I can’t proselytize enough the benefits of camping. There was a time in my life where all I could afford was a camping vacation and I couldn’t afford a tent that cost $300 either. That’s why I like the Slumberjack Nightfall 2 ($139.95) 3-season tent. It’s a tent that meets—and exceeds—the objective of reliable and durable shelter at a pricepoint that doesn’t give you a hernia.
What I liked
- Roomy and spacious. This is the roomiest two-person tent I’ve ever known. At 86 inches in length and 52 inches in width, crampy inside this tent is not. The ceiling peak sits at about 39 inches. Its walls run more vertical than other tents in its class so taller campers are really going to appreciate its height accommodation. I’m a moderate-height camper at 5’ 6” so I liked that when I sat up I had a ton of headroom and didn’t feel like I had to hunch my neck.
- Waterproof. All tents are waterproof but some have design flaws in their rainflys that allow rain in along the edges. My Big Agnes Little Jackrabbit 2 tent, sadly, is in this class. Fantastically lightweight backpacking tent but if it rains hard, rain will get in along the edges thanks to the infinitesimal rainfly. In nearly two months of testing, I was fortunate enough to experience one torrential downpour in the middle of the night. The campsite was pretty much underwater the next morning but the inside of the tent was completely dry. The Slumberjack Nightfall 2 has thicker fabric, which helps, but the real culprit is its substantial rainfly.
- Fast-Pitch option. This is basically leaving the tent itself behind and just taking the outer shell. I would only recommend this option if you are 100% certain there are no mosquitoes or other biting bloodsuckers where you are camping. I’m in Minnesota. The mosquito is our state bird. The tick is our state arachnid. I just don’t see myself using this option when camping in the Midwest.
- Durable. The Slumberjack Nightfall 2 is definitely constructed with durable fabric to protect you against the elements. The downside is that this durable fabric makes it a heavier tent. Not an issue if you’re car camping but it’s a bit more weight on the back when backpacking.
- Easy-to-pitch. This is not a tent in which you need to consult the instructions. It’s intuitive. It’s also fast to set up.
- Features. Got a couple of trekking poles? You can use them to prop up the little awning for a front porch. The porch isn’t really large enough to keep you dry while you sit under it during a rainstorm but it will certainly keep the sun off you. Inside the tent there are some interior loops that let you make a little gear shelf to store lightweight items you need in the night.
What I Didn’t Like
- Only one door. Not an issue if you’re the only one in the tent but if you’re sharing, and nature calls in the middle of the night, someone’s going to get a knee or foot planted in the middle of his/her stomach or chest. And then there’s the claustrophobia factor. If I don’t have an easy exit, I start to tremble.
- Weight. When I mention weight in this regard, I’m merely stating that at 5lbs, 10oz it’s on the heavy side for backpacking. Unless you are able to take the FastPitch option and leave the inner guts of the tent behind. Then we’re talking 3lbs, 9oz which isn’t heavy at all. This tent would not be my first choice for backpacking unless someone else was carrying it. Ha!
There is no question this a great tent. It’s roomy, durable and very waterproof. It has some cool features, like the awning and internal gear shelf, and its pricepoint of $139 is insanely attractive. The only downside I experienced is the single door. I’m usually sharing a tent with my husband and frankly, I need my own door so I’m not scrambling over him. Or worse, he’s scrambling over me.
The Slumberjack Nightfall 3 is a Gear Gals Piece of Recommended Gear.
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