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Reviews > Base Camp Gear > Campsite Gear > Family Size Tents > Eureka Grand Manan Tent > Test Report by Mike Curry

EUREKA! GRAND MANAN 7 TENT
TEST SERIES BY MIKE CURRY
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - July 11, 2009
FIELD REPORT - September 28, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - November 15, 2009

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Curry
EMAIL: thefishguyAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 39
LOCATION: Aberdeen, Washington
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 220 lb (99.80 kg)

I've been backpacking, climbing, ski-packing, bushwhacking, and snowshoeing throughout the mountains of Oregon and Washington for the last 25 years. I'm an all-season, all terrain, off-trail kind of guy, but these days (having small kids) most of my trips run on the shorter side of things, and tend to be in the temperate rainforest. While I've carried packs (with winter climbing gear) in excess of 70 pounds (32 kilos), the older I get the more minimalist I become.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 6
Grand Manan complete in stuff sack
Manufacturer: Eureka!
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: www.eurekatent.com
MSRP: US $189.90
Listed Weight: 10 lb 14 oz (4.93 kg)
Measured Weight: 11 lb 11 oz (5.30 kg)
Other details:

Guy lines and 16 tent pegs are included.

FROM MANUFACTURER:

Straight lower walls maximize usable interior space by allowing cots and other furniture to be positioned close to walls and conveniently out of the way.

GENERAL FEATURES
*2 pole dome tent with durable, shockcorded fiberglass frame
*Straight wall design provides 21% more headroom than a standard 2 pole dome tent and 16% more volume to accommodate an air bed
*Side-opening doors allow for easy entry
*Four interior pockets keep essentials close at hand
*Bathtub floor wraps up sides of tent, protecting against splashing and standing water
*Large, double point vestibules allow room for extra gear
*Zippered access to the fly vent, through the vent in the tent body ceiling, provides extra ventilation options
*Removable window flap can be stored inside the built-in pocket when not in use
*Full coverage fly rolls up, providing 4-way ventilation for maximum cool air flow to the interior via low mesh vents

BASICS
Packaged Size: 8 in x 22 in (20 cm x 56 cm)
Floor Size: 7' 6" x 6' 6" (2.29 m x 1.98 m)
Center Height: 4 ft 3 in (1.3 m)
3 season/3 person rated

ARCHITECTURE
Frame - 9.5 & 11 mm fiberglass, post & grommet
Vents - 2
Doors - 2
Windows - 4
Vestibules - 2
Vestibule Area - 45.04 sq ft (4.53 sq m)

FEATURES
Gear Loft - Optional, dome style
Gear Loft Loops
Flashlight Loop - 1
Storage Pockets - 4

FABRIC
Wall - 68D 190T polyester taffeta, uncoated
Fly - 75D StormShieldŽ polyester, 1200 mm coated
Floor - 75D 190T polyester taffeta, 1500 mm coated
Mesh - 40D no-see-um

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

IMAGE 1
Tent and key features
The Grand Manan 7 tent arrived in its retail packaging, a cardboard box with descriptions and photos of various features of the tent.

After opening the box I found a large stuff sack containing all the tent components as well as smaller stuff sacks for the poles and pegs. The components included the tent itself, fiberglass poles, pegs, rain fly, and guylines.

The rain fly and tent seem very well made. The stitching and materials appear very high quality. The fiberglass poles seem sturdy and well constructed. Key features, and my initial thoughts, follow below.

Key Features:

High/Low Vents

This tent appears to have an excellent combination of ventilation and protection from the elements. The vents in the fly can be accessed from inside the tent via a zippered panel . . . when closed, these vents are not only held down by hook and loop closures, but also have a triangular panel that completely closes the area.

IMAGE 5
Grand Manan with fly up
Fly Configurations

The fly is full-coverage, which is a major plus for my climate. The vestibules can be rolled back for ventilation, and the lower section of the fly can be rolled up above the windows for further ventilation as needed.

Stash Pockets

There is a stash pocket in each corner. This is very handy when squeezing my me, my wife, and both my kids into the tent.

Guy Points

There are two guy points on each corner of the tent for use in windy conditions. They appear to be well-located and I look forward to trying them out.

Windows

The windows are large mesh panels on the two walls without doors. Privacy is maintained by having the fly down (which covers them) or by attaching the fabric panel included over in on the inside (using elastic toggle and loop closures).

Doors and Door Windows

The doors are good size, and have full fabric panels that can be unzipped and rolled back, leaving a full-size mesh door. This looks like it will provide excellent ventilation. Also, the fly offers a clear panel at the top outside each door, something that is very nice in inclement weather.

My Initial Thoughts

I'm very impressed with the features. The wire stakes provided are incredibly heavy, and I thought to myself that if they and the fiberglass poles were replaced with lighter weight aluminum options, this would serve nicely as a backpacking tent for my family. As it is, I might consider it for shorter backpacking trips with my wife and kids.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

IMAGE 2
Tent with fly and key features
The instructions are printed on a single sheet of paper. One side gives general information on issues such as safety around fire, staking, guying (with a very nice diagram), condensation and venting, ultraviolet light, general pole care, general tent care, storage, color transfer, alterations and modification. The warrantee, some information on other products, and the "Leave No Trace" seven principles are also included on this side.

