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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Eureka Mountain Breeze Tent > Test Report by Sheila Morrissey


EUREKA! MOUNTAIN BREEZE TENT
Initial Report - April 11, 2008
Field Report - June 3, 2008
Long-Term Report - August 7, 2008

Mountain Breeze
Eureka! Mountain Breeze with fly tied back.


Initial Report: April 11, 2008

TESTER BIOGRAPHY
Name: Sheila Morrissey
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.7 m)
Weight: 155 lb (70 kg)
Email Address: geosheila(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country: Goleta, California, USA

BACKPACKING BACKGROUND
I have been backpacking since 2005 and usually hike in Los Padres National Forest or the Sierra Nevada with friends and my dog. My pack weighs around 25 lb (11 kg), including consumables, for a weekend trip. I always carry a tent.

PRODUCT INFORMATION
Manufacturer: Eureka!
Model: Mountain Breeze
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.eurekatent.com
MSRP: US$319.90
Sleeps: 2 people

Weight
Listed Minimum Weight (from packaging): 4 lb 14 oz (2.2 kg)
Listed Minimum Weight (from website): 5 lb 7 oz (2.5 kg)
Calculated Minimum Weight (tent, fly, frame): 5 lb 4.2 oz (2.4 kg)
Calculated Maximum Weight (tent, fly, tent stuff sack, frame, frame stuff sack, 15 stakes, stake stuff sack): 6 lb 0 oz (2.7 kg)

Measured Tent Weight: 1 lb 12.2 oz (0.8 kg)
Measured Fly Weight: 2 lb 5.0 oz (1.0 kg)
Measured Tent and Fly Stuff Sack Weight: 1.2 oz (34 g)
Measured Frame Weight: 1 lb 3.0 oz (0.5 kg), all frame poles are shock-corded together
Measured Frame Stuff Sack Weight: 0.5 oz (14 g)
Measured Stake Weight: 0.6 oz (17 g) each, comes with 15 stakes
Calculated Weight of 15 Stakes: 9 oz (255 g)
Measured Stake Stuff Sack Weight: 0.3 oz (9 g)
Calculated Weight of 15 Stakes and Stake Stuff Sack: 9.3 oz (264 g)

Size
Listed Floor Size: 7 ft x 4 ft 4 in (2.1 m x 1.3 m)
Measured Floor Size: 6 ft 10.5 in x 4 ft 4.5 in (2.1 m x 1.3 m)
Listed Center Height: 3 ft 4 in (1.0 m)
Measured Center Height: 3 ft 4 in (1.0 m)
Listed Packed Size: 7 in x 16 in (18 cm x 41 cm)
Measured Packed Size: 7 in x 16 in (18 cm x 41 cm)

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
The Mountain Breeze is a two-person, double-walled tent. It is one of Eureka!'s backcountry camping tents, noted to be their "compact, lightweight, three-season tents that are ideal for backpacking and camping in wilderness conditions." Included with the Mountain Breeze are the tent body, tent fly, four guy cords attached to the fly, one pole bag with all poles shock-corded together, one stake bag with fifteen stakes, one carry bag, and an instruction sheet.

Mountain Breeze
Packed Mountain Breeze (with Nalgene bottle for scale).

The roof of the tent is made of uncoated 70D nylon taffeta. The tent walls are made of 40D nylon no-see-um mesh. There are two zippered doors on the sides of the tent and two mesh pockets on two corners of the tent. The bathtub floor is made of 70D nylon taffeta. All seams are factory taped.


Mountain Breeze
Mountain Breeze tent with door tied open.

Mountain Breeze
One of two Mountain Breeze inside corner pockets (with small camera case for visibility).

Rather than having the poles slide through sleeves in the tent material, the tent material hangs on hooks that are sewn into the tent and attach to the frame. The tent pole frame is made of DAC Featherlight NSL. All of the tent pole sections are connected by shock cords. Two hubs at the top of the frame allow two short poles to swivel perpendicular to the main pole. Two Y-shaped connectors on the sides of the tent connect the main pole to shorter "legs" that slip through grommets at the corners of the tent.

Mountain Breeze
Mountain Breeze tent poles (with Nalgene bottle for scale).

Mountain Breeze
Side view of Mountain Breeze tent.

