It Takes One Tent to Rule Them All

In this article, we’ll look at three tents. One is being reviewed upon request. The second is my personal tent that I use for camping excursions. The third is a piece of gear that is bringing some hype to camping/backpacking forums.

1. Bushnell Roam Series 8.5′ x 3′ Backpacking Tent

I surfed the Backpackers Basecamp forum and could not find any opinions on this tent. My outdoors comrades did not have any information as well. There is this helpful video, however:

Reviewers on various sites stated that this product is very durable and is a pretty good size. The poles are aluminum, and the seams are taped. The larger pole is sleeved while the smaller foot-end pole is clipped. A backpacker in Alaska reported that this tent was able to withstand 40-50 mph winds and rain.

The price, $62.35 is pretty great if you ask me. The tent, weighing 3.6 pounds, comes with a nice interior design equipped with gear pockets.

Pros: Cool gear pockets on the interior, reported durability, affordable.

Cons: Lack of reviews within the backpacking community, requires staking and some time to set up (not freestanding).

Best used for: light to moderate backpacking excursions.

2. Embark 7.5′ x 4.5′ 2 Person Dome Tent

I’ve brought this bad boy to Havasupai, Prescott (Arizona), West Clear Creek (Arizona), and pretty much every other camping excursion within the past three years. It takes about 5 minutes to set up, and I’ve had no problem with the fiberglass poles or the base material (I will also note: I’ve never had to use a ground tarp).

I did have one of the cords on the rain fly come apart. I was able to fix this with some knotting and a carabiner.

Personally, I’m going to hold onto this tent for as long as I can. I don’t see any sense in spending a lot of money for another tent (unless going on a really long backpacking trip). It is heavy, however, weighing 6.1 pounds.

Pros: Extremely durable, comfortable, easy to set up, waterproof.

Cons: Heavy, the rain fly cording could use improvement.

Best used for: Car camping, though I’ve used this for 20-mile backpacking trips.

3. Big Agnes – Happy Hooligan UL Tent, 2 Person

If you have cash to blow, then the Happy Hooligan is the way to go. The fly and floor are silicone-treated nylon ripstop fabric. The waterproof polyurethane coating on the rainfly is a great way to stay dry in the elements. The Happy Hooligan features DAC aluminum poles, making the weight a little heavier but the aluminum stronger.

This tent is a two-door with plenty of mesh to keep the bugs out. It’s also marketed towards stargazers.

The tent weight totals out to be 3 lbs, 9 oz. This is on the heavy side for people who take ultralight seriously.

Overall, this tent is top-notch quality, but debatably over-priced (it costs upward to $380).

A side note, Big Agnes’ Blacktail 3 was selected by TheWireCutter.com as the best tent for car camping and occasional backpacking.

Pros: Reported as extremely comfortable, top-of-the-line material, waterproof, two-door.

Cons: Very pricey, almost 4 lbs.

Best used for: light backpacking; car camping.

Check out the #HMPYG article on putting camping hacks to the test.

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