2 or 3 man tent

I know it’s been discussed here before but I can’t find it in the archives. I’m looking for a descent 2-3 man tent for occasional use. I like the Mountainsmith Guardian, Columbia Lost Lake 5 ft. x 7 ft. Tent and the Kelty Teton 4 Tent. Yes I want to limit it to less than $150.00, $100.00 or less is better since it will only get used 2 or 3 times a year.



Eureka has a few good choices
for under $150

You can get a Timberline 4 for about that and they have been around forever. Its a solid little tent.

The Apex is a little less if you prefer a dome or the Mountain Pass if you camp in cold weather.

all of them are about 7 X 9 (give or take) are rated for 4 but are perfect for two.

This time of year you can probably pick one of the three up on sale. Sometimes as low as $100.

Hi gillguy
I kayak camp with an Alps Taurus four man tent. I think it is 4’5" high by 8.5 feet by 7.5 feet. I do wish it was a little taller but it bullet proof in the wind with it’s multiple guy lines. It has two vestibules. I used to use a two man tent but got tired of the cramped space, inability to change clothes without squirming on the ground and difficulty storing my gear inside the tent. Here in the south we have raccoons that are unstoppable. I like the extra space. My tent still packs small and is relatively light at about nine pounds. I think they quote it a eight and some ounces but you get the idea. I think I got it on sale for about $120 at REI. It’s well built and easy to put up using it’s two aluminum poles.

Good luck finding a tent. I am sure others will offer very good insights.


Scan through here

– Last Updated: Nov-30-06 10:46 PM EST –

and you will find some inexpensive tents that will meet your requirements.


maybe not in your price range
but this tent is truly incredible, and that comes from someone (me) that spends most of my backcountry time in a hammmock:


2 man, free standing and LESS than 2.5 pounds. There are so many configurations available with the vestibule you realy have several tents in one. Rare in a tent of this weight is dual doors and duel vestibules…in the backpacking world the Double Rainbow is already getting one positive review after another.

If you need 4 season (can handle major snow loads) and bombproofness up to gale force winds then consider this tent:


The Akto is made of a proprietary material that is stronger than most materials in the tent market thus it will last a lifetime. Two people (if ‘close’) can sleep in the Akto and the vestibule is large enough for a backpack and room to cook. I’ve seen the Akto take on wind that has flattened other designs. The only negative of the Akto is that the guylines do take up some real estate if all are deployed.

I’ve used the Kelty, Alps, and Eureka mentioned in the above posts. All are good. Alps has their own website and sales. Campmor is a good place to buy as well as Outdoor Outlet. An REI tent on sale would also be a good deal.

This is what i’d get if i wanted a half decent but cheap 2 person tent. http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=39252153&memberId=12500226

Campmor also has the Columbia Lost Lake on sale. Something to keep in mind about Columbia tents is that they’re WAY heavier than advertised, i took a tested and accurate fish scale and the Lost Lake was something like 1.5-2 lbs heavier than advertised. so was their some other non freestanding model. Lost Lake-looks like a nice roomy but heavy tent.

Guardian looks decent, but the fly waterproofness is on the low side at 1200mm(usually they’re 1500-2000) big ass vestibule would be nice.

There’s the Timberline 2 for 100$, tried,tested, and also 1200mm waterproofness and still heavy.

Hey if you don’t need a free standing tent, Have a look at the Eureka Spitfire Duo. I ALMOST got one of those myself as a roomier replacement for my Sierra designs Clip Flashlight(a bit squishy for 2). Spitfire 2 is roomy,lightweight,fast/easy to set up,quality poles, convenient side doors. seemed very well made when i looked at it in my local store. pretty common on Ebay for under 130$.

Eureka and REI
New this year, we have a REI half-dome for bike touring. Strangely enough all our camping this year was in sunny weather, so I don’t yet know how it will do in bad weather, but I hear they’re not too bad. It was around $100.

I love our old Eureka. We’ve used it for years in wind, rain, thunder storms ( all of the above is more typical of our camping trips!) Always stayed dry - even with puddles under it.

One night in a wet tent
Just one night in a wet tent will convince all but the most frugal tightwad of the importance of a decently constructed tent. The really cheap and sleazy rigs are prone to let you down at the least opportune moments. I’ve seen fiberglass poles shatter the first time out and zippers that didn’t work after one outing. Don’t settle for anything less than aluminum poles – ever. When it comes to tents a hundred bucks will only buy you trouble. In the $100-150 range you can get into a lower end Eureka on sale. At least with that brand you can count on basic quality of construction and replacement parts (poles) will be available (if needed) later on. While you’re buying your tent go ahead and buy a bottle or two of seam sealer (and use it immediately) and a piece of heavy gauge plastic film to use as a footprint*.

*Use the footprint UNDER the tent to protect the floor from punctures if you’re a logical person or INSIDE if you’re really, really anal and believe in your heart of hearts that Cliff Jacobson is the font of all camping wisdom. My job as “tent forum instigator” requires that I say these things – ;^) - Randall

MEC Tarn 2
Mountain Equipment Co-op has a good tent, the Tarn 2, that’s a bit more than your target range. They also have an outdoor gear swap page, where people can post their used equipment for sale. That’s where we got our Tarn 2 in perfect shape for $100, and we love it.

Don’t let the “footprint” extend beyond the walls of the tent. If you do, rain running down the walls will be caught by the footprint and will run underneath the floor. If your floor has any pinholes or poorly sealed seams, the water can wick up through it and soak your sleeping bag. (This may not be as much a problem with a good quality tent, but a friend of mine learned this lesson with a “bargain” tent during a canoe fishing trip).

oh no
Cliff…he must track a lot of sand it…not wipe his feet, in order to make it necessary to line a tent floor…if you don’t put the groundcloth down first, you get holes in the tent floor…then you probably always have to line it…how about the idea that if you hide your food in the woods instead of hanging (with a good method) the bears and mice and racoons will never find it…because they would never think to look for food…in the woods…

oops…got me started


best wishes


equipment shelter/tent
here’s the one the expedition bikers turned me on to.