The tent fly
is made of 1500-mm, silicone-treated, 40D polyester taffeta, which has a waxy feel to it. The fly connects to the tent at the corners by inserting the pole ends through grommets in the fly. The fly can also be secured at the top of the tent by slipping the ends of the two short perpendicular sections at the top of the frame into reinforced pockets on the underside of the fly. Over the doors are two vestibules that, according to the manufacturer, are each 12.5 sq ft (1.2 sq m). The vestibule doors close with zippers, but also have hook-and-loop tabs. Four guy cords are attached to the tent fly on the ends of the tent. There are also two no-see-um mesh ventilation windows on the fly which can be propped open with attached stays secured with hook-and-loop fasteners.

Mountain Breeze
Side view of Mountain Breeze tent with fly.

Mountain Breeze
View from below of one of two ventilation windows in the Mountain Breeze fly.

The 15 included stakes are thick but lightweight.

Mountain Breeze
Stakes (with Nalgene bottle for scale).

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS
The pile of connected poles that make up the frame for the Mountain Breeze with all of its strange connectors
intimidated me the minute I took it out of the box. However, I found that the frame was easy to set up and assembling the tent was rather intuitive and Eureka!'s included directions were easy to follow, even though I've only ever used tents with pole sleeves before. I was pleasantly surprised to see how big this tent is and how much head space there is inside. It is bigger than I was expecting based on seeing pictures of the tent on Eureka's! website. I can easily sit up in the tent with lots of headroom to spare. The two mesh pockets in the corners are small but secure and should provide enough space for my flashlight and other small items. This isn't the longest tent I own, but it's definitely long enough for me. I wasn't able to secure the fly on the perpendicular frame sections. I tried, but once I got one pole end in a pocket another one would come out. I just haven't mastered that part of the tent set-up yet. In any case, the fly fits tightly on the tent without securing it onto those frame sections. I also wasn't able to stake out the fly in my yard, but it seems there should be plenty of room for a pack in each vestibule. I was glad to see the stakes seem pretty beefy. With 15 stakes, even if I do mess up a few through the test period, I should still have enough to stake out my tent well enough.


Field Report: June 3, 2008

FIELD CONDITIONS
I have so far used the Eureka! Mountain Breeze tent for a total of six nights, including three nights of backpacking. All of the six nights were spent in southern Utah and northern Arizona. Each night was clear with no wind.

I spent one night in the Mountain Breeze camped near the car on a dirt road in Dixie National Forest outside of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The elevation was over 7,000 ft (2,100 m) and the nighttime temperature was 23 F (-5 C). The tent was set up with the fly and was staked using eight stakes, with one at each corner of the tent and two stretching out each vestibule. I shared the tent with one other person and each of us used an insulated air mattress.

I spent two nights in the Mountain Breeze on a backpacking trip to Coyote Gulch from a trailhead in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The elevation was between 4,000 (1,200 m) and 5,000 ft (1,500 m) and the nighttime temperature was between 35 F (2 C) and 40 F (4 C) both nights. On this trip, my hiking partner and I carried all of the tent parts, including all stuff sacks and all 15 stakes. The first night, the tent
was set up with the fly and was staked using eight stakes, with one at each corner of the tent and two stretching out each vestibule. The second night, the tent was used without the fly and no stakes were used. I shared the tent with one other person and each of us used an insulated air mattress.

I spent one night in the Mountain Breeze at a Paria River trailhead campground. The elevation was near 4,000 ft (1,200 m) and the nighttime temperature was about 40 F (4 C).
The tent was set up with the fly and was staked using eight stakes, with one at each corner of the tent and two stretching out each vestibule. I shared the tent with one other person and each of us used an insulated air mattress.

I spent one night in the Mountain Breeze on a backpacking trip through Buckskin Gulch. The elevation was near 4,500 ft (1,400 m) and the nighttime temperature was
between 35 F (2 C) and 40 F (4 C). On this trip, my hiking partner and I carried all of the tent parts, except we left seven unnecessary stakes in the car. The tent was set up with the fly and was staked using eight stakes, with one at each corner of the tent and two stretching out each vestibule. I used the tent alone and slept on an insulated air mattress.

I spent one night in the Mountain Breeze camped near the car on a dirt road in Kaibab National Forest outside of Grand Canyon National Park. The elevation was near 7,000 ft (2,100 m) and the nighttime temperature was
between 35 F (2 C) and 40 F (4 C). The tent was set up with the fly and was staked using eight stakes, with one at each corner of the tent and two stretching out each vestibule. I shared the tent with one other person and each of us used an insulated air mattress.

