Texsport Knollwood Bivy Shelter
I was in a situation where I was kind of broke but really wanted to go backpacking in the Texas Dessert. My husband scoffed when he saw what a cheap crappy tent I bought, but the reviews were not bad and I painstakingly seam sealed it like everyone suggested so I was feeling ok about my purchase.
When I arrived in Texas I realized I forgot the poles in Seattle. I went to the only sports store in town because they said they could fit it for new poles, but when I brought in the tent I got a "oh.. I don't think we can help you. At all." I have no idea what they were expecting to see but I got pissed.
I'm a fabricator by trade so I went to Home Depot and made my own damn polls out of 1/4" irrigation PVC and double nosed barb connectors. So $7 later I had custom ultralight poles.
The first night I was camping I huge windstorm hit. The wind was blowing in every direction as far as I could tell so I set up between two hearty looking bushes and tied out both ends of the tent to the bushes. I also staked out all the corners and the rain fly, then crawled inside and hoped for the best.
The wind was so loud and shaking the tent so hard I couldn't sleep at all. I felt like a fool and thought the tent was going to be in shreds in no time, but she held up. The wind didn't fully die down until the next night so I spent almost 24 hours just sitting in the tent waiting for the wind to stop. The fact that it was tall enough to sit up in was a HUGE plus!
I finished my 5 day trip with no equipment problems at all. There were a lot of sharp rocks on the ground and the tent bottom is thin so ground cover is pretty necessary if you want the tent to last.
I purchased this tent on eBay, although several catalogs sell them. http://www.sportsmansguide.com sells under the name of Guide Gear. http://www.cheaperthandirt.com sells the tent under the Texsport name. Http://www.texsport.com is the manufacturer's web site.
Although it is billed as a two-person tent I would consider it to be for one. I am 5'-7" and I have just enough room to sit up at the tent's highest point. The tent allows inside room for your boots and flashlight. If you have a small pack 3000 cubic inches or less you could squeeze it inside. The tent manufacturer recommends using a seam sealer, which I purchased from REI. The first time out it rained and I only had one leak and it was a small spot I had missed. So it is waterproof.
The tent has a rain cover that rolls back so you can star gaze through the mesh. The cover does its job in the rain. The drawback to the top being all mesh is that the tent gets cold in the winter. I was warm in my bag at 38 degrees and the tent did add some warmth, but it makes a better warm or warmer weather tent. Snow would not be supported very well by the rain fly. A vestibule would also be a plus for storage but, you will need to spend more money for that.
Overall for the money it is a well made tent. It is light enough for backpacking and ease of setup makes it a snap to put up at dusk. The tent stakes are a little cheap so I have upgraded to a better set. In a pinch you could use as little as two stakes in the front and tie the back line to a tree. It is almost freestanding.
If you purchase one you won't be disappointed.
Design: Fiberglass Shockcord Poles and Stakes
Ease of Setup: 5min set up / easy
Price Paid: $30 to $40
i had this tent on a geology club summer trip and we camped in various spots. before going on the trip i took special care to seal up all the seams with water sealant and the tent survived some rain (although it wasn't a terribly heavy rain) without getting a drop in it. we were also snowed on during the trip and my tent held up firm under the light snowpack and even did better than some of the more expensive tents on the trip.
another thing i would like to mention is that while camping in park creek, colorado, we experienced heavy winds almost nonstop one day. there were huge gusts that were God knows how fast. (one of our lightweight tables literally took off and flew a short distance.) they were so heavy that my tent was layed flat by the buffeting winds countless times (and i mean flat poles banding and everything).
while camping there we lost three eureeka tents, two with fiberglass poles due to the poles breaking and one with aluminum poles due to excessive bending. however, my tent survived unscathed and i was able to use it at the next site. it is due to this that i believe that either texsport has fixed the pole breaking problem with the tent or that if your poles break that you have probably done something wrong in the way you pitched it.
this is a great tent. it held out rain and snow but is not too slick on holding out the wind, but this can be significantly reduced if you wire down the side flaps and try and pitch the tent facing in the direction of the prevailing winds. i would call this tent a 3-4 season but would not call it a two-man as the package says.
