Eureka Solitaire AL First Impressions

   01.25.19

Eureka Solitaire AL First Impressions

The Eureka Solitaire has been around for a long time.  My personal Solitaire is close to ten years old and has been used on several camping trips here in Southeast Texas.

There is a lot to like about the Solitaire:

  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Fits across the bottom of a large ALICE or MOLLE pack

However, there are some problems with the original Solitaire – such as fiberglass poles and a bright yellow color. For those of us who do not want to draw attention to ourselves, the yellow was a turn off.

Why is the tent yellow? I called Johnson Outdoors customer service and talked to a very nice lady. She told me the Solitaire is yellow because it is a rescue tent. It is a lightweight emergency tent for people who may become lost, injured… in the wilderness. The bright yellow is so search and rescue can find them easier.

For 2019 Johnson Outdoors is releasing a new version of the Eureka Solitaire, the Eureka Solitaire AL.  The AL stands for aluminum poles, and rather than a bright yellow color, the AL is bright green.  I would not call the AL a neon green, just a bright green.

The Eureka Solitaire AL is not a free standing tent. In order for the tent to stand upright, it has to be staked down. The tent is supported by two aluminum poles, one on each end.

Eureka Solitaire AL poles
Eureka Solitaire AL aluminum tent poles are curved to better fit the tent.

One nice change with the Eureka Solitaire AL tent poles, besides being aluminum, the poles are curved so they fit the tent. The poles for the original Eureka Solitaire were made out of fiberglass and straight. After some use the fiberglass poles took the shape of the tent.

Sewn into the tent is a tube the poles are inserted into.  This can be a little tricky the first couple of times.  Once the poles are inserted and secured, pull the tent floor tight and secure with the included aluminum tent stakes.

The open top design is perfect for camping in hot summer months.  Rather than crawling in through the end of the tent, the Eureka Solitaire AL (just like the original Eureka Solitaire) has a zipper in the top of the mosquito net.  To enter the tent this way, just unzip the top, step into the tent, lay down, then zip closed.

 Eureka Solitaire AL rain fly

The rain fly covers the tent and is secured to the stakes.  It only takes a couple of minutes to secure the rain fly. However, once the rain fly is in place, you have to enter the tent from the end, which can be a tight squeeze.

Specifications

  • Length: 96 inches / 8 feet
  • Width: 36 inches / 3 feet
  • Height: 28 inches / 2 feet 4 inches
  • Weight: Package says 2 pounds 10 ounces, but scales say 3 pounds 4 ounces.
  • Stored size: 20 inches long X 7 inches wide
  • Price: Around $100

Final Thoughts

It is nice to see the  Eureka Solitaire in something besides bright yellow.  Now if the company would tone the bright green down to an OD green, this would be a wonderful tent.

For stealth campers, or preppers looking for a compact tent that blends in, the bright green may be a turn-off.  However, the other option is bright yellow.  Hopefully Johnson Outdoors will tone the color down a little more,

Now that we know there are no factory defects, next step is to take the Eureka Solitaire AL on a camping trip.  If the reader would like to see a side by side comparison of the original Solitaire and the Solitaire AL, please say so in the comments.

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