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Eureka Backcountry 1 - Making a Vestibule
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L. R.
(tankdula) - F
Eureka Backcountry 1 - Making a Vestibule on 03/05/2012 13:33:38 MST Print View

I'm a *total novice* for backpacking solo. I've always accompanied experienced folks who did lovely things like.... cook and set up the tent. I provided effervescence, comic relief and a fair distribution of pack weight.

I'm striking out solo.

I'll be backpacking 12-18 months through Africa, Asia. Sometimes I'll be in hostels/homes, sometimes my tent. Primarily, I'll hit dry seasons on both continents.
Sensitive to pack weight but chose Eureka @ 1.76kg (3lb 14oz) for price, freestanding feature, simplicity and alleged durability. Shelter will be my single heaviest item; heavier than my pack.

I have a few questions about making a vestibule (without tent poles) for the Eureka Backcountry 1.
Planned to follow this youtube vid on making a vestibule for the Eureka. It's for my gear; seems a bit cramped for cooking. The gent in the vid says he spent ~$15. I'd spend up to $50.

Figured I'd come here and get a second opinion on materials.

What lightweight material would you all suggest for this tent and style of vestibule?
What material would you suggest for the ground cloth?
Should I just use nylon for the rope ties?
On another note, I always read that the stakes provided by the manufacturer are garbage. What type of decent stakes should I pick up instead?

Any advice is welcome.

Thanks in advance.

VestibuleVestibule2Vestibule 3Vestibule 4EurekaEureka 1

Pete Forest
(againpeter) - F

Locale: France Europe
army on 03/05/2012 14:42:02 MST Print View


Wish I had a Eureka backcountry, they are not available here in France though, and shipping is way too much.

I think you should check out Youtube, there are a few videos by a guy who found that a original army flysheet fitted the Eureka backcountry One perfectly.

This fly that adds a decent vestibule to your tent, uses one extra pole, so should be quite interesting.

Here is the video:

L. R.
(tankdula) - F
Passed on ICS 2000... on 03/05/2012 16:56:26 MST Print View

Pete, yep I saw that vid as well. I really like his set up with the ICS 2000 rainlfly.

Only, I thought it'd be redundant because the backcountry itself has a great rainfly.
Also, according to the youtuber, it adds a hefty 2 lb 2 oz, bringing the shelter to just under 6lb packed.

When I saw the weight itself, I was a bit disheartened and thought the vestibule might be a better option.

Incidentally, warden supply must have taken note of the youtube vid b/c they are selling the rainfly for $85, where it was going for $50. Quite a mark up with no design change.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Eureka Backcountry 1 - Making a Vestibule on 03/05/2012 17:04:32 MST Print View

"I'll be backpacking 12-18 months through Africa, Asia. Sometimes I'll be in hostels/homes, sometimes my tent. Primarily, I'll hit dry seasons on both continents."

Not answering your question, but as a frequent traveler myself, I would hate to lug a 4-5lbs tent all over the place. I believe the Eureka Backcountry 1 with stakes weigh close to 4.5 lbs. With a silnylon vestibule, the total will come to around 5lbs. As well, the package is also one big loaf!

I highly recommend that you take a look at the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo. It's more expensive, but for me, I'd rather cut the budget somewhere else (i.e. eat more at markets at less at restaurants) and carry less than half the weight and bulk for 18 months! After a few rounds of practices, setting up this tarptent is very quick and very easy. However, it is not freestanding like the Eureka -- which is rarely a problem for most all of us.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Eureka Backcountry 1 - Making a Vestibule" on 03/05/2012 20:54:03 MST Print View

Eureka used to make the same basic tent with a full front vestibule. They were reviewed favorably in Backpacker, except for the zip on the vestibule, that leaked because of no cover flap. Why in the world did they leave out the zipper flap? No idea.

You sound about to get hooked on the MYOG cheap tent modification syndrome, for want of a better description. I am a recovering cheap tent modification junky. I spent years tinkering with another old Eureka solo model, trying to get the weight down. Carbon poles, lighter fabric floor, removed door and replaced with 'beaks' on the fly to create a vestibule. Then the poor quality fabric on the fly started leaking in heavy rains. So after all that work, I had to replace the tent.

