This is a review of the Eureka Pinnacle Pass 2XTA, a two-person, fairly lightweight tent for bicycle touring or backpacking.
I purchased a Eureka Pinnacle Pass 2XTA as a replacement for an old dome tent that must have been 25 years old. The old tent was still largely functional, though definitely showing its age. Here are the criteria I used when selecting the new tent:
- Easier to set up and take down – The old tent had three fiberglass poles that fed through sleeves in the top of the tent. The poles were constantly getting hung up as they passed through the sleeves.
- Better ventilation – The old tent had only two mesh areas: the top of the tent and the door of the tent. If the door of the tent was closed due to rain, and if the rain fly were attached, there was very little air movement within the tent.
- Smaller pack size – The old tent was about 26 inches in length, packed.
- Footprint/Groundcloth – The old tent didn’t have this (I could have used a tarp, of course, but never did).
- Lighter – The old tent weighed 5 pounds 11 ounces packed.
- Two-Person Size – Although I primarily wanted the tent for solo use, I didn’t want to be cramped for space. The dome tent is a two-person tent (I assume), but the octagonal shape didn’t seem to make the optimal use of space.
- Needs to be freestanding.
After shopping for tents for awhile, and considering models from various manufacturers, I settled on the Eureka Pinnacle Pass 2XTA. Here are the factors that led me to choose this tent:
- It’s a two-person tent, with 36.5 sq. ft. of space. I’m not sure how this compares with the dome tent, though the space is rectangular rather than octagonal, so should be better.
- It only used two poles instead of three, and aluminum instead of fiberglass.
- It has two large doors, rather than one.
- It has mesh on three sides of the tent, so ventilation should be better.
- The pack size was specified as 6″ x 18.5″.
- It is specified with a “minimum weight” of 4 lbs. 11 oz.
- It has two vestibules for outside storage that’s still protected from rain.
- It only has two short sleeves, and clips for attaching the tent to the poles, so setup/takedown should be easier and quicker.
- It is freestanding.
- The price was reasonable: $159.90 list.
- Eureka offers a “Floor Saver” footprint/groundcloth; there may be cheaper alternatives, but this one is sized to fit the tent.
I purchased the tent from CampingTeam.com on 05-23-2007, it shipped on May 25th, and I received it on May 30th. The total cost was $131.89: $109.95 for the tent, $9.99 for the footprint, and $11.95 for shipping. Eureka also offered a $20 rebate, which I sent in and received within a few weeks.
Setup is pretty easy:
- Lay out the groundcloth.
- Spread the tent on the groundcloth.
- Anchor corners if it’s windy.
- Assemble poles.
- Put the rounded end of the pole in one of the sleeves.
- Bend pole and attach the other end to the pin on the opposite corner.
- Repeat with second pole.
- Attach tent at intersection of the two poles.
- Attach clips.
- Add rainfly (note that the “!” symbol on the fly is at the opposite end of the “!” symbol on the tent).
- Connect the four corners of the fly to the tent.
- Attach fly to the poles with the velcro ties.
- Anchor the tent using the supplied stakes.
- Add additional guy-out lines if expecting storms.
Notes & analysis:
- The tent seams are pre-taped on the bathtub floor, which is about 6-8 inches in height.
- The two doors are both full-size, one on each side of the tent. There are two zippers per door – one on the bottom, and one on the side/top.
- The inside top of the tent provides attachment points for an optional “attic”.
- The inside of the tent has two mesh pockets at one end of the tent for storing small items during the night.
- Airflow with the fly installed is fair. Some air gets under the fly, but it’s really not enough, even with a moderate wind. There’s no easy way to adjust this. I was able to roll up one end of the fly and tuck the buckles into the guy-out tabs, but this didn’t really work very well.
- The fly doors and tent doors have nifty tie-back loops, but the fly door is so large that it’s difficult to tie it all back neatly. There is only one tie-back for the fly door, but two tie-backs for the mesh tent door (which is smaller). That doesn’t make much sense.
- The fly door is so large that it lets rain in with the fly door fully open. It’s be nice if there were a way to half-open the fly door so that you were protected, but could still see out, but there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to do this.
- When the fly doors are fully zipped closed, the end of the zipper is way out at the far point of the vestibule, close to the ground. This makes it very difficult to open the fly without half-crawling out of the tent itself.
- The two vestibules are not really big enough to cover a bicycle. They’d probably be good for packs, or as a convenient place to store dirty shoes.
- The weight of the tent plus groundcloth is 6 pounds 1 ounce, which is a bit disappointing. I’d hoped for something closer to 5 pounds.
- The pack size is about 19-20 inches in length, and about 6.5-7 inches in diameter.
Conclusion: This seems to be a good, but not great, tent. I was very pleased with the ease of setup and teardown, and I’m very happy with the size of the pack. I’m less pleased with the weight, and with the airflow.
I've tested the tent in various conditions, including heavy wind, heavy rain, and even during a tornado warning, and I remained dry and comfortable. I haven't yet used the tent in cold weather.
I've been using this tent since 2007, and it has served me well. There have been no issues with reliability or durability. It has been used at least 40 times over those years, and shows no sign of wear. Zippers still zip with no snags; no holes in the tent body, mesh, or fly.
The tent has been used in temperatures ranging from the upper 30s °F to upper 90s °F, with most trips being during the summer months, often in very hot conditions. I've only used it once at the low in the range, and I froze my tail off, but I blame that more on my sleeping bag, and my location next to a body of water, than on the tent. The tent has withstood numerous rain-and-wind storms, and never leaked. It's easy and quick to set up and tear down.
After living with the tent for five years, my critiques above still stand. Ventilation is great with the rainfly off, marginal with the flay attached and the doors open, and poor with the rainfly fully deployed. Access to the zipped fly is difficult from inside the tent. My wife and I used the tent together, once, and space was adequate for two, if barely. For one person, space is more than enough. Alone, I find I seldom use the vestibules, except perhaps for wet shoes. The 6-pound weight is still a bit galling. I wish the pack size were smaller, or at least the poles were shorter (they won't fit in my panniers).
I've searched a number of times for a newer tent that would be lighter and yet still affordable, and I haven't found anything I've willing to gamble on.
Bottom line: Highly recommended.
Where to Buy
The Pinnacle Pass 2XTA is no longer listed on the Eureka web site, so it has apparently been retired.
Note: This review was originally published on my RecumBum blog, but I am republishing it here in order to consolidate my reviews.