Tent comparisons can sometimes be a bit overwhelming for the buyer. Determining what is a better investment takes time and research so it is highly recommended for you to take the time and gather as much information about the brand, model, and intention before deciding on a purchase.
There are other comparisons and tent brands you might be interested in, like Hilleberg, Helsport, and Warmlite. Tent comparison needs to be based on purpose, budget, and experience. There is no right or wrong answer, but they can be compared.
Both Eureka Timberline 4 and Outfitter offer security and comfort when camping. The Outfitter is a bit on the pricier side because it has better flooring, zippers, and heavier materials. However, for those who have a tighter budget, Eureka Timberline 4 will be the perfect fit.
Before further diving into the specific brand here are a few guidelines to keep in mind before buying new equipment. Familiarizing yourself with the basics will over time help to differentiate the affordable vs expensive and low quality. Always keep an eye out for sales of your favorite brands, as investing in camping equipment means that you are investing in comfort and security (which cannot get a price label).
Table of Contents
Choice of Tents
There are several types of tents – tent wings, tents with metal bars, large tents for expeditions, etc. As independent travelers usually need a small, light tent for moderate temperatures, here we will only deal with the so-called “needle” tents. There are four things to look for when choosing a tent: weight, size, structure or parts, and price.
The Weight of the Tent
A very important factor. A modern needle tent for two people weighs between 1.5 and 3.5 kilograms. This difference may not seem important, but after a few kilometers of walking, every gram becomes a sworn enemy. The weight is usually written on the label, which is sewn to the test case. And it is often not written, so it must be evaluated by the educative method.
The Size of the Tent
The most common on sale are tents for two people. One for more is also not a problem to find, while tents for one person are quite rare – probably because most people prefer to camp in a company. Some tents also have a porch, a separate part in front of the door that serves to leave sneakers in it (which, after a whole day of walking, take on specific olfactory properties), a backpack, etc. When you think about the size of the tent, don’t forget to put all your luggage in it.
Tall people should pay attention to the height and length of the tent. The height of a man in a sitting position is between 90 and 105 cm. Keep in mind that you won’t spend that much time inside your tent. Unless it rains, you will only enter it when you want to sleep. However, if it rains for a long time, it is not worse to be able to sit down.
Parts of the Tent
The skeleton of the tent is made up of bars. Modern tents have fiberglass bars, which are light, thin, and elastic, which is a huge advantage over old-fashioned tents with heavy metal bars. A needle tent usually contains two sets of rods. The bars of one set are connected to each other with an elastic rope and continue on top of each other so that they form one long elastic bar. Two long bars are crossed and bent and an awning is thrown on them. The lifespan of the bars is usually much shorter than the lifespan of the rest of the tent.
The awning is an outer nylon wrap that protects the inside of the tent from wind, rain, etc. One-layer tents are, in fact, just an awning. Two-layer tents consist of an awning and an inner tent. In better two-layer tents, the awning is placed so that it does not touch the inner tent anywhere, which allows water condensed during sleep to flow down the inside of the awning and go directly to the ground. In cheaper tents, the awning and the floor are from one part, so that the condensed water has nowhere to go, so it hangs in the form of drops on the inside of the tent.
- While we sleep, the air inside the tent heats up. As the inside of the tent is warmer than the outside, water vapor from the air we exhale condenses on the surfaces around us in the form of a multitude of droplets. Most of the moisture condenses on the inner wall of the awning, but also on sleeping bags, backpacks, etc.
- Ventilating the tent helps to remove this moisture, but it also lowers the temperature in the tent. The solution for this is an inner tent – a thin, airy layer of fabric that is located under the awning. Moisture passes through this layer and condenses in the form of drops on the awning, so the inside of the tent remains dry. The single-layer tents do not have an inner layer, but consist only of an awning, so that, after a night spent in a tent, the inner walls are covered with drops.
Before assembling, it is necessary to wait for the condensed water to evaporate, for which it is best to leave the tent in the sun for a while. Assembling a wet tent is not a good idea, because the next time you disassemble a wet tent, it will have an unpleasant smell of mold.
A two-layer tent, ie a tent that has both an inner layer and an awning, does not mean that there is no condensed water, but that it is located between the two layers, so it is also necessary to wait for it to evaporate before assembling.
Waking up in a wet tent is not terrible, because the water stays on the inside of the awning and does not drip on your head – you just need to be careful not to touch the awning.
The floor of the tent is usually made of much coarser nylon so that it does not tear. Unless you are camping on a manicured English lawn, this bottom is not enough to protect you from the uneven terrain or the cold. That is why it is necessary to bring a thermal insulation pad for the sleeping bag.
An additional floor is a piece of thick nylon or some plastic foam mass that is placed under the tent. The additional floor serves to protect the original floor from splitting because it is much cheaper and easier to replace. It is not available as part of the tent but is purchased separately. Any additional waterproof material with appropriate dimensions can serve as an additional floor. In essence, this additional floor is not necessary and is rarely used.
The pegs or stakes are made of metal and serve to fasten the tent to the ground so that it does not fly away in the first breeze. There are usually 4 pieces – one for each corner of the tent – plus four more, which are used in case of bad weather when ropes are also used.
Since your things are usually in the tent, and you yourself during sleep, there is a small chance that it will fly away even if there are no wedges unless a hurricane wind blows. However, if you leave the tent in the meadow all day, and you go skiing around, it is not bad to fasten it. When driving them into the ground, always do so at a sharp angle.
For a passenger who plans to set up a tent in the evening, sleepover, and set up a tent in the morning and continue the journey, these stakes are not needed in general.
The tent is usually accompanied by two partially elastic ropes, which are used in case of strong wind. These ropes are passed over the tent and tied to another set of wedges, which are driven a little further from the tent, and serve to give the tent strength and keep it in place. With these wedges, it is especially important that they are driven into the ground at a sharp angle to the ground.
Eureka Timberline 4
We wrote about Eureka and is it a good tent brand or not. This model from the 20th century, the Timberline Outfitter 4, is a 3-4 season A-frame with 4 sleeps and an easy setup. It has a substantial weight of 10lbs and an average price of a little over $200.
It has a very good rating on many review websites. People who have purchased it in every kind of weather. Experienced campers will never have leakage in their tents, while those who probably don’t know how to properly set it up may complain about the leakage.
This tent is a decadal legacy where people grew up and made memories with their families in it. The durable and extra heavy reinforcement and optional vestibules made it a go-to tent. This model and brand have withstood the test of time as their best testimony.
The Outfitter tent has heavier materials, but this means that there is also better flooring, zippers, and overall quality. It is important to keep in mind that this model is more expensive compared to the Eureka model.
In addition to the materials and zippers being heavier, it has a regular window on the door and a small window at the bottom of the door. This feature allows for better low/high ventilation.
What Is the Final Verdict On the Eureka Timberline 4 vs Outfitter?
Both versions have one issue that keeps coming up. In the regular design the zipper slides wear out after only a couple of years (read only a few uses), and the zippers separate.
They are not easy to repair. In the Outfitter version, the shock cord that holds the rain fly outwears out after a couple of years. The elastic cords will break inside the outer sheet, making it lose its stretch and appear lumpy. This is also easy to repair.
Coming down to a verdict, the cheaper version seems to be equally as efficient but it comes down to personal preference.