That's why I agree with Ben. Get something of better quality in the first place.
The Eureka is a 4 lb. solo tent. Yes, the 3' by 8' space with a dome ceiling is nice. But there are other self-supporting tents out now in the 3 pound range, made of better quality materials, and there are more coming out every year. They used to be narrow 26" wide coffins, but the REI TT is now 39" tapering to 24" (Why the teeny door - no idea). And there are other new ones coming out. Luxe has one that also tapers, as does the EMS Velocity 1.

The only way I would do it again would be if replacing the fly with a high quality silnylon one were the first order of business. Lighter, and you could add the beaks (vestibule)in as part of the new fly. Maybe you could find one of the older Eurekas with the full fly, and either use it, or cut it up to make pattern pieces for a sil fly. Then the tent would be lighter and storm worthy for starters, and you could take your time finding the right carbon poles and lighter floor material, such as black tinted 1.26 oz. cuben sold by Zpacks, or the dark gray Shield silnylon sold by Thru-Hiker.

That's would be the only way I would ever get sucked back in to MYOGCTMS again.

Sean Rhoades

Locale: WV
vestibule on 03/06/2012 20:41:33 MST Print View

If what you're wanting to do is replicate the vestibule the guy in the video made; I would say go at it just like he did. The only thing I would change is the material choice. It would probably serve your purpose much better to use some silnylon or polyurethane coated nylon. 1.3oz silnylon being your lightest option, 1.9oz polyurethane backed ripstop nylon being the most durable option. You could even come close to matching your tent color with one of the nylons I listed. There is also cuben fiber, but it's quite a bit more pricey. There are plenty of super-light options out there, it just comes down to cost I think.

For a groundcloth Tyvek is a good and cheap choice. And for tent stakes you can pick up six titanium hook type stakes for around $16. Or the Easton 6in. stakes are decently priced. Both good choices.

For the rope, your talking about the rope to tie the new material on to the tent pole right? For this, any kind of cordage that can hold a good knot and holds up to the elements should be fine.

Hope that helps.

Edit: Forgot to address all questions.

Edited by kingpin on 03/06/2012 20:54:07 MST.

L. R.
(tankdula) - F
I Need A Do-Over on 03/06/2012 21:59:00 MST Print View

Suppose it's back to the drawing board.

Thanks guys for the suggestions. I didn't think the Eureka was *that* heavy but, when it comes to modifying a cheaper tent and adding weight.... that's unappealing.

Glad to hear there are other options. I need a freestanding tent. I won't always be camping on dirt, grass. Sometimes I'll be in a city, next to a hostel, outside a bus station and other locations where staking wouldn't be an option.

So, that eliminates the Solar Luna. Read about the MSR Hubba, Rainbow Tarptent, Moment TT.

I like the Rainbow. Seems to have the most usable/practical space. Being a woman, traveling solo, I like the idea of being able to change clothes in the tent and keep my gear inside.

Hadn't planned on bringing trekking poles. But, I'd need them to set up the Rainbow freestanding.

Just wondering how it'd hold up in dusty areas. Mostly, I'll be camping in dusty, arid areas as opposed to grass.

Also, concerned whether a lightweight tent is really up to frequent long term use. Durability might be an issue.

Anyway, thanks guys for pointing me in a new direction and giving me more options., Especially thanks for helping me avoid the rabbit hole of expensive modifications to cheap gear.

L. R.
(tankdula) - F
Asked & Answered on 03/06/2012 22:07:43 MST Print View

Thanks sean. Appreciate you answering my questions!!

Um, as you can see I'm a bit... turned around.

I like everything about the Eureka except the weight and the lack of vestibule. Like the price, overall design, reviews, alleged durability, ease of use/pitch.

(sigh) Now that I have the answer I wanted, not sure what the best option is for me. I don't have any practical experience to draw from.

I'll likely try the rainbow and eureka in the back yard... go from there.

Sean Rhoades

Locale: WV
Re: Asked & Answered on 03/07/2012 17:22:34 MST Print View

No problem, we are all here to help each other.

