Review: Eureka Solitaire Tent

   05.01.17

Review: Eureka Solitaire Tent

The Eureka Solitaire is a single person, bivy style tent that is relatively inexpensive and easy to setup. The Solitaire is not a free standing tent and is held upright with two fiberglass poles, stakes, and guide wires.

Overall, I am happy with the weight, size, and design of the Eureka Solitaire.

Back in the mid-1990s I bought a Wenzel Starlite hiker tent. This was my first single person tent and was a spur-of-the-moment purchase. I was walking through Academy Sport and Outdoors in Beaumont Texas, saw the tent, and bought it.

The Wenzel Starlite hiker served me well for around 15 years. It was taken on more hiking and camping trips than I can remember. Eventually, I knew it was time for an upgrade. After shopping online for several weeks, I decided to go with the Eureka Solitaire.

Eureka Solitaire Specifications

  • Center height 28 inches.
  • Weight 2 pounds 9 ounces.
  • Length 96”
  • Width 32”
  • Height 28”
  • Two layers – rain fly and mosquito net.
  • Single person.

Entry is by two ways:

With the rain fly rolled back, the mosquito netting unzips so you can simply step into the tent.

There is also an entry point in the front of the tent. Put your feet in first and scooch into the tent.

First Impressions

First impressions were not very good. The floor felt very thin and the fiberglass poles seemed like they could snap at any second. The concerns were unwarranted. After several camping trips, the floor does not have a single hole and the poles are holding solid.

Eureka Solitaire
Eureka Solitaire with the rainfly rolled back.

For my single person tents, I use a 6 by 8 foot tarp as a ground cloth, aka ground cover, aka tent footprint. Fold the tarp in half and you have a 3 by 8 foot ground cover. The double protection works very well to protect the tent floor. If bad weather is expected, the tarp can be used as an extra rainfly.

I loved that the Eureka Solitaire can fit in the bottom of my large ALICE pack.

The first time the tent was set up was in the backyard. Since there was supposed to be rain during the night, the tent was left outside. The next morning there were just a couple of drops of water inside the tent. The drops of water was not a big deal. For a tent that cost less than $100, I was expecting a few drops of water.

Hands on Experience

The Eureka Solitaire takes just a few minutes to set up. Insert the poles, pull the corners tight, and stake down.

This is a one person tent, so chances are your backpack will have to sleep outside. I camp in Southeast Texas where there is an abundance of Copperhead, Coral, and Cottonmouth snakes. Due to this, I like my pack to either stay in the tent or be suspended from the side of a tree. I have a fear of waking up in the morning, reach into my pack for breakfast, and instead of breakfast I grab a snake.



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The Bad

  • Due to the compact size of the Eureka Solitaire, I could hear the mosquitoes buzzing all night. Even though I knew the bugs were outside the netting, the constant “buzz” kept me from drifting into a deep sleep.
  • If someone has the slightest hint of claustrophobia, the Eureka Solitaire may not be for them. This is a compact and enclosed tent.
  • Not free standing.
  • Few drips of water inside after a rain.

The Good

  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Cost less than $100.
  • Fits across the bottom of a large ALICE or large MOLLE pack.
  • Mosquito and rainfly.
  • “Only” a few drips of water inside after a rain.
  • Rainfly can be rolled back for those hot summer nights.

Overall

I paid somewhere around $75 for the Eureka Solitaire, and feel I got my money’s worth. The tent kept the bugs off and kept the night time dew out.

Due to it leaking a few drips of water during a rain, the rain fly may need to be coated with an aftermarket rain repellent.

I wish the tent was available in more than one color.

The final question, would I buy the tent again? Sure I would. I feel that I got what I paid for.


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