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Which tent would you buy? (replacing Eureka Timberline)

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It is with great sadness I write this... I need to replace my Timberline tent due to age. I have one of the old style Eureka Timberline 4 tents with 2 doors. I have been exceptionally pleased with this tent, but over the years, it has simply worn itself out so I am looking again and just amazed at the choices that exist. I enjoy the larger space of the 3 and 4 man tents and am willing to carry the extra weight to keep the space (I'm 6'1", 258lbs). I also want something that will keep me dry in a hurricane... not that Hazardous Weather training permits camping in Katrina, but I want a tent that will keep me dry and standup to the wind and rain. I also want a tent that is EASY to setup. I can setup my timberline 4 by myself in the dark in less than 5 minutes.


Anyway, I've found a site that sells the Eureka Timberline 4's delivered for about $150, but the Eureka Tetragon 8's are about half that price. Anyone have experience to compare the two? What about other tents that are highly recommended and field tested?


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You need to figure out what you want in your tent first. I also wore out a beloved Temberline 2. What I liked about it was the fast set-up and the two doors. I used our troop Temberline 4s w/o a back door and found I didn't like not having a back door and it stood so high that it didn't hold well in the Oklahoma wind. So my personal backpacking tent has two accesses into the tent and a more rounded profile (although it is not a dome) to resist wind.



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I have it narrowed down to three:


The Timberline 4 from Amazon for $157. The Eureka Tetragon 8 for $90. Or an entirely new comer I just discovered... I am really intrigued by Wind Ridge 4 person tent for $140.


I like the looks of the Wind Ridge best, and am intrigued by the reviews and advertising. However, I *KNOW* I like the Timberline. I know replacement parts are easy to come by. I know I can set it up myself in the dark and wind fast.


I'm not having a lot of luck telling the difference between the tetragon 8 and the timberline (except A-frame vs dome tent).

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I own a Eureka Alpine Meadows (no longer made) and a Eureka Tetragon 7.


The Tetragon 7 is 17 yrs old (first generation version of that tent). It's held-up well over the years, though one of the zipper pullers is on its last legs. I use it as a "backpacking" tent, though for those who backpack a lot, it would be considered too heavy at about 7lbs. Works for me. HOWEVER, I don't stay completely dry in it when it rains. There isn't much of an overhang over the door and being only a Tetragon 7, with the finished size closer to 6ft by 6ft, I tend to be touching two walls when I sleep if I'm sharing it with another adult as I'm roughly 6'1" like you. Looking online, surprisingly, the price of this tent has stayed at about the same amount today as when I bought it new back in '94.


The Alpine Meadows is from whatever year it was discontinued (1999 or so). The Eureka Alpine Meadows is/was a modified 2 door Timberline 4. Take a Timberline, add a dome tent hoop down the center of it to pull the sides of the tent outward to give you more elbow room inside. I've added a standard Timerline Vestibule to the front. This is my "rain-o-ree" tent. We don't have a lot of non-raining camporees up this way (thus "rain-o-ree"). I've kept dry in this thing during a tropical storm (back in the pre-hazardous weather training days) and fall nor'easters--in one case 6 inches of rain fell during one "rain-o-ree".


So, the question is, what kind of camping do you plan on and how much are you willing to spend? If you've been really satisfied with the Timberline, why change?


I don't know anyone around here who's tried the next generation of Timberline (the SQ series) yet, but if it's anywhere near as good as the older ones, it might be worth spending the extra money on one. The 4 person version has 2 doors. Here's the specs/info from the Campmor catalog:



Good luck. You'll probably get a lot of personal opinion on this one as what usually happens when someone asks about tents 'cause everyone has their own personal favorite.

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I own two Tetragon 5s and the troop owns a few Tetragon 7s. I think they are fine "economy" tents with some very nice features (such as built-in gear lofts, and great ventilation). They are very easy to set up.


