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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Eureka Tessel 2 Tent > Test Report by Mike Wilkie

EUREKA TESSEL 2 TENT
TEST SERIES BY MIKE WILKIE
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - April 14, 2010
FIELD REPORT - June 29, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - September 01, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Wilkie
EMAIL: foreverwild76 at yahoo dot com
AGE: 34
LOCATION: Davenport, New York (USA)
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

Hiking for me started at an early age, as I was always an avid camper and as a Scout my backpacking obsession began. Now living in the Catskill Region backpacking has become serious for me over the years. I hike, snowshoe, canoe, snowboard or multi-day backpack through the Catskills or Adirondacks almost every weekend. I use and practice safe lightweight techniques and have greatly reduced my pack weight, adding both comfort and miles to my adventures. As an aspirant of the Catskill-3500 Club and Adirondack-46ers, peak-bagging is my main outdoor activity. My long-term goals are to complete long distance thru-hikes.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Johnson Outdoors Gear LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.eurekatents.com
MSRP: US$309.90


MANUFACTURER DETAILS

BASICS
Sleeps: 2
Floor Size: 7 ft x 4 ft 2 in (2.13 m x 1.22 m 2.54 cm)
Pack Size: 5 in x 26 in (12.70 cm x 66 cm)
Min Weight: 5 lbs 13 oz (2.64 kg)
Seasons: 3
Tent Area: 29.17 sq. ft. (2.71 sq m)
Center Height: 3 ft 6 in (1.07 m)

ARCHITECTURE
Frame: 9 mm & 11 mm DAC Pressfit™ aluminum, post & grommet
Vents: 2 plus mesh roof
Doors: 2 with hi/low venting
Windows: 2
Vestibules: 2
Vestibule Area: 14 sq ft (1.30 sq m) (front) /14 sq ft (1.30 sq m) (back)

FEATURES
Gear Loft: Optional
Gear Loft Loops: 2
Flashlight Loops: 2
Storage Pockets: 6

FABRIC
Wall: 68D 190T polyester ripstop
Fly: 68D 190T polyester ripstop, 2000 mm coated
Floor: 75D 190T polyester taffeta, 2000 mm coated
Mesh: 20D no-see-um


TESTER'S MEASURED DETAILS

Total Max Weight: 6 lb 6 oz (2.89 kg)
Floor Size: 7 ft x 4 ft 2 in (2.13 m x 1.22 m 2.54 cm)
Pack Size: 5.5 in x 26.25 in (14 cm x 67 cm)
Tent Area: 29.17 sq ft (2.71 sq m)
Center Height: 3 ft 4 in (1.02 m)
Vestibule Area: 14 sq ft (1.30 sq m) (front) / 14 sq ft (1.30 sq m) (back)


IMAGE 1
Image courtesy of eurekatents.com



ABOUT THE PRODUCT

Eureka's Tessel 2 Tent is part of their backcountry camping series. The Tessel 2 has a two-person capacity with two entry doors and with the use of the fly two large vestibules. Both vestibules can be converted into awnings with the use of trekking poles or the doors can be used as high or low venting.

IMAGE 2
Image courtesy of eurekatents.com




The frame is constructed with a unique DAC box-style design and according to Eureka, "offers spacious livability". This pole structure creates a large volume of internal space and with the external frame increased strength and durability according to the manufacturer. Four sections of DAC molded hubs and DAC Pressfit poles create the box-style shape. The frame locks into four grommets at each bottom corner of the tent, then the tent attaches to the pole frame with clips.

For ventilation, the fly has two main lower mesh vents on each side and two smaller mesh vents are located just above them. These are all guyed out to keep the vents open for air circulation. The two fly doors offer hi or low venting with zippers, the tent doors have mesh windows and the tent's roof is entirely constructed of mesh. Eureka used 20D no-see-um mesh for all of these applications.

IMAGE 3
Image courtesy of eurekatents.com



The inner tent offers multiple storage options with various pockets for stashing gear and there are two loops for hanging flashlights. For additional storage, a gear loft can be purchased separately and for a lightweight tent construction, the Light-Set Footprint can be purchased. This footprint will allow the fly to be used alone as a lightweight tent.

IMAGE 4
Image courtesy of eurekatents.com



Eureka recommends that the tent should be seam sealed and suggests using one of the two well-known brands of sealer mentioned. They say, "Seams that will be exposed to rain, runoff or ground level water are a must for sealing". Eureka recommends sealing both floor and fly seams and reinforcements, but also explains seams in the roof or factory-taped seams do not need to be sealed. The Tessel 2 also comes with recommendations and instructions for cleaning and care of the tent.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The tent set-up and take down instructions are simple to follow and the processes are clearly explained. As mentioned above, there are also instructions and recommendations for tent care, cleaning and seam sealing which all seem clearly explained. The manual also explains proper venting for moisture control, pole care and protecting the tent from ultraviolet light damage; all are clearly explained.

