With the myriad of tents available on the market I was expecting to be spoilt for choice when it came to purchasing a small tent to meet my RTW needs. How wrong could I be? There were only two options!
I like to stealth camp, and in most parts of Europe this is totally illegal, so I didn't want day glow colours. That's about 98% of the market kicked into touch. I also wanted a tent that was free standing and quick to deploy and pack away. It had to be reasonably compact and light for the bike. I started looking at camouflage tents, but the budget ones were all of no name Chinese origin and I wasn't going to take a risk on something that I could see in the flesh. The big makers don't seem to provide a camo option so I looked at military tents and found my holy grail.The Eureka Tent, Combat, One Person (TCOP) ticked all of my boxes and more.
There is a tent in the picture. Honest!
It's a military tent used by US marines, Army and the US Navy SeaBee who are the Navy construction force. This means the tent is absolutely designed to be a full time abuse tolerant structure. It's also important, for the military, that the tent is stealthy and does not give away the occupants position. To this end the fly sheet is reversible. On one side is the traditional woodland camo pattern and on the other, Desert Tan. It doesn't stop here though, the flysheet is completely light impermeable! You can turn the brightest torch on inside and nobody would see the slightest glow in the darkness outside. I don't know of any other lightweight tent in existence that could boast the same, save for the two man version of this tent (USMC). This feature alone had me reaching for my wallet.
The inner tent can be accessed from either side, and each opening has both a nylon flap and a mosquito net, so If it's hot outside, you can still keep the bugs at bay. In fact you could easily use the tent without the fly. With the fly attached you have two vestibules and two entrances. The tent is very low profile which suits my stealthy requirements and also makes it very tolerant to high winds, especially if you add the extra guys and pegs included in the kit for just this reason.
Talking of extras, you get a load of them. Carbon fibre pegs, aircraft aluminium poles and paracord guys are standard but also is the comprehensive repair kit. It's the best I've ever seen:
1' x 1' of every material used in the tent.
Spare para cord
Spare bunge for the poles
Spare snap buckles
Pole repair section
Probably more that I've forgotten
All contained in a ripstop bag
The whole lot packs down to 15"x6" (38cm x 15cm) and weighs in at around 7lb (3.18kg). So not the lightest tent by a long way, but one that will hopefully last for a RTW trip.
I'll leave you with the thoughts of Construction Electrician 1st Class Maxon:
"While on Field Training Exercise in Mississippi, my unit had to evacuate our camp due to impending tornadoes. We had 30 minutes to grab essential gear, put any other personal gear in our TCOP’s, load up on trucks and go. A small security detail was left behind to tough out the coming storms. When we returned the following morning, the camp was a pitiful sight. Most all of our larger shelters were in some sort of collapse and EVERYTHING was soaked! Of 9 antennae, only 3 survived. Talking with those who stayed behind – thankfully – no funnels touched down, but wind gusts easily (we believe) reached 60 mph and the rain was blinding. We were lucky! The best part though, NOT ONE TCOP WAS LOST OR DAMAGED!! And every single piece of gear stored in them was safe and dry. A true testament to the quality and design of these individual tents."