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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Eureka Wabakimi Tent > Test Report by Wayne Merry

Eureka! Wabakimi Test Series

1 Oct 2007


CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

About Wayne, the tester:

Age: 34
Gender: Male
Height: 1.8 m (5' 10")
Weight: 95 kg (211 lb)
Email address: wayne underscore merry at yahoo dot com dot au
City, State, Country: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Backpacking Background: I started overnight backpacking six years ago. I hike in various terrains from moderate/hard track walks to some off track and rivers. I like the temperature to stay above freezing, and have not camped above the snow line during winter. I enjoy going on weekend and multi day walks up to two weeks as well as day walks. I carry a moderate weight pack, enjoying a few creature comforts at camp. I would normally do at least 2 overnight or longer walks every three months, in addition to a number of full day length walks.
About the test environment:

I will be testing the Wabakimi Tent in Victoria, Australia. Elevations will vary from 0 m to 1500 m (4950 feet) although I may climb higher up to 2000m (6600 feet). The test will be conducted in the winter and spring periods with temperatures varying from 0 C (32 F) to 20 C (68 F). Humidity varies from 30% to 90% + during this time of year. This time of year is typically the wettest time in Victoria, and thank goodness, long range forecasts are suggesting conditions might even be wetter than normal.

I will be testing The Wabakimi Tent on all my overnight or longer walks, even when I expect to be the sole user of the tent.
Product Details:
Retail Packaging

  • Manufacturer: Eureka 
  • Web site: www.eurekatent.com
  • Year of shipping: 2007
  • Place of manufacture: China
  • MSRP US$219.99
Manufacturer's blurb: Designed exclusively for northern climates, the Wabakimi is the ideal cold weather backpacking tent. Plus, its 7' 6" length makes it perfect for tall campers, too!

Specifications for product as tested:
  • Weight
    • Manufacturer specified:
      • Minimum weight: 2.66 kg (5 lb 14 oz)
    • As tested:
      • Main tent: 1.20 kg (2 lb 10.4 oz)
      • Fly: 1.01 kg (2 lb 3.7 oz)
      • Poles (2): 568 g (1 lb 4 oz)
      • Pegs (10): 178 g (6.3 oz)
      • Minimum weight (all of the above): 2.96 kg (6 lb 8 oz)
      • Weight with peg/pole/carry bag: 3.06 kg (6 lb 11.9 oz)
  • Dimensions
    • Manufacturer specified:
      • Floor dimensions: 229 cm by 152 cm (7 ft 6 in by 5 ft)
      • Centre height: 107 cm (3 ft 6 in)
      • Tent area: 3.48 sq m (37.5 sq ft)
      • Vestibule area: 1.11 sq m (12 sq ft)
    • As Tested:
      • Floor dimensions: 134 cm (4 ft 5 in) by 220 cm (7ft 3 in)
      • Centre height: 113 cm (3 ft 8.5 in)
      • Floor area: 2.73 sq m (29.4 sq ft)
      • Vestibule area: 2.05 sq m (22.1 sq ft) - This is both vestibules combined.
      • Vestibule width (each side): 93 cm (36.6 in)
      • Vestibule height at inner tent door base: 83 cm (32.7 in)
      • Vestibule height halfway out: 41 cm (16.1 in)
Initial Report: Item Receipt & First Impressions:Main tent without fly

28 May 2007

I received the Wabakimi Tent in its retail packaging as shown in the "Product Details" section. The Tent received looks very similar to the one shown on Eureka's web site.

I erected the tent inside my living room in order to give the tent an initial try out. The main tent was quite easy to raise. The sleeves used to hold the aluminium shock-corded poles partially use a mesh material, presumably to save weight. This does not make the poles harder to push through compared to other materials. There are two grommets at each of the four corners. The selection of which grommet to use depends on how tight the material is. In my living room, I selected the inner grommet on all four corners. I did not have to exert undue effort to get the pole ends into the grommet holes. The instructions suggest raising one pole first before the other, however my experience with these double cross over tents - and in particular pole snapping events - suggests that raising both poles together is better. I found this was reasonably easy for me to do alone. It is even easier with a second person helping.

It is quite important to me to see how a tent can be put up during driving rain. With the Wabakimi, the fly could be placed over the main tent and loosely connected to the four corners of the main tent while the main tent is being raised. This method has allowed me to erect similar tents in the rain and keep the interior dry in the past.

The fly is connected by four adjustable clip on straps to the four corners of the main tent. There are six Velcro attachment points along the pole sleeves. The Velcro mechanism works well. I feel it is superior to tie ons which have been used on other tents I have had.

