Eureka! Spitfire 1
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $109
More tent than I expected for the price. Redesigned 2012 Canadian model has good improvements.
- High ceiling and vertical walls, feels roomy
- Quick and easy pitch
- Very well ventilated
- Not for blowing snow or sand, mostly mesh walls
- Just-barely-enough vestibule space
I spent six months with the 2012 Spitfire (Canadian model), and liked it quite a lot. The new model has a dark green fly, with a rust orange panel, quite stealthy. Instead of an inside zip access to the roof vent, there are now two vents on the front panel, which can be closed only from outside. That zipper weight went instead to a 'rear vestibule', a drop-down panel for access to space beneath the fly on the opposite side from the door. Pretty handy little shoe closet/water cooler. Useful indeed when the main vestibule is just about pack-sized. You won't be cooking under cover unless you pack a tarp.
The two end pegs hold the whole thing up. The poles are just hoops, end-to-end tension is required. Tight sturdy pitch is not difficult. I did, however, notch a stick to put between the tent-body grommet and the fly grommet at the nose, because the fly has a tendency to sag into the netting there in heavy rain. Just drip prevention, never was a problem. (The included stakes were, as seems usual, unnecessarily heavy and replaced.)
Ventilation is excellent, and I camp in damp. The walls are mesh right to the bathtub floor, and the two high vents in the fly let all the moisture out. Downside: had I taken this winter camping, I'd have had to modify the walls by putting fabric over the lower mesh. Rain didn't blow under the fly, but snow would.
The Spitfire held up well to windy rainstorms, and was very pleasant to be stormbound in. The ceiling is 3'4" high, the sit-up space is about five feet long. The floor is measured at 9' long, but the pointy ends take up a couple of feet of that (good storage spots, though). Very easy entrance and exit, the door is pretty much the entire side of the tent.
It's a lot of comfortable living room, for just over $100, in a package that measures about 6" by 16" and weighs 2lbs 6oz!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $120
Good lightweight ultra-affordable hiker's solution. A few luxury extras, and very little to detract from it.
- Low cost
- Requires SO MANY stakes
- Splatter in heavy rains up at the head end
- ZERO storage space in vestibule
So the weight is nothing, the simplicity is great, and the weather-readiness is pretty good.
The "vestibule" is NOT storage-sufficient for anything other than a frizbee and coffee mug. Really????? Dunno what other reviewers said they "store" out there ... but, I put everything inside (65L Osprey pack, boots, etc. ... and I'm 6' / 180lbs) and was snug but fit fine. I tied out the fly as far as possible, and there just isn't really space in there. You can put a couple things, but not much.
They could make the bathtub bottom sides a little higher up at the head end. I took it on a VERY VERY rainy outing to Mt. Cabot in the Whites to try it out after I seam-sealed it. Quite pleased. But this thing is a SERIOUS stake hog. Wow ... I was staking ... and staking ... and staking ... and staking ...
You get the point. I recommend packing it with fly pre-attached, so if you pitch it in the rain, you can maintain its otherwise pretty good water integrity. Like I said, but for the splash-overs up at the head end, darn nice and effective for but a mere 3lbs. And for the price, impossible to beat.
For perspective, this was a lightweight alternative to my 9lb Rolls Royce, a Marmot Swallow ... so -- take that as the delta from which I'm coming. The Marmot is roomy, awesome vestibule, fast setup, free-standing, etc. etc. And this Spitfire is still a suitable alternative. I was surprised at how little I was "giving up".
When I bought this tent a few years ago I thought "just a cheap tent, I might get a season out of it then get something better," but for the price this is a superb tent. Lightweight, Ray Charles could set it up.
Nothing has ripped, and I haven't exactly went easy on it. For the price, I can't say enough good about it.
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $85
Writing this review for my backpacking buddy steve.
- 3 lbs
- easy setup
- side entrance is nice
- if you're over 6 ft might not be the tent for you
I don't own this tent but my buddy steve does. He loves this tent. Lite, been through lots of rain with no problems, easy side entrance, tent height tall enough to sit up.
