Love the design
Bought this to replace our 20+ yr old Eureka "condo" family tent, for empty nesters looking for comfortable car camping for 2. Best of both full-fly style and traditional window style family tents. My criteria were:
Size: Plenty of standing headroom for a 6 footer, plus some. Room for 2 large cots, small table, and comfortable space for gear and changing. Without cots, would be adequate for family of 4, if not spacious. The "6 Person" is based on the standard criteria for all tents: how many 20x72" sleeping pads can you fit in the footprint.
Aluminum poles. Light and stronger than fiberglass.
Freestanding. Easy to move and also to tip over and dry the bottom before packing.
Easy setup/takedown. Our previous Eureka had a similar hub design, so this was familiar. Best method we found is:
- Connect only 3 poles at both ends first (every other one). Do not snap tent to poles yet.
- Then place the other 3 poles in the hub, but do not connect to the floor.
- Connect the 2 inner topmost snaps to each pole. This allows you to reach them without stepping on/inside tent. My 5'6 wife can reach this way. If you're much shorter you may need a step.
- Connect the 3 "loose" poles to the floor and finish snapping the tent to poles.
- Add fly. A good toss is all it takes for 1 person, or simply slide it over with 2.
- Position and stake out.
- Reverse for takedown.
All 6 poles are identical so there's no looking for or guessing about the right one. Simplicity at it's best.
Ventilation: The 3 windows provide great cross-ventilation, with the roof vent being an added bonus. Windows can remain partially open even in a driving rain. Simple to adjust ventilation during the night. If you're on a cot, don't even need to sit up. Can have things wide open when you go to bed and close up easily if/when it rains during the night. Retains warmth well when completely buttoned up, but will still ventilate with roof vent and cracked windows.
Stability: Stood up to 3 major thunderstorms. For the worst one, I saw it coming and got the guy lines attached, but not staked out before we dove for the car. No matter, it was fine.
Dry: Dry as bone in lots of rain, some driving. Factory seam sealing is great, have not added any. As said, can leave windows partially open and stay dry.
Reliability: We're going on past experience with Eureka. Zipper seems fine so far, and hope it holds up.
- Like the hood over the door, poles are not too tight on ours. You do have to be careful, though, as we both poked ourselves on the inside end of the hood pole by the door. Will look for some sort of small soft ball thingy to put over them.
- Could use more storage pockets, although a couple gear lofts/hammocks and carabiners on the corners work great. Endless possibilities with 6 corner and center rings.
- Staking out the fly on the 3 sides where it meets the ground aids ventilation, but is not required.
- Staking out the window hoods allows you to have windows open farther in rain.
- It doesn't come with guy lines and the stakes are cheap. Bought 10' spike stakes which work well.
After 1 weekend and 1 week camping in it (5 setups/takedowns) we're pleased as can be. Anticipate using it for years to come.
Can see out windows even with fly on
I set up the tent by myself. 6 Shock-corded aluminum poles are very thick and sturdy. Insert 1st pole in metal center 'spider', skip one hole then insert 2nd pole. You now can stand up the poles, skip another hole then insert 3rd pole. Frame is up and now insert the other 3 poles. You must open tent door and step inside tent for top clips to reach. Insert metal pin attached to metal loop at each corner into end of pole hole. No flexing of poles necessary as poles come with corner bend.
In most newer tents you cannot see outside with rain fly on. This rain fly is hooded over 2 windows and over door (with no-seeum mesh), which all fully unzip for excellent ventilation and zip for rain, dusty/sandy beach and cold conditions; one triangular zippered window in ceiling with no-seeum mesh. Tent material is white, floor beige, fly beige. This color keeps the tent very cool in direct sunlight. No need to seam seal as tent is completely water proof. Two separate smaller poles attach to the fly over door and into holes on either upper sides of door. Poles are too long and cause too much stress on door zipper. I cut down the metal poles by at least an inch each to keep down the tension which will break the zipper. Without poles, hood over door has internal cord that can be cinched tight for storm conditions. There is no vestibule for this Eureka tent. I drape and stake a tarp over tent door to create a vestibule.
Tent floor nylon is nice and heavy compared to other tents. I use Queen double high air mattress and have plenty of room to spare for chair, table, suitcase, etc. Thick nylon loops at each ceiling corner and center ceiling to hang stuff. I use carabiners to hang trash bag, jacket, lantern, clothes line, etc. Tent has 2 mesh pockets either side of door for small items. Door has 2 zippers - one across bottom, other unzips top of door... wish it was just 1 zipper.
Stake down the 6 tent corners, window hoods and 4 loops on fly. This tent held up in 70mph wind gusts at 10,000 ft camp.
Eventhough this is a family tent that fits 4 comfortably, I use it as my Taj Mahal when car camping. I do not recommend for backpacking.
Love this tent!
Best family tent our family ever had.