The Wabakimi Tent has two doors, both located at one end of the tent, on opposite sides. The zippers on these doors form a "D" shape. Both doors can have the main 75D 190T polyester taffeta material zippered back to reveal the "no-see-um" mesh. The main material can be partially zippered back and secured as shown on the far door on the main tent picture (partially obscured). The door closest to the camera has the door fully opened and secured. The ability to partially open and secure the main materials on the door is a nice touch.

The floor is made up of 75D 190T polyester taffeta, 2000 mm material. As with all lightweight tents I have ever used, this material will need protection from the harsh Australian ground by using a ground sheet. I use plastic materials from hardware stores. This has worked well with other tents, and I will be doing the same during the test with the Wabakimi.

The inside does have a roomy feel about it. The double crossover poles help to create a high roof. The picture shows the tent with one full length Therm-a-Rest inside. There is about 30 cm (11.8 in) of room from the end of the Therm-a-Rest to the end of the tent. There is plenty of room for two normal sized Therm-a-Rests to be placed side by side, and there will be extra room to stretch out those elbows as well without receiving a fist in return. Three people sleeping in this tent might see more than one fist being returned!

A disappointment with the Wabakimi is the lack of places to hang things inside the tent. I found four loft points, but this is a little short of my expectations for a tent of this size. On the other hand, there are 6 good size pockets. Four pockets are provided at one end of the tent, and two at the other end. A gear loft is an optional accessory, but was not provided for the test.

The picture below shows the tent with the fly on. I found it too easy to put the fly on the wrong way, with the fly doors not lining up with the tent doors. It is still possible to get in and out of the tent with that configuration, but not very convenient if I have to climb over a pack in the vestibule.

Wabakimi tent with fly The tent is shown with the fly door partially open. The door cannot be opened much more without the drip line being over the inner tent. I feel this is the biggest weakness of the Wabakimi tent, as if I open the fly door large enough to conveniently get into the tent, I risk getting the inner tent floor wet. Eureka have marketed this tent as being robust in storms. Part of being robust is being able to get in and out of the tent during a storm without getting the tent wet.

Eureka have supplied 10 pegs and two guy lines with the tent. The pegs are quite small and I wonder if they will be adequate.

The vestibules are more usable than I initially suspected. The Wabakimi does not use a third pole to raise the height of the vestibule, but there is still a reasonable amount of area with some height in the vestibule. Eureka have sacrificed some vestibule space by making the inner tent walls slope outwards, giving more space in the inner tent. There would be enough room to operate a stove in the vestibule, although for liquid stoves, I would light it outside the vestibule door. It must be noted that operating a stove in the tent ignores the prominent warning given by the manufacturer not to do so. I am a big fan of having two equal sized vestibules on two man tents, one on each side of the tent. They make a big difference in bad weather. The Wabakimi does not disappoint here.

I like the ventilation options on this tent. The tent can be ventilated by partially opening the fly doors with a second zipper. A sleeve with some elastic will help prevent rain getting in, which is needed as this part of the door has a drip line over the inner tent. The elastic is a nice touch. There are openings at both ends of the tent in the fly. There is a small pole with Velcro to help these openings in the fly to remain open. They are also well sheltered.

The main (inner) tent uses a "bathtub" design, meaning the tent floor material is seamless at the walls, and the floor material forms part of the wall. The height of the tub is 15 cm (5.9 in) which I believe is a good level. Most of the fly drip line is well away from the inner tent, and where they are close, the bathtub overlap is good.

In conclusion, I have overall been impressed with this tent. It is better than what I thought it would be from the Eureka web site. Time will tell if my now rosy view is sustained during field testing. Thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Eureka for giving me the opportunity to test the Wabakimi Tent.

Field Test Report:

31 July 2007

Field Test Locations and Conditions:
  • Cape Otway, Victoria: Two days with heavy rain - around 60 mm (2.34 in) or 234 points overnight - humidity over 90% and temperatures around 5 C (41 F). Camping elevation was at sea level and the surface was clay.
  • Cathederal Ranges, Victoria: Two days with light rain totalling around 5 mm (0.2 in) or 20 points, humidity between 60% and 100%, and temperatures around 0 C (32 F). Camping elevation was at 800 m (2700 ft) and the surface was grass/clay.
  • Mornington Peninsula: Two days with very light rain less than 1 point (0.2 mm 0.01 in), humidity around 50% and temperatures around 5 C (41 F). Camping elevation was at 100m (330 ft) and the surface was grass.

