The easiest tent you’ll ever own: Review of the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Quick Tent

Here’s the first full review from my Holiday Gift Guide for Outdoor Adventurers.
Check it out, and stay tuned for the rest of the reviews!

Picture this: You’ve finally arrived at your campsite – and it’s now 2:30 AM. You’re exhausted from the drive, but your car is too jam-packed with adventure equipment to allow for sleeping comfortably in it. What’s the last thing you want to do right now? Spend ten minutes fumbling with tent poles and hooks in order to snag a wistful few hours of sleep before waking up and deconstructing your tent all over again.

Major bummer, dude.

Now picture this: Same late-night camping scenario, same levels of I-just-want-to-sleep, but now you’ve got a Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Quick Tent. You grab the bright yellow sack that holds your tent, unroll it, and within about 45 seconds, you’re ready for bed. You snuggle up in your sleeping bag while your buddies fumble around with their clunky tents.

Niko sets up our Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Quick Tent at Grandfather Mountain Campground in NC.

Major victory, dude!

When Niko and I received our Outfitter XXL Quick Tent, we were elated – even more so when we managed to go from a sealed package to a set-up tent in less than three minutes. And that was our first time EVER setting it up. We were both instantly impressed, but the real test came when we took the Teton Sports tent on its first adventure to North Carolina for the Hound Ears Triple Crown climbing competition.

After keeping us cozy through misty mountain mornings, light afternoon rain, and some pretty gnarly wind gusts – the Outfitter XXL Quick Tent passed our camping test with flying floors.

Here’s what I love about the Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Quick Tent:

  • It is the easiest tent I have ever camped with. Both set-up and take-down are simple tasks that take less than a minute.
  • It packs down extremely easy, and the roomy stuff sack doesn’t require a battle to get the tent packed away. With a weight of only 4 lbs, it’s light and easy to carry.
  • The tent was designed as a topper for camping cots, but the waterproof base and sturdy structure makes it an ideal tent for ground camping as well (I have only used it directly on the ground).
  • Where many tents offer a small window or two, the Outfitter XXL is entirely wrapped with see-through mesh, so if the weather allows you to go without the rain-fly, you can wake up surrounded by natural beauty.
  • When the rain-fly is up, there is an ample vestibule area for keeping your dirty hiking boots sheltered from the elements without dragging them into the tent. Plus, the rain-fly is easily assembled with four simple clip-ons.
  • While a larger person may find this to be a one-man tent, Niko and I fit perfectly together in it. This is a great tent for adventure couples.
  • It’s my favorite color – and it totally matches my big yellow van.

Peek-a-boo, that's me creeping inside my Teton Sports Outfitter XXL Quick Tent.There is only a single caveat I have with the world’s easiest tent: there are no pockets. But what I love about Teton Sports is their amazing receptiveness to user feedback. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if their next tent release features a pocket.

The bottom line: I would highly recommend this tent. It retails at $100, but could easily sell for upwards for $200. The value can’t be beat, but it’s the impossibly simple set-up that will win you over instantly.

Don’t believe my rave reviews about how quickly this tent sets up? Check it out for yourself:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctjyEtu8coo]

Want more from the folks at Teton Sports?
Send ‘em your thoughts on Twitter, or check out the Teton Sports Facebook page
– they’re always hosting giveaways and posting great outdoor content!

Review of Columbia Sportswear’s Reactor 35º Sleeping Bag (and Niko’s first guest post!)

Folks, by now most of you have realized that Niko is a man of few words. He’s not quite the Twitter type, and only just started making his first Facebook page posts (like this one about Access Fund’s Holy Boulders project), so when he told me he was going to write his first product review, I knew he must have really fallen in love with a piece of outdoor gear.

During my trip to Havasu Falls with Columbia Sportswear’s OmniTen team, we were gifted the most packable sleeping bags I’ve ever witnessed. It was so light that I hardly noticed it on my back while trudging up 10 miles of desert terrain to the rim of the Grand Canyon. Since then, I’ve taken my mummy-style sleeping back on trips to Rocktown in Georgia, and the Triple Crown Bouldering Series competition in Hound Ears, North Carolina – and it’s always provided me a vessel of cocooned body warmth and superior snuggle-ability. So really, it was no surprise that Niko decided to write his first gear review about it.  

Here’s what Niko had to say about the Reactor 35:

This summer when Katie returned from her OmniTen trip to Havasu Falls in Arizona, she brought back one of my new favorite pieces of gear, the Columbia Sportswear Reactor 35º sleeping bag (a special thanks to Will Rochfort for hiking it out of the Grand Canyon for me).

I’ve had the opportunity to use the bag over the last couple months on a couple of climbing trips here in the southeast, and despite the hot temperatures, this bag has been exceptionally comfortable to sleep in.

The Reactor 35 is an extremely light 100% nylon mummy bag that packs easily into one of the smallest stuff sacks I’ve seen. The dimensions are a mere 7.5”x17” – plus, this bag only weighs 2 pounds, making it the perfect companion on long multi-day hikes.

Don’t let the lightweight nature of this sleeping bag deter you – the Reactor 35 uses Columbia’s Omni-Heat thermal reflective technology to line the inside of the bag, which regulates your body temperature, providing a warm, dry night in the outdoors.

A few weekends ago Katie and I drove up to Pigeon Mountain to do some climbing at Rocktown. We arrived late and decided to spend the night camped out in the car. In the middle of the night, I woke up to find Katie hogging the entire hatchback, so I abandoned the car in favor of sleeping outside on a crash pad. I woke up expecting the familiar damp feeling from the southern morning dew, but I was surprised to find that the Omni-Shield outer coating kept me dry throughout the entire night.

Since having Columbia Sportswear’s Reactor 35, I have only been able to test it in temperatures around the high 40’s. I am looking forward to seeing what it can do when temperatures drop down here in the south and the climbing season really gets moving. Overall, I would highly recommend this bag to anyone who wants a light, functional, and generally well-designed sleeping bag.