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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Eureka Wabakimi Tent > Test Report by Sheila Morrissey
EUREKA! WABAKIMI TENT
Initial Report - May 22, 2007
Field Report - July 15, 2007
Long Term Report - September 18, 2007
Initial Report: May 22, 2007
Name: Sheila Morrissey
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.7 m)
Weight: 150 lb (68 kg)
Email Address: geosheila(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country: Goleta, California, USA
I hike and camp whenever I can. I especially enjoy backpacking in the Sierra Nevada and in Los Padres National Forest. I usually travel with friends and my dog, Patch, and we always carry a tent. My pack typically weighs around 25 lb (11 kg), including consumables. I usually head out on the trail once or twice a month, nearly always traveling to springs, creeks or lakes. I spend my time enjoying the outdoors, and hardly ever exceed 10 mi (16 km) per day.
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.eurekatent.com
Listed Minimum Weight: 5 lb 14 oz (2.7 kg)
Measured Minimum Weight (tent, fly, 2 poles): 6 lb 2.9 oz (2.8 kg)
Measured Tent Weight: 2 lb 11.5 oz (1.2 kg)
Measured Fly Weight: 2 lb 4 oz (1.0 kg)
Measured Pole Weight: 9.9 oz (281 g) each
Measured Stake Weight: 0.6 oz (17 g) each
Listed Floor Size: 7 ft 6 in x 5 ft (229 cm x 152 cm)
Measured Floor Size: 7 ft 6 in x 5 ft (229 cm x 152 cm)
Listed Center Height: 3 ft 6 in (107 cm)
Measured Center Height: 3 ft 6 in (107 cm)
The Wabakimi is a two-person, double-walled tent. It is one of Eureka!'s "performance" tents, which are "ideal for frequent backpacking or wilderness camping." This particular tent is marketed as a "cold weather backpacking tent" and was "designed to withstand the rigorous conditions of northern climates." It doesn't appear very different from other three season tents I have used, with the exception of the flat roof.
Included with the Wabakimi are the tent body, tent fly, one pole bag with two tent poles, one stake bag with ten stakes, two guy ropes, and one carry bag. The tent wall and floor are both made of 75D 190T polyester taffeta. The mesh window panels and door panels on the tent are made of 40D nylon no-see-um mesh. The tent fly is made of 75D StormShield polyester. The poles are made of 8.5 mm 7001 series aluminum and each have all of their components connected by shock cords. The tent has two doors and two vestibules. According to the manufacturer, each vestibule is 12 square ft (1.1 square m).
The Wabakimi was packaged with all components in a carry bag.
Tent set-up went relatively smoothly following the assembly instructions included in the box. I laid the tent out, assembled the poles and pushed each through a pole sleeve. The two poles are exactly the same and have the same tent pole posts at the ends. They can be pushed through from either end of the tent since the sleeves are open on both ends. Though each of the two pole sleeves are continuous from one end of the tent to the other end, the material does change from taffeta nearer the sides of the tent to open mesh towards the top of the tent.
Though a seam sealer is recommended for the floor and fly seams and reinforcements, I will be skipping this step for now. I'm hoping that the bathtub floor and StormShield tent fly will be enough to keep out any precipitation I encounter during this test.
Unlike the more common tent setup with tent poles crossing once at the center of the tent, the Wabakimi poles cross twice, creating a large, nearly flat tent roof. Sitting inside the tent, I had plenty of head room and I imagine I will have an easier time moving around in this tent compared with other tents I have tried. It does seem strange though that a tent designed for "northern climate" conditions would have a flat roof. This isn't intended to be a four season tent, but I usually do use a three season tent during the winter as well and I wonder how the flat-roofed tent might handle a snow storm. During this test, however, I will not encounter any snow. In fact, this "cold weather" tent arrived just in time for a summer test.
The Wabakimi has a lot of no-see-um mesh windows. The photo above shows a large window at one end of the tent and both doors open. Each door has both a no-see-um mesh layer and a layer of the tent wall material, which can be zipped separately to either keep out the elements with the tent wall material door closed, or have greater ventilation without bugs entering with just the no-see-um mesh door closed. I expect I will use only the no-see-um mesh door on warmer nights and during lazy mornings during this test. When I'm using only the no-see-um mesh doors, the tent wall material door can be rolled back and held in place by a loop of elastic and a plastic toggle. The other end of the tent has another no-see-um mesh window.
Inside the tent are two dangling plastic hoops, one on each end, which I think are intended to hold an optional gear loft accessory. At the base of each end of the tent is a mesh pocket extending along the entire width of the tent and wrapping around the corners.
The Wabakimi came with 10 stakes. They are the smallest stakes I have ever owned and seem rather flimsy.
The safety orange and sea foam green tent fly connects to the four corners of the tent with plastic buckles. Velcro tabs on the underside of the fly attach to matching Velcro tabs on the pole sleeves to secure the fly.