The other side includes specific instructions on putting up the Grand Manan 7. The instructions are clear, easy to follow, and have good illustrations.

Interestingly enough, almost nothing was said about the ventilation system. A general reference to the high-low ventilation system was provided on the general information side, and the fact that the fly sides can be rolled up was mentioned on the specific instructions, but the only instructions on the upper vents are on the box. While I find the system fairly intuitive, I am surprised it wasn't explicitly explained on the specific instructions page.

TRYING IT OUT

I managed to put up the tent in about 10 minutes without assistance. I found it quite simple and intuitive even though I had only glanced at the instructions.

The tent setup is much like most two-pole dome tents. The poles slide through sleeves on the tent, with each end of the pole having a pin that is inserted in a grommet on a webbing strap at one corner of the tent floor. Once both poles are inserted, the tent itself is freestanding. The rainfly I found slightly less intuitive, but still quite easy. A single pole is inserted into two webbing pockets on opposite sides of the fly, and held in the middle with a hook and loop closure. The fly is then placed, with this pole down, on top of the tent. A color-coded piece of webbing matches with another on the tent (at the floor, where the tent poles attach) ensuring the rain fly is aligned correctly. I found this color coding to greatly simplify the process. Once the fly is on top, hook and loop closures attach the fly to the tent body at two points along the pole structure. The first uses hook and loop tabs that actually wrap around the poles at a cutout location in the pole sleeve on the tent, one on each corner of the tent. The second uses tabs the attach to hook and loop tabs sewn to the outside of the pole sleeve itself, and are located at the top of the "wall" created by the vertical pole sections, again on each corner of the tent. Finally, webbing straps on the fly attach to the webbing straps at the corners (that the pole ends attach to) with quick-connect buckles. These straps attach to the fly at the top of the "wall" on the inside, allowing the lower section of the fly to be rolled up to the top of the wall.

IMAGE 3
Inside access to upper vent
After putting it up, I immediately crawled inside and unzipped the roof panel to see how easy it was to open the upper vents in the fly from inside. After unzipping the triangular panel in the tent roof, I unzipped the covered triangular panel of the vent, and propped it open with the sewn-in prop. I left the tent roof panel unzipped for a minute, and in flew a wasp. I learned a valuable lesson . . . keep these panels closed if it's buggy, or open only long enough to mess with the fly vent!

My family and I decided to have a quick overnighter in the back yard to see if it will work for all four of us for car camping. It did. With two adults, a 6 year old, and an 8 year old, there was just enough room for us, our sleeping bags and pads, and a few essentials (flashlights, water bottles, stuffed animals, etc.). While there wasn't any floorspace to spare, it worked, thanks in part to the conveniently located stash pockets in each corner (keeping flashlights, etc., off the floor, yet accessible). My wife, being somewhat claustrophobic, had me leave the window panel on the door open. Though the floor space was tight, it definitely felt roomier due to the vertical wall sections.

SUMMARY

IMAGE 4
Upper vent from outside
The Eureka! Grand Manan 7 appears to be a well-designed, well-made tent that is loaded with some very interesting and very unique features. I look forward to seeing how it performs in the field.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I have used the Eureka! Grand Manan 7 tent for eight nights of field testing. In addition, the tent received several additional "backyard" overnighters and some use as a play tent by my kids in our backyard. I mention this additional use only because the tent has been exposed to intense sunlight for 22 days total.

Field use conditions have included sunshine and light rain and winds up to 35 mph (56 kph). Temperatures have ranged from daytime highs in excess of 100 F (38 C) and overnight lows as low as 38 F (3 C), however most of the use occurred in a more moderate temperature range of daytime highs around 80 F (27 C) and overnight lows around 50 F (10 C).

All use occurred on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. Use occurred both in developed automobile campgrounds in Olympic National Park and "dispersed" camping on Forest Service land.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

IMAGE 1
Full-size air mattress and fly front up
SIZE AND CONFIGURATION:

My hope for this tent was that it would serve well as a tent for my family, which includes myself, my wife, and two children (ages 6 and 8), even though it is rated for three people. What I've found is that, while the four of us do fit, albeit snugly, my wife (who is mildly claustrophobic) has not been able to sleep in the tent. At first I believed this was due to it being somewhat crowded with the four of us in the tent. After some experimentation, including her trying to sleep in the tent with just one of our children, we determined it was actually the relatively low ceiling height that made her uncomfortable.

My children and I, on the other hand, fit in the tent quite nicely, and I find that the three of us are able to move about fairly comfortably even with a fair amount of gear. I've even used a full-size air mattress in the tent for the three of us to sleep on, and it left a nice area next to the mattress to move about and stow gear. The vertical sections of the side walls do seem to make quite a difference in terms of usable space.