Design: pipe tent
Ease of Setup: fairly easy if not roping a lot down for winds or weather
Weight: about 3 pounds
Price Paid: 44$
I hike with a Hennessy Hammock for myself, and got this to have as a second shelter I can hook friends up in an effort to get more of my buds out hiking without sinking a bunch of cash into it up front. It has totally blown my expectations for the cash.
This tent will sleep two. It is cozy and tight as such. However, it is as light as just about any one-man shelters out there, and gives more room than any others. I find it to be quite versatile that way.
When treated with due care, this tent is so wildly worth its very moderate price. It is as light as they advertise it is (a bit over 3 pounds for everything). When seem sealed and silicone sprayed it does as well in rain as tents literally ten times its price do.
When I say due care, I refer to several specifics: one is the water-proofing mentioned above. Another is the care for the poles, which are certainly strong enough and simply need to be treated as fragile. A little of extra time and soft hands in set-up will assure a long life for these as well. For me, I would rather have poles of this nature that need greater care in set-up/tear-down, as opposed to others which take more weight in my pack.
Finally care has to be taken in set-up location with respect being given especially to wind/rain direction. Frankly these are items that should be taken into consideration with any shelter I have found though.
I added to its set-up a super thin .7 mil plastic footprint (simply a cheap paint drop sheet cut to size). This increased the weight negligibly and has given added protection from wear, and ground condensation.
Ease of Setup: Take your time with the poles, they should last.
Weight: 3 pounds
Price Paid: $28
I bought this tent new from Amazon for the crazy price of 25$. I figured I had nothing to loose. For 3 lbs and 2 people, this is by far the best deal you will find anywhere. Most tents for 2 people are 4-5 lbs and will still set you back 100-200$ on sale.
This tent is a squeeze for two people, so don't plan on using it unless you're prepared to get close to the other person. Most other tents with these dimensions consider themselves solo tents, but two people do fit. It didn't rain so I can't comment on that aspect of the tent (you must seam seal it yourself).
I used this 4 night backpacking in the wilderness. We did notice condensation when we had it all zipped up, when we slept with the rainfly off (since it wasn't raining) there was no condensation. You can also leave the front door unzipped with the no see um zipped and that also takes the condensation down to very minimal.
It's super fast and easy to set up. It seemed to be rather durable--even with me stepping on the zipper a few times it didn't break nor did the poles (i heard bad reviews of the poles breaking).
Overall for the price and weight this the best deal. However, considering the price, I wouldn't be surprised if it falls apart after several weeks in field- but for the causal user who will prolly only pack out a few nights a year, it should do just fine.
I am getting a new tent because I am going super ultralight and want to get a 2 lb tent. To save the extra pound i will be paying 250$ more then what i paid for this tent so you see what a deal it is.
Design: 3 season bivy
Price Paid: 25$
Their customer serves doesn't read their e-mail BUT if you call them with a broken pole (only problem I've had), their response is, "Which one? ...Name? ...Address? Phone number just in case?... Okay we'll send you a new pole right away." Given that I have nothing that indicates when I bought it, and I have abused it, that's not half bad.
The stakes are very easy to lose in the dark (note to Texsport: Black is not the ideal color for tent stakes) and marginal for holding the rear guy line. Nothing that can't be fixed for a couple bucks at WalMart or a couple more at your favorite outdoor store.
It WILL sleep two six foot tall people -- though two ridge rests overlap at the foot -- with enough space left over for boots (all other gear has to go outside so bring a trash bag for you pack if you're expecting rain).
Great ventilation, excellent for bug free star gazing with the fly rolled back.
No more than a drop or two of rain has leaked in (through the zipper) since I seam sealed it. No problems with wind, hail or light snow, though it is VERY drafty in the cold (the down side of all that ventilation).
