2-3 person tent advice for kayak camping

Just saw the other post about tent advice with great responses. I have a similar request for tent advice, but on a budget. Basically looking for a solo tent with space for gear (2 person tent), a vestibule or two for muddy boots, simple setup 2 pole design, pole clips instead of sleeves, free standing, a full rain fly (Pacific NW), decent reliability, but CHEAP. (under $80) I know that’s a tall order, but it doesn’t have to be a name brand 4 season expedition quality ultra light tent with aluminum poles. I’m just low on funds and space/weight isn’t as important since I’m paddling a roomy Arctic Tern.

What I have been using is a cheap 3 person car camping tent (wenzel pinion http://www.amazon.com/Wenzel-Pinon-Sport-7-Foot-Three-Person/dp/B000AO3J9A/) that I bought for trips with my fiance in mild NC, but now I’m solo kayak camping (she doesn’t like kayaking) in wet cold OR and it’s a bit umm roomy. This crap brand tent has held up surprisingly well over the years, but My main complain is that it’s cold and wet with the tiny fly that doesn’t cover the whole tent and lets wind easily come up underneath it. Condensation isn’t a problem, but it’s just drafty for kayak camping, since that usually takes place near water…

My choices so far are:

http://www.amazon.com/Eureka-Tetragon-Adventure-7-Foot-Two-Person/dp/B000EQAUVY/ - good name and reviews, but concerned that the more open fly without vestibule will still cause wind to blow up into the tent body mesh.

http://www.amazon.com/High-Peak-Hyperlite-2-person-Tent/dp/B000L3Y3MM/ - the dual entrances and vestibules, full fly, old fashioned tough tarp floor, and cheap price (found locally for $39) are great, but the reviews about snapping poles are concerning.

http://www.amazon.com/GigaTent-BT-014-Recon-Backpacking/dp/B002BZ4HHO/ - not much info

http://www.amazon.com/Slumberjack-2-Person-Trail-Tent/dp/B003YFZLTI/ - not much info


http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-2000001590-Hooligan-3-Tent/dp/B001TSABLA/ - nice big fly and huge vestibule - but seems overly complicated

http://www.amazon.com/Kelty-Zenith-2-Person-Tent/dp/B004GEOWXM/ - no reviews anywhere - must be a cheaper “target only model” with fiberglass poles. Actually I just bought this from the store and set it up in the garage yesterday. Seems like good quality taped seams, but I’m realizing the fly easily touches the walls where my head/foot of my sleeping bag touches. The placement of the guy lines don’t allow you to add space there. Condensation might be an issue too. I’m half thinking of returning it for that cheap highpeak with the dual doors/vestibules that cover the head/foot area and just have duct tape handy if I have to do a pole splint…

2 person tent
I got a Eureka Apes 2XT a couple of years ago and have been very happy. It seems to meet your needs. The price seems to have climbed a little above your cutoff in the last bit, but you might find one on sale.


2nd the Eureka Apex 2XT
It has served me well for the last 2 years

I swear they need to pay me a

– Last Updated: Mar-25-11 5:59 PM EST –


Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 2 a very comfortable one man tent or a cozy two man.

pretty much the perfect tent in my opinion. Unless you have a hammock system of course.

I found mine for 89 bucks (the 2 man) on the web. forget where but you can google it and probably find one similarly priced.

30 second google produced a 93 dollar zephyr 2.


a 3rd vote
For the Eureka Apex 2XT. You can find them for under $100 now. I’ve had mine five years, and am still pleased with it. A good kayaking tent. The two vestibules are great, and it’s even nicer to be able to sit upright without hitting the the dome ceiling. I’m considering getting a mesh gear loft for even more space. wd

thanks for the tip
Yeah, I had considered the Eureka, but couldn’t find it that cheap and the fly didn’t seem to come down to the ground along the side walls. Other than that, it seemed very much like the Kelty tent, but without a second entrance/vestibule…

REI Outlet $79.93

Campmor tents under $100
Including Eureka Aptex 2 for $69.


  • Alps
    we use Alps Mountaineering tents from REI for our Boy Scout troop and they have held up outstandingly to heavy rains, 60-mph winds, backcountry trips and rough boys.

    Take a look at the Alps “Neptune” 2-person model on REI outlet, a little more expensive, but worth it for the aluminum poles, quality zippers and walled tent body.

    A word about Swissgear brand tents, some of the stuff they make is just Walmart-quality, and others are surprisingly high end. My son has a nice older 2-man from them that has a DWR coating on the fly & bottom. The “Hiking” model tent above is OK, but is a drafty all-mesh body, and the rainfly is a bit awkward to set up.

Go Eureka!
For the money stick with Eureka! Their tents are good values.

I got rid of my Apex 3XTA for the…
USMC Combat Tent… I am getting ready to get a Kifaru 6 4 man with stove, so my USMCCT has got to go… I will let it go for $150 + s&h.

Paddle easy,


thanks for the advise
the mt hardware and both versions of the eureka apex tents do fit my budget, but neither has a fly that fully covers the walls all the ways down to the ground (lots of wind/rain here) and the cheaper apex doesn’t have fully closed vestibules.

I’m gonna stick to the Kelty zenith 2 that I got for $60. I did pick up the Highpeak Hyperlite for $40 and although it’s roomier with 2 entrances and vestibules, the reviews about easy snapping poles has me worried. After setting them up side by side in my garage, there are small quality differences that could lead to future problems, so I’m returning the highpeak tent.(poles made a slight creaking/cracking sound that other FG poles didn’t) Thanks again for all the advise.

2-person tents are NOT!
No matter what the box says, cut the number of people that tent will hold in half!

My Wenzel Starlite is sold as a 2-person tent but I am crowded in it alone (and i am not a big person, maybe below average in size and bulk).

I just bought an old REI Nitelite that seems to work well.

@ 5#, it’s a bit heavy but no real bulk and the price was right (return to the store so really cheap)

My thoughts are these:

  1. get a tent that is free standing. You can load gear or rocks in the corners to hold it down but sometimes, stakes won’t or can’t work.

  2. crawl in it, roll around, test it out BEFORE you buy, then buy a cheaper brand.

  3. you get what you pay for. A wal-mart tent is cheap but don;t expect it to last more than one season.

  4. a tent high enough to stand up in is nice!

  5. If you cannot easily put the tent up in the dark in the wind and rain, you need another tent!

    I have a selection of swap-meet tents that I use depending on where and how I go. I never paid more than $50 for any but if you look around, you can buy a used tent cheap because then owner used it once and is upgrading.

    I got my Wenzel that way. Brand new, never used because the overweight lezsbian couple who bought it could never figure out how to put it up… and neither could fit inside alone, much less together.

Check out ebay
Check out ebay as you can find all sorts of good deals there on tents. You may be able to upgrade to a better tent for less money.