I almost bought myself a MSR Hubba, I've always heard good things about that line of tents. But I wanted room for gear and a big dog, so I went with the Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight. It's not a freestanding tent though, but I tend to stay in the grass. Everyone seems to like the Big Agnes Seedhouse line, maybe check those out. I would like to have one but I can't justify buying one at the moment.

Good Luck!!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: on 03/07/2012 20:04:58 MST Print View

One of the lightest freestanding, double wall dome tent is the Big Sky Evolution 1P. Very compact when all packed up as well. Less than half the weight and bulk of your solo Eureka Backlcountry 1 tent! Pricier, of course, but think about spreading the incremental cost over 18 months of carrying a few less pounds on top of all your other gear! Well worth it to me.

I highly recommend Big Sky, but with ONE BIG CAVEAT: I have dealt with Big Sky and I have direct experiences with various models of their tents and I LOVE everything -- everything -- about the company and its tents, except one thing: delivery time can be both unpredictable and long! So, consider buying only if you won't be traveling for a couple of months. Even then, call or email first to get an estimate. If the estimate plus maybe 3-6 additional months of delay can still work for you, then consider buying.

It's a real shame. Big Sky makes some of the very lightest dome tents anywhere -- without any shaving in quality. But their delivery record has been consistently spotty. And you'll rarely find Big Sky tents on sale at the Gear Swap. Most everyone who has one tends to hold on.

Edited by ben2world on 03/07/2012 20:06:51 MST.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Eureka Backcountry 1 - Making a Vestibule on 03/07/2012 20:28:40 MST Print View

Everyone seems to like the Big Agnes Seedhouse line

Lets take this with some sense of humour..
most people dont' like the Seedhouse line.
If that wasn't the case REI and Co would have a hard time selling any other tent in that price range.

In fact when you think of it most people don't like the best selling product.
Coke outsells all other soft drinks yet most people when they buy a soft drink don't buy Coke...

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Eureka Backcountry 1 - Making a Vestibule on 03/07/2012 21:43:25 MST Print View

"Coke outsells all other soft drinks yet most people when they buy a soft drink don't buy Coke..."

One of life's mysteries. I buy soda only sporadically, but when I do, I go for RC cola. :)

L. R.
(tankdula) - F
Big Sky on 03/08/2012 20:19:00 MST Print View

I checked out the Big Sky site and a few reviews. I like the Mirage; Evolution seemed too short on space. Unfortunately as of Sept '11 their site reads, "Big Sky's new production facility is under construction. We hope to resume production soon. Thank you for your patience."

My local dealers don't have Big Sky products in stock. I sent an email to customer service.

Single wall tents supposedly don't have optimal performance in wet, hot conditions. Double walls supposedly don't do well with dusty, sandy conditions.

I suppose I'm better off just getting a tent I like, as no tent is going to be perfect for all weather conditions and eventualities.

Anyway, I *truly* appreciate the suggestions and don't take issue with spending a bit more for a lighter weight tent. Just a matter of finding one.

I'm going to order the RainbowTT and test it at the house. The Eureka arrived and I'll set that up as well. Looked into the Big Agnes but wasn't impressed with the reviews.

Certainly, I'd have more options if I wasn't set on the freestanding feature but... that's important to me as I'll be camping in towns just as often as I'm camping in country.

Any other ideas are welcome. Wouldn't mind testing a few tents in my bedroom and back yard.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Big Sky on 03/08/2012 21:32:37 MST Print View

My current tent is the Mirage. I used to own a TT Rainbow -- you've made an excellent choice!

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
light solo travel dome on 03/09/2012 19:24:02 MST Print View

Also check out the Black Diamond NanoShield single wall domes. If you can adjust to having to get under the canopy to install the poles, one of the models might work for you. The vestibules do add on quite a bit more weight, though. It's odd that Big Sky has been the only one to make the simple wedge domes with ultra light materials.
Snow Peak has what might be one, called the Lago, coming out in June; but haven't seen a good enough photo of it yet to know exactly what it is. The large front awning over the door in one picture looked good, and 2.2 lbs sounds good, also.