The bottom line:
It's half the quality of a good Ultralight backpacking tent for an eighth the price. If you want to blow $200+, the folks at tarptent.com (among others) will sell you something much better, but you're willing to settle for adequate, can't beat the value of the Knollwood.
Design: three-season bivy
Ease of Setup: easy
Price Paid: $25
Had this tent for several years. It's lightweight and easy to set up.
You do need to seal it every year if you use it much and you need some sort of ground cloth/footprint to protect the bottom. The one time I used it without sealing it well for the season, I got wet. Upstate New York, near Niagara, mid-July, sudden downpour and it leaked through the front zipper, which I had forgotten to seal!
Other than that, it's a good, inexpensive, lightweight shelter, which will sleep two adults fairly comfortably. (I will qualify that by saying that the one time I did share the tent it was with another woman in our group. Two men would probably find it uncomfortably snug.)
So, overall, if you take the time to seal it well, it is a great tent that packs light and costs very little. Since I now camp mostly with my kids, I have passed it on to my nephew who shares it quite comfortably with his dog, his pack and gear.
One bit of advice for backpacking: The bag it comes with is long and a little bulky so, to save space and a little weight, ditch the bag it comes with and get a small stuff sack for the tent and stakes and cary the poles separately in their bag.
Price Paid: $35
Went for a week's long hike in the Cascades. Rained every single day....at least an inch a day. Set it up with a mind for rain direction and direction of ground flow. Never got a drop uh rain on me...can't do that? Spend $200 on a fool's tent.
Update: July 17, 2008
Used this tent for a full month in the rainy cascades. It worked just fine BUT...the poles split..used duct tape..wrapped the tape around the poles..and after that they worked just fine. Probably increased the weight by half a pound. This is water repellent..not waterproof..used a full can of silicon water repellent on the seams...
This is a cheap tent...don't place the opening against the wind in rainy conditions...with a little care I stayed very dry and had the satisfaction of explaining to my fellow campers how I had more room and was just as dry as they were in their Mont-something $300 tents.
Twice I came to the tent and found about an ounce of water on the floor...and that was due to my bad placement. A great tent at the price...you just need to be a bit more careful with placement and waterproofing
Ease of Setup: easy
Weight: 3 pounds 4 ounces
Price Paid: $29.95
I had to go backpacking with a venture crew from Boy Scout training during my Wood Badge.
We set up this tent DRY in the pouring rain. The top fly covers it perfectly while in set up.
Downside. My pole at the foot snapped under very little stress, when a fellow Wood Badger put the clip in the wrong place and I didn't check it myself. After it stopped raining I went to make adjustments to the basic rectangle and when I pulled on the back corner...bam...it snapped. I will call for a replacement, but have gotten NO answer to e-mail.
Unfortunately, the foot pole is 1/4 " and not a standard size to find in the stores or online. Even in the link to Knollwood replacement rods, it is listed as 3/8". Does it go by diameter? Or circumference? One would assume diameter. (but one could be oh, so wrong)
Soon as I get a replacement, my son and I will try this tent again at a fall retreat with scouts.
Good tent. Great price. Only one better for the weight and design space is the 6 Moon tent that uses your hiking pole.
Design: warmer weather, needs a stake and guy at end
Ease of Setup: easy
Price Paid: $26
This tent suits my needs perfectly. It's small enough to fit on my motorcycle to get away for a two person weekend camping trip. I wouldn't rate it lower if I got rained on, because it's not a rain tent. The nicest feature is the rollback 'roof' for a screen net covering...perfect for sleeping under the stars.
The pole in the back DID break. However, one call to Texsport and the very friendly customer service rep immediately sent a new set of poles to my house in time to camp the following weekend. No charge. He informed me that the company is aware of the relative weakness of the smaller poles used on this model, (and the fact that common repair kits do not fit) and will replace them at will.
Excellent customer service, great tent. They have a customer for life.
