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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Eureka Tessel 2 Tent > Test Report by Tom Callahan

EUREKA TESSEL 2 TENT
TEST SERIES BY TOM CALLAHAN
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - April 10, 2010
FIELD REPORT - June 22, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - August 24, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Tom Callahan
EMAIL: tcallahanbgt AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 51
LOCATION: Seattle, Washington, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)

For the past 20 years I have lived off and on in Washington State, backpacking in the Cascade Mountains. I get out regularly on day hikes and multi-day trips and usually try to include a good off trail scramble. During the winter I get out snowshoeing at every opportunity. I also enjoy glacier climbing, summiting prominent peaks like Mt. Rainier (14K ft/4K m) and Mt. Baker (10K ft/3K m). My pack weight will range from 15 - 50 lbs (7 - 23 kg) depending on the season and the length and type of trip.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Eureka
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.eurekatent.com/
MSRP: $309.90
Listed Minimum Weight: 5 lbs 13 oz (2.6 kg)
Measured Minimum Weight (tent body, rain fly, poles) : 5 lbs 13 oz (2.6 kg)
Measured Total Weight (tent body, rain fly, poles, pole repair splint, stakes, stuff sacks) 6 lbs 5 oz (2.9 kg)
Listed tent area: 29.17 sq ft (2.7 sq m)
Measured tent area: 29.17 sq ft (2.7 sq m)
Listed vestibule area: 14.0 sq ft (4.3 sq m) each
Measured vestibule area: 14.0 sq ft (4.3 sq m) each
Listed floor size: 7' x 4' 2" (213 x 127 cm)
Measureed floor size: 7' x 4' 2" (213 x 127 cm)
Listed center height: 3' 6" (107 cm)
Measured center height: 3' 4 " (102 cm)
Listed pack size: 5" x 26" (13 x 66 cm)
Measured pack size: 6.5" x 24" (17 x 61 cm)



INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The tent came in its retail packaging box. This packaging is very attractive with several color pictures of the tent. The packaging also provides specs and describes tent features. The text on the packaging is in English, Spanish and French.

This is a 2 person, 3 season tent. The tent body is a combination of solid and mesh panels. The rain fly provides full coverage of the tent. The tent features include:
- Bathtub floor
- 2 vestibules
- 2 side opening doors, with twin-track zips to provide hi/low venting
- 2 windows
- 2 vents in the rain fly
- Gear loops and storage pockets
- Box style frame, noted by the Eureka as providing strength, stability and greater internal volume

The tent is constructed with following materials:
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

These materials feel supple yet sturdy. The tent sections are all stitched together well. The zippers are made of nylon teeth with metal sliders.

The poles of the tent are 9 mm & 11 mm DAC Pressfit™ aluminum and are shock-corded together. The pole system also includes molded hubs that readily accept the poles. The pole system attaches to the tent using a clip and grommet system. The poles come with their own stuff sack, plus a 6" (15 cm) aluminum tent pole repair splint.

The tent comes with 10 aluminum stakes, made from 3/8 in (5 mm) round stock. These pegs are bent at the top to form a hook and pointed at the other end. These also have their own sack.


READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The instructions are provided on a large, fold-out sheet of paper. They give very nice step by step instructions, with pictures, on how to set up the Tessel 2. I found this very helpful because the "box style frame" design of the pole system is a little different compared with other tents I have used. Taking just a few minutes to review these instructions made for smooth and easy set up of the tent (see next section).

In addition to set up instructions, they clearly describe seam sealing that is needed, how to do it and recommended products. Instructions also provide guidance on setting the tent up under various conditions. Easy to understand instructions for the care, cleaning and storage of the tent are also provided.



TRYING IT OUT

The tent and all components came packed in the stuff sack. This had the size and weight that I was expecting. Everything slid out of the stuff sack easily by inverting the sack and holding the convenient strap provided on the bottom.

