Camping Gear Review: The Eureka Solitaire Tent

1-person camping tent
I’ve always wanted a 1-man tent.  I think the idea just jibes with the core of my camping philosophy: get as minimalistic as possible. For this reason, it’s always seemed futile to lug a 2 or 3-person tent out into the wild when I was only solo camping.  So when Eureka Tents asked if I’d be interested in reviewing some of their products, I quickly opted to try out the Eureka Solitaire, the most spartan of their 1-man models.

First Impressions 

The Eureka Solitaire is light, small and easy to transport.  The tent weighs only 2 pounds 9 ounces and folds up to a 17 inch by 4 inch pack size.  Above, you can see an image of the tent next to a leaf for a bit of perspective.  I tossed it in my pack and walked around with it for a while and could barely feel it. It’s got a quality, easy-to-use stuff sack as well.

Set Up

I am admittedly terrible at setting up tents.  I’m not sure if it’s due to my epic failures in 10th grade geometry or simply a genetic defect that has rendered me without spatial thinking skills, but I often cringe at the prospect of having to configure new camping equipment

Yet, the Solitaire is so simple a 3-year-old could probably figure it out.  There are only two poles, which you slip through hoops at the front and back of the tent.  After this, you simply stake the loops at a half-dozen different junctions and then the tent is up.  It took me 10 minutes; it could probably be done by a more competent person in 3.

The tent has an attached rainfly, which is easily affixed by staking shock cords.  It began to rain within minutes of when I set up my tent and continued for an hour or so.  The rainfly worked well, keeping me completely dry.


Front Side of Tent
It’s snug inside the Solitaire, but that’s to be expected from a 1-man tent.  The 8 feet of length is suitable for anyone who isn’t a giant and  it’s width, 2 feet 8 inches, is roomy enough for most. In fact, a skinny couple could easily double-up in the Solitaire, though heavy spooning would be a necessity and lovemaking might prove comically difficult.  The primary issue I had with the tent’s dimensions were its height.  At only 2-feet 4 inches, I wasn’t able to sit without craning my head a bit.  This was really only problematic when I was moving in and out of tent.

Entering and Exiting

Top of Camping Tent
There are two ways to get into this tent.  The first is through the front, where the mesh unzips in a standard door shape.  It’s definitely a down-on-your knees crawl or a leaping shimmy depending on how you want to play it, but unless your knees are arthritic, it’s not really much of a problem.

The other way in is through the top of the tent, where the mesh unzips like a pair of jeans.  You can only enter this way if you’re not planning on using the rainfly, but it’s still a pretty cool feature.  Not using the rainfly also allows you the distinct pleasure of stargazing, as your view will be completely unimpeded.  On the second night I slept in the tent, I did just that, and really enjoyed t he open feeling.

Bottom Line & Price

I dig this tent.  If you’re a minimalist or a backpacker who does a lot of solo camping, I’d recommend checking it out. The Eureka Solitaire retails for around 90 bucks–a pretty good deal consider its quality. It is available at a wide variety of online and brick and mortars stores.

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  1. Dustin
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I’ve had this tent, and would agree with you on most everything. However, I would caution that the two poles are not aluminum, and broke the second time I used my tent. Luckily, I was with someone that had a 2-person tent, and wasn’t caught without a shelter. Because of the fiberglass poles, I would grade this tent fairly low. Eureka, however, was very nice to replace my tent, so I upgraded to the Spitfire 1, which does have aluminum poles, and much higher head height. It’s not much heavier, and I’ve used this left and right with seemingly little to no wear.

    • Daniel Lawton
      Posted October 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Hi Dustin,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m going to have to check out the Spitfire 1 myself sometime.

  2. Jim
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I like a free standing tent. The extra weight is worth it if only to be able to pick it up and shake out the debris. I have the MSR Hubba, at 2 lbs. 13 oz., and also enjoy its inside peak height of 40 inches and its side entrance with a generous vestibule.

  3. Posted October 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Looks nice and small but do these camping tents with the screen tops or sides, keep out the breeze with only that rain fly over the top in the cooler months or are they just for nicer weather. I could see that full screen being nice for the warmer summer months.

  4. Posted October 29, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    90 bucks for a tent sounds reasonable enough. You sure a 3 yo can set it up? My putting up a tent skill is dismal at best and a lot of misses more than hits, but I can get by. Thanks for introducing this product. I’ll make sure to look more into it.

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