Last week I reviewed three high-end tents made for minimalist hikers who need to go fast and light through the wilds. This week’s featured shelter, an 8-pound igloo of fabric called the Quechua 2-Second Tent, is a flip opposite design, both in form and function.
But the Quechua 2-Second Tent — which with “one swift toss,” as company literature suggests, unfolds in midair to set itself up — is an undeniably cool creation.
To boot, the tent, which is made by Decathlon USA, costs a mere $69.
As you may have guessed, the tent’s “2-second” namesake is derived from the time it takes to set up the shelter. I will admit to being a skeptic on this proclamation. But in my tests, the tent, which comes packed in a circular fabric container with backpack straps, did in fact spring to life with a simple toss into the air.
Indeed, before the tent even hit the ground, its structure, fashioned by bond hoops of fiberglass, sprung to life, pulling the fabric out and into place. It landed set up and complete, its face fabric taut, its door zipped shut and ready to keep the bugs at bay.
I did have to stake it down, however, which took a whole 20 seconds or so.
Measuring about 8 × 5 feet with a 3-foot-high ceiling, the tent is designed for two people. It was roomy enough in length and width for my wife and I plus our 18-month-old girl, though I could not sit straight inside without my head pressing into the fabric above.
The tent’s double-wall design, which incorporates a polyester shell fabric coated with polyurethane, promotes some ventilation. However, during my tests on a hot night in July the Quechua 2-Second was a bit clammy.
One other design complaint: When the door is open, rain falls right inside the tent, as there is no canopy and the oval-shape entryway is tilted back a few degrees from vertical.
Otherwise, rain was not an issue with this tent. I put it through a thunderstorm and then left it alone all day long as the skies drizzled away, but not a drop got in.
My biggest problem with the Quechua 2-Second Tent came when it was time to pack up. Despite explicit instructions, getting the tent back in its small circular bag — a contortionist’s feat that involves twisting and spinning highly tensioned fiberglass hoops — was a real challenge.
But after a few tries, I became competent putting the tent away in its bag, the process a sleight-of-hand parlor trick of sorts that I now rather enjoy.
Overall, the Quechua 2-Second tent comes highly recommended, especially for car campers tired of dealing with poles and stakes and tie-downs. Its design is not without flaw, but for most campers my quibbles will ring irrelevant.
And at only $69 (did I mention that?) the tent is a true bargain.