Really good quality, loads of storage room in both vestibules, and the footprint goes under the tent and is stacked with the tent corners so it doesn’t extend past the tent and funnel water under. Putting a tent footprint inside the tent IMHO only makes sense if you’re campging on sand or much, which both get tracked in no matter how careful you are, and it’s easier to wash a tent footprint than it is to wash the whole tent. It’s way outside your price range, of course. All the good stuff costs more but in the long run is well worth it. As arkay says, having a tent pole break or a zipper stick in the middle of a downpour is just not fun. Worse, is to have a tent zipper stick or come unhinged in the open position when you’re trying to escape the avalanche of mosquitos. Then all you can do is dive in your bag and pull it over your head. If you’re going to spend a few thousand dollars to take a wilderness adventure trip then it makes sense to spend a couple hundred dollars more and get good gear. I also have the Eureka Timberline and its a fine little tent, but has smaller vestibules and not as roomy inside as the Velo.

BTW, there is a shred of truth in Cliff’s advice to store the food bag in the brush away from trails. When I raised free range poultry for a living we discovered that we could put the pens anywhere, for one night, and the wildlife wouldn’t attack. Leave it there for two nights and they’d be all over it. Presumably it takes the wildlife a day or say to become accusomte

Rain under the Footprint
You are right about that, if any water runs down between the tent floor and the floor protecter (footprint) it will seep through the floor materal and get into the bedding, spoiling the happy home. The best footprint I have used was made from an old waterbed mattress and cut so it’s an inch or two smaller than the tent floor with an extra bit hanging out under the vestibules to form a porch for boots and such just outside the tent doors.

Try this site…

– Last Updated: Dec-06-06 9:34 PM EST –

The specials and factory seconds are very good.
If you're not in a hurry, the close out and factory seconds change frequently. They seem to be up and running after some very severe flooding in their main outlet last June.
Always owned Eureka, always took advantage of the "seconds". Very seldom found a defect in the tent, outside of a bit of crooked stiching. I think it's five tents in four decades. Heavy use. Two have been large car campers, two have been two man tents, one three man. We still own two of these, one large, and the three. Probably would have owned two less if I didn't loan them out.
And, in response to the inside/outside drop cloth issue, I use the outside drop cloth to keep the bottom of the tent subjected to less moisture, enabling me to break camp with less fuss. I use the inside drop cloth in traffic areas because I like dogs and kids.

Found another but,
no specs on it other than WxLxH and weight. Nothing on the coating. Anyone have any info on Wneger Tents?


REI outlet
Have you checked rei-outlet.com? I’ve found some good tent deals there in the past, though I don’t have any experience with the models currently listed.

I’d be sketchy about a company that makes 90% car camping tents. At least the higher end Coleman stuff has actually proven to be not bad. For a tall 3 person tent, frame of 2 8.5 mm poles sounds a bit light duty if you had to set up in some strong winds.

Coleman Inyo2 sounds decent, another ripoff of the Clip Flashlight but i don’t think as roomy as the Eureka Spitfire 2. The 2 hoop style tents pitch VERY fast and easy as long as you can stake them in.

Tarn 2 would be pretty good though a bit out of your budget. The Coleman Aries 2 should have similar amount of space and pitch quicker but have a much smaller vestibule.

Also if you have an Infinity/Asolo dealer locally,the Raptor 2 is pretty decent( owned one but never got into a serious rain) and roomy tent.sized about halfway between somewhat squishy Tarn 2 and huge Tarn 3.

Eureka Mountain Pass 2XT
I use this for camping solo - plenty of room, great ventilation via big mesh windows. bilateral fly lets you seal up completely or use one or both vestibules half open. 6.2 pounds incl FG shockcords, fits thru an 8" hatch. Use a footprint. Very dry in humidity or heavy rain (Michigan need I say more) Can be found for $150 or less, got mine very lightly used for $70 on eBay.


– Last Updated: Dec-03-06 1:40 PM EST –

I have a Eureka Apex 3XTA I picked up off of Ebay for $117 a early last year. It's been discontinued, but the new "Pinnacle Pass" is the exact same model, only it's no longer the loud yellow and black color design of older Eureka tents.

I've been through severe thunderstorms in that tent without a single leak. It was left standing while most others nearby had been blown over. Like most tents, it's small for it's rated capacity (3 man), but is spacious for 2. Ventilation is pretty good, but you could still use it as a 3.5 season tent if you have a good sleeping bag. The vestibule space isn't as large as more expensive tents, but it's enough for my uses. I think Eureka tents have a high "bang for the buck" factor and my Apex (Pinnacle Pass) is no exception. Though it's too heavy for serious backpacking,it's fine in a boat.

A word of advise, look for the XTA versions as opposed to regular XTs; they come with aluminum poles that are lighter and stronger than the standard fiberglass. EDITED TO ADD: It looks like some Eureka tents come with aluminum poles without the "A" designation. Either way, seek out aluminum poles if you choose a Eureka tent.

Also, in this price range, a footprint is rarely an incuded accessory. I use a trimmed sheet of 4 or 5 mil (can't remember) plastic sheeting that works great.

Just plug in "Eureka 3xta" (or 2xta) into ebay and you find plenty of tents in your price range. There's a "Buy it Now" Pinnacle Pass 3XTA on there for $125. I have no affiliation with the sellers...