Eureka! Timberlite 3
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Cheap from the Factory Outlet
This tent has served me well for over 15 years. I've taken it backpacking, kayaking, and camping from the car. It's very roomy for 2 people and gear.
- Very roomy for 2 people.
- Very easy to set up with 1 or 2 people.
- Well designed.
- They don't make it anymore
Over the last 15 or so years I've taken this tent on many adventures. It should show how great of a tent this is simply that I'm writing a review due to how much I love the tent. They haven't made it in years, and you probably can't buy it anymore. It has gotten me through thunderstorms, and frost.
I chose the Timberlite because it was modeled after a tent I was very familiar with the Timberline series of tents. All the Boy Scout troops in my area used the Timberline due to its ease of use and durability.
This tent is very easy to set up. I can set it up alone faster than others could set up their tents with 2 people. This tent was one of the lightest tents on the market at the time, and I still use it backpacking.
This past weekend, I decided to try roughing it. To save weight, I just brought the rain fly, and ground tarp. I ended up finding two sticks, to use as poles, and just staked the rain fly down on the corners. This got me through first night just fine.
The next night I was in an area too rocky to use stakes, and I just put rocks on the corners. Surprisingly this got me through the storm that came up that night. Before it rained, the winds were 15-25mph, and everything held up fine. Then it rained pretty steady all night. When I woke up in the morning everything was completely dry.
I'm sure I'm going to get another 5-10 years out of it, so I'll write more then.
Design: three-season freestanding
Ease of Setup: very easy
Weight: 5-6 pounds I think
I have had this tent for over 15 years. My wife and I have used it extensively while kayak touring. It is fast to set up, easy to set up and is very roomy for 2-people.
On our last kayak trip, my wife took a queen sized air mattress for the ultimate comfort, and it fit nicely inside. Never had a problem with condensation inside. I also like that it is free standing, so it is easy to clean out by picking it up and dumping out the dirt.
The Timberlite 3 has held up well to just occasional use. I can't vouch for the waterproofing of the tent, fortunately, we never ran into bad weather.
Design: Three-season freestanding
Ease of Setup: Fly tensioning system awkward
The Timberlite 3 was long the lightest, cheapest roomy tent for two persons. Then it was redesigned with heavier and, I assume, more uv resistant fly and floor material.
To keep the weight down the vestibule, which is thankfully now one piece with the fly, was made smaller by eliminating the ridge pole for the vestibule, thereby losing a lot of headspace and cubic volume. And the fly was made smaller and no longer comes close to the ground, especially at the four corners, allowing a driving rain to penetrate the inside tent wall.
Likewise with the vestibule: it no longer comes down to the ground, leaving gear unprotected. The old vestibule had short floor flaps attached to bottom edges of the walls, allowing you to stuff the vestibule to bulging with packs, etc. Not so anymore.
Another unfortunate change: at the four corners the fly is buckled to the bathtub floor in such a way that tensioning is awkward, especially on uneven ground, which is usually the case in backwoods situations.
I was excited to learn that this new version of my old favorite was on the market--until I recently saw it in action for 10 days in Algonquin Park, hence my remarks. What a shame. Now I'm beating the bushes for the next great three (really two) person tent.
Design: 3 Season A-Frame
Ease of Setup: Very Easy, My tent is always the first one set up.
Price Paid: $135
I bought the Eureka Timberlite 3 tent about 4 years ago. I have used it all over and I have never had a problem with the tent leaking. Once I was in a rainstorm on the beach in Padre Island, Texas. I thought the tent was going to blow away. The rain fly was flapping loud all through the night, but everyone stayed dry. The tent is a little small to be called a 3 person tent, but it works well with 2 people and extra gear. During the rain storm I had to fit 4 people in the tent because my friend's tent had been leaking. Overall it has been very durable. The zippers, mosquito netting and other hardware have held up very well. No complaints. Once again, it has been extremely easy to set up (even in the dark).
Design: Freestanding 3 season A-frame
Ease of Setup: Very easy
Weight: Appx. 8 lbs.
This tent performed very well in all categories for its style of tent except in strong winds. I pitched this tent on a wilderness beach and later on a chickee (raised wooden platform) in the Everlgades in 25 mph winds with higher gusts. I thought that the frame might break until I finally had the fly in place and additional guy lines tied to the top of the frame. Another paddler on the other half of the chickee where I stayed had pitched his North Face Talus and it shed wind much better than the Timberlite, even without the fly in place. I wouldn't hesitate to use it again in the woods where the trees provide some wind protection, but would not recommend it for a beach or open site.
Design: 3-4 season sel supporting, lightweight,a-frame
Ease of Setup: very easy,
Weight: packweight 6lb 8oz
Price Paid: campmor $199.99
the best tent i've ever used for the type of camping i do. i camp from a motorcycle and other than the timberlite 2 (15" long packed) the tl 3 is the shortest tent i have been able to find which is very important to me. i have used this tent for 7 years both from my motorcyce and canoe and it has never leaked, of course you should seal the seams at least annually. i really can't say enough about the reliability of this tent, it has truly served me well. if and when i purchase another tent, unless someone can recommend on that is just as good and as short, i will definetly get another timberlite 3. it holds me and all my gear easily.
Design: a-frame, shorter poles in back
Ease of Setup: easy
Weight: 4 lbs
Price Paid: $198 w/ vestibule
I have owned this Timberlite 3 tent for at least 12 years. It was a special model in camoflauge that wasn't sold in stores. Unfortunately I finally bent one of the front poles and broke the tip on the ridge pole.
Does anyone know where I can find the replacements? They are both black aluminum, about 67" long, shock-corded in 5 sections. I still use tent, but the ridge pole has a temporary fix.
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