Friday, June 24, 2011
Gear Box: Eureka Apex 2XT Tent
Living in Texas, where we've already had more than a dozen days of triple-digit heat y this year, we're always looking for gear that performs well in warmer temperatures. After all, it isn't much fun to be uncomfortable in extremely hot and dry weather. In fact, while most of the U.S. is just getting their camping gear onto the store shelves, ours is being put in storage until fall, when it is actually safe to go back outside again.
Fortunately, there are some gear manufacturers that go to great pains to design gear that works well in warm weather, ensuring we don't have to cancel our camping trip just because the mercury starts to climb. One of those companies is Eureka, who makes a variety of tents for backpacking, family outings, and even mountaineering expeditions. I took one of their newly designed Apex 2XT tents on a recent weekend outing, and found that it was a fantastic option for summer campers.
One of the biggest challenges of testing out a new tent is trying to figure out how to set it up. Sometimes they are simple, straight forward affairs, and sometimes it requires a rocket surgeon to help you figure it out. In the case of the Apex, it was a real breeze to put it together, taking just a few minutes to get it set up and ready for use. That's greatly appreciated at the end of a long day on the trail or when you're trying to out run a sudden storm.
After setting the tent up, I climbed inside to check out my sleeping space and was surprised to find a very spacious interior. The Apex 2XT is rated for two campers, which it can fit comfortably with room to spare for gear as well. In fact, its large enough that two adults and even a small child could probably get away with sharing the space for weekend outings.
As is typical with Eureka tents, the Apex is well constructed and durable. It also includes a fly that covers the entire tent and creates two vestibules that are helpful for keeping gear dry in inclement weather. A gear loft and interior pockets helps you to keep your important items close at hand, and a "bathtub" floor helps to keep the water out.
The Apex is most definitely designed for warmer weather, and the twin side-opening access points help to keep the interior well ventilated on summer nights. If you use the tent in those kinds of conditions, you're likely to be very happy with its performance. This is a late-spring to early-fall kind of shelter, and anything much colder than that will probably leave you wanting something a bit more substantial.
Speaking of substantial, the tent is a bit on the heavy side as well. Light and fast backpackers will want to look elsewhere as well, as the Apex 2XT has a pack weight of 6 pounds, 5 ounces. That's a fairly heavy load for a two-person tent that doesn't offer better protection in colder temps. But on the other hand, it is hard to beat the quality, size, and performance for the price.
One other item of note is that I've read that this tent has issues with keeping moisture out, particularly in heavy rainfall. I can't confirm or deny these issues, as it was warm and dry when I used the tent. I can say that it seems that Eureka has taken great strides to incorporate design elements that should help to keep all but the heaviest of rains out. The bathtub floor, included fly, zipper covers, and other items seem well thought out and incorporated to keep us dry, but perhaps there is something I'm overlooking.
Warm weather campers will find the Apex 2XT has everything they need for their summer outings. With plenty of interior room and good design elements, tt is an excellent and affordable option that should serve you well, provided you don't use it in cooler weather.
MSRP: $129.99 (But it at TravelCountry.com)