Gear Review: PahaQue Bear Creek Solo Tent

By: Frank Medicine Wolf Springer
By: Frank Medicine Wolf Springer

The absolute last thing I want to do after a long day of hunting or hiking is to have to go through 30 minutes of mental geometric calculations and physical calisthenics to put up a shelter for the night. To this reasoning for many years I simply carried a rolled up piece of tarp, lay my head down on my jacket, and after putting my pistol on my chest I pulled the sleeping bag up and went off to dreamland…until the first blood thirsty mosquito or raindrop came my way—and then the nights became as long as the day had been—and not nearly as fun.  So I’ve tried numerous tents and found some to be really cool, but most just a real pain in the rear to put up and take down.

This year PahaQue of Poway, California posted me out their tent, which they hoped would fit my needs in the woods and along the streams in my wildland wanderings.   They had designed this tent for the really competitive back-packing market. But they believed it was right for the hunting/fishing market as well. Their overnight delivery arrive just as I was packing for a wander out on the coast and when I received a box that was 5.25 inches square and 20 inches long I kind of looked out the side of my head at it…’you’ve got to be kidding?—there can’t be much in here’.  But, I pulled it out of the box and replaced the other tent I had already chosen.

At the end of the day I found a shady spot under a large oak and pulled the tent out of its stuff sack.  I’d not seen the directions on this tent yet and actually didn’t need to. The X design for the shock corded T6 6061 aluminum poles was obvious.  With ‘hips’ in the poles, they slid into place easily, the ends placed through the round metal grommets in the corner tabs and the self standing tent was up in less than three minutes; rain cover and all—Freaking Brilliant!

The first part of setting up this tent completed.
The first part of setting up this tent completed.

The bottom is a tub design with 4 inch walls that keeps ground water from rolling into the tent, and the very high quality ‘no-seeum’ bug proof screen on all sides and top provides excellent ventilation and a full view of the night sky if the weather permits.  With the rain cover on, the short ‘ridge pole’ holds the cover away from the sides and provides plenty of air flow when installed.   This tent has 20 square feet of floor space that easily fits a large sleeping bag with plenty of room left over for modest gear at one end.  The tent is tall enough that I could sit up in it and get dressed without a problem. The rain cover vestibule provides an additional 6.5 square feet of covered storage room outside the tent.

Install the rain cover and the author is ready for a comfortable nights sleep.
Install the rain cover and the author is ready for a comfortable nights sleep.

I found all materials and sewing of this tent to be above standard.  In many tents the Achilles heel is the zipper, but on the Bear Creek solo the  zippers were quite durable and the weather flap over them is placed well so they did not ‘wad up’ in the zipper at any time. The stuff bag was intelligently made big enough that the tent easily repacked with no problem. At only 4.95 pounds this is a slight addition to your baggage.

The Solo tent comes with stakes and ties and it is suggested to use these if the wind is up.   I would have liked to have seen a loop sewn into the roof seam to hold a small light, but that is simply nit-picking at this point. This tent is a dream to put up and take down and is everything a wanderer needs for 3-season sleeping in the wilds.

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