becoming a snail, or turtle

Kate reminded me that I've been wanting to do some gear reviews for a while now, more as an attempt to keep track of all the things I love (and hate) about the outdoor gear I use than any mistaken belief that the two of you who read this blog will give a rat's @$$. This way if I ever need to replace said gear, I'll know what to look for, or avoid, the next time.

To start off this rousing bit of journalistic prowess, I'm going to write up my tent—a Eureka Mountain Pass 2XT. First off, I love my tent. I've had it for almost seven years and have used it in every season on both car camping and backpacking trips. I've taken it to a cold campground in the southern end of Nebraska in the middle of January. It's gone to Utah in November and Montana in the middle of the summer and Colorado all year 'round. Technically, it's only a 3-season, but with the right sleeping bag and if Jack Frost is in a good mood, it can be pretty comfortable in the winter.

• It's great for one person and fits two reasonably-sized adults pretty comfortably.
• The two doors for me are essential. I get up at least once every night to pee and not having to crawl over anybody to relieve my bladder is welcome by everyone involved. I imagine.
• It sets up easily in about five minutes.
• Stays really, really dry even in torrential downpours.
• It's got a ton of mesh windows for a three-season tent. If it's warm enough and dry enough, leaving the fly off and opening all the windows provides a fairly cool night.
• The two vestibules are a godsend when backpacking. Although one is smaller than the other, both are big enough for a full pack and shoes and maybe even a dog if it's small enough.
• I've never used it in a tornado, but in windy Wyoming it stayed pretty still.
• The two mesh gear pockets on the inside are perfect for glasses and headlamps.

• It's a little heavy for backpacking, weighing in at seven pounds, but if you have someone else to carry the poles, you're all set.

All in all the Eureka Mountain Pass makes an excellent home away from home. And apparently the boy scouts love it, which means it's gotta be pretty good, right?

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