On our last trip to the Smokies a guy staying at our backcountry campsite said he had owned a Spitfire years before that was so old the Eureka logo had faded from the sun where you couldn't read, it but the tent was still going strong, thanks.
Price Paid: $60
I used to backpack with a hammock for a shelter, but after it had a major equipment failure, I decided to switch to a solo ultralight style tent.
I went with the Spitfire for several reasons.
1. Price was easy on my budget and very affordable.
2. Material is lightweight and durable. My total carry weight is 2 lbs.
3. Quick and easy setup, with minimal accessories required.
4. Compactness was small and suitable for my smaller pack.
5. Reviews were agreeable and very favorable.
I have used it since I switched from the hammock style and really love it. The Spitfire does not have a condensation problem. It is very breathable. The room inside is perfect for one person, but on the tight side for two persons. It will work but I guess that is why it is called a solo tent. Spitfire does come in a two person model, however. The two person model is a little heavier and wider.
The footprint of the Spitfire is consistent with the outline of a person, plus has the room to stow a little equipment to keep out of the elements. So I would have to say this tent does very well with my requirements.
When setting up, it is up and ready in less than 2 minutes. The setup is great, easy, and with minimal effort.
All in all, I would highly recommend this tent to anyone wanting to solo backpack or camp.
Ease of Setup: fast, easy, no-brainer set-up
Weight: 3 pounds
Price Paid: 100.00
I bought this over the winter months and waited until last weekend to get out and give it a try. I must admit I was unsure of the amount of ventilation this thing has, especially when the night I stayed in it it was only 48 degrees, and about 25 mph winds. I figures I would be cold from the gusts coming under the rain fly, but surprisingly, I never felt the wind!! And with the vent on top, there was no moisture trapped inside either!!
I love this thing for backpacking, and will probably only sleep in a hammock when backpacking, if I don't bring this along!!
Price Paid: $80
First of all, I picked up the Spitfire 1 for $80. That's not bad for a ultralight solo tent, thus explaining why I bought it.
I've camped in it in all weather except heavy snow. It kept out water in a heavy downpour, except for one spot. It leaked where the hold open for the rain-fly vent is sewn through the fly. A heavy dose of seam sealer should do the trick.
(Always seam seal your tent, even if it is advertized as already seam sealed.) The "bathtub" bottom design kept everything else dry.
This tent is fairly easy to set up with some practice. The vestibule is very small, though. A backpack can barely fit in this space. I am 6'-2" and I just fit into this tent. Anyone taller than this could have problems.
This is my second year using this tent and I can say nothing bad about it. Sets up and takes down easy, kept me dry and warm in some pretty bad weather and was able to accommodate me and my 105 pound, 30 inch tall Doberman...he's a tent hog and yes it was cramped.
For the price you can't go wrong with this tent. I use this tent backpacking and need to keep weight down. If I take only the two pegs needed on the ends for set up the weight is down to 3 lbs, 2 ozs.
I've looked at hammocks and other tents and have yet to find a lighter, better alternative.
Price Paid: $80
You just can't beat this tent for the price. Super easy to set up, relatively roomy inside for an ultralight, and nice high ceiling.
The only thing I don't like is the smaller vestibule. I can fit my pack and boots under it, but just barely. I got nicer stakes from REI, but the ones included are okay.
Design: Three-Season Non Freestanding
Ease of Setup: Very Easy
Weight: 2lb 12oz
Price Paid: $80
I found this tent to be quite nice. It is very light weight, very easy to set up & take down. It gives adequate elbow room so you don’t get that closed in feeling unlike some solo tents that are very narrow.
The ventilation is more than adequate but when the wind blows it doesn’t blow in on you so you won’t get a draft on those chilly nights fall nights. The vestibule area is small but usable and there is room on both sides of the tent that can be used.
