Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Gear Forum
 Forum Sponsor



distinguished member (107)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/28/2020 05:18PM  
For the last couple of decades, I've used a Eureka Timberline 4 tent for canoe camping with two people. My tent was made at a time when the Timberline 4 had two doors. I've been happy with the tent. However, the floor of the tent is now starting to let water through. On my last trip I was both an inie and an outie (that is a drop cloth under the tent and another in the tent) to keep dry. I removed the tape covering the seam in the center of the floor and seam sealed it, but it still leaks. The polyurethane coating on the floor looks fine but... I may redo the polyurethane coating with Gear Aid Tent Fabric Sealant. Does anyone have experience with this product? Any tips? How did it work?

On the other hand, it may be time for a new tent. I wouldn't mind replacing it with another Timberline 4, but the ones they make now only have one door. That is not necessarily a game ender but is a strike against it. In addition, I expect that tent technology has made some advances in the last quarter century. So, let me talk about what I liked about the Timberline and what I'd want in a replacement.

1. I like a free standing tent.
2. I liked the room in the tent. (I think I'll want a 3 or 4 person tent to sleep 2.)
3. I liked the overhang on the doors so that you could open the tent for ventilation even when it was raining. I also found that under the overhang was a place to let wet socks dry at night even if rain threatened.
4. I liked that the rain fly went nearly to the ground. I guess a couple of more inches wouldn't hurt.
5. I liked that the A frame design was sturdy and stayed up in some bad storms. Perhaps a little more head room could be had in a dome or other design.
6. It wasn't the world's lightest tent, but for canoe camping I'm okay with an 8 lb. tent.
7. As far as price goes vs. quality goes, I come down in the middle of the spectrum. I am not willing to have something that wouldn't serve its purpose because it is cheap. On the other had, sometimes having the latest and greatest gets you very little in added functionality for a great price.

So, if waterproofing the floor fails, who makes some tents that I should consider?
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
distinguished member (273)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/28/2020 09:55PM  
My 1st tent was the same, a TL 4 person and I added the vestibule. I know I used it for over 20 years and it finally wore out. I still have it though. Back around 2010 I bought a Timerline SQ 4 person tent
These do have 2 doors and a built in vestibule among a few other changes from the original. Weight, as you mentioned, is a drawback but it's not terrible either. I like this tent and have taken it to the BWCA on a few trips but have changed to different tents as the make up of our group has changed.
06/29/2020 08:30AM  
Tents can last a long time but they will wear out. At that time repair seems the way to go often because of attachment to faithful gear. But the repairs extend usefulness just a short time as other parts of the tent begin to fail.
I'm not advocating a new replacement but looking at used gear as a source of obtaining a known item at more reasonable prices. The market is full of once or twice users who then no longer want to participate in activities. May even find a little used Timberline older modle or a new Eureka Canada Timberline SQ Outfitter 4 There are differences between US and Canadian Eureka products.
I am a fan of Ebay and have bought most of my camp gear discontinued or used. Another excellent source is the Items For Sale or Wanted in this forum.

06/29/2020 08:53AM  
My first tent was also a TL4. It’s a classic for sure. I have on my past few tents found that re-applying floor coatings of seam sealers would work for a while, but would invariable start to fail with increasing frequency. Perhaps my skills in this area were not up to snuff, but I think there is a point when it’s better to just move on than to worry if you might leak in the next rain.

If you do want to consider a new tent, two I’ll toss out there are the REI Half Dome 4 or the Nemo Losi3 - both of which happen to be on sale right now at REI. When I tossed my TL4, I switched to the Half Dome (or it’s similar predecessor) and loved all of the room and stability. I used it for several years before swapping for a smaller tent. Now I’m in a Losi3 which I’ve used for 3 years. Great head room, ok weight, vestibules are ok and good ventilation. It’s weathered 2-3 strong storms, as I’m guessing most can now days.
06/29/2020 09:19AM  
You may want to check Gear Up for Outdoors Thunder Bay Ontario store website which carries Eureka tents. I am not sure of the current USD/CND exchange rate but for years is has been about $.75 USD to $1.00 CND. Also not sure of how international shipping would work or if it is possible in this case. The TL Outfitter 4 tents were used exclusively by the Wabakimi Project and are a tough and dependable tent but they are heavy and somewhat bulky.
distinguished member(2448)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/29/2020 07:22PM  
I think you should consider what options you might want in your new tent. Tents have come a long way in design and performance since the classic design you have.

Certainly if someone asked me what manufacturers to look at I would have a lot of answers because there simply are a lot of good manufacturers out there Nemo, Big Agnes, Marmot to name a few. Then there are more cottage style makers like Tarptent and Six Moons designs which probably are not what you are looking for but who make great light weight tents.

