Backside tents? Any opinions?

We’re looking at a new tent purchase and have spotted a Backside T3 that looks interesting. It has a vestibule big enough to store gear and sit out of the rain. Price is good, but we’ve never seen one of these or heard of them. They’re made of breathable ripstop nylon and are light enough to haul for their size.

We also found an Assault by Eureka that looks ok. It’s heavier, but not too much for us non-portage people. We were going to get the tried and true Eureka Timberline XT4 and do the necessary mods, but thought we should see about these others.

So, anyone know anything about the Backside model or Assault? Thanks!

What kind of mod do you do to a Timberline?

straighten out the tubes after a storm.
We got a lot of years out of a Timberline, but much prefer our already-old Kelty Vortex 4.

Checked it out on a site. Make sure
that the 7’x7’ floor dimension would be OK in case either of you is very tall, as I am. Otherwise, it does look interesting. When we buy a new tent design, we are always guinea pigs.

not a great tent
Naa-that tent is relatively heavy, from a brand that doesn’t have much reputation, and the design allows for little ventilation or headroom.

For much less money, you can get a MUCH better tent from one of the reliable brands–Eureka, The North Face (excellent tents), MSR, Sierra Designs, or Kelty. REI and LL Bean have reasonably good tents as well. I find Eureka tents are durable but poor on ventilation and weight. My personal preference is for north face tents, but I’ve also had good luck with sierra designs and msr.

To get a great deal on a tent, go to one of the discount online places: either, or, or

My favorite website for tents is campmor, by far, because they carry a lot of north face tents. Northface offers a lifetime guarantee, and you won’t use it, because north face tents last forever.

Last year’s models are usually 30 to 40% off at Campmor (and about the same at other sites). For the price you would pay for that backside tent, you can get an incredible deal from campmor, sierra trading post, or reioutlet. Have fun!

I have the Assault…

– Last Updated: Aug-18-08 7:51 AM EST –

Well, the Military USMC Combat Tent ... Of which the Assault was patterned after. The only differances that I can tell is the color & the window in the vestibule. Since I had gotten this tent (about 4-5 years ago), I have gotten rid of my Apex3XT (to a fellow p.netter) & all of my other tents & shelters, with the exception of one (1) poncho & one (1) sil-nylon 12'x12' tarp.

It is more than perfect for 1 with gear & works very well for two with gear. I believe the Assault sleeps 4 which would make it better for "gear hounds". But as everyone knows- If it says sleeps 4 it is really for 2 or a tight 3!

I would definately recommend it (atleast the USMC Combat Tent) even though I don't own the Assault 4.

Paddle easy,


Georgia_kayaker might need some
backside coverage…

If you get the Assault 4, call Eureka and ask for a set of RPS’s for the USMC Combat Tent!! These will allow you to set up the fly ALONE which makes it great in the hot months or the pack-lite trips. You will also be able to use it as a two tent set up. The USMC C.T. (atleast) is water repellant enough to use in the rain without a fly that you can use the fly as a seperate tent… Maybe the Assault 4 is the same? Doubt it, but maybe???

Paddle easy,


Cannot say
that I have ever heard of this brand before.

My gut reaction is to stay with a well-known brand as others have suggested. And definately check the aforementioned outlets.


I imagine…
the coverage of a backside tent would be rather small but crucial in avoiding exposure.

Backpacker Magazine reguraly and quite extensivly has reviews of just about every type of outdoor camping/hiking produte ever made. Try and search for the tent you are considering and see what they suggest. I have a eurika tetragon 7 and I love it. Make sure it has a washtub floor (the floor fabric attaches to the sidewalls well above ground line) to help keep the inside drier ( we all know what a losing battel this can sometimes be). If it works for you and you like the design I dont see why this would not be a good purchase for you.

We have a
Eureka Pinnicale Pass… the XTA model and I couldn’t be more satisfied. We do a lot of camping where a light tent, easy set-up is preferred and this one works well. Wheathered some serious storms and kept us dry. Just another option…

Thanks for the responses
Coffee! I’ve been away long enough for you to come back! Howdy! Thanks for the info on the Assault. We’ll look at it closer. We travel with too much stuff, but a 7x7 footprint is plenty big for us.

We found a place on line to get the Backside model for $170 and I just learned that Gander Mountain carries them. We like our Eureka Apex 3XT for colder weather, but the ventilation could be better in the rain. Also, it’s hard to stay dry when unzipping the rain fly door. It sounds like the Backside tent won’t solve the ventilation problem. Weight is not a big issue because we portage very little on rivers. We looked for reviews on Backside and found almost nothing.

