Sunday, November 7, 2010

Eureka Spit Fire Ultralight Tent-gear review

This sub 3 pound double wall tent is easy to pitch. Even though 10 stakes are included with the package, it really only needs 6. The other 4 are for serious winds, or spares. The fly is silverish gray, the floor is brown, good stealth colors.
I am impressed with the workmanship, extra features like gear pockets, top fly vent,access zipper to close that vent from inside the tent, extra stakes, and serious straps and buckles to last as long as the heavier 70 denier fabric would.

The side entrance is my favorite tenting design. Also, this particular design makes it a quick pitch: stake out the foot and head ends (one stake each), then get out the shock corded poles, prepare by alligning to form arches, put each end into its proper gromet at base, and clip the body of the tent into place.
Its spacious for me, at 5 foot 2.If you're over 6 foot 2 inches, it could be a little snug.
Next, unroll the fly, and making sure the zipper door is on the same side (and upside right) as the tent body, place on top. The cool buckles allow you to clip this right on at the staking loops in 4 places, then stake out the vestibule. So far I've used only 4 stakes. But, just in case it gets windy, I put in two more at shoulder level.

Stowing my LED light and watch in the side gear pocket was cool. During the night I could easily find either. I slept warm and comfortable and had no condensation.

The Spitfire did perfectly in the rain, although I had to get out and re-anchor the foot stake. If that pulls out, the foot bed falls inward. Next time the ground is that soft, I'll place a rock on top the stake.

Dropping the tent in the rain is not hard.
First, take the stakes out, allowing the poles to fall down. Then, reaching under the fly (leave the fly on top to protect the body of the tent from getting soaked) I unhook the clips and pull the poles out. After collapsing the poles, I place them in the plastic bag. Then, beginning at the head end, I roll the whole tent as one, keeping the body covered by the fly, folding under so it was the same length as the poles. This keeps the water from pooling, and the whole outfit could fit neatly into the tent bag.

I am quite happy with this double wall tent, and feel that for warmth, weight to space ratio, condensation control, packablity and value it can't be beat. The various construction details shows they thought of nearly everything. I am going to add a small staking loop to the bottom of the large side of the door fly, so that I can stake it out seperately , providing a small covered vestibule. Otherwise, it either rolls up all the way, to provide maximum ventilation, or is zippered completly shut. Adding this one more staking point gives that large door one more position for gear protection in light drizzle, etc.

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