Tent components
Tent components


Next I took all the tent components out to my backyard to set it up. I laid out the tent body and then assembled the poles. The box-style frame consists of 2 long poles in an arc, running the length of the tent with 2 cross members. The poles went together easily and fit well into the grommets at each corner of the tent body. The light weight of the poles enabled me to flex them easily into the arc as I put the pole ends into the grommets. With the poles in place, the next step was to clip the tent body to the poles. The tent body stretched out nicely and the clips went on easily as I attached them to the poles. I then staked the tent down at the 4 corners of the tent. I noticed the walls and roof of the tent have large areas of mesh to enhance ventilation.
Box-style frame
Box-style frame

Next I draped the rain fly over the tent. The rain fly attaches to the longitudinal poles at 4 places using a hook and loop fastener, and then to the four corners of the tent with a plastic clip on nylon webbing. Each vestibule was then held out with a pair of stakes. The last step was to stake out the guy lines from the rain fly vents.
Full View
Full View

Each stage of the tent set up went smoothly and it took me 15 minutes from start to finish this first time. The tent had a nice shape once it was all set up. The nylon stretched out well and it looks like it will effectively shed the rain.
Open Vestibule
Open Vestibule

I opened a vestibule by unzipping both zippers, which from the ground all the way up to the top of the vestibule. These are two-way zippers, so the vestibule flap can be opened at the top for ventilation if desired. With the vestibule flap completely unzipped, I rolled it up and secured it with the pair of loops and toggles at the top edge of the vestibule. This vestibule is a good size, plenty of room for pack and a pair of boots. The rain fly vents built into each end are intended to provide ventilation in addition to that of the vestibule flap.
Large side opening door
Large side opening door
View into the tent
View into the tent

Next I opened the tent body door. This door is generous in size, approximately 28" x 42" (71 x 107 cm). It is side opening and also has the option of zipping back the nylon to reveal the mesh screening. In the center of the door, near the bottom edge, is a loop and toggle. This enables the bottom edge of the nylon door to be held open, providing ventilation through the bottom of the door.

Crawling into the tent it felt quite roomy. Once inside I was able to sit upright without bumping my head. I laid down and had ample room to stretch out. I'll be anxious to see how this tent accommodates 2 persons and some gear. This tent has several gear pockets to help keep small items organized which is a feature I really like.

Laying down in the tent
Laying down in the tent

(Looks like I wasn't the only one curious about the Tessel 2 Tent....)

SUMMARY

The Eureka Tessel 2 Tent is well designed and constructed. It goes up smoothly and easily. The tent design looks like it should have ample room for 2 people and some gear. The tent body has large areas of mesh to help with ventilaion. The rain fly provides a vestibule on each side, allowing access to the 2 tent body doors. The vestibules are good size, more than enough room for a pack and a pair of hiking boots. In addition to the ventilation provided by the vestibule doors, the rain fly also has vent flaps on each end.

I'll be looking forward to getting out in the field with this tent. Check back in about 2 months for my Field Report.

My thanks to Eureka and BackpackGearTest for the opporutnity to test this tent.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I used the Tessel 2 on two overnight trips during this phase of testing. This first trip was a solo outing in the Cascade Mountains. This trip was at a relatively low elevation, 1,500 ft (450 m) because I wanted to avoid the lingering snow pack and associated high avalanche hazard. I camped on damp, bare dirt. It was misting to steady drizzle for most of the trip. Temperatures ranged from a high of 50 F (10 C) to a low of 35 F (2 C).

The second trip was to the Olympic Mountains and I had the company of a good climbing friend. We camped next to a frozen lake in the Royal Basin area at around 5,000 ft (1,500 m). Our camp site was completely covered with deep snow. The weather was mostly clear for this trip. High temperatures were near 60 F (16 C). Overnight lows were below 30 F (-1 C).

Full View of the Tessel 2
Full View of the Tessel 2


PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The tent performed well during testing. On the first outing, since it was a solo trip I had ample room to spread out in the tent. I had plenty of room in the tent for my sleeping pad, sleeping bag and my backpack. The rain fly kept everything dry during the misty, drizzly weather I encountered. The tent stayed well ventilated with the vestibules closed and the interior doors half open. There was condensation on the inside of the rain fly, but the tent interior stayed dry. This was impressive considering the high humidity.

Fully Open
Fully Open


On the second outing I found there was sufficient room inside the tent for my sleeping pad and bag as well as for that of my partner. And there was a little extra room by our heads for some miscellaneous gear. Our packs fit well in the vestibules, especially since we dug down in the snow to provide extra room. With our packs in each vestibule we still were able to easily enter and exit the tent due to the ample door size and large center flap of the vestibule. There was ample room to sit up in the tent. Also the box-like construction provides room on the side such that I was not brushing against the side of the tent when sitting up and getting dressed. With two people in the tent there was still plenty of ventilation such that no condensation formed on the inside of the tent. Although there was frost on the inside of the rain fly in the morning. On this outing the snow below the tent was heavy and wet, yet the floor inside the tent stayed dry.