There are vents in the fly over the two mesh tent windows on the ends of the tent. The vents can either be held shut by Velcro tabs, or propped open by an attached stay, which is held in place by Velcro. This is very different from any tent vents I have ever seen before. I'm not certain what the stay is made of, but it's firm and seems to stay in place quite well.
The vestibule doors close with zippers, but also have Velcro tabs. I'm not sure why the Velcro is necessary and it seems it could be a hindrance while trying to get out of the tent quickly and quietly in the night. The vestibule area is not accurately shown in the photographs above because I could not stake it out on the tile floor. I do think that the vestibules will be large enough to store my boots and backpack.
This tent has the same floor dimensions as my previous two-person tent, but has steeper tent walls and more headroom. My other tent could comfortably sleep two adults and one big dog, somewhat uncomfortably sleep two adults and two big dogs, or very uncomfortably sleep three adults and one big dog. I think that the steeper walls of the Wabakimi might make this tent seem more roomy that other tents I have used.
Field Report: July 15, 2007
So far, I have used the Eureka! Wabakimi tent for a total of seven nights on three trips to walk-in, car and trail campsites.
I used the tent for a two-night stay at a walk-in campsite in Inyo National Forest in California's eastern Sierras. I camped at an elevation of approximately 10,000 ft (3000 m), where nighttime temperatures dipped just below 40 F (4 C) and where there were light winds. There was no precipitation. I shared the tent with one other person and two dogs.
I used the tent for four nights of car camping near Lake Edison in Sierra National Forest in California's western Sierras. The elevation was approximately 7,800 ft (2,400 m) and nighttime temperatures were around 45 F (7 C). There was little wind and no precipitation. I shared the tent with a dog.
I used the tent for one night of backpacking in the Sespe Wilderness in the Mt. Pinos Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest. I camped at an elevation of 5,200 ft (1,600 m) in nighttime temperatures of about 60 F (16 C). There was no wind and no precipitation. I shared the tent with one other person and a dog. We did not put the fly on the tent.
Set-Up and Breakdown
Setting up the tent was easy and took just a few minutes, even by myself. The only glitch was getting the tent poles to slide through the sleeves. The posts on the ends of the poles caught on the sleeves repeatedly, especially on the mesh portion. Taking down the tent was also relatively easy, but again I had some difficulty with the poles. When pushing the poles out, the posts would sometimes slip apart from the rest of the shock-corded pole and get caught in the mesh pole sleeve.
So far, I haven't ripped through the tent material, but I'm afraid that I will some day when I push the poles through the sleeves, so I'm extra careful. I wish the pole sleeve material was stronger, or at least had the appearance of being stronger so I wouldn't worry about it. The tent stakes still seem very flimsy to me, so I've tried to be careful about not bending them when staking in the tent, but they're starting to get a bit beat up.
During my first trip with the Wabakimi, we weren't camped too far from the car so we dragged in a full size air mattress (53 in x 75 in, 135 cm x 191 cm), which fit beautifully inside the tent with extra space at our feet for gear. I have used this air mattress before on a car-camping trip in a tent with the same floor dimensions as the Wabakimi. During that earlier trip, the air mattress fit snugly, stretching out the sides of my other tent. The Wabakimi, however, has much steeper walls than any backpacking tent I have used previously, and so has more space inside and was better able to accommodate the air mattress. Four of us slept reasonably comfortably in the Wabakimi: two adults (each around 150 lb, 68 kg) and two dogs (each around 60 lb, 27 kg). There was enough room at the foot of the tent for at least one of the dogs. Instead, both spoiled beasts slept in the middle of the tent, shoving my friend and I each against a side of the tent.
I had plenty of extra room in the Wabakimi during my trip to the Sierra National Forest. I slept on a backpacking sleeping pad, shared the tent with just my dog, and even had a large duffel bag inside the tent. I really like the flat roof of the tent and the steep walls. The extra room on the sides of the tent is especially noticeable when I need to move around inside the tent, like when changing clothes.
I haven't had a problem with condensation entering this tent at all. Even when two adults and two dogs slept in the tent and the humans' sleeping bags were pressed against the tent walls, no condensation entered the tent during the night. In the early morning I did find the tent to be a little bit stuffy, so I partially opened a tent door, leaving the mesh door zipped closed. When I woke up in the morning, the under side of the fly was covered in water droplets but there was still no condensation inside the tent.
Condensation on the underside of the fly.
Before going to bed each night, I threw my keys, headlamp and some other random gear in the tent pockets. I don't really like the huge tent pockets, since I'm used to having just one small pocket where I can find my headlamp in the night. A friend, however, really liked the convenience of having the large pockets to keep all of the small stuff off the tent floor.
Fly & Vestibules
The Velcro tab fly attachments are annoying because it is awkward to reach under the fly and takes too much time to attach them all. I meticulously attached each tab during my first trip, but didn't bother on my second trip. There wasn't much wind, so I had no problems with the unattached fly. When I took down the tent at the end of my trip, I found that a couple of the Velcro tabs had attached themselves to the tent without my help.