The Timberline 4XT Outfitter is a very reliable tent when you add material to the rainfly, add tie loops to the sidewalls, and use more substantial stakes. I used these tents in a livery setting with few complaints. But that was 35 years ago and Eureka quality seems to have slipped a little since then.

We love NorthFace and Kelty and have some of their stuff. Thanks again, everyone.

I almost pulled the trigger buying an Assault. Two user reviews scared me away. One complained about the lack of ventilation, saying s/he wouldn’t use it in temps above 75 degrees. The other said that water pooled in a flattish triangle created by the the ways the pole crossed on the top of the tent. It looks, though, like a very substantial tent. I opted for a Big Agnes Pine Island 4. I put it up for the first time yesterday. The lack of ripstop nylon behind the mosquito netting makes me a little nervous. But, the size, weight, and price ($200) were right.

Assault 4.

– Last Updated: Aug-21-08 10:20 AM EST –

It can be warm with the fly on, but with large screened front and back door openings, you're going to have the fly pulled back from those anyway unless it's raining. I try to set it up with wind direction in mind for ventilation.

Is it warmer on a hot day than something else? Perhaps someone else can comment - I have nothing else to compare it to, and don't spend much time inside before bedtime.

Just bought a pair of The Backside…
Back it +15 Xfibre mummy bags for our trip up north next month. I sell sporting goods at a large retail operation and couldn’t find much on these products in my own research. However, the bags look pretty nice for the price of $89 each and are generously sized. I have large shoulders and most mummy or tapered bags just don’t fit-these do. So far the only trouble I have encountered is in pulling the zipper (YKK) all the way up, no doubt due to me maxing out the “room” in the shoulder area. Look them up @ .

I have an older Cabelas/Eureka 4 man Alaskan version of the Timberline. It is a modified “A” Frame, meaning the frame gives more of a wider headspace than the standard type. It developed a problem with the rainfly sagging when wet and then pooling water. I came up with the idea of guying the fly with bungee cord instead of the rope that came with it and that fixed it perfectly. Now the tension is always just right.


pooling water

Do you notice any water pooling on top of the fly? That was my larger concern. Also, I couldn’t tell from the photos whether the Assault Outfitter 4 had zippered windows in the tent body in addition to those in the doors. It looks like a larger version of my North Face Stratos, which I like a lot.

have one of those tepees. You can get a bathtub floor but we’ve always been fine without even in (literally) weeks of continuous rain.

The tepees are great if you’re going to be spending a lot of time in camp (which I’ve noticed is more the case on boat supported trips than backpacking) because you can stand up, have 3 or 4 people sit facing each other to play cards, haul tons of gear inside, even cook in there. YOU can hang stuff to dry too. It’s very sturdy in bad weather, light weight, easy to set up and easy to vent in warm weather.

I still have my regular tent but I usually grab the tepee.

In the morning I’ve seen condensation on the tent and the fly in the air chamber formed between the two. Droplets I’d say, but I wouldn’t call it pooling.

The fly ends up with a form fitting dome shape. It has plastic snaps on nylon straps which connect it to the base of the tent where the stake loops are, and these are adjustable so the fly can be snugged down over the tent. The fly also has 10 velcro loops on its underside which connect it to the frame poles. Additional loops for added guy lines are on the exterior of the fly, so you can really secure it if storms are moving in.

For ventilation it has the front and rear doorways, and triangular windows inside. The inside windows don’t offer much for ventilation.

I have no pooling in mine…
What so ever. The poles intersect through a “pass” not through a “slide”, so in the event that you use the tent without the fly the rain flows right off. Also since the poles incorporate into the tent & not the fly, there is no pooling since the fly stretshes over the tent & poles.

As far as the zippers… You un-zip one zipper, you open the screen (attatched to the door) and un-zip the other & that opens the door. In this picture You can clearl see that the screen cover is unzipped (on the inner side) & rolled & stowed at the bottom portion of the doorway. Unzip the outer zipper & climb on in & re zip closed for a bg free breeze.

Again, though, this is for the USMC Combat Tent of which the Assault4 was patterned after. And (again) you can call Eureka and get the RPS’s for the USMC C.T. so that you can set up the fly “alone”.

Paddle easy,