The tent without guy lines needs 8 stakes and has 4 guy line anchors. You only need 2 stakes to set up and use. I also doesn’t need much space to set up the tent so it won’t be to tough finding some place in between 2 tree roots or rocks.
Easy To Set Up
You need to seam seal the lower perimeter seam that attaches to bottom to the tent body.
In the end I am very happy with this tent.
Ease of Setup: easy
I bought the Eureka Spitfire and have been very happy with it so far. Like all of the one person tents there is not a lot of extra space and I would not recommend it for someone much over 6 ft. I'm 6'1" and think that is about the max for its size.
The vestibule is not as large as the distributor would like you to believe, but when the weather hit I had no problem storing my pack and other gear in it. It was just a little tight. There is a little extra room inside next to my bag for a few things and plenty of room to sit up and change cloths. I've had it in some very wet and cold conditions without any condensation problems.
Last October on a pack trip it had rained most of the day then cleared off after the sun went down and the temps dropped hard and fast. When I woke up in the morning the entire outside was frozen over like an igloo and our water bottles that were left out had frozen solid but the one stored in the vestibule was still drinkable. I have not had it out in a really bad snow but I think that its design and sturdiness should hold up well.
If you shop around the net you can usually find them for $60-80. You can find better tents, but for the money I think this one is an excellent choice.
Design: Hooped tunnel
Ease of Setup: Vey easy, but inner gets wet from inner first pitch
Weight: Exately 3 Lbs
Price Paid: $125
Great and stable well vented little tent. With added guylines it takes pretty much weather, though not for winter. Would have been fine with access to the "rear vestibule" from the innertent. At 6'3" I'm probably taller then this tent allows. Wouldn't even give the stakes to the children! If this tent was just GREEN it could have been my favorite summer shelter. At least it's not yellow.
Update: May 28, 2011
I'm afraid I'll have to admit that I'm a tent collector, so I have just purchased the Spitfire 2011 in addition to the original (2006) (I even own the Spitfire Solo Sul - God forbid that tent!).
The Spitfire Solo has several "improvements" for 2011. The new green/rust color is almost suitable for stealth camping (excluding all unnecessary reflective parts) the folded length of the poles is reduced dramatically to just 14 inches, there is now zipped access to the rear vestibule from inside the tent, and the supplied V-pegs are actually usable. The weight has increased by 3 ounces, so the tent, fly and poles weighs 3 lb 3 oz (pre-pegs and various bags).
I love this little tent that has the potential to become a true classic of all time, and would probably buy it in an ultra-light version too. Just NOT the Eureka Spitfire Solo SUL, which with its corner struts threatening to puncture the fly at any time, is a design disaster!
Design: three-season, solo tent
Weight: 3.4 with all accoutrements
Price Paid: $109
Weight-savings goes without saying. Packability very competitive with all other tents of this type. A breeze to setup, even in the dark. Not self-supporting! Must set up in an area where you can place head/foot stakes, or at least tie-down with a few rocks. the tension from these stakes provides your 3rd dimension of support(longitudinal axis). Recommend setting feet into the wind for best results.
Holds up to heavy rain, and light sleet and snow without batting an eye. The ventilation provided by the mesh screen serves to diffuse your body heat very well, however, in the colder weather plan appropriately with your sleeping system. No issues with noise such as flapping, whistling, or clacking of clips in high winds. Watertight integrity of the rainfly is excellent. Zippers and fabric are extremely resilient for their apparent light-weight construction.
Although a little cozy, it is spacious enough to accommodate my 6'/190lb. frame, plus my 75lb. shepherd. Plenty of headroom. Lacks a vestibule area so I chose to keep my pack inside and utilize as a headrest.
I recommend this tent to anyone conducting solo camping who desires to keep packing weight to a bare minimum while still enjoying the luxury of a reliable tent.