The Velcro tabs over the zippers on the vestibule doors are even more irritating. I would prefer to be able to smoothly zip and unzip the vestibule doors. Since I still can't figure out why these could be useful, I will be cutting these tabs off as soon as this test is over. The vestibules otherwise function as they should and their size is perfect for my boots and pack.
I like that the no-see-um mesh door panels are as large as the actual doors. This allows for great airflow while napping in the tent during the day. I can also keep my dog in the tent while I make dinner and can keep an eye on him through the big mesh door panels. What I don't like is that there are so many zippers. During the night, I routinely grab the wrong zipper and try to step out through the mesh instead of an open door. The mesh panels and actual doors have double zippers, which I could move to the top or bottom, so I should probably make it a habit to keep one set of zippers at the top and another set at the bottom.
The night that I slept without the fly on the tent, I really learned to love the large mesh panels. I could easily look outside and watch the sunset as I fell asleep. Yes, I went to sleep that early!
I don't know how common it is for tents to have a window in the fly, but I got used to it in my old tent. The Wabakimi doesn't have a window through the fly and I really miss being able to take a peek at the sky during the night.
Long-Term Report: September 18, 2007
I have now used the Eureka! Wabakimi tent for a total of ten nights throughout the entire testing period.
During the long-term testing period, I used the Eureka! Wabakimi tent for three nights of backpacking in Jennie Lakes Wilderness, Sequoia National Forest. I camped at an elevation near 8,500 ft (2,600 m) the first night and at an elevation near 9,000 ft (2,750 m) the next two nights. There was no precipitation and only light winds. I shared the tent with one other person and two dogs.
Tent set-up was easy enough from the start. By myself, it takes about four minutes to get the poles assembled and shoved through the pole sleeves, and then to get the fly thrown over the tent and buckled to the corners. The time it takes me to stake in the tent varies of course with soil conditions.
During this summer test, I haven't subjected the Wabakimi to any rain, snow or strong winds, so I can't comment on how well it holds up in more "rigorous conditions." I still haven't sealed the seams, but I don't know if that is necessary.
The Wabakimi is still in great condition. There doesn't seem to be any significant wear to the tent material, seams or zippers, and I haven't noticed discoloration of the fly. Even the pole sleeves, which I continued to stretch out accidentally every time I pushed the poles through, are intact. The metal posts on the ends of the poles annoyingly popped out every time I broke down the tent, but the attached shock cord seem to have remained strong. As I suspected would happen, the flimsy tent stakes are all bent out of shape. I will have to replace them with something a little sturdier. One of the dogs punctured a tiny hole in one mesh door panel, but the hole hasn't widened at all.
I continued to enjoy the big size of this tent, with its flat roof and steep walls. I found that there is enough room for two people and two big dogs, at least when everyone is lying down. In the photo below, one awake dog takes up most of the tent, but at least there's a great view through the big mesh door of the trees and lake outside.
My pack and boots fit nicely in one half of the vestibule while still leaving me plenty of room to get in and out of my side of the tent. The same was true for my hiking partner on the other side of the tent. The flat roof came in handy as a bathing suit dryer and a gear-organizing table while packing up camp. In the photo below, swimwear dries on the Wabakimi roof and the tent fly is off its stake so I could use the stake to tie up a dog.
I never had a problem with condensation inside the tent and, since the field-testing period, I haven't had any problems with condensation under the fly. On warmer evenings, I left the fly opened or off the tent entirely. As temperatures changed during the night, I liked that I could alter the amount of airflow through the tent by covering or uncovering the mesh doors.
Since my first night using the Wabakimi, I haven't bothered attaching the Velcro tabs that hold the fly in place. Every time, at least a couple of the Velcro tabs managed to attach themselves. I haven't experienced much wind while using the Wabakimi, but so far the fly has stayed on securely.
I'm happy that I can actually get this tent back into its storage sack. I have backpacked with it both packed in the storage sack and as separate pieces. The fly and the tent body have reasonably similar weights, which allows somewhat equal sharing of the weight with a hiking partner. In the photo below, the tent body and fly are packed in the storage sack and strapped to a pack. The poles and stakes were in another pack.
So far, I have ended up bringing all of the components of the Wabakimi on every trip. I could save a lot of weight by leaving the fly at home when I know with certainty that it won't rain, but I've been extra cautious on these trips. I have brought all ten stakes on my trips and only used six (one at each corner and one on each vestibule), so I should probably start leaving a few at home to save weight. The Wabakimi is about 1 lb (0.5 kg) lighter than the other two-person tent I was using previously, so I also like that I have decreased my pack weight, though I can't say I've actually noticed the decrease.
To keep things fresh, I washed the Wabakimi tent, but not the fly, in my bathtub with some shampoo. I set it up outside in the sun to dry.
Overall, I've been very pleased with the Wabakimi tent and will continue to use it for trips with up to one other person and two dogs. My favorite aspect of this tent is the flat roof, which makes the interior seem quite large. I have so far only used this tent in mild conditions.
This concludes my Test Series. Thank you to Eureka! and BackpackGearTest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test the Wabakimi tent.
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