Eureka! Spitfire 2
A spacious one-person-and-dog to two-person tent for most conditions.
- Big doors
- Mesh inner — great for stargazing on clear nights
- Good ventilation
- No vestibule
- Not free-standing
- Kinda heavy
- Most godawful kit pegs known to man
The Eureka Spitfire 2 is my first tent. I've had it for almost four years, and in that time it has housed me for two months during a road trip across the States, hiked the John Muir trail, and been on the odd winter camping trip in arctic Norway. It's seen Sierra hail storms, windy nights in the Utah desert, windier, wetter nights (and cold ones) in the Norwegian mountains. Basically, I've tested it pretty thoroughly. So let's talk about the specifics!
The tent is a two pole hoop tent, so not free-standing, but takes a minimum of two pegs — one in either end to set up, so if you're in a hurry, two people can get it up incredibly fast. It uses velcro loops underneath and buckles on the edges to attach the fly to the inner and poles, which keeps it on securely and allows for easy adjustment to keep the fly off of the inner.
If you're not careful in placing the ends of the poles properly, the sides of the inner tent may sag somewhat. This doesn't bother me much, but may be a pet peeve for some. In loose ground, such as sand, it can be difficult to get the tent set up tautly. It takes headwind like a boss, but has been known to bow somewhat alarmingly when subjected to side wind.
I've never known the fly of this tent to get soaked through, but during a few of the storms we went through during the JMT this summer, there was some pooling on the floor (note: I don't have a groundcloth). As previously noted, it may bow somewhat, but has not been known to get blown down in wind. The vent in the crown of the tent keeps the condensation away on dry nights, but not always if it's wet or cold.
The one big drawback of the tent is that it doesn't have a vestibule. This isn't so much a problem if you're solo, which I quite often am, because there's ample headroom and space on the side for wet/cold gear. But when there're two people, the headroom just about fits two 65 litre packs and a little bit of other gear. So if you're sharing the tent, make sure that conditions are favourable! :P
It has two large doors, one on either 'long' side of the tent — nice for sharing, because you don't have to scramble around the other person to get out like a traditional tunnel tent. The tent packs up quite small, and although it is by no means ultralight, it's entirely within reason to carry as a backpacking tent for extended trips.
If you're going to get this tent, make sure that you do yourself this favour: order separate pegs (I recommend MSR Groundhogs) right from the get-go. The pegs that come with the tent are long, easily bendable, blunted on the ends, and must be made out of the same material as Thor's hammer, they're so heavy.
I'd recommend this as an all-season tent for a primarily solo traveller, with the occasional buddy and/or dog.
Source: received it as a personal gift
A solid tent that has held up to some bad weather without any issues.
- Easy to use
- Good weight
- Dual entry
- Full rainfly
- No vestibule
- Not freestanding
I was excited when I received this tent as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, I have only been able to use it twice since then.
I first set it up in my living room, and it was very easy, even though I had to use some books to hold the tent where the stakes would go, since this is not a free-standing tent. Having already set it up at home, it was a piece of cake to set up out in the wilderness.
The first two nights there were no issues at all with this tent. It breathed very well, and was roomy enough for two of us. Both the second day and the third day, it poured on us, both rain and hail. The tent stayed completely dry on the inside, except when the flaps were opened to get into the tent.
The dual entries were very nice, especially in the middle of the night if one of the occupants needs to leave the tent he/she can do so without having to climb over the other person. While there isn't a lot of extra wiggle room side to side with two occupants, there is ample space at the foot and head of the tent to put extra items, which is important since there isn't a vestibule for storage. However, this extra space isn't enough to store both backpacks, so those had to stay outside.
The head height is nice and high for a small, lightweight backpacking tent. The claimed weight of 5 pounds was pretty spot on, and this tent was very easy to pack. Split between two people, this tent is very light. For one person, it might be starting to push it, but the amount of interior space for a single person could be well worth it.
The only drawback to this tent is that it is not freestanding and there are no vestibules for additional storage.
Other than that, this is a great tent.
Design: three-season tent
Ease of Setup: easy and fast, but not freestanding
Weight: 5 pounds
Source: received it as a personal gift
Price Paid: $140
I gave her a test run on Mt Charleston NV in Oct. Cold night moderate wind and snow and she was fine. Used again for a couple of nights in Adirondacks. Some pretty good wind and rain one night and she stayed dry and stable. Earlier review tent was set up in sand so enough said there.
Backpacked up Mt Greylock and it was blowing good all night. Felt safe and comfortable. Setup about 5 minutes. I use 6 stakes for a righty tighty tent and fly. Plenty of room for adult, one dog, should be fine for two people.
This is not a double wall tent so plenty of ventilation with flaps open, good stargazing also. Roof vent pops up if you want privacy. Carries nicely on outside of pack but I prefer to carry main body and stakes inside and strap fly outside for load balancing (I am small). As with most tents buy better stakes!
Design: 3 season non free standing
Ease of Setup: Stakes out at 6 points 2 hoops
Weight: 4 lbs?
Price Paid: $105
I recently used my brand new Eureka Spitfire 2 for an outing and it performed below par.
The biggest problem was the wind. I was camping in very sandy areas and the wind was between twenty and thirty mph each night. Since this tent is not freestanding, the stakes bear the majority of the force. And since the stakes were in sand, they kept coming loose and allowing the tent to fall apart. The wind also blew plenty of sand into the tent while the fly was on.
I eventually found big rocks to put over each stake to hold the tent in place. I would recommend getting bigger stakes than the ones they supply with the tent or to just not take it camping in a desert environment.
On a positive note, this tent is very easy to setup and handled a little snow/rain storm with no leaks.
Design: three-season non-freestanding
Ease of Setup: very easy
Weight: 4 lbs
Price Paid: $130
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Historic Range: $119.96-$179.95
Reviewers Paid: $105.00-$140.00