INITIAL VIEWS AND IMPRESSIONS

I had the opportunity to use the Tessel 2 Tent for a quick overnighter. The conditions were clear, dry and calm on a crisp cool night. Initially I was impressed with how quick and easy the tent set-up was and later the tent breakdown. I also found the tent's structure to be quite impressive. The tent structure seemed to be strong, stable and durable; I am looking forward in see how the tent performs during inclement weather.

Honestly, I have to say that the tents venting capabilities are remarkable. During my night stay in the tent, while conditions were calm and still, I could almost feel a slight draft of cold air coming in from the lower vents, forcing the warmer air from body heat and breathing up and out through the higher vents. Again, I am looking forward to see how the tent performs during wet or higher humidity conditions.

SUMMARY

With my initial try-out and evaluations of the Tessel 2 Tent, I am quite impressed how it performed thus far. The over-all construction and design seems to be very durable, stabile and engineered with quality materials and ingenuity.

I found the assembly and disassembly of the tent to be quick, easy and painless. The instruction manual was thorough, easy to follow and clearly explained. I feel the tent offers plenty of space for two, their gear, and maybe even a dog in one vestibule.

PROS

Venting capabilities
Two large vestibules
Strong, stabile and durable frame and tent construction
Quick and easy set-up and takedown

CONS

None at this time



Additional information will be available in two months time from this report date.







FIELD REPORT

Field and Testing Locations

For field use and evaluations, I tested the Eureka Tessel 2 Tent on several backcountry backpacks, a canoe camping trip and base camping. Most backcountry use took place in the Catskill Region and once in the Adirondack Region.

South Hill State Forest - 3 days/2 nights backpack
This was a quick three mile (4.83 km) bushwhack to a secret secluded camping spot. Overcast was the norm and on this trip, with some inclement conditions. The temperature was consistently cool around 50 F (10 C) during the days and down around 42 F (5.56 C) at night. The campsite elevation was at 2100 ft (640 m). The ground condition at this location was sandy with some rocks.

Saratoga Springs State Park - 2 days/1 night Base Camping
Conditions were hot around 80 F (26.67 C), high humidity and a quick sprinkle of rain over night. The site conditions was in a small tight clearing within spruce trees. The ground cover was fine dirt, covered with spruce and pine needles.

Utsayantha North Lake (unofficial name) - 2 days/1 night canoe camping
This camping spot is situated on a small island toward the center of the lake. The conditions were warm with light rain in the evening and temperatures around 80 F (26.67 C). The ground condition was sandy, few rocks and pine needles. There were some light wind gusts in early morning. The lakes elevation is at 2000 ft (610 m).

South Hill State Forest - 2 days/1 night backpack
This was a quick three mile (4.83 km) bushwhack to a secret secluded camping spot. Conditions were warm with clear skies. The temperature was 75 F (24 C). The campsite elevation was at 2100 ft (640 m). The ground condition at this location was sandy with some rocks.

For use and testing of the Tessel 2 Tent, I have logged five nights of in field. The tent was used in various conditions, terrains and for various activities such and canoe camping, backpacking and car camping.

Field Evaluations and Assessments

With my current field experiences and testing, I have grown quite fond of the Eureka Tessel 2 Tent, but with some restrictions. The tent consistently offered a quick and easy set-up and breakdown. I consistently had a dry, roomy and comfortable stay while in the wildness. I do however have a few negative comments to make concerning the tents pack size and weight.

As I am always working to reduce my pack weight, the Tessel 2 did not assist in going light. Personally, I feel this tent is not a light backpacking option. The tent is quite bulky as well. I had some difficulty packing the tent into my backpack and was a bit cumbersome. However, did learn to pack the tent components separately and in various locations of my pack to fit comfortably. For the quick overnight trip, I attached the tent and all of its components to the outside of my pack, since my overnight pack is too small to accommodate it internally.

However, for car camping and canoe camping trips, I really enjoyed using the Tessel 2. I consistently had a room enough for two plus my medium sized dog in one of the two vestibules.

The vestibules greatly increased the tests usable space and worked well for stashing packs, gear and dog. Inside the tent, there was more than enough space for two to stretch out. Like mentioned above the set-up was always a cinch with a painless and quick erection. I did learn to cover the tent with the fly while erecting the tent during rain or wet conditions. Since most of the inner tents roof is mesh, the inside can easily become wet. This does hinder the erection process some and become a bit awkward, but it does help.