My experiences with the Eureka Wabakimi:

Wabakimi erected in field The field test period allowed me to see how well the Wabakimi performed in some significantly wet environments. The nearby picture shows the Wabakimi erected at the location where I experienced the wettest night in the test period. The ground surface was clay, which was firm as I erected the tent. The following morning it had turned quite muddy. This surface generated much more rain splash than I would have expected, and muddy water splashed up to at least 30 cm (11.8 in) high on the inner skin of the tent. This level is far above the "bathtub" level. In my Initial Report I mentioned that the bathtub was 15 cm (5.9 in) high although in the field I noticed that the tub was a little lower at the four ground corners of the inner tent. It was at these corners where the rain splash was at its highest, and because of this, significant water entered the tent. As the storage pockets are located here, items that I placed in these pockets got quite wet. I used a polyurethane sheet underneath the tent, which meant that the groundsheet remained dry, however on the sides of the bathtub, the groundsheet was wet to the touch. I did find on other nights, which were not so wet, that the groundsheet on the sides remained dry and rain splash was not a problem. On these nights, the storage pockets remained dry.

I found that condensation has been significant on all nights I have used the Wabakimi. I have ensured that both vents have been opened, and also made use of the double zips on both the fly doors to allow additional ventilation. I never found the Wabakimi stuffy, however every morning the inner surface of the fly has been very wet. I did find this surprising given the ventilation and given I am using the tent solo. All nights did not have high winds, however only one night was still. Condensation does appear to be significant with the Wabakimi, and due to the wet fly, I was never able to walk with a dry tent in my backpack, apart from the opening day of each walk. Condensation can also form on the bathtub groundsheet at either end of the tent when humidity is high.

The Wabakimi is reasonably easy to erect in dry conditions that are not too windy. As the inner tent is free standing, it can be erected and then placed in an appropriate location. The tent can be lifted up to place a plastic sheet underneath. I staked out the upwind corners on the one instance of higher winds while erecting the tent, after I had threaded through the poles. The fly is straightforward to attach to the main tent with Velcro style areas for attachment. There are 6 of these attachment points, 3 along each of the poles and all are easy to access. The fly attaches via clips to each of the inner tent corners. These points are adjustable, however the adjustment does become more difficult once mud has made its way on to the material. What took very little effort when I raised the tent for the Initial Report takes much more effort now. The fly needs two further points to be pegged at the base of each door. These points are also adjustable (see picture below). The fly is not freestanding; it must be placed on top of the inner tent, and without pegs or an alternative, the sides of the fly will not stay out to form the tent's vestibules. This is a minus as far as I am concerned regarding the Wabakimi. As the fly is not free standing, the Wabakimi is much harder to raise during wet conditions. The fly can be placed over the inner tent to avoid too much rain getting in, but does not avoid it all together. The same is true when taking the tent down, compounded by the condensation problem. I could not avoid the inner tent getting quite wet - which made the tent much less pleasant to be inside when erecting on the next night. Fly door anchor adjustment

The ends of the poles are secured to the rest of the pole only by the shock cord. Other poles I have used on other tents employ a screw in mechanism. The only time I have ever needed to take off the end of a pole would be to tighten the shock cord, which is rare. This design of the pole has an adverse impact when taking down the tent in two ways: 1) The pole ends often come off when removing the pole from the grommet securing it, and 2) while threading the pole out of the tent, the pole end often came detached, particularly in the "meshy" pole sleeve. This happened nearly every time I took down the tent and proved a significant annoyance - particularly if it happened to be raining at the time.

My biggest issue with the Wabakimi is the lack of a third pole to support the fly and raise the roof of the vestibules. The vestibules do provide a lot of surface area, but the roof is low over much of it, reducing their usability. A large 90 litre (5500 cu in) pack takes up most of the usable space of the vestibule. Granted, there are two vestibules, but in tents of this style, which I normally use when sharing, I like to put both packs in one vestibule, while using the other to get in and out off, store boots and gaiters, and cook in if needed. With regards to cooking in the vestibule, there is a difficult trade off between having the stove too close to the inner tent, or too close to the sloping roof of the vestibule.

Getting in and out of the tent is reasonably easy. My biggest issue is that the drip line of the fly door is over the inner tent if the door is more than about 60% open. This means that if it is raining, I had to be careful not to open the door too much to get in and out, making entry and exit more difficult. If it is not raining, the doors can be opened right up making it exceptionally easy getting in and out. Both inner tent doors can have the main material opened up, revealing the "no-see-um" mesh. I found doing this did reduce condensation somewhat.

I have to say that the pegs supplied with the Wabakimi are inadequate. I tried my best but I could not avoid significant bending of the pegs. I can keep pegs straight when many others I have camped with have bent them, but I am sad to say that these pegs were too much for me. I will continue to use the supplied pegs for the remainder of the test, but I am not happy with them.

The Wabakimi supplies four loops in the inner tent for hanging an optional gear loft. I do not have a gear loft, but I have found these loops convenient for hanging a headlamp.

