Kevin’s Split Tent Review

Our friend Kevin Coughlan originally posted this Review on our Split Tent on the Expedition Portal Forum, and gave us permission to repost it here in our blog. Thanks to Kevin and to Expedition Portal! I originally posted this as a response, in the thread on (Expedition Portal Forum) “What’s your number one most useful cooking item?”. But then, I realized that I had never really given a public call-out to David (just a mention of his work, here and there), who had built us the beautiful tent you see below. This is for you David; a very public follow-up, and our gratitude… So – in its entirety, plus a few more pics, my post and now very first thread:

Well, I do cook under the veranda quite often, so I suppose it belongs here tooAs you can see below, it’s a modified center pole design; A Sunforger treated canvas, 7oz. army duck David Ellis Torrent Tent. It is customized for our needs, with one-half the tent converted into a large open veranda that can be raised or lowered to contend with weather… and makes possible those Swedish pancakes, cooked on the veranda in a hailstorm πŸ™‚ True story, and more than once, because there is something about hail and snow that brings out the Swede in my wife πŸ™‚ The total footprint is 12’x14′, with the enclosed part 7’x12′.


I cannot say enough good things about this tent. It folds very compactly for its size, easily packing into our Jeep, and is quite light – roughly 30lbs – but luxurious beyond belief. It is a true “Storm Rider”, including an entire night of sustained 40mph winds (50+mph gusts) in Death Valley last year. That storm took out power for 50 miles around, and cleared out or leveled nearly every tent in that area. No damage at all – It is beautifully constructed, in Durango, Colorado. It is cool in full sun and warm in cold wind, and fully screened for pesky critters. It goes up in 15min, 30 for storm stakes.

Taking it down is more like 45 minutes; canvas likes to be cleaned and folded. We have “put it away wet”, literally, when we were forced to by circumstances; it’s actually much faster but no fun. Very heavy and you must store a canvas tent dry, and that means a stop to set it up and dry it out. So it is our “2 night tent” – we use it when we are staying in one place for at least 2 nights. But we fear no storm, or rain, or hail. It is one tough tent.

As for all that red furniture and linen, well, meet my wife πŸ˜‰

Now I’m going to start my first thread with this very post, because it occurs to me that I should give David Ellis some public visibility for building such a great tent. Appropriate, too, because he delivered it to us at Overland Expo West in 2014, and I found his work on thisΒ forum!

Edit added: Here is the tent folded into its carry bag, loaded into the jeep. it is the light tan bag with the black cross-straps at the end, just behind the drivers seat. All the stakes and poles are in that bag.

Thanks for a great review Kevin!
Tent Review

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