I started out trying to find a tent with 4 windows that can be zipped shut. This is harder than you'd think.
My first tent was a Eureka Bitterroot 11 x 11. Eureka makes a great tent. The 11 x 11 is big, which means it is also heavy; 24# heavy. In addition, the floor is polyester. I constantly felt like I was going to rip or tear the flooring even when using a footprint tarp. I don't like having to carry an extra tarp in addition to the 24# of tent. The Eureka is also on the pricey side. So for the money, it wasn't ideally what I was looking for. It was too much tent for me.
Next I went to a Gigatent Garfield 10x8. Gigatent makes a cheap tent, with cheap materials. The floor is tarp, but a cheap thin tarp. There are 4 windows, but they are 2'. And the zipper on the door is cheap and gets stuck. It definitely feels like a 'Made in China' special if you know what I mean. I'd rank it below your everyday Coleman.
On to the Trek 218. Camping with the tent was great. No leaks, lots of light and ventilation, and it was easy to setup. The floor is thick tarp material. The polyester is a nice quality. There are three large windows and a window on the door, all with quality zippers. The thick poles and lack of a pole sleeve make the tent easier to set up than the others. The tent weighs about 14# and packs up as you'd expect. A small storage hammock net is included and fastens inside near the apex of the roof. I took note of the stitching and materials on our first night. You can see that some care was put into the assembly. The tent also has loops along the floor edges for tent stakes. You can see 3 along the front in the stock picture. The advantage of these loops as opposed to staking the tent at the corners is that there is less stress on the seams.Read more ›
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1) Set up: It was very easy to figure out how to set this tent up and, with two people, it can be set up and taken down quite quickly (in theory it could also be set up by one person, but it's big enough that this would be tough to do if there's any wind at all).
2) Ventilation, ability to look out: It has large windows on all four sides and a large screened section (4-5 feet by 4-5 feet) in the top of the ceiling). On nights when you are pretty confident it won't rain, you could leave off the fly and be able to look up and out of this tent really well, while still being protected from mosquitoes. This is a big plus for me.
3) Packing: It's light and compact for it's size when set up.
4) Cost: The cost is quite reasonable for a tent of this size.
Now, the bad news:
1) Protection from rain: The rain fly the tent came with is not even remotely water-proof. Because the top of the actual tent itself is mesh, that means that even a light rain will come right through the rain fly, through the mesh at the top of the tent and onto your stuff. I think there may also have been a little bit of leakage around the seams between the floor and walls of the tent and/or along the seams between walls (near the bottom) on one or two out of the six nights it rained, but this didn't seem to be too bad.
A couple of more minor issues:
1) Window zippers: The way the zippers work, it is not possible to have the window coverings adjusted so that just the tops of the windows are open.Read more ›
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