User Review: Walrus Swift
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $70
Lightweight, nigh bulletproof design coupled with high-quality materials and craftsmanship all add up to a stellar bargain IF you can fit inside.
- Extremely durable and well-constructed
- Extremely weather resistant (wind + rain)
- Very small when packed (even with rain fly)
- Full-length mesh for amazing sky watching
- Tent size can be an issue for those 6'+
- Tent height makes sitting up a challenge
Walrus Tents. Ahh, the glories of a simpler time.
I had been seeking out a Walrus tent for about 6 months when a 1+ person Swift popped up on eBay. New with tags still attached, it looked shiny even via the digital photos I was browsing through. I had to have it. Walrus tents were kind of like a unicorn to me — if I even spotted one in my life, I needed to try and touch it.
As did "GoGoGadgetArm77," and so a classic, early eBay-era bidding war ensued. In the end I "won," i.e. won the right to pay more than anyone else was willing for this particular tent. But I consider it one of the best gear purchases I've ever made. It was around $65-75 when all was said and done (including the standard gouging for S&H).
I have used my Swift for about 30-35 nights of camping in a variety of conditions. It has seen the most use in the BWCAW, Voyageurs N.P. & Quetico N.P. (Northern MN & Southern Ontario, respectively). Rocky terrain, sparse soil, massive lakes and long portages are all par for the course in those areas. The same goes with the potential for severe weather. With that said, I've never been wet inside of this tent.
Through thick and thin, this tent has handled it all — downpours (particularly, a 3" night over a July 4th weekend where I had standing water beneath me), windy days (Glacier N.P. where other tents were blown out of staked positions), negligent porters (mainly me dropping my pack off a small cliff — no damage!), snow flurries (6" one October eve).
This tent has one drawback (which also becomes a positive) and that is its size. A little over 6'2" long if well-staked and having the fly pulled back with guy lines, it isn't for everybody. If you can handle not being able to easily sit up if you're 6' or taller and sleeping in somewhat cramped quarters, the small stature is very wind-resistant and can tuck into some great places — beneath a low pine is one of my favorite options.
Buy any Walrus tent you can find that is in acceptable condition. Sturdy construction, great value and some nice features will be your reward. This company was eventually acquired by MSR and the build and material quality is at least as good as my MSR 3-person tent.