FIELD RESULTS
Weight

On my first backpacking trip with the Mountain Breeze, we carried all parts of the tent, including the stuff sacks and 15 stakes for a total weight of 6 lb (2.7 kg). That's a lot of Mountain Breeze to be dragging down a canyon. I decreased this weight by just 4.2 oz (116 g) on my second backpacking trip by leaving seven stakes behind. Wind was not a problem on these two trips, so I didn't need to use the guy lines (in fact, I've never used guy lines at all before) and so I didn't need the extra stakes.

Packability
After setting up the tent at home for the first time, I rolled the tent back up and was able to easily put all the pieces back into the stuff sack. After each night of outdoor use, I stuffed the tent and fly into the bag and kept the stakes and poles separate.

Ease of set-up
The Mountain Breeze isn't difficult to set up, but it's definitely different from what I'm used to.
When the poles are all fitted together, the frame looks like a stick person, but with a set of legs at both ends and two sets of arms. Okay, that doesn't sound like a stick person at all, but that's what I see. Once the stick person is made, the four legs all fit easily into the tent grommets. The hooks on the tent connect onto the frame pretty easily, unless I accidentally attach the tent frame legs into the grommets backwards (which I do about half the time). On our trip, it took me and my hiking partner about four minutes to set up the tent together. I've found it's really helpful to have two people setting up this tent, but maybe that's because I'm still not very used to the frame design.

Size
The vestibules are great. They're huge and I really like that they're held out with two stakes on each side, even though that means carrying more stakes than some other tents that only need one stake per vestibule. The tent itself is definitely long enough for me, my big air mattress and some gear at my feet. I wish the width of the tent was a little bigger. My big air mattress is 25 in (64 cm) wide, which should take up nearly half of the 52-in (1.3-m) width of the tent, but it always slides a bit and ends up scooting into my hiking partner's side. So really, I'm okay with the width of the tent, but my hiking partners would like it to be a little wider. The best part about the size of the tent is the head space. The ceiling is a tall 3 ft 4 in (1.0 m) at the center of the tent, but the four-armed, stick-figure frame gives this tent a fairly flat (and tall) ceiling over the whole middle area of the tent.

Pockets
I have found I really like the pockets. Even though the tent only has two pockets and they're pretty small, they fit tightly against the tent and hold my small gear securely.

Condensation
The tent itself is made nearly entirely of mesh, so it just isn't possible for condensation to build up on the tent walls. After getting up one cold morning, I found a lot of condensation on the inside of the fly. Most of it was still frozen, but none dripped into the tent because the roof of the tent is
made of 70D nylon taffeta, not mesh.

Wind and Rain
I haven't experienced wind or rain while using the Mountain Breeze.

Zippers
I'm having two small issues with the zippers. The first is not actually with the functioning of the zippers, but with their placement. The doors on the tent are L-shaped instead of the more usual D-shaped tent doors. I don't know why the door zippers don't extend horizontally across the top, but they really should. It would make it easier to get in and out of the tent. My second problem is that the zippers on the fly get stuck frequently.

Stakes
The stakes are numerous and beefy. What more could I ask for? I haven't had any problems with the stakes bending.


Durability
So far so good in the durability category. The only part of the tent that I am concerned with (though there haven't been any problems and my concern might be unwarranted) is with the pole shock cord because it seems to be stretched more tightly between the pole sections with Y-shaped connectors than the other sections when I dissemble the frame.


SUMMARY
So far, I like this tent. The weight of the tent seems pretty typical and it's easy enough to pack away. It's my first time using a tent with this sort of frame design so it did take me some time to get used to setting it up. I really like the high ceiling in the tent and the fact that it isn't high at just one point in the center, but that a huge area of the tent has this tall ceiling. The length of the tent has been fine for me and my hiking partners, but we're not terribly tall people. I do wish the tent was a little bit wider. I haven't experienced wind or rain in this tent, but I can say that the tent handles condensation quite well. I wish the tent doors were shaped differently so that it would be easier to get in and out of the tent.
So far, I'm pleased with the durability of the tent materials, zippers and stakes, but the zippers on the fly do get stuck frequently.


Long-Term Report: August 7, 2008

FIELD CONDITIONS
I have now used the Mountain Breeze for a total of 17 nights, including 12 nights of backpacking and five nights near the car.

