ALPS Mountaineering Chaos 3
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: About $125 from REI Outlet
Overall a great tent that take a lot of abuse. Heavy for backpacking so split it up!
- easy setup
I really didn't know what to expect since I didn't have any experience with ALPS products and the price was incredibly low. I was fully prepared to send it back but was so impressed with the quality and how easy it set up, I figured I had a great deal.
On its first trip out, we had no choice but to pitch it on a ridgeline. Sustained winds of 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph, rain and hail, so I didn't sleep a wink waiting for a pole to snap or the fly to shred. Talk about bomb proof - it still looked brand new the next day.
The hub and pole design make putting it up a piece of cake. Being able to set up the tent under the fly in the rain is a beautiful thing too!
Being a bit claustrophobic, I bought this tent for 2 average sized adults. Way more space (and weight) than necessary so I've downsized for backpacking, but it's easily in the top 5 3-man tents I've come across for car camping or short haul base camping. Two doors and huge dual vestibules are a big bonus - one I miss with my smaller tent with its single door and vestibule.
The only negative is the weight, especially if you're using it for 2 people on a long haul. It definitely helps to split it up but it's still more than most folks want to pack.
Price Paid: $131
I've been needing a replacement for my 12+ yr old Sierra Designs Alpha tent. It has served me well but it's starting to deteriorate from 300+ days in the sun, rain, sleet, and Mt Washington wind. Plus it pushes 9 lbs.
I positively require 2 things from my shelter:
- 1 is to protect me from the harsher elements
- 2 is keep the bugs and snakes off of me.
Beyond those needs I have some other features I would like to see taking into consideration weight and cost. I'm a firm believer that 3 means 2 when talking about capacity of a tent. The only way a 2 person is comfortable for 2 people is when the weather is so good you don't need a tent. Stuck in the rain for a couple days and that damn tent is unbearable.
That being said I need a 3 person tent. I like a tent with 2 doors so nobody needs to get crawled over in the night. Finally if I can find all that less than 6 lbs. I'm doing alright. Now is where the money comes into play. I initially researched tents from MHW, Marmot, TNF, or SD tent. They all offered in one form or another a tent that was eligible but none were exceptional for the cost.
One company caught my eye with their Chaos 3 tent was ALPS. New to me. I was skeptical but was impressed with the features and cost of the tent and decided to check one out. For $131 delivered I got a 41 sq ft double door with vestis at 5 lbs 15 oz.
Inside the box was a brown sack containing the tent, fly, poles and a small pouch with 8 nice aluminum stakes 4 guy lines and a repair kit. Minus the sacks 2 stakes and 2 guy lines the weight comes to 5 lbs 13 oz. I set the tent up in my living room without instructions in less than 2 minutes.
The tent was very spacious. Four people could sit Indian style and play cribbage in this tent comfortably it is similar in design to a hubba hubba. Straight walls gear loft and 4 nice sized stash pockets two which you could stuff the mesh doors into.
I could see the cost reflected in the craftsmanship. The stitching isn't the straightest nor the panels perfect. Still though only a problem when your looking under a microscope all in all I was not disappointed. Until I put the fly on. The fly buckles to the tent and my fly was missing a buckle the webbing was intact though. An easy fix just cord on another buckle.
I called ALPS to see if they would send me the buckle. They did. Attached to a whole new fly! Never had a company stand behind their gear like that before. Simply amazing. So far so good. But does the tent perform?
Still having snow in my yard I didn't want to set it up outside yet plus I still didn't have a ground cloth. The nice thing about this tent is it's 7'6" x 5'6" so a 5 x 7 tarp is just the right size. $2.50 and 4 pieces of shockcord and I have a perfect footprint. The sun is out the snow is gone I can go outside and play.
It has been raining here in Vermont for 10 days straight and I have had this Chaos 3 tent set up loaded with gear for half if them. It is very dry inside the fly has vents you can open and close to keep down condensation. It does need guying on its short ends as it us a little susceptible on very windy days due to it's weight saving one pole design.
Longevity is really the only test this tent has yet to pass. Craftsmanship a bit lacking doesn't compromise the integrity of this tent one bit. This tent gets 5 stars for value and 4 stars for initial quality.
Very happy with this tent. I will review it this fall on how it is holding up.
Price Paid: $120
I LOVE this tent. I went on the hunt for tents this year to replace cheaper tents I had been using from garage sales. There are things I absolutely HAD to have in my new tent.
- The tent had to have vestibules for gear.
- Two doors ways, no tripping over others.
- Light weight.
- Size to fit two adults and one kiddo easily.
- Gear lofts to put my glasses and such into when I am sleeping.
- More than anything it had to have wind durability.
Last year I was dip netting on the Kenai River in Alaska. I watched as tent after tent went rolling away with the super high winds (60mph) coming in. I walked the beach as people were chasing tents and gear across the sand dunes. I noted the brands left standing through it all. Kelty, REI, ALPS, and Sierra Designs.
I bought this tent recently and took it on a road, hiking, and camping trip along the ALCAN highway and on the Alaska Ferry. In inclement weather you can duct tape the tent to the deck of the ship and camp out in a dry space. We had some pretty good winds and with the tent all fastened down with it's guide wires we did just fine inside. My daughter is 6'2" and could lay with head room to spare on the floor. I am no shrinking violet in size and we could fit with two adults and one 9 year old.
The tent had loads of nice gear storage pockets.For my book, glasses, keys, jewelry.
While in the Yukon of Canada I was overjoyed to get away from the birds (mosquitoes) dive bombing us. I was glad to find that getting in and out f the tent was easy while swatting the bugs away. No tripping over edges, fumbling with zippers opening and closing on the wrong side.
CONS: In the morning we had condensation on the inside of the tent fly. Overnight temps were around 28 degrees. I had one vent open but did not stake out the tent at the two ends. The next night I made sure to open up the fly vents and stake out at least two ends. The condensation was only at the end of the tent where all of out heads were. In the humidity and cold I am not all that surprised. Still, halfway through the night we had the same problem, though less. I ended up opening up one of the vestibule doors to get enough ventilation.
I have yet to take it down to the wicked shore weather of the Kenai, but will give it, it's trial by fire there.
All in all. Like the tent. It fit tight with no crackle (REI 4man) or wiggles (Coleman) in the winds we did have. Overall the cost was great for what we got.
Ease of Setup: Easy setup and takedown
Weight: 6.5 lbs
Price Paid: $129
Picked this up on sale at Amazon. Great quality tent. Easy up / easy takedown and very light. Spent two nights in late October and slept two plus my dog comfortably. Didn't get to test it in the rain but was warm enough in 40 degree weather.
5 ft 6 in x 7 ft 6 in
3 ft 8 in
41 sq ft
22 sq ft
|Tent and Fly Weight||
5 lb 15 oz
6 lb 10 oz
7 in x 24 in