For sure I think you want a large 4 man tent since you stuck with the tent you have so I would start with the manufacturers I suggested but leave the door open for others. Getting back to the start I really think you should think about what you like in your current tent and what you dislike and go from there.
06/29/2020 09:23PM  
I never had good luck with recoating either and there are so many good tents out there at reasonable prices that I'd buy a new (or lightly used) tent. If you get the dome style vs. A-frame, you'll find it more spacious inside and likely will be satisfied with a 3-man. You can usually find some good deals on quality tents on sale.
member (25)member
06/29/2020 10:57PM  
Not sure if you are looking for suggestions, but I have an MSR Papa Hubba, which is a 4 person tent. just under 7 lbs. I'm happy with it, can set it up under the rain fly if needed. I'm sure their are cheaper options, and I have not used a lot of tents. I'm on my 3rd year with it and have zero desire to change anything or look for something else. Take it for what it's worth (not much), but I'm happy with this tent. I only use it a few times a year, so maybe 6 trips in 3 years.
distinguished member(1483)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/30/2020 08:14AM  
I too have a Timberline 4, although I haven’t used it in perhaps 20 years. That’s because I bought a 2 man self standing dome tent that is better in every way. Less weight, smaller footprint, smaller size in pack, easier to put up, and it also has two doors with vestibule over each door that works better than the extra cost Timberline vestibule, which if you were to buy two of them cost as much as my two man tent. I can’t think of any way the Timberline is superior. Actually the Timberline is not a good design for snow or wind compared to my dome. My two man dome is more efficient use of space if that makes sense, yes, the T-4 was spacious for two people but my two man dome uses the space more efficiently, no more space is needed.
I’m not going to mention the tent name or MFG, everybody makes a similar design, it is as popular as the Timberline 4 was back in the day, maybe more so.
Dual doors and a vestibule for each is mandatory for me, even if I am solo.
06/30/2020 09:15AM  
Your item #3 is the only thing I miss about our old T-2. I loved the fly overhang and those windows that closed on the inside.

The bodies of the new dome tents have so much netting that ventilation inside with the fly closed up isn't much of a problem, but I sure do miss looking outside. In our new dome tent we've left the vestibule door on our fly open at night for a view but we have to have it closed to stay dry in the rain. Closing the fly quickly and without letting in mosquitoes in our dome tent is not as easy as zipping up those triangle windows in the T-2. Even with that I would not go back to the Timberline. Especially since we couldn't retape its seams to any workable degree. The dome tents just give so much more headroom it's like being in a palace compared to the Timberline. If any good outdoor stores are open near you I encourage you to go try out one of the new dome tents before buying another T-4. The nostalgia I have for the Eureka is strong, but I never choose it over our newer dome tents.

Also you mentioned that you liked the fly to come down to the ground. At Walmart, Target, etc. they sell the tents that only have like half a fly or one that just covers the top. Stay away! Those are really only good for car camping. And not so much even then. You should be able to get a decent quality backpacking tent for a couple hundred bucks if you watch for sales. REI is always a good bet.
distinguished member (107)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/01/2020 02:06PM  
Thanks all!

I am thinking about some dome tents as a replacement for my aging TL 4. I am looking at the following as starters. Any comments on these tents would be appreciated.

Marmot Fortress 3P
Marmot Tungsten 3P

These two seem to be the same design but the Tungsten use a more breathable tent body. Some questions: Is the Fortress tougher and better able to stand up to storms? Are there potential condensation problems in the Fortress? Is condensation less of a problem in the Tungsten?

Larger option are:
MSR Zoic 4
MSR Papa Hubba NX

Again any comments on these or similar tents would be useful.

Thanks again,

senior member (52)senior membersenior member
07/01/2020 02:25PM  
There are a lot of tents. A good starting point would be to go to and type tents in the search bar. They rate a lot of tents by category - i.e. camping tents, backpacking tents & etc. That may narrow down your choice by looking at their ratings.
distinguished member (107)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/01/2020 02:51PM  
kjw: "There are a lot of tents. A good starting point would be to go to and type tents in the search bar. They rate a lot of tents by category - i.e. camping tents, backpacking tents & etc. That may narrow down your choice by looking at their ratings."

The review sites are somewhat helpful but they never quite understand what I want in a canoe camping tent. I am not as fanatical about weight as a backpacker would be and am willing to tolerate a few extra pounds for more room. The backpacking tent section usually concentrates on two person tents that Bill Mason would have called a dog house (or an extra small dog house). One the other hand, they also review "camping tents". I don't want the weight and size that a person doing car camping would. The three or four person backpacking tents which usually get little coverage are what seem most suitable for a two person canoe camping tent in my opinion.

      Print Top Bottom Previous Next