. Tip: if you have a stove, you want the air to flow into the tent, so face it slightly into the wind.
- Use the thin aluminium round tent pegs and peg out the groundsheet, not the pegging points on the main flysheet.
- Set up the main tent pole.
- Open the door and insert the small end of the pole into the cap at the top of the roof. Tip: untie the guy lines at the top of the tent and position the roof vent covers while the top is still reachable.
- Walking through the door, push the central pole up. Tip: get someone to insert the pole's plastic foot as it goes up to avoid the metal pole damaging the groundsheet.
- Insert the tent poles around the front door.
- Zip the door up and peg out the flysheet and guy lines.
Using the Kiowa in Bad Weather
Unfortunately, while pitching on a very windy North Wales coast, a gust blew before we had completed pitching. This knocked the pole down and removed 3 anchor points on the groundsheet.
Since checking other tents in the Robens range, the anchor points are solid. I don't know if it was pitching it in strong winds or if ours had weak stitching that caused these to come out. They were only held in by the round wire pegs.
However, strong winds were not a problem once the Kiowa was up. The groundsheet anchor points are easy to fix and aren't necessary to pitch the tent, as you can pitch it without the groundsheet attached.
The other issue we had was a few puddles in the tent. Now, this was our fault. :-(
With polycotton, you have to avoid your things touching the sides of the tent. In heavy rain, something touching the sides could let water seep in.
Unfortunately, we had too many bags close to the tent sides, and overnight as the wind blew the tent's sides onto the bags and the rain continued to lash down, enough water came in to make a few puddles.
The following night, we made sure nothing was near the tent sides, and as the wind gushed and rain lashed all night, we stayed nice and dry.
With strong winds and heavy rain, this was a thorough test of the Robens Kiowa, and apart from those two incidents, the tent handled it well.
The Robens Kiowa is a tent with loads of personality and gets the thumbs up from us.
|Attribute||Robens Kiowa Tent|
|Product Info||Brand Web Page|
|Pack Size (cm)||93 x 28|
|Recommended Tent Use||Ideal for Weekend Camping|
|Sleeps||Sleeps more than 8|
|Frame Type||Rigid, steel or alloy poles|
|Tent Accessories||Tent Carpet, Tent Footprint, Inner Tent|
|Flysheet Fabric||Robens HydroTex® Polycotton|
|Fly Hydrostatic Head||Not Applicable|
|Taped Seams||Not Applicable|
|Sewn-in Groundsheet||Zip-In (no gaps)|
|Groundsheet Hydrostatic Head (mm)||10000|
|Window Blinds||Yes, velcro up|
|Additional Tent Doors||No|
|No Trip Entrance||Yes, at main door|
|Rain-Safe Entry||Yes, at main door|
|Bug-Free Mesh||On all exterior doors|
|Door converts to sunshade||No|
|Bedroom Divider||Not Applicable|
|Larger Bedrooms||Not Applicable|
|Bedroom Partially Removable||Entire inner tent|
|Storage Pockets in Bedroom||Not Applicable|
|Auto-seal Bedroom Doors||No|
|Cable entry to Bedrooms||Not Applicable|
|Tent Living Space|
|Inner Living Space Size||Not Applicable|
|Living Area Storage Pockets||Yes|
|Wet-Dry Zone||Yes, in the porch|
|Built-in Porch||Yes, with outer door|
|Porch Storage Pockets||No|
|Pitching and Storage|
|PackSize (cm)||93 x 28|
|Colour-coded Tent Pegs||No|
|Colour-coded Tent Poles||Not Required|
|Guy Line Storage||Yes|
|People to Pitch||2 People|
|Pump Included||Not Applicable|
|Wheeled Tent Bag||No, not required|