The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa


So, it is time to replace my Eureka timberline 4 tent. I’ve used it 6 years and it is showing its age. Before I buy another timberline, I thought I’d ask, ‘What tent do you use?” Thanks

41 Replies

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Michrider !!!, March 3, 2013 at 2:19 pm

wrj, I have an old Timberline. However, on RAGBRAI I use PBV’s tent!!!! If I was buying, I’d go for another Eureka!


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CyclingRoberto, March 3, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Eureka. Great tent. Stays up in a storm. Customer service is great too. Mine is for four people, but I use it for myself alone. Lots of room, and goes up in 5 minutes.


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“Bicycle Bill”, March 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm

What do you mean by “it is showing its age”?  So long as it still sheds water, the seams aren’t pulling out, or the poles haven’t split (I think the T’line had corded fiberglass poles) why spend the money to replace it?



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JoeB, March 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I have a Big Agnes Lynx Pass 3. I had a Timberline 4 for many years and a Timberline 2 for a few. Both served me very well, but the Big Agnes is just awesome IMHO. The Lynx Pass has been replaced by another model but it was so well built and designed that I have migrated to their sleeping bags and pads as well.. My Lynx Pass has over 250 nights on it and 8000+ miles of living on my rear rack being set up and taken down every day and it still performs like new, looks a little less new but I see no reason to even consider another for this year’s touring season.
AND !!! a Google search will turn them up for under $150.00 since they are an “older model”. I think I might scoop up another one just to hold onto….


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wrj, March 3, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Why replace it? The rain fly is ripped and the shock cording in 1 pole broke. I know I could replace the rain fly and fix the pole for $50 or so but I’m thinking it may be time to just get a new tent instead? Thanks


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Michrider !!!, March 3, 2013 at 8:08 pm

wrj: Why replace it? The rain fly is ripped and the shock cording in 1 pole broke. I know I could replace the rain fly and fix the pole for $50 or so but I’m thinking it may be time to just get a new tent instead? Thanks

wrj, looks like you answered your own question! See you in Iowa!!!!


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Davy Sprocket, March 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm

I have a coleman 3-person waterproof that is awesome and survived the 2005? Sheldon storm without a drop getting in. I was so impressed that I actually wrote the company. I use an RV now, but I swear by that tent. I can get you the model name if you like.


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jwsknk, March 3, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Used the same eureka ten from 95 through last year. That includes the law to Dec ride. Sheldon storm turned it into an italic. A frame tent. Replaced one pole after that and reconstructed a couple others using the best pieces. The rain fly has been retreated a couple times along with the bottom. But marshalltown last year finished it. Some of the netting in one door is starting to rip along the edge. And the seam tape on the floor hasn’t held for a couple of years.


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montestaples, March 3, 2013 at 11:33 pm

I used a Eureka Tetragon for a couple years on RAGBRAI. It always leaked in a hard rain. I have used Marmot tents since. I first used a Twilight 2P then bought a Limelight 3P when my daughter went on RAGBRAI. Both of them proved to be excellent tents. They have been through some intense storms and were very stable in the wind and never leaked. The storm in Marshalltown last year blew in pretty quick so I had not added my extra storm tie downs. It still did an excellent job and I was able to tighten all 6 straps from inside the tent to firm it up a bit. I only got my hands wet. I heard that some people could not find their tents after that storm.


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lgriffin, March 4, 2013 at 8:40 am

I currently have a Marmot Thor 3P tent. This is my second Marmot tent and I doubt if I’ll ever buy anything else. The only reason this is my second is the rain fly had a problem on my first (Marmot Swallow) and couldn’t be fixed. Marmot gave me full credit for the retail price of the original tent to be used towards any other Marmot product. I upgraded in size and features at that point to the Thor 3P. It is very comfortable for my wife and I on Bike MS, OK Freewheel and RAGBRAI which are about the only times I tent camp.

I’ve been through numerous wind/rain storms and have never been wet inside the tent. The storm last year on Wednesday night sent a lot of tents flying and mine didn’t move at all and was completely dry. One night during OK Freewheel we have 60 to 70 mph winds with a torrential downpour and again, no water and it held its’ ground.

Marmot’s warranty is they will repair or replace any defective item on the tent forever. I’ve had poles get a slight bend in them. I sent them back and within 3 or 4 weeks received a new or repaired pole. The example above about getting credit for an old tent is another experience. And they never asked for a receipt or proof of purchase. As a matter of fact I purchased the Swallow off eBay brand new for about half of its’ current retail price.

Yes, you can buy less expensive tents. You could probably even spend more. But if you buy a name brand tent (Marmot, Big Agnes, North Face, Sierra Designs, etc.) they all pretty much come with this same warranty.

I do want to say that before the Marmot I had a Sierra Designs tent and it seemed to get wet inside. I’m sure they have models that don’t, but mine did.


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mootsman, March 4, 2013 at 8:46 am

The key for RAGBRAI is a tent with great ventilation. Tent fans help but I have a Eureka Sunrise 9 which has very large screen windows on all 4 sides. Plus enough room for my bike inside also so it doesn’t get covered in dew each morning.


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stuckinmizzou, March 4, 2013 at 9:15 am

Bought a Kelty Gunnison 3.1 for this year…had a 50% off coupon so got a $250 tent and $45 footprint for less than $150!


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not2old, March 4, 2013 at 10:21 am

I just purchased the Marmont Limelight 3 person tent after a lot of searching, reading reviews/comments and watching video clips. It had the features I wanted including the footprint and I found it on sale. I was leaning towards Black Diamond tents but saving money won out.


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petra, March 4, 2013 at 11:16 am

The charter I use utilized Sierra Design tents. They are very well made but do not vent very well. I really appreciated them, last year during the bad storn. None of the tents were affected at all. A good tent for RAGBRAI should have the following:
1) Easy to pitch.
2) Good ventilation without allowing rain to get in.
3) Stability in high winds.
The size is up to personal preference.


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Iceman, March 5, 2013 at 8:24 am

I have owned several tents over the years. Finally got tired of cheaping out – you get what you pay for.

Bought a Gunnison 4.2. I don’t backpack – only trips like RAGBRAI – so I have plenty of room and it is THE easiest tent to put up and take down. I especially like the two poles which are on one swivel. I still use PBV tent service if my wife goes along – there is nothing in the world which would cause me to pitch a tent with my wife “supervising.” But when I’m alone, I love that Kelty


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