But -- I'm not happy that we've got a problem with the fiberglass poles. They are splitting (on my tents, two poles split -- on the troop tents, one pole recently split). I've seen that a local outdoors store sells replacement poles, and Eureka replaced on of my own for free (I haven't called them about the second one yet), but I'm wondering if there is a design problem with their poles. Or perhaps we've used them in weather that is too cold (on my tents, maybe 35F weather -- on the troop tent, it may have been colder -- I'm not sure on which outings it was used).


The Tetragons, in my mind, aren't lightweight enough for backpacking (but we've used them on canoe trips). But, as I said above, I do think they are fine "economy" tents.


I think my next tent purchases (for either me, or my Scout sons) might be lightweight backpacking tents. But I'll probably try and find ones that will hold up well (however it is that I'm going to do that!).



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I got a chance to think about it more last night and decided why I am having a hard time:

1) The Wind Ridge: I am probably going to avoid the quick setup tents. Im a K.I.S.S. kinda guy and I dont like the idea of moving parts on a tent, seems like more that could go wrong. Plus, I dont like the fact you set the tent up before staking it. We frequently camp in high wind situations.

2) The Tetragon: I dont want fiberglass poles. They snap much too easy. Did I mention we often camp in high winds? :-) I prefer aluminum poles.

3) The Timberline: I *really* want 2 doors like my current Timberline and the new model doesnt have it. I understand the Outfitter does, but I don't want to go that high for a tent that is that heavy. Plus, there is no vestibule on the Timberlines without spending more money. Finally, while the fly is good, wind coming from certain directions still blows rain to parts of the tent I dont like.


So I looked around some more, I want a tent that I can love as much as my current Timberline, and Ive found one I think has the potential: The Alps Mountaineering Vertex 4.

Anodized aircraft grade aluminum poles

If you look at it from the right angle, it is almost a modernized version of an A-frame tent- halfway between A-frame and dome design. While my personal experience has proven contrary, popular opinion is that the dome tents withstand wind better than traditional A-frames.

64 sq ft of interior space (just a pinch larger than the others I looked at)

Free standing (no guy lines required, although you can use them if you feel they are needed)

2 doors (This was a biggie for me)

2 vestibules (Adds an additional 31 sq ft)- This is another significant plus

Based on the picture on the right, it looks like it will withstand rain and wind very well

Tent clips to the frame (none of that sliding through sleeves hassle)

11 of 13 reviewers on Amazon gave this 5 stars (combining reviews for Vertex 2 and Vertex 4). The other two gave it 4 stars. This is the highest rating I have seen for any tent this size at this price point. Not even the Eureka Timberline scored this well.


My only personal concerns are re: ventilation/using it in the summer. Other reviewers shared a similar concern but no one has complained about it. And truth be told, on my Eureka, I usually end up zipping the door 3/4 to the top anyway, so I typically dont have a lot of ventilation myself. Im also not crazy about the idea of vinyl windows in the rain fly because it sounds like a future leak point. However, I can see the advantage of wanting to peak outside.


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I have an Alps Taurus 4 and love it.


Had a wind shear (almost tornado) go thru camp along with torrential rains, and I was high and dry. If you suspect bad weather just guy it down, and you will be fine.


Also, sign up on Alps ScoutDirect site for reduced prices for Scouts.

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Let me repeat what Scoutnut has said -- Alps Mountaineering has a Scout discount program called ScoutDirect. 45% off the list price, once you sign up with them. It is a great program.


I have occasionally seen Alps Mountaineering closeouts on rei-outlet.com for a hair less than ScoutDirect, but more often than not, you can't beat the ScoutDirect pricing.

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I pulled the trigger yesterday on a 'used - like new' condition Vertex 4 tent direct from Amazon for $30 less than ScoutDirect and $40 less than Amazon new. If the tent arrives in less than pristine condition, I'll return it and order from Scout Direct. I'll also try and post a follow-up review of the Vertex once I use it (have a campout May 13-15).

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I doubt that you will find any tent with a vestibule that is large enough to let you zip it closed behind you before you enter the tent itself. The purpose of the vestibule is as an extra, protected, storage place, especially for things like muddy shoes, not as an entire extra room.



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