A few weeks ago I pulled my old Eureka Backcountry out for me and Claude’s upcoming trip, so I thought I would do a quick review of it while I had it out. I bought this tent around 1995, and probably haven’t actually camped with it since around 2000. It is always a good idea to pull out your gear and inspect it before a trip, especially if it has been unused for such a long time. Since I have not been on a backpacking trip in a long time, much of my gear needed inspection. More reviews to follow on that.
Set up was just like riding a bicycle. The tent is free standing, so there was no need to stake it down. There two main poles of equal length that cross in the center, and a shorter pole that supports the rain fly. The Backcountry uses clips to attach the tent to the poles, which also speeds set up. Full pole sleeves offer more support, but can be frustrating to feed the poles through. All of the poles are shock corded, with no signs of weakness.
The Backcountry is listed as a two person tent. If you are new to camping gear, that means two adults sleeping very straight and side by side. I mainly used this as a one person and his gear tent. If it came with a full coverage rain fly, I would be more willing to leave my gear outside in the vestibule under the fly. My one complaint about this tent would be the partial rain fly. I have never had an issue with rain getting in, but it would be nice to have the extra real estate outside to protect your gear.
The Backcountry features one door in the front and a window with a zipper in the back. The single door could be a problem as you may need to climb over your fellow camper in the middle of the night. It also features gear pockets at one end, and five attachment point in the ceiling for hanging items or attaching a gear loft. My younger self wisely attached a piece of paracord in the center to hang a headlamp. Unfortunately, my younger self lacked attention to detail and left the ends of the paracord frayed. This will soon be remedied. The door and window can both be rolled out of the way and secured to facilitate air movement on hot and humid days. There are several points on the fly to attach guy lines, which I took advantage of on our trip when the breeze picked up.
This is not the lightest or the smallest tent around, but I bought it at a time when funds were tight and it filled my needs.
This tent is 20 years old, and unfortunately has not seen the amount of camping it should have. Still, I was concerned that some of the materials might have deteriorated with time. My fears proved to be unfounded, as I found it just as I remembered it. The weather was kind to us on that trip, so we will have to see what happens when we are not so lucky. For now, it is like camping with an old friend.
It doesn’t look like Eureka makes the Backcountry any more, but the Apex 2XT Two-Person Tent looks very similar, with an improved fly, orange color, and two doors:
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