This has been the best family tent our family has ever had. We have had our Eureka Equinox 6 for 14 years and only started to have problems with in the last two years. The 6 Shock-corded aluminum poles are very thick and sturdy. I use 6 of the larger nail stacks at the main corners and the lighter aluminum stacks for all the extra ties. With the rain fly tied and staked properly you are able to crack the two windows during a rain storm and get good air and with the vestibule on the front you can also have the front door screen wind open all the way too. Our tent has a vestibule that connects to the front door area (we bought separate). This is really nice if it is raining because it helps protect the door area from the rain and gives you a place to put your wet and dirty shoes (the vestibule covers the front of the tent door area to the ground). The hood over door has an internal draw cord that can be cinched tight around the top of the vestibule for storm conditions and makes it act like a wind wedge in high winds. We survived 70 mph straight line winds in Kansas, due to the thick walled poles, the vestibule wedge, and also the four tie hoops on four of the corners. These allowed you too tie and stack the mid points of four of the bends of four poles on the tent. The wind just shook the tent a little back and forth.
Our 14 year old Eureka Equinox 6, I feel has reached end of life. All of the seam covers on the floor have come off the seams. In really heavy rains you can feel a slight mist inside the tent and the zipper for the front door has quit working. I may try to contact Eureka and see if they can help repair it, but I think I am in the market for another Eureka Equinox 6.
Much better than expected
The 6 sides create 6 "corners" inside that you might imagine would be wasted space, but in fact are useful for storing gear. There is a strong loop for hanging items inside at each of the six corners. These are great for trash bags, shirt hangars, gear lofts, etc. The nearly vertical walls allow me to walk upright once inside, which is one of my "must have" features. I lay a 2'x 5' piece of hardboard just inside the door to prevent a chair that I put there from damaging the floor of the tent and to provide a place to put on and take off my shoes. Nearly all of the seams that are likely to get wet are taped; you won't need a full bottle of seam sealer. I use this tent at "star parties" where I'm up late at night, so I would have liked a fly that was aluminized to keep the tent cool when the sun comes up so I can sleep in. Still, the 3 large windows and roof vent do a lot to keep the tent cool in a breeze. The fly has 4 high loops at the pole elbows for securing the fly against a strong wind, but no guylines were included for these. All that the tent came with were the shockcorded hooks that you attach to the rings held down by the tent stakes, so you will want some extra line, stakes, and line tighteners to secure the fly against the wind. The fly also has 3 low loops in between the poles which you can guy out to keep the fly off the tent in a stiff breeze. Doing this helps the prevailing breeze to keep the tent cool and well ventilated. As with all tents, the number of people the Equinox 6 actually sleeps is subject to the comfort requirements of the occupants and the amount of gear they have.
I like the tent
I have used this tent twice this summer at festivals and it is very roomy and comfortable. I like being able to stand up in my tent. Plenty of room for a full sized air mattress. The lighter colors seem to keep it cooler on the inside than my old geodome tent, which was a dark green. I wish it had storage pouches sewn to the walls for flashlights and glasses etc. It also did not have any ropes or stakes for the tarp tie down points.
Overall, I like this tent and I plan to use it when I go car camping.
They Don't Get Any Better
This is our second Equinox 6. The first is still operational after 20 years and nearly 500 nights of camping, but I bought a second because the price was so good ([$]). If you want a family tent, BUY THIS ONE - YOU WON'T REGRET IT. It is the most reliable, sturdy, easy to erect tent that you will ever own. I don't believe that remark about the wind "breaking poles". Heck, you couldn't break them if you wanted to... Great, and I mean G R E A T tent!!!
Great Family Tent
My 1st Equinox was bought almost 15 years ago and was a great tent. I was concern since the Equinox is now made in China, but after spending 5 nights in it, I have no concerns. If anything it is better than the orginal. For car camping with 2-3 people this is a spacious tent with great ventilation, the windows come close to the floor and allow the air to blow over your body. I just hope 15 years from now they are still making this tent.
A great tent
We use this tent for car camping as a family. Our Equinox 3 is not large enough for our family of 4 and I wanted a tent in which I could stand upright. Because of the ease of set up, quality of materials and workmanship, of the Equinox 3, we chose the Equinox 6. It keeps out the rain and holds up in the wind. My only disappointment is that it awkwardly accomodates only 2 cots, but not 4 cots. Our 2 teenagers sleep on the floor.
Really good tent
Eureka brand was recommended to my by a friend. No regrets about purchasing this tent. It was quite appropriate for 2 people but I wouldn't want to put any more in it. It was very easy to set up by myself (5'4" 128). I followed siskiwit's instructions from the review below and it worked like a charm - thanks. This tent held up with no problems in high winds, driving rain and hail. Tent stayed dry and in place.
Easy setup although helps to be taller
After 3 seasons of use with 4 young children this tent has help up nicely. No leaks, no zipper problems. Putting the 6 poles up is much easier when you are taller, although even then you really have to step on tent to get all the poles connected and snapped in place. Kids could almost set up tent themselves if it weren't for this. Well ventilated with the three mesh windows + zippered upper mesh vent.