Interior View
Interior View


Other things to note regarding the tent:
- I liked having the interior mesh pockets for small items. This was especially nice when sharing the tent and space was a bit more limited compared to my solo trip.
- The tent keeps getting easier to set up each time. I've really got the hang of assembling the tent pole framework. And once that is assembled, the tent readily clips on to this framework and has a good shape with little to no adjustment needed.
- The rain fly also goes on quite easily and fits well over the tent pole framework.


SUMMARY

Overall I have been pleased with the Eureka Tessel 2. The tent sets up quickly and easily. The large vestibules have plenty of room to accommodate a backpack. The large vestibule flaps and door openings make it easy to get in and out of the tent. The tent's interior provides sufficient room for 2 persons to sleep. Plus there is enough room to sit up and move about without brushing against the sides of the tent. The tent kept me dry during the rainy weather I encountered. And it also ventilated properly, keeping the tent interior and its occupants dry and comfortable.

Things I like:
- Large vestibule
- Good ventilation
- Sufficient room for two inside
- Sets up easily

There is nothing I particularly dislike at this point. But a few things that are potential concerns:
- Tent poles are very light weight so I wonder how this tent would hold up against strong winds.
- The large vestibules are great. But this also contributes to a large foot print, which could be a problem in a tight campsite.




I am looking forward to continuing to test this tent. Check back in about 2 months for my Long Term Report.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During this phase of testing I on two overnight backpacking trips in the Cascade Mountains with this tent. For these backpacking trips, on one outing weather was sunny during the day and clear at night. Temperatures ranged from 45 to 75 F (7 to 24 C) and elevation was 3,500 ft (1,050 m). On the other trip the weather was overcast and cool with occasional rain, temperatures were 40 to 75 F (4 to 24 C), elevation was 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I enjoyed using the tent on these two outings. As with my other trips, the tent afforded comfortable and ample space inside for two people. The tent was used with full size sleeping pads and they fit well in the tent. There was also room for a bit of personal gear at the head of the tent. The mesh interior pockets were nice to have for small items, keeping these items organized and handy.

The large vestibules showed their true worth on the trip where I experienced some rain. The vestibule easily accommodated my backpack. In addition to the vestibule room for my backpack, I was also able to easily store my boots in the vestibule. The large vestibule space also enabled me to take off my rain gear while crouched in the vestibule, helping to keep tent contents from getting wet. The same was true when departing the tent and donning rain gear in the vestibule.

On my first overnight of this testing period I was using a campsite that was a tight squeeze for this tent. The large vestibules create a large footprint, requiring a good sized campsite. For this set up I was not able to get the tent to stretch out completely. But it was enough to create a nearly full interior space. Fortunately on this trip the weather was clear and I am not sure how well the tent would have shed water had it rained. On the trip where I did have a little rain, the tent was set up with a good form and it shed the rain very well.

The interior of the tent stayed dry with no condensation build up on the outing where I had clear conditions. Humidity was low on this trip and with vents open I had good air flow which kept the condensation from forming. On the trip where I had a little rain, the humidity was greater than 75% and I did experience a little condensation build up. I probably could have unzipped the vestibule flaps more than I did and created some better airflow to minimize the condensation. So in some ways I am still learning how best to use this tent.

SUMMARY

Overall I have been very pleased with the Tessel 2 Tent. It provides ample room for 2 persons. The large vestibules work great to stow gear, keeping it out of the elements. The tent has lots of options for ventilation, which work well after learning the extent to which ventilation is needed for different circumstances. The tent material has stood up well to testing. The workmanship is of high quality and it still looks like a new tent after spending time in the field.

At the conclusion of testing the things I like remain unchanged:
- Large vestibule
- Good ventilation
- Sufficient room for two inside
- Sets up easily

I did run into some trouble fitting the tent into a tighter camp site so while it is not necessarily a dislike, there is a trade off associated with the large vestibules because they create a large footprint for the tent.

This concludes my Long Term Report. My thanks to Eureka and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to test this tent.

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

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