Car camping, Short-term backpacking
Since I spend over half of my nights in a tent, I’m always interested in trying out the latest shelters. Tribe Provisions is a newer company that jump-started their business with their crowdfunded Go-Anywhere Blanket in 2014. Since then, they’ve added a hammock, chair, and various other products to their line of affordable outdoor gear. The Adventure II tent was their newest item this spring, and Tribe Provisions sent me one to try out.
In order to really understand how gear performs, I like to put it through the ringer. This season I spent over 60 nights in the Adventure II, car camping and backpacking throughout Joshua Tree, the Sespe Wilderness, the Mojave Preserve, and the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Here’s what happened along the way:
Based on those experiences, these are my thoughts.
Each tent strikes a balance between cost, weight, and type of materials. In cheaper tents you’ll find heavier materials, while in more expensive tents you’ll often find ultra-lightweight materials. Durability isn’t necessarily tied to cost since some lightweight fabrics are fairly fragile. However, you can safely assume that lower cost means it will also be less durable. On this continuum, the Adventure II design to leans towards the affordable and average weight side.
This 2-person, 3-season, ~5 lb tent design isn’t anything new. You can find examples of similar tents in the REI Half Dome 2 and Kelty Grand Mesa 2. The main difference is that Tribe Provisions provides the most affordable tent I’ve found that fits this design style.
Here’s where this style of tent really excels — it does it all. The design of the Adventure II allows you to be perfectly happy whether you’re car camping OR backpacking. While I wouldn’t choose this style for a multi-week backpacking trip, it is easily light enough and small enough for a shorter adventure. For a beginner, this versatility is really appealing because you only need to own one shelter to cover all of your bases.
One thing that really impressed me is how easy the Adventure II is to set up and take down. From the unboxing, Tribe Provisions provides a simple set of instructors on how to use and care for this tent. The classic 2-pole, dome-style design is something that most people are very familiar with and it is intuitive even for beginners.
The carrying bag has an inside compartment for the poles and an outside compartment for the stakes, the idea being that it would be easier to keep track of everything. Personally, I’ve never lost stakes or poles because I roll them up in the tent. I will say that users should be mindful of the stake pocket if they choose to use it – it doesn’t completely close.
The Adventure II has two doors which, although they slightly increase weight, is one of the best designs for a 2-person tent. The two doors and corresponding vestibules gives each sleeper easy access to their area and plenty of protection outside for gear storage.
Inside the tent there are mesh pockets located near the head of each sleeper and an optional mesh bag which attaches to the top of the dome.
I timed myself setting up and breaking down the tent and easily finished within 5 minutes (a test Tribe Provisions dares you to take).
There is a tricky balance between providing an affordable tent AND providing a tent that will last. From the get-go, I could tell that the Adventure II was better categorized as an affordable tent than a durable one.
Certain production quality details were off right from the unboxing. Stitching was loose in places and the floor fabric wasn’t entirely trimmed off. Neither of these things affected use but they were noticeable aesthetic issues.
At field day number 30, one of the grommets that hold an end of the tent pole down fell off. Another grommet fell off 15 days later. This, unlike the stitching, affects tent use in a big way. With the grommets gone, the tent poles have nowhere to attach at the bottom corners. This means the tent fabric isn’t taut, which reduce floor space and weather-proofing.
On field day 50, I noticed some delamination beginning between the two-floor sheets. The lamination is in place to waterproof the stitching between the sheets. I didn’t get any leakage during a storm that followed but there is more potential since a long stretch (about 2 feet) has now delaminated.
So, overall, not so great for long term durability. At $149, you could expect an occasional durability issue, but four is disappointing.
Finding the right tent can be a truly overwhelming process, especially for folks who are new to camping and backpacking. The Tribe Provisions Adventure II fills a specific niche, providing a versatile tent at an affordable price. However, while the Adventure II is easy to use and solid in design, the production quality isn’t quite there with this first version. I’d suggest avid campers who are putting in a lot of field days opt for a better-built tent. But as a beginner, who might only venture out a few nights a year, this tent would be a great and affordable choice.
UPDATE: I received an unprompted email from Tribe Provisions while working on this review offering replacement grommets — so it seems that others have had issues with that as well AND that the company is going out of their way to provide solutions (which is great).
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