My ABO Gear Self-Erecting Pop-up Tent Review: Camping in the Poconos
One thing I hate about camping is pitching a tent when you are tired after a long day of being on the road.
So this spring I decided to buy a self-erecting pop up tent from ABO Gear.
We bought a blue tent that sleeps three persons, but we only use it for two people (me and my husband) and our dog.
The tent has a sleeping compartment and a small front part that is handy to store bags--and it provides a little space for our dog to sleep.
It was on special offer so I wasn't sure if the quality was going to be any good.
But to my surprise the tent has survived our three week vacation in the Poconos really well!!
First of all we had a few days of extreme heat. Although the tent was too hot to enter during the day, it was comfortably warm at night and the small ventilation holes provided sufficient fresh air.
After a few days of happy camping we had a thunderstorm with torrential rain that lasted for at least three hours. I though, this is going to be it, we will get wet now and have to sleep in he car.
But besides a few drops in two corners the tent kept us very dry.
See what others had to say about this Popup Instant Tent
I think the weakest part of the tent are the zipper--they ran smoothly the first few days but when they got wet and dirty they started to show some resistance.
Another weak point is the instructions on how to pack up the tent after use. The first few times it took us at least a half an hour to fold it up because the instructions were not clear enough. But now we got the hang of it and I can even fold it by myself in one minute without any help!
US Army Shelter Halves: Best 2 Man Pop-up Tent for Backpacking
My current camping tent is my original US Army Shelter Halves, NSN 8340-01-026-6096. Both halves, the six wooden pole thirds, stakes, and some rope make a 2-man pup tent, although it's really only large enough for two people who don't mind sleeping on top of each other.
It's made of sturdy canvas (no insta-rip nylon), can easily be repaired if something does manage to cut it, and blends in nicely with the woods, rather than the hideous eyesore of most modern tents. It has some definite drawbacks - even when dry, it's close to 15 pounds with stakes, for a small tent.
When wet, which it gets no matter how much you try waterproofing it, it's even heavier, and definitely isn't a good choice for long backpacking trips, unless you have very little other gear. In the rain it is cold and damp, and you have to include a third half if you want a ground sheet, adding another 4lbs or so to the weight.
Setting it up requires stakes or nearby objects, but if done right, takes only a couple minutes, and is sturdy enough to weather almost any storm.
Since most of my camping is during the dry season (or as much of one as northern California ever gets) and within a short walk of my Jeep (it's much easier to bring the tent, other gear, food, water, etc into the woods on the back of the jeep than on my own back), the tent works well.
The durability and appearance are hard to match, and as they're very inexpensive surplus, a replacement is always easy to get.
Comment from Tom
Jason, you're right on the money as far as these tents go!
Granted, the shelter half is an antiquated design to be sure, I'm told that it originated in the Civil War. That being said, sometimes they DO create a design that is such a winner, that it never ages ! The shelter half is one such design.
While they might be heavy, "ugly" by some standards, and interesting to put up by oneself, they are THE best choice for an inexpensive, rugged, and 100% Made in America tent! (that's an edge right there, many tents aren't made here anymore!)
The tent pieces can be used for most anything, with your imagination being the limit, tarp, blanket if nothing else is around, lean-to, you name it.
If you want a tent that has all the bells and whistles, then the shelter half might not be your ideal choice, it's dark green, and it doesn't repel water too well. But if practicality and ruggedness is what you're looking for in a tent, then it's hard to beat.