During wet and rainy conditions, the Eureka tent always offered adequate ventilation, preventing condensation from trapped moisture. The various vents incorporated into the flysheet, offer superb performance with helping to keep the tent dry and comfortable. The guylines are also easy to adjust accordingly, though I have yet to use the tent in windy conditions.

SUMMARY

The Eureka Tessel 2 Tent has been an absolute pleasure to have as a two-person shelter, but the weight and bulkiness makes me limit backpacking use. There has been more than enough room to accommodate two people with plenty of stretch space and one of the large vestibules accommodated my medium sized dog.

Over the years I have experienced cramped quarters with two-person tents, when having to accommodate two plus one dog, but with the Tessel 2, I feel a third person can squeeze in when in a pinch. However, the Tessel 2 will not be my first pick for backing especially on the longer treks. The weight and bulkiness of the tent just hinder me from going light. Nevertheless, for those base/car camping and canoe camping trips the Tessel 2 will be first choice for a two-person tent.

Pros

Venting capabilities
Very roomy with two large vestibules
Fast and easy set-up and breakdown

Cons

Heavy and bulky than I prefer for backpacking



Additional information will be available in two months time from this report date.





LONG-TERM REPORT

Final Field and Testing Locations

For my final field use and evaluations, I tested the Eureka Tessel 2 Tent on a canoe camping trip and a base camping trip.

South Hill State Forest - 3 days/2 nights backpack
This was a quick three mile (4.83 km) bushwhack to a secret secluded camping spot. The weather for the weekend was just perfect with averages of 78 F (25.56 C) during the days and around 58 F (14.44 C) at night. The ground condition at this location was sandy with some rocks and a bit of grass. The site elevation was at 2100 ft (640 m).

Cedarlands-Rock Pond Area - Adirondack State Park
2day/1 night canoe camping
Camp elevation: 1750 ft (533 m)
The weather average 80 F (26.67 C) and 65 F (18.33 C) at night.
Light rain at night and mostly cloudy during the days.

For this final testing leg, I was able to get in three additional nights in the Eureka Tessel 2 Tent. For the entire testing period, I was able to use the tent for eight nights.

Final Field Evaluations and Assessments

Nothing has changed really about my opinions with the Eureka Tessel 2 Tent since my field evaluations. Therefore, I will be confirming my findings in this final review.

First, I will reiterate my negative finds and confirm that they still stand. Again I feel the Tessel 2 Tent is a bit on the heavy side for backpacking. I also learned the tent is bulky and difficult to pack into an overnight or three-day pack. However, I was able to pack it by breaking up the various tent components and packing them in or on various locations of my pack. I feel this could become quite cumbersome when setting up camp during inclement weather conditions. For longer distance backpacks, I feel the weight would be my main concern as I am always working to reduce my pack weight. These are my only complaints about this Eureka Tent.

Now for my positive evaluation of the Eureka Tessel 2. I found the Tessel 2 to be quite durable, well ventilated and affords a fast and easy set-up/break-down. The tent has endured a decent amount of use over the last few months, but still looks and functions as new. I have had much success with my testing of the Eureka tent.

The feature I found the most impressive is the tents venting capabilities. During various weather conditions the tents venting greatly reduced moisture or condensation that would be trapped inside. When using the fly properly, the tent creates a chimney effect allowing air in through the lower venting options forcing the air up through the higher vents and roof mesh. I can honestly say the venting of the Tessel 2 is very impressive.

The next best feature in my opinion is the set-up and takedown process. Just with a bit of practice, I was able to set-up the tent with ease and impressively quick. However, I needed to be careful when setting up during inclement weather. Because the roof is almost entirely mesh, the inside of the tent can easily become wet. With the help of a second person, the fly can be placed of the mesh while the other erects the tent.

Lastly, I found with the two large vestibules, the tent offers plenty of room for two plus one dog in a vestibule. In my opinion, a third person can squeeze in, in an emergency.

Summary

To call the Eureka Tessel 2 a lightweight backpacking tent would be an unfair claim. The tents heavy weight is my main real concern, but only for backpacking use. However, I learned to appreciate the tent and all of its features every time I used it in the field. The tent will remain on my gear list and will be my first go to option for canoe camping, quick overnighters or base camping when accommodating two persons and dog. However, I will leave this tent home when on multi-day backpacks.

I would highly recommend the Tessel 2 Tent for anyone base camping or canoe camping in wet conditions or climates. I was very impressed with the tents venting capabilities and the ability to limit moisture or condensation. This has become my favorite feature of the tent. The tent also provided plenty of space for two and the vestibules are large enough to accommodate plenty of gear when base camping for multiple days.

Pros

Excellent venting capabilities
Durable and well constructed
Very roomy
Fast and easy set-up/takedown

Cons

A bit too heavy and bulky than I prefer for backpacking




This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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