Likes and dislikes

Likes:
  • Roomy interior with good roof height
  • Two vestibules
  • Free standing main tent
  • Easy attachment of fly to main tent
Dislikes:
  • No third pole to support fly over the vestibules
  • Condensation performance was poor
  • The pegs are undersized
This concludes my Field Test report.

Long Term Report:

1 Oct 2007

Long Term Test Locations and Conditions:

  • Wilsons Promontory, Victoria: Three days with heavy rain - around 40 mm (1.6 in) or 157 points - humidity over 90% and temperatures around 5 C (41 F) to 10 C (50 F). Camping elevations varied from sea level to 100 m with sandy to clay/stone surfaces. One night had winds in excess of 100 km/h (62 mph) which, let me tell you, kept me awake at night when a 100 year old tree came down!

My experiences with the Eureka Wabakimi during the long term test period:

The Wabakimi continued to receive a pounding from foul weather during the test period. I also continued to get wet, as rain also fell during the daytime when I was out on track. The Wabakimi has continued to hold up well in keeping the rain out, although it was inconvenient to erect or take down in rain.

I do try to take care in pitching a tent to avoid large amounts of surface water in the event of heavy rain, but on one night with the Wabakimi, I was not so fortunate. I ended up with a significant puddle underneath the tent; however the polyurethane sheet I used underneath the Wabakimi turned most of the water away. The tent floor was exposed to a significant amount of water through rain splash, but the inside remained dry. I have noticed that if the tent groundsheet is pressed against wet surfaces, some moisture does work its way through to some extent.

In my field report, I made mention of the pole endings being held in place primarily by the shock cord. This really turns out to be a pain when taking the tent down in the rain. I found it hard to avoid the pole ends becoming snagged in the mesh pole sleeve. I think a screw-in mechanism would work much better. The only reason I have ever needed to take a pole end off is to tighten the shock cord, but with the Wabakimi, I found that the pole ends came off every time I took the tent down. When taking down the tent in the rain, it is very hard to avoid the inside tent getting very wet. I found that this happens when I had to find where the pole end had been lost in the sleeve, which results in a wet experience on the next night when I had to erect an already wet tent. The shock cord also tends to get stressed when the pole end comes off in the sleeve.

My greatest criticism of the Wabakimi is the ease, or lack of it, in raising or taking down the tent in wet weather. Raising the tent is made more difficult as the main tent must be erected first before the fly can be put in position. The fly can be placed loosely over the main tent during this process, but this makes threading the poles through the cloth sleeves more difficult. It also means that I did not see a pole section become loose on one occasion. The worry about whether I had broken a pole when the rain was pelting down was not a nice experience. Fortunately, I had not broken the pole, but the lip of the pole section joint had been stressed.

I found that the fly doors were not easy to use during periods of rain. The zip runs from an anchor point quite some distance from the inner tent door, directly towards the inner tent, and then changes direction towards one end of the inner tent once over the inner tent wall. This can be seen on photos in both my initial and field reviews. The effect of this design is that it puts much of the "drip line" over the inner tent. In order to prevent drips or rain getting on the inner tent, I had to open the outer fly door only by just over a third of its full opening. This makes getting in and out of the tent in wet weather a significant challenge. This can be done, but I would prefer the challenge to be in the kind of walking I do, rather than getting in and out of the tent. My comments in the field review about being able to get in and out of the tent easily when it is not raining still stand.

With all the rain during the long term test period, I had the opportunity to avoid getting soaked while cooking by preparing my food in the tent - that is in the vestibule. I use a white gas / shellite stove and I did not feel entirely comfortable cooking in the tent with it. The height of the vestibule is too low for cooking as both the walls of the vestibule and the inner tent have a significant slope to them. This means that much of the "air space" of the vestibule is above the inner tent, which does not leave a lot of space for cooking. Much of the impressive area of the vestibule has a low amount of height. I really miss the inclusion of a third pole which would lift the roof of the vestibule which would make it far more usable.

One affect of all the rain I experienced is that the Wabakimi can stain, particularly the fabrics of the inner tent walls. It is hard to avoid getting mud on the tent with lots of rain. The outer door often drags on the ground when part open, which picks up mud. The door can't be opened fully to avoid this, as rain would get inside the main tent. Once the tent is being taken down, the muddy fly gets on the main tent. The bottom line of all of this - I don't really care, but I know people that like to keep their tents cleaner than what I do.

It is hard for me to provide comment on how the Wabakimi would perform given better conditions as I was only able to test it in lots of rain and some wind. The Wabakimi did perform well in the wind and seems a stable tent. I didn't have problems putting it up and taking it down in the wind, and it didn't feel that it was about to fail in winds that were the strongest that I had ever camped in.

This concludes my long term test report. I would like to thank BackpackGearTest and Eureka for the opportunity for being able to test the Wabakimi tent.



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