Since the Field Report, I used the Mountain Breeze for one night of car-camping near the trailhead and six nights of backpacking in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of Sierra National Forest, California, on a volunteer trail maintenance trip. Elevations were near 7,000 ft (2,100 m). Each night, the weather was clear with little wind and temperatures were near 50 F (10 C).
The tent was set up with the fly and was staked using eight stakes, with one at each corner of the tent and two stretching out each vestibule. I used the tent alone and slept on an insulated air mattress.

I also used the Mountain Breeze for three nights of backpacking and one night at a walk-in campsite on California's Lost Coast. The elevation was near sea level. The overnight temperatures were near 50 F (10 C) with a lot of wind. I set the tent up with the fly three of the nights. I skipped the fly and stakes when we set up the tent in a driftwood shelter and skipped just the stakes when the ground was too hard. I shared the tent with one other person and one dog. I slept on an uninsulated air mattress three nights and on the hard ground one night.

Mountain Breeze    Mountain Breeze

LONG-TERM RESULTS
By now I'm pretty used to setting up the Mountain Breeze and find it quite easy and quick to set up, even by myself. I set it up six times during the Long-Term testing period: twice on the trail maintenance trip and four times on the Lost Coast trip.

I wasn't too concerned with the weight of the Mountain Breeze when a mule carried it out for me on my trail maintenance trip. When the mules never came to pick us up, I was cursing the 6-lb (2.7-kg) tent that I had to make room for in my pack. I was more prepared for the weight (I was carrying less stupid extra stuff in my pack) on my Lost Coast trip, but cursed the heavy weight again when I had to carry my own and my friend's pack out the last couple of miles (a few kilometers). I think the weight of the Mountain Breeze is pretty typical for this style of tent, but I'd still always like to see something lighter for backpacking.

The giant size of the inside of this tent made for a lovely home for a week on the trail maintenance trip. I spread out my little piles of gear along one side and made my bed on the other side. It was also plenty big for two people and a dog for a few nights of backpacking. What I like most about this tent is the height of the ceiling. I can sit up with inches (centimeters) of clearance over my head. Thanks to nearly-vertical walls, a huge area of the tent has this high ceiling so I found that two people can easily sit up in the tent, even with a big dog wandering around inside the tent.

I found that the mesh walls provide good ventilation and don't allow condensation to build up inside the tent. Condensation does build up on the inside of the fly, but there are loads of options for me to reduce this by opening the little fly vent or tying back the doors. Even with a lot of condensation on the fly one morning, it never entered the tent. I have no idea how well the tent and fly can handle rain since I didn't experience any during my use of the tent.

With the fly doors open or better yet, with the fly off, the mesh tent provides great views. I didn't bother with the fly one night when the tent was set up in a driftwood shelter on the Lost Coast and got to look out at the stars and waves, and no sand came in through the mesh walls. The full-coverage fly also provides total privacy, which was pretty nice when camped not far from a dozen trail-maintenance strangers. I do normally like to have a little window in the fly; it's nice to be able to take a peek outside without opening the door.

Overall, the tent was easy to deal with. I didn't really find I had a lot of problems with the zippers, though I did mention them getting stuck frequently in the Field Report (perhaps sand was getting into the zippers on those earlier trips). The durability overall seemed pretty good. I never had any problems with the poles or the tent materials and I haven't noticed any wear to these materials. I was happy to see that most of the sturdy stakes held up perfectly through this test. Only two were slightly bent after slamming them into the ground with a rock. It was even easy packing the tent back into the storage sack.

SUMMARY

I liked the Eureka! Mountain Breeze tent a lot and thought it worked really well in the conditions I used it in. It's definitely a keeper.

PROS
  • Set-up is pretty easy (though quite different from other tents I've used)
  • Plenty of room (length and width) for two people and a dog or for one person making a home for a week
  • Fantastic height with a large area of the tent having a high ceiling
  • Good ventilation with little condensation
  • Great views without the fly, total privacy with the fly
  • Fits easily back in storage sack
  • Sturdy stakes
  • Durability seems good so far
  • Easy to pack it back up
CONS
  • Although the weight is pretty typical for this style of tent, I'd like to see something lighter
  • No window in the fly
REMARKS
This concludes my Test Series. Thank you to Eureka! and BackpackGearTest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test the Mountain Breeze tent.


Read more reviews of Eureka gear
Read more gear reviews by Sheila Morrissey

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Eureka Mountain Breeze Tent > Test Report by Sheila Morrissey



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