Pros: Very large, mud mat, durability, gear loft/pockets, large doors/windows
Cons: Came out of the box broken, some poor design/features (see review!)
We bought the Getaway 9 for a camping trip, but not our usual type of trip. This was for basically setting up base camp in a campground. Normally I wouldnt want a huge, monstrous tent, but we needed something big to hold all the stuff we unpacked, and to make it through a week at the campsite. Weighing in at a whopping 22 pounds, this tent is definitely for car camping- not something you would ever backpack in to the back country!
The Getaway 9... Verrrrry Similar to the Tetragon 1610
After browsing on Eureka!s website, we decided on the Tetragon 1610. But when browsing Eureka! tents on Walmarts website, it was clear that the Getaway 9 looked like the same tent or at least very similar - just different colors. The Tetragon 1610 is two shades of aqua/green, whereas the Getaway 9 is darker, with tan and blue. We bought this tent at Walmart as the Getaway 9 for $186.24. I'm sure the difference is more than just the colors, but I'm not sure what.
Barely Out of the Bag: The Problems Begin
After driving approximately 7 hours to Maine, we arrived (quite tired) and began to unpack. Even before opening the tent, we noticed that the tent poles were cutting through the end of the bag that holds the tent.
We were even more unpleasantly surprised as soon as the tent was out of the bag. Some of the shock cords that were threaded through the tent poles were broken. We were still able to set up, but it made it very difficult trying to hold the poles together while assembling the tent. I felt like I couldnt trust that the unbroken cords wouldnt break.
Some of the specifications from the Wal-mart website:
68-denier polyester mesh windows, roof vent and "breathable" 70-denier nylon fabric for superior air flow
Sealed and welded seams keep water out
11 mm, shock-corded fiberglass main frame
9.5 mm, shock-corded fiberglass side frame
75-denier polyester taffeta fly with 800 mm polyurethane coating
Double-wall construction minimizes condensation
Self-supporting frames flex away stress from wind and snow
Guyout rings, loops, webs anchor in stormy weather
Big windows, vents, permeable fabric, netting aid air flow
Setup: Timely, With Instructions
We arrived at our campsite in hopes of setting up quickly and being able to hop in the car and take care of other things. Those hopes were soon dashed. The segments of poles that werent held together because of the broken ropes were enough of a problem, but it was difficult to figure out how to get the tent together without the instructions. I am not new to tents, since I have done plenty of backpacking and whatnot, but the Getaway 9 is large and complex, and does require you to read the instructions before assembling the tent. There are loops that the poles have to be threaded through, as well as clips and corner guyouts.
The Good Aspects
This thing is enormous! The tent is basically 10 x 16 at the widest points. At 5I, I could almost stand upright in the middle of the tent, which has a high point of 6 (although my head brushed the gear net at the top). Theres plenty of space, and I liked the three big doors. The doors have two layers, so that you can unzip the windows to reveal mesh.
Theres a mud mat outside of the front door of the tent. Although its not as great of a concept as the boot locker that I just read about for another tent, it is a pretty good idea. We would keep our shoes out on it, which helped to reduce dirt in the tent. (Only problem is that you cant leave them out in rain, because they arent protected by the rain fly!).
As I mentioned, theres a detachable gear net/loft that hangs at the top of the tent. Most tents come with a loft, which is great for everything from storing items you want on hand to what we usually use it for a makeshift light fixture by putting a headlamp in it to light the tent. There are also mesh pockets in the sides of the tent, which were really convenient. They were perfect for things like flashlights, eyeglasses, and other small but important things.
The bottom of the tent seemed pretty durable, with a polyethylene rip-stop floor. Our campsite had some nasty, sharp rocks embedded in the ground. A few times, when I was walking around in the tent in socks, and I felt like I had stepped on a razor blade. I am impressed that nothing came through the bottom of the tent when we walked around in shoes.
Additionally, the tent has a wrap-up bathtub floor seam, which keeps the bottom seams off the ground, protecting it from wear and moisture. It also has reversed silicone-treated zippers to prevent water from coming through the tent.
I never used the room dividers, but it is a neat concept to be able to partition the tent. There are two zippered room dividers.
Why This Tent is No More: Dislikes
Of course, coming out of the bag broken is not a good impression. If this tent cant last to the shelf of the store, how is it going to perform in the field?! The additional holes being bored into the bottom of the bag (by the poles) showed poor design as well.
Speaking of the bag that held the Getaway 9, I found it a little unmanageable. We are talking about a 22 pound tent. Imagine folding up the tent, and then having to squeeze it into a long bag. It would make things so much easier if they gave you a bag that zips up from end to end- you simply would lay the tent in the bag and zip up. Instead, I found myself struggling to hold the tent while someone helped me try to slowly work the bag onto the tent. If this were a little tent, it wouldnt be a big deal, but were talking about a 9 person tent.
