Some great things about this tent and some pretty…
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $70
Some great things about this tent and some pretty lousy things about this tent make it a split decision.
- Fairly lightweight (3lb 5oz)
- Easy pitch design
- Side door
- Decent vestibule size
- Narrow (28 sq ft floor)
- Some of the materials fall apart straight out of the bag
- Tent self-stands, but it's not taut
The tent is easy enough to pitch. There are two poles with segmented parts. You insert the end of the pole into the grommet in each corner. I don't have the footprint. The fly has hook clips that fit over guy cords at the corners of the tent (see pic).
The fly has (had) some underside velcro straps that are supposed to hold the fly to the poles in case of inclement weather. Unfortunately, the straps were adhered with something that had absolutely NO compatibility with whatever the underside coating is on the tent. After one use, all of the straps fell off and were lying all over the ground.
At first, I didn't know what they were. It wasn't until I tried to re-adhere one with a vinyl adhesive, that the same thing happened: it fell straight off. One would think that someone would have trail tested the tent before mass production? No dice.
Velcro straps that fell off on FIRST use.
The tent is fairly stable. I would not trust it in sustained winds of over 30 mph personally, but have not had the pleasure of testing the tent in those conditions yet.
When you pitch the tent (minus the fly), the body of the tent is free standing, but because of the design, the tent compresses slightly in the middle leaving it without outward tension if not staked out (see pic).
Slight compression in the middle if not stake out.
The crux of the entire system relies on one point at the back end of the tent. If the end of the pole is "plugged" in, the tent keeps its integrity. If detached, the tent partially collapses.
The crux point. The entire system relies on this connection
Holds out water well so far. I've been in rain several times and it's fine. The floor is one piece with no seam. This is a plus in my book.
From my experience in four seasons in this tent, is that if you guy it out, the condensation is below average. There will be a little on the interior of the fly. I flip the fly upside down in the morning and the air and sun burn off the excess moisture in a few minutes. If you guy out the bottom so the fly has room for an under breeze, things stay quite pleasant since the entire tent is screen.
Room and Storage:
The Pulsar 2 is a cramped space for two people. I use this as an alternative 1P tent when I have extra gear that I don't want to store outside. I have slept two in it a couple of times, but it's not pleasant by any stretch of the imagination. Square mats don't fit without overlap, even two tapered mats don't fit if they are larger versions. Sometimes when I go camp with my son (11) or daughter (9), two of us are still sardined. I'm 5'11" 174 lbs.
You can see that one REI basecamp & Klymit Deluxe mat pretty much fill up the whole tent. The tent did stay warm though by putting stones from the fire over some branches to radiate heat just before I went to bed.
There are two pockets on each corner of the tent.
Ease of Use:
The tent is pretty intuitive. The only setback that I had at first in setting it up was the color-coordinated poles. you are supposed to match the orange hole into the grommet with the orange tag and the gray pole into the grommet without. This feature ensures that the clip on the pole hub doesn't end up upside down (see pic below).
After two setups, it became natural.
There aren't any noteworthy features of the tent that set it apart from others. There's a small zip on the side opposite the door that you can reach your arm through to place things under a limited space under the fly when guyed out. I can't say that I've used it for anything.
Construction and Durability:
I picked up this tent from a guy that only took it out once. It still had the tags on it and smelled like it just came off of the assembly line.
The Pulsar is made of lightweight materials but it has held up in what I've thrown at it. This is the only tent that I own that doesn't have a footprint. I've pitched it in snow, rain, on rock, and grass and haven't had any leaks. I consider this my backup tent or my tent that I don't mind getting ruined so I am not that careful with it. It has done its job well so far. I've taken it on a dozen outings or more over the past four seasons and it's still going strong.
Pulsar 2 out in the 4th season.
In the end, I was amazed that a tent like this from a major company could escape the factory with parts that fall off of it on its maiden voyage. Thank goodness, the defective parts are not essential. The parts that have stayed together have done the job fine.
I'm still a bit dubious about the arc in the tent that relies on the single plug hub at the back of the tent. I tried to figure out why someone would risk the ability for the tent to work on a small hub stitched into screen.
This tent is on the small size for a 2P. If you are looking for a tent to accommodate 2P, I would consider another model. If you find this tent on sale and you are looking for a decent solo tent with extra room, I'd say pick it up.
(BTW: Vinyl repair adhesive does not work on this tent)