RAIN FLY/INCLEMENT WEATHER USE:

While I haven't used the tent in our "days on end" rain events, it has sat through several all-day drizzles and a few good blustery thunderstorms. So far, not a drop of water has penetrated the fly. Even in a decent 35 mph (56 kph) wind-driven rain, I stayed nice and dry inside, and the tent only flapped moderately in the breeze (I had not used the extra guy points, which might have minimized this). One of my favorite features in inclement weather are the roomy vestibules . . . we would stow our "wet gear" (coats, boots, etc.) and use the other as a dry gear storage area. The double vestibules made a big difference, too, in terms of making the space feel roomier: by leaving one door open to the vestibule, the tent felt much roomier when buttoned down waiting for the rain to stop.

EASE OF USE:

Overall I find the tent very easy to set up and use. The one possible exception to this is the fact that I routinely forget to put the pole in the rainfly before attaching it to the tent body. I don't know why, but that part just isn't intuitive to me, and it is annoying to forget and have to undo everything and start over.

The included stakes, I should note, do not penetrate compact gravel very well. At one campground I was forced to use deadmen to anchor the vestibules since the stakes bent when I tried to hammer them into the compact gravel.

IMAGE 2
Rear vestibule staked out
VENTILATION:

This tent absolutely shines when it comes to ventilation. on the hottest nights, with the fly sides rolled up and the fly vents propped open, the slightest breeze prevents that "stuffy tent" feeling. In addition, when the tent is buttoned down for rain, opening the roof vent makes a big difference in terms of stuffiness. The fact that those vents can be opened, and closed, from inside the tent is fantastic, and has saved me from getting wet more than once.

OTHER USEFUL FEATURES:

One of the key features of this tent that I have grown to love is the storage pockets. There is one in each corner, and they are big enough to hold my headlamp, my glasses, and several other items for quick and easy retrieval. This is most appreciated with my kids. My kids are able to put their flashlights in these pockets and know right where they are, and since they are near the corners, they are easy to locate for the kids.

OTHER:

One thing I must note is that the tent has faded considerably in color since I first received it. It doesn't look bad (it has faded evenly and has simply faded to a lighter shade of brown), but it is very noticeable. That said, it does not appear to have impacted performance in any way.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

Overall I am very pleased with the tent. The low profile makes it feel more like a backpacking tent then a car camping tent, but also allow it to shed winds that would likely flatten my other car camping tents.

SUMMARY

Overall, the Eureka! Grand Manan 7 tent performs well, shedding wind and rain very well and being very easy to set up. It will sleep three comfortably with a little room to spare (or quite a bit to spare if two are small children). The only drawbacks I have seen so far are that the low ceiling height makes it impossible for my claustrophobic wife to sleep in the tent, and that the stakes bend when trying to drive them into compact gravel. Other than those drawbacks, and some cosmetic fading due to prolonged sun exposure, the Grand Manan 7 has performed exceptionally well.

This concludes my Field Report.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I have used the Eureka! Grand Manan 7 tent for an additional 3 nights of field use during long-term testing. All three nights were in "dispersed" campsites in the Olympic National Forest. Weather was rainy, with temperatures around 60 F (16 C) during the day, and 40 F (4 C) at night, with light breezes.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Nothing new has presented itself during long-term testing. The tent continues to perform well, and has not shown any additional signs of wear or damage beyond the fading of the rainfly noted in the field report. The tent seems quite durable. The poles do seem to have taken on a set, though I am uncertain if this is the fiberglass holding a shape or the ferrules bending ever so slightly. Regardless, it has not seemed to impact performance in any way. Several of the tent pegs have bent, but none so severely they aren't still serviceable. No other damage or failure has been noted.

One thing I did discover is that it is more than just the low ceiling height that sparks my wife's claustrophobia in this tent. The dark rainfly is also a factor. I had my wife try out a backpacking tent that I have that has a comparable ceiling height and a much smaller footprint, and she was ok (though not entirely comfortable) in it. The difference, we determined, is the other tent was almost white. For some reason the darker colors used in the Grand Manan 7 make it worse for her.

SUMMARY

The Eureka Grand Manan 7 tent is a well-designed car camping tent that will sleep three adults, but I find more comfortable for two adults, or one adult and two small kids. It has some outstanding features that provide excellent ventilation in hot weather, and is impressively water-resistant. While the rainfly on mine has faded in the sun, it is still quite serviceable. Though my wife is unable to sleep in it due to being claustrophobic given it's size and dark color, it has proven to be an outstanding shelter for myself and my kids, and has ample vestibule space when buttoned down in foul weather.

CONTINUED USE

While I may use the Eureka! Grand Manan 7 tent in the future, it will likely be limited due to the fact my wife won't sleep in it. It would be a great choice, however, for a road trip with a friend, or a trip with just me and my kids. Were it not for my wife's issues with the tent, it would probably see a lot of use as it truly is a quite versatile and well-designed tent.

I would like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Eureka! for the opportunity to test the Grand Manan 7 tent. This concludes my report.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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