The ends of the poles are held in place by putting them on a little metal spike that hangs on the corner of the tent. (Shaped like a question mark with the top closed). I didnt like this. Dirt would get in the end of the pole, making for a gritty, scratchy assembly. It was difficult for me to situate the spike so that it was pointing directly toward the end of the pole, especially while Im trying to get enough leverage and strength to put the two together.
I think it would be easier if there were less loops for the poles to be threaded through. The poles have to be threaded through some long pockets, (two of them) before raising the main compartment of the tent and then attaching clips along the spines of the tent. For such a large tent and so much setup, I wonder why everything just isnt clips. This is not a one-person setup.
I found myself absolutely cooking in the Getaway 9 when the fly was on. We left the fly on in case there was rain (obviously), but when I spent some time in the tent during the day, I found it heating right up. There are four big doors, but unless you have a cross-draft, theres little air flow. If you think about it, hot air rises, so to release or vent the hot air, I was looking for a way to decrease my suffering. The rain fly is so snug around the top of the tent, blocking and trapping air flow to the mesh on the top of the tent. I ended up rolling up half of the fly (by unhooking two corners), and I soon experienced some relief. I am disappointed that the air flow is so stifled. I can only imagine if it were raining, how I would feel, trapped in the hot humidity. By making the fly stand out a little bit from the tent, I think the air flow would be better. Supposedly this fly is bottom venting, but as soon as I lifted up the side of the fly, there was a noticeable improvement.
Although I basically just complained about the tightness of the rain fly, I appreciate that it provided good coverage. I dont think the Getaway 9 would perform well in a squall, but it would do ok in a regular rain. (If you look at the picture, you can see what I mean- rain that isnt pelting straight down might begin to come in the end windows). We experienced non-stormy rain in this tent, with no problems, but I would worry if there were wind or whatnot. The mud mat isnt really protected by the fly as well, so you cant leave your shoes outside if it is rainy.
Another thing that was involved in setup was staking out the corners of the tent, especially for the side rooms. Im surprised that there wasnt enough tension so that the tent stood well on its own. With the other tents I have used, Ive never had to stake them out so that they could stand up alright. This was much more of a pronounced problem at our wonderfully hardened tent pad (fancy park management term for heavily used campsite). We fought to get the stakes into the rock-hard ground. The stakes were huge, yellow, and made of plastic, and of considerable size- impossible to stake in hard ground.
Eureka tents have a 10-year Warranty. (Walmarts website says a Lifetime Warranty, but the box says 10 years). This was a major decision in purchasing the Getaway 9. There are so many things that can go wrong in a tent, and to have a guarantee provides a peace of mind.
Personally, I own an Eastern Mountain Sports tent (the Tristar). They guarantee their products for life. If your tent rips in half while youre setting it up, you get a new one, free of charge. Between the quality of their products and the guarantee, I find my choices as a consumer to be fairly cut and dry. Unfortunately, in this case, the Getaway 9 was returned to Walmart.
We didnt have a choice but to go ahead and use this tent even though it was broken. I enjoyed the size of the tent and the time I spent in it (other than the heat issue). Setup could have been easier (clips only, no loops), but once the hassle of assembling the tent was over, I was able to appreciate its spaciousness. However, I feel the quality was a little untrustworthy, since it didnt even make it out of the box in one piece. The construction seemed average, but the design could use several improvements. And although protected by the warranty, I would have always worried about the longevity of the Getaway 9 if I had not returned it. I am really inclined to think that there are better tents of the same size out there (a different brand), and would rather try something different, especially for the price paid.
I also wonder what the difference is between the Getaway 9 and the Tetragon 1610. I wonder if the Tetragon is more strongly constructed, with the Getaway 9 being the cheaper, Wal-Mart version (my guess).
Tetragon 1610: http://www.eurekacamping.com/tet16.asp
Walmart: http://www.walmart.com (type in Getaway 9)
Our new, wonderful Eureka Tent (2 person): Eureka Mountain Pass Exo 2
My other related reviews:
Ozark Trail Sportiva Dome Tent
EMS North Star Tent ▪ EMS Tristar Tent
EMS Boreal 20 Sleeping Bag ▪ Cascade Designs Thermarest
Princeton Tec Aurora Headlamp
Eastern Moutain Sports Online ▪ REI ▪ Sierra Trading Post
*****Note: This review was originally posted under the Tetragon 1610- I assumed it was the same tent with the exception of the color of the material. Thanks to Openroad, our Outdoor Category Lead, for adding this one so that I could re-post it under the correct listing! And thanks to all the commenters that helped me out.