Coleman Inyo 2
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $89
Warm, comfortable, fairly light and compact when packed, and economical (if you can still find one!).
- Easy setup
- Handles the elements well
- Roomy for one person
- Good room for gear in vestibules
- 2 doors (the only way two people could use it)
- A little on the heavy side for backpacking (but not terrible)
- A little tight for 2 people unless you are really friendly (2 doors help)
Setup is pretty simple for a non-free standing tent. Holds up well to wind and rain when staked properly. Plenty warm with rain fly staked down, especially considering all the mesh.
Camped in this early one spring at Fontana in N..C, just off the AT. Rained most of the night then turned to snow toward morning. I was quite comfortable and actually a little too warm in my 20 degree sleeping bag. Woke to temps in low 30s and heavy wet snow on the ground combined with some ice hanging from surfaces above the ground. Tent was completely dry inside inspite of all the wet weather. Good ventilation - condensation is not a problem with this one.
There is plenty of room for one person plus gear and a good sized dog inside the tent. With two people you need to use the vestibules for packs/gear and probably the dog! Actually, two average size women would find it roomy enough for two, and maybe the dog also (if it's not a Great Dane or St. Bernard). Two average sized men would be uncomfortably cramped.
Tent, fly, stakes and poles all pack easily into the included stuff sack with room left for a footprint if you can find one or make one. It's a little heavy as a backpacking tent for one, but for two, not bad. Just a matter of how much you like your space and wheather you're willing to add a few ounces for comfort.
My teenaged niece uses it now and loves it. Plenty of room for her and a friend. (Like I said, roomy enough for two women.)
I would recommend this older model if you need something for less than $100. You can still find them sometimes in second hand stores and on eBay. Don't forget to re-waterproof the fly and floor on a used one — silicon spray from Walmart or Kmart on the outside — since the waterproofing tends to wear off with sun exposure, use and age.
Design: three-season non-freestanding hoop
Price Paid: $55
I own the hoop model just before the Inyo 2 came out. I don't recall the name of it (and I'm currently too lazy to go look), but it's identical to the Inyo2. I bought it about three years ago... and I'm still using it. It's been on perhaps 30 or more trips -- some one-nighters, others extended backpacking. I like this tent so much (as do all my friends) that I use it the most despite having a line-up of tents at my disposal at the outdoor rental center I manage.
PROS: Extremely lightweight, extremely small-packing, ridiculously inexpensive, and durable.
CONS: It's not as fast and easy to set up as a simple freestanding dome AND the zippers are cheap. The fly zipper on one side of mine became jammed on my third trip with the tent. Fortunately, the other zipper still works well.
Design: three season areodynamic not freestanding wedge
Ease of Setup: easy, but many stakes
Weight: 4 lbs.
Price Paid: $70
I used this tent for two months (600 miles) of the AT over the very early spring, then summer. It withstood probably 30 nights in weather from 10F degrees to 90F degrees, from a multi-inch snow storm to several hard rainstorms with very windy(est. 30+mph) conditions. The Inyo 2 NEVER failed to keep me or my gear dry.
It's easy to set up, is very roomy for one including gear, but isn't freestanding, which was never a problem on the AT. It's even possible to suspend the tent body(no-see-um netting and floor) from shelter beams to have a bug free environment inside of the lean-tos. There is plenty of ventilation, good privacy as needed, and one can sit up inside and cook breakfast outside of the door.(there are two full doors).
I can't say enough good things about this tent. I still use it for occasional outings lasting from a weekend to a week.
The only drawback is that the weight is a bit high. After weight reduction measures for the AT, mine weighed-in at 4 lbs., which is not ultralite, but compares well with other popular tents on the AT. The Inyo 2 is virtually identical to the old Cobra(which can still be purchased on eBay), and is a very good choice for backpacking.
Design: non-free standing
Ease of Setup: easy
Price Paid: $80
I bought this tent with the intention of all 3 season use in the Rockies. On my first trip it remained dry and cool and I was quite satisfied with the tent. On my second outing, I set it up in no time but after a bit of sleet and some steady rain for only 35 minutes, water had soaked through the fly and was dripping through the mesh body getting everything wet. What a bummer.
I liked the design of the floor plan but didn't like the weather shedding abilities of the Inyo 2. I sold it to a friend and went out and bought a Walrus Zoid 2.0 and was very happy with the obvious quality inprovements although the floor design is the same. The same 2 vestibules but the Zoid has an essential ingredient the Inyo doesn't; a pole at the foot of the tent keeping it high off the ground. When the weight of rain landed on the foot of the Inyo, it completely flattened and leaked. If you like the style and features of this design, better off getting a Zoid for the same weight although a bit more money; but well worth it.
Design: three season
Ease of Setup: Straightforward setup.
Price Paid: $79.99
My first non-free standing tent, and to my surprise I love it. It is considered a 2-person but you'd better be good friends!! Full doors on each side plus FULL no-see-um top gives superb ventilation and stargazing. Fly is excellent, easy to put on, easy to toss out of the way during good weather. Fly is all the way to ground and provides small-ish vestibule on each side. One pole, partial sleeve plus clip setup -- 5-10 minutes max for setup. Footprint not square, tricky for us with 2 full-size thermarests. Love this tent, wish they'd make a 3-man with this ventilation system and fly, as I think we need a bit more room. I think this is an EXCELLENT price and product for lightweight easy airy tent, particularly for solo camper. Highly recommend.
Ease of Setup: Easy to set up.
Weight: under 5 lbs.
Price Paid: $90
The tent is easy to set up and endures wind and rain well. No leaks so far. My only complaint is that one of the fittings on the main pole came apart and caused the pole to not assemble. Fortunately I was near a supply of super glue and a pair of pliers to crimp the fitting back together. I wouldn't want to share this tent with a companion -- it fits my 6'4" frame comfortably as a solo tent.
Ease of Setup: Fair, easy after you get use to it.
Price Paid: $89
I have now used this tent for 3 seasons. I have no complaints. I really like the two full size doors. In a large overnight rainstorm there were no leaks. In the morning everyone else was drying out equipment, all I did was pack up my dry gear. I think I might waterproof the fly this year.
Where to Buy
The Coleman Inyo 2 is not available from the stores we monitor.
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