The first tent I ever bought for myself was manufactured by Eureka. That was a long time ago. So when Eureka asked me to review one of their lightweight tents, the Eureka Solo Spitfire Tent, I was intrigued. Eureka is not the first brand that springs to mind, when you think of lightweight camping tents and shelters. But the fact that they have products that target this segment, must mean that ultralight backpacking is well on its way to going mainstream.
The factory weight of the Spitfire is just under 3 lbs and contains the following components:
- Inner tent (19 oz)
- 8 Aluminum tent stakes and a silnylon sack (5.4 oz)
- DAC Featherlite Poles and silnylon sack (9.3 oz)
- Rain Fly and silnylon sack (17.5 oz)
The Spitfire’s inner tent is pretty nice. It has a seam-taped bathtub floor and provides extensive ventilation. It is held up by a pair of very lightweight DAC featherlite poles that easily clip to the inner tent and are inserted into side grommets. The inner tent has a substantial amount of headroom so you can sit up in it. It also has an inner pocket for storing gear and a flashlight loop that you can use to hang an LED lantern or to keep a light handy at night. Nice touches.
The only issue I have with the inner tent is that it’s just about 6 feet long and a bit too short for comfort. Both the head and the feet areas come to narrow points and barely fit a 6 foot person, making the shelter best for a shorter person or a child.
To finish setting up the tent, you cover it with a rain fly that clips to the tent stake loops. It’s made out of a very heavy silnylon fabric that covers all of the fantastic ventilation provided by the inner tent and doesn’t provide that much extra gear storage area in return. It can be rolled up to provide some ventilation, but only on one side of the tent, preventing cross-breezes. In addition, there is a bivy like window on top of the fly that you can prop open to allow some venting even in heavy rain. It’s an unusual touch on such an inexpensive tent.
Priced at under $125, I have to admit that I’m impressed by certain aspects of the Spitfire. It is incredibly easy to set up and well made. My only gripe beside the fact that it’s too short for me is the outer fly which I think you’d be better off tossing. Instead, I’d use the inner tent as a luxurious bug bivy under a lighter weight silnylon tarp. Tied to hiking poles or surrounding trees, a sub 10 oz. tarp would make the ventilation in the inner tent more effective and provide much more gear storage area in the event of rain.
Disclosure: Eureka provided SectionHiker.com with a complementary Spitfire tent for this review.
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