Falls short of five stars because I would really like a tent that packs small enough to fit on my bike, yet is big enough that I can comfortably change my clothes in. (Something at least 5 feet tall inside...I'm 6'2".)
Design: Two pole, two person, shelter tent
Ease of Setup: super easy
Weight: 3lbs or less
Price Paid: $33
Pros: Price, lightweight.
Cons: Needs to be waterproofed, very lightweight stakes.
I bought it when hiking in Tennessee paid $39.95 at an outfitter store. My only concern at the time was weight. The tent performed great on a 7 day hike. It is a great hiking tent; however do not overlook the manufacture assembly instructions on waterproofing. I used a seam sealer and a spray on silicone sealer, no leaks.
Unless you are very familiar with your sleeping partner, I would not consider this a 2-person tent. If you are using sleeping pads forget getting two inside this tent. The stakes that come with the tent are very lightweight. I kept the stakes but found it better to invest in some extra cord and tied the tent down with 4 rocks, worked great and no added expense or weight of heavier stakes.
When my wife and son need a tent for hiking I shopped around and found this tent at Sportsmen's Guide for under $20 dollars. We now own three. I would definitely recommend this tent to anyone.
Design: Three-season backpacking
Ease of Setup: Very simple
Price Paid: $19.99
This tent did great the first time that I took it out. I was on the AT in Virginia and had to deal with high winds through the trip (up to 60 mph) and it did great. Then the next time I took it out I noticed that some of the threads were coming out. Later that night it rained but not even an inch. The next moring there were three large puddles inside. It was definitely worth the little money I paid for it, but I am going to pay the extra money for the next tent.
Design: 3-season bivy
Ease of Setup: easy
Weight: 3 pounds
Price Paid: $30
After reading several reviews about the Knollwood, I set it up before a rainstorm came. Afterward I inspected, it was filled with water. So I seam sealed it carefully and tried again, this time no water. I always carry a section of 1 mil. plastic when I am expecting rain, that has worked well on my last trip, I was completely dry. I like the feature that allows you to view the sky with the top rolled back on clear nights.
Design: Bivy Tent (2 Person)
Ease of Setup: Very easy
Weight: 3 lbs.
Price Paid: $ 25
Well I guess you really get what you paid for with this "shelter." I just spent a miserable rainy night in one of these last weekend. Waking up at 3 a.m. lying in a puddle is no fun. The rainfly leaked and water seeped in through the floor. This was after I used three cans of Camp-Dry on it. I'll go back to my $20 Wal-Mart kids tent. At least the Wal-Mart tent will keep me dry.
The best tent by far for the money! You can't beat a two-person tent with a pack weight of less than three pounds. Most other two person tents will cost a hundred dollars or more and weight over six pounds. Plus, this is a great tent even for the rain. The only downside is the setup time, but after you do it a couple of times it takes no time.
Weight: 2-3 Pounds
Price Paid: $25
I had a similar problem; the fiberglass shock pole at the foot of the tent snapped (the inner shock cord broke) and I can't find an e-mail address for them. The instruction pamphlet that came with the tent lists their Customer Service phone number as 800-231-1402, Mon-Fri 8-5 CDT. I will give them a call tomorrow and see what happens.
Design: lightweight bivy tent
Ease of Setup: easy
Weight: minimal. 1-2 lbs max
Price Paid: $27
I have Texsport Knollwood Bivy Shelter tent. The tent itself is fine. Is lightweight for backpacking.
But I used the tent two times and the pole at the foot shattered. They sent me a new set of poles. I used the pole at the foot of tent one time and the same thing happened.
Fiberglass shockpole at the foot of the tent split in two sections while on a canoe trip. E-mailed Texsport on two occasions in an attempt to get a replacement part, but have had no reply to my e-mails. Currently trying to find some snailmail address.
Ease of Setup: easy
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Historic Range: $29.93
Reviewers Paid: $19.99-$35.00