Design: Three season solo
Ease of Setup: Quick and easy
Weight: 2 lbs
Price Paid: $79
This is a great solo tent with lots of room. Very light! Quick and easy to set up and break down. What’s nice about this tent is that I can set up and get dressed; eat, etc. inside the tent. The tent has a very large opening to enter and exit. The vestibule is big enough to cover my pack, boots, and other gear at night. I looked for a long time for this tent...I already own a Eureka tent that has served me well...Now I have two that are serving me well.
Design: not free standing utralight solo
Ease of Setup: very easy
Weight: 3lbs, 4 oz
Price Paid: $89
This is my 3rd Eureka tent, smallest of them all, 3.25 lbs. Perfect for solo. Many nights camped in Allegany Natl Forest, Pa.
Very water tight, easy to set up, roomy for a solo. ample head room to sit up and read. Ventilations is superb. Performed equally well in hot and cool seasons. Held up to 50-60 mph winds along the Kinzua reservoir. Even camped in the snow, 25% weekend.
Design: three season hoop
Price Paid: $90
Awesome tent. I have used it in the rain, snow, ice, you name it and this tent holds up. Very light and super ventilated. I was able to quickly set it up even in 6 inches of snow. Not too much space inside, just enough for me and I am 5'11", but if you are going light it is a good pick.
Design: three-season rectangular
Ease of Setup: super easy
Weight: 3 pounds
If you're less than 6' tall, like ample peak height, quick setup, easy in and out, good ventilation, and are on a tight budget, take a close look at the Spitfire 1.
I've used one for 4 years on long bicycle tours. Set up and taken down a 100 times. Been thru strong wind, heavy rain, and hail. No significant problems. Very durable.
Vestibule space is small so I bring bike bags inside. Tight but it works. Have also cooked inside when weather was awful. Minimal set up requires only two stakes.
Ease of Setup: typical: non-freestanding set up
Weight: 3 lbs
Great value, light, sturdy, water tight. I find it hard to believe that a previous reviewer shared it w/ his Siberian Husky, as I found it barely adequate for my 6' 0" 190 lb. body. Had to hang my backpack on a tree, because in spite of Eureka's claim, there is NO vestibule. The fly fits quite close to the tent body, which makes dry entry/exits when raining impossible. I would gladly tote an extra 6 ounces for a vestibule.
Ease of Setup: fairly easy
Weight: just over 4 pounds w/fly and stuff sack
Price Paid: $100 (Cdn)
I bought this tent to use while bicycle touring so size and weight were my main concerns. I'm pretty satisfied with the tent as it came as advertised. It is however quite tiny and at 6'1" I'm at the absolute maximum height I feel would be comfortable in this tent. Also, the vestibule is so tiny as to be almost non-existent. I kept a pair of shoes, a bottle of wine and a box of cereal in it but there is no way it could fit my saddlebags let alone a large pack. Aside from that, small light and sturdy. Kept me dry. Solid tent.
Design: three-season freestanding solo
Ease of Setup: Very easy set-up. Can be put up with as little as two stakes. 4 for all practical purposes.
Weight: Packs small and light.
Price Paid: $100ish
Great little tent, especially for the $$$. Great ventilation (perhaps even a bit much at times). It's small, but no smaller than it's competitors. Nice head height allows changing inside. Should come with lighter stakes, but that is a small complaint and easy fix. I've slept facing both ways and they both work well. It's nice to have the netting inside and the separate fly as no matter what amount of condensation or icing you may have, you never actually touch the fly.
Highly recommended solo tent.
Ease of Setup: Very easy
I have been using this tent for about two years now. It has not let me down yet. I am 6-01 and I fit just fine. In fact the last trip I went on I brought my Siberian Husky along. he stayed inside the tent at nights right beside me. Not recommended if your dog is not trained very well. Held up fine in some serious wind and snow.
Price Paid: $78.95
I own two Eureka! tents - The Spitfire 1 for backpacking and a Tetragon 9 for short family outings. I am well satisfied with both tents, no real problems with either of them.
If I had to say anything negative...very minor cosmetic flaw on the Spitfire which doesn't affect performance, and the tent stakes they send are cheap ,but no worse than what you get with other tents.