What I use with the dogs is a Wilderness Equipment Bug Dome, about 87"by48", with a form fitting fly that creates large awnings over the door and back. The front awning is great for cooking under in the rain, but would not try to use it above timberline. Also, it took carbon poles and a silnylon floor to get it down to around three pounds (packed). No complete privacy though, unless you replace some of the door netting with silnylon (which I did - to keep out blown rain). Still, a lot of space for 3 lbs. But I am told the new polyester fly may be heavier - don't know.

Edit: Should have mentioned the Big Agnes Copper Spurs - also worth considering.

Edited by scfhome on 03/09/2012 19:58:38 MST.

L. R.
(tankdula) - F
Return and Order on 03/10/2012 11:00:11 MST Print View

Okay, so I never even took the Eureka out of the box. I just marked it Return to Sender and it's going back to where it came from.
First, I thought it'd be good to compare a lower priced, heavier tent with some of the lighter weight options I'm looking at. Thought it'd give me an enhanced appreciation of the light class.

But.... I'm already over the Eureka. So, there's no point in making things difficult on the vendor or spending time on an item I have no intention of using.

Looked at the BD Nano Shield. Kristin Hofso had such a bad experience with the new material, it put me off. Sounds like their older model was great though.

Today I ordered a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 (Thank You Samuel! - How did I not know this existed?). The "updated" 2012 version is supposedly trail weight 2lb6oz and pack weight 2lb12oz. Not the lightest by any means, but palatial (plenty of space for a gal traveling solo to change clothes). Excellent reviews for multiple weather conditions, durability, and truly freestanding (no trekking poles or anything).

And b/c I hate paying retail, I ordered the sample for 25% less, which is supposedly *exactly* the same as the production line except for the fabric color of the nylon portion (grey as opposed to orange). Even better...who needs orange? I did not order a footprint. Sean suggested Tyvek as good/cheap so maybe that will end up being my groundcloth.
From most of the reviews I read about many of these tents, seems people didn't order the manufacturer's footprint b/c they could get cheaper/lighter on their own. Does that sound about right?

Think it'll come down to the BA Copper and the TT Rainbow. If I didn't want a free standing tent, I'd love the lightheart solo w/ awning. That tent is awesome. I like the idea of setting up from the inside, with trekking poles. Some people don't but it doesn't bother me.

Edited by tankdula on 03/10/2012 11:04:23 MST.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
light solo dome on 03/10/2012 18:20:30 MST Print View

Hah - I see that I posted a thankyou to Kristin Hofso for her post, and then completely forgot about the fragile issues with the NanoShield! Sorry for that.
For the type of use you described, in populated areas, something fragile is obviously not good.

Just a note though, that the Big Agnes materials are very low denier to achieve the weight savings, so considerable care is required. Hope you will post your opinion after using the tent, especially in bad weather. Thanks.

Pete Forest
(againpeter) - F

Locale: France Europe
Colour? on 03/11/2012 04:16:29 MDT Print View

So you got the grey version?
The BA Copper Spur looks a lot like the Hubba (s).

Any reason why you preferred a grey/white fly over a green?

L. R.
(tankdula) - F
Agnes on 03/15/2012 17:00:49 MDT Print View

Well, Pete. It wasn't so much about color of the fly as total weight. This thread really took a turn. To think I began wanting to make my own vestibule for a 3lb tent.

Received the Agnes 2102 Sample yesterday. Easy set up. Will be sure to post a review after some use. Gonna order window shrink as well. Can't bring myself to pay $50 for the footprint.

There a a couple features I was looking forward to that the 2012 apparently doesn't have. The primary feature is the backdoor. Convenient spot to relieve myself at night.

So, I ordered a 2011 on clearance for the same price as the 2012. I wanna set it up, have a look, compare. If it doesn't work out I can return it to my local REI.

If I didn't have to concern myself with dust, I'd opt for the Rainbow Tarptent. If the freestanding wasn't so darn easy on BA, I'd opt for Lightheart.

Here's a photo someone sent me of a dust storm for one of the places where I'll be headed. Dust Storm I wouldn't camp in really poor conditions but I *will* be in the desert, arid mountains, on beaches... among other locations.

Edited by tankdula on 03/15/2012 17:01:23 MDT.