Tent Question

What is the difference between and expedition tent and a regular tent? Aren’t all tents for expedtions. I can see the clear difference is the price but what is the difference in their uses?

"Expedition tent"?

Where did you see that term used?

I usually heard of tents being catagorized as 3-season tent or 4 season tents. Some stores (REI), however, use the term “mountaineering” tents.

Basically, a 3 season tent is good for spring, summer, fall, assuming the middle of continental US. Winter (and mountaineering) tents tend to keep you warmer and can withstand high wind while 3 season tents only shelter you from rain and mild wind.

I’ve in the past made the mistake of getting “whatever” tents from places like K’mart and Sears. Those tents don’t even do so well in the rain.

I’d be wary of any “regular” tents that has only a single wall. The condensation in a humid/rainy weather will have water driping all over INSIDE the tent!

I saw on campmor’s site right here


My guess is they are stronger and more durable able to handle all kinds of weather and such but that is just my guess.

I think
ecpidition are at least supposed to be made stronger or more durable.

Being a climber…
Expedition tents are generally slightly beefier in build. On an expedition, a tent may likely receive continuous use for months on end, and an expedition tent is built accordingly. Heavier more UV resistant fabric, sturdier seams and reinforcement, more guy points, etc.

But beware, as the term “expedition” has become something of a marketing point. There are only a handful of companies that make what I would call expedition quality tents. TNF, MSR, Mountain Hardwear, Hilleberg, Bibler, and Sierra Designs are the ones that come to mind. If this is some tent from Target or Wal-Mart claiming to be an “expedition” tent, they probably are just capitalizing on the term.

That’s it!
Right there in the cat titles “Expedition/4 season” tent. Yep, these are expensive, well-build tents that will handle regular back country use.

On the other hand, unless you REALLY need the 4 season/expedition features, you may do just fine with a well-build 3 season tent for a lot less $$. Personally, I’ve got a Seirra Design 3 season tent that lasted more than 10 years. And it’s still going strong. Granted, I’m just a weekend worrier. So keep in mind the amount of camping I did in 10 years, a true expeditioner will do in ONE!

This one is a $600 two man tent.



Well put avitar
All beware of eureka tents, their products are of decent quality as long as you don’t have a problem with them, as soon as on of their products fails so does your warranty. Stick to better names if you’re seriously spending lots of time outside, I’m partial to mountain hardwear great people great products and most important to the end user great support of their entire line.

Eureka …

– Last Updated: Aug-20-04 11:54 AM EST –

The outdoor program I worked with for over 20 years used the Eureka Timberline 4 man tent almost exclusively. They were used by teenagers(not skilled campers by any means), in all possible weather conditions you'd expect from year round use in the Midwest.
I found them to be of excellent quality, they withstood much abuse, and we never had a problem (typically caused by misuse), that Eureka didn't take care of for the price of shipping; sometimes even "after" the warranty had expired.
I own the Outfitter's model of the Eureka Timberline 2 man(over 5 years old), and the Outfitter's model of the Eureka Timberline 4 man(over 5 years old). I have "never" had a problem with either; therefore have never needed the warranty.
Maybe they've changed, but that sounds like a blanket indictment of a whole product line? What was the problem they refused to repair?


Determining Expedition/Recreational
Just a guess but I would assume a true Expedition tent will be a heavier gauge fabric, zippers, flooring etc. Wonder if the manufacturers state the fabric gauge, strength or even thread count in the specs.


Well my Eureka tent
is getting it’s fair share of abuse this year! I’m in the throws of my camping every other week or more and I think I’ll need a new tent next year!

I don’t own a Eureka tent
But when I was in the outdoor retailing business I sold a bunch of them. Compared to TNF, MH, SD etc the stitching is not as tight, the poles are not as nicely machined, but the price is right. In a word, “serviceable”. Probably all that 75% of tent campers really need.


single walls
I have used Walrus/MSR tents pretty much the last 5 years, having a Zoid 2.0 and having bought a 1.0 in Anchorage a few years ago. I recently bought a Henry Shire’s Cloudburst, which is an ultralite singlewall 3-season tent for some bike touring where I used to use my Zoid 2.0. The tent is fabulous as long as it’s not too hot or not windy. Condensation in a single wall can be a problem on some days, but when pitched right and when there’s a breeze, the open mesh head and tail will provide enough ventilation. Days that are hot and humid can be hard in any tent, though.

Did not have any really rainy days to give the tent a good test for that but I like the tent so far, very easy to set up and extremely light (~2.5lbs) for a 2 person tent with the sewn in floor.


Timberline 4
We have many great memories from trips with our Timberline 4. It was still usable when I gave it to friends after the family outgrew it. It was the first decent tent I ever had so it seemed great in comparison to the couple of junkers I’d had before. One of the poles bent badly in a windstorm up on the Smith River in Montana. Eureka declined to replace it until I’d sent them what seemed like more than a new one was worth. That is not such a strong indictment of the customer service, and it is a single case, but when I bought a slightly larger tent of smilar quality/value, it was a Kelty! Its gone about 5 years needing no service.

Mine did pretty well
I used the one-person Mountain Pass XT on a month-long Alaska trip. It’s still in great shape.

The only complaint I have is that I should’ve gotten the two-person version; it’s still compact enough in its packed state to fit where I need it to in my hatch, and it’d have better ventilation with a second full door/window instead of the non-mesh opening that I didn’t like to open due to everpresent no-see-ums.

The tent cost a very modest $120, and I consider it a great value.

One of the differences
…is that the expedition-grade tents specify the type of aluminum the poles are made of, e.g. “T6061” or whatever.

Another difference is that the expedition tents generally have at least 3 poles, to better stand up against high winds than 2-pole structures.

The standard in four season tents is four poles, often +1 for the vestibule. Some tents, like some Biblers, or Integral Designs use the basic two pole wedge design carried out with high tech materials. Such tents are usually assault tents: they’re made small and light, and used at high camps where weight and packability are of primary concern. They can flap around more than their four pole counterparts, but they’ll stand up to some serious blows.

Incidentally, generally more pole crosses or intersections means greater stability, at least as traditional wisdom goes. So a four pole design is generally inherently much sturdier than a two pole or three pole tent of the same quality. As for poles, the golden standard in poles right now are DAC featherlites. They are made without ferrules and of high quality Al (T6-7001), so it decreases weight while improving strength.

Eureka Alpine Meadows
I have had a Eureka Alpine Meadows for somewhere between 13-15 years and it is just now showing it’s age. The seam tape separated from the floor - but that’s the only problem I’ve ever had with it. I sealed the seam and applied new waterproofing to the floor, and it performs like new now.

This model has A-frame ends with a ridge pole - but there’s the addition of a fiberglass hoop from side to side over the middle which gives a great amount of headroom. It also has a full rain fly and vestibule. It’s rated three season, but where I live (Olympic Peninsula of Washington) it can be used all year round.

I never had to deal with Eureka on any warranty issues, so I can’t speak to that topic.


Bibler Ahwahnee
Best tent I’ve seen for backpacking or kayaking. Low weight, small packing size, 4 season, great ventillation, no condensation, great view, easy to assemble even in wind and rain, no sleaves to get stuck, no fly to flap around, and much more. In a month last summer in Newfoundland with 60+ mph winds and continous rain, my buddies in North Face mountaineering tents were both sold on the Ahwahnee.


I am sure they are.Because without a doubt anyone would be sold on a 649 dollar tent. You get what pay for. I have to ask though did you happen to invest in the vestibule?