Wednesday, October 20, 2010


back in oh-eight, i may have made the best 350 dollar investment of my life. knowing that shawn and i would be embarking on a multi-season backpacking adventure, we intended to be well geared not knowing exactly what to expect.

when i saw the Eureka! Susten XPII there was no doubt it was exactly what we needed. the interior panels are mostly mesh, and the fly has full coverage. with this combination any level of ventilation or waterproofing can be achieved with a few minor adjustments. there's also pop up vents built into the fly that can be left open to prevent condensation, or closed right down flat to trap the warmth. the dual wall design helps greatly to keep condensation from collecting inside the tent. i have only been 'rained on' once, by fault of my own when i forgot to open the fly vents. the inner tent windows unzip from the top, which also gives another space for airflow.

the day we bought the tent we insisted on taking it for a test run. it was a strangely warm day for january, and figured we could get away with a 3 season tent. we were not aware when we left town that a massive storm was on it's way in, so the test run was more intensive than we could have ever imagined.

wind gusts that night reached 90-110 kilometers per hour. entire trees many meters high were blowing over left and right, a tree big enough i couldn't get my arms around ended up landing less than 10 meters from our tent. the wind was so powerful it sounded like we were camping under a speeding train. it was frightening to say the least, but the tent held out. the tent is designed in such a way that when fastened down tightly to the ground you can become very aerodynamic in your little bubble dome, or raise the fly for better air movement.

we were pretty confident with our choice in tent after that night. no rainstorm or tropical force winds have been any match for it yet. we once spent 37 and a half hours rained in to our tent in Fernie BC. the rain would slow occasionally so that we could get out and stretch our legs, and follow by a heavy downpour. the fly kept us and all our gear dry the whole time.

my favourite feature about this tent is the vestibule. well, the two vestibules, there's a front and back door to the tent. perfect for two who intend to call it home for a while. the back vestibule fits boots and a pack no problem, and the front fits the rest of the gear, and our two butts. it's like having a covered front porch to sit in and watch the rain. when the front door is cranked open, you can even safely run the camp stove right in front. i only do this in poor weather, otherwise i like to set up the stove well away from the tent.

the only features about this tent that i didn't like have since been changed. i wasn't too keen on trying to remove the fly pole from the fabric sleeve when the tent is wet, definitely time consuming. the new design has simple clips on the exterior of the fly to snap onto the pole. much easier! also the sky blue colour has been changed to a nice forest green. i have considered ordering just a new fly for this reason, but i've grown to love the sky blue.

other than those two things i'd never trade it in. the price has also come down considerably since i made the purchase. it is a bit on the heavy side [6-7 pounds fly included] but divided between two it's well worth it. for long term tenting i'd carry the weight for that extra vestibule space any day. truly my home away from home.

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