Gear Review

5 5

Impressive 3 person tent; almost great 4 person

I am in the market for a 4 person tent, and while this is listed as a 3 person tent the advertised 50 sq ft footprint puts it pretty close to the realm of other 4 person tents. I narrowed down my search to the Losi 3P and the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL4, and I ordered both for a side-by-side comparison.

Impression: the Losi 3P is a really impressive tent. The pole configuration provides excellent height throughout the tent, and the sidewalls on the lower part of the tent are pretty much vertical - all of the footprint is very usable space. Assembly of the tent is simple - I was able to put it together without looking at the instructions. If you are familiar with how the Jakes feet work, everything about the setup is self-evident. When setting up the fly, NEMO was very clever in using a setup that allows the vestibule-part of the fly to be tensioned against the stake without any additional parts - very nice! In fact, I was really impressed that a very taut setup can be achieved with just 8 stakes. My wife and I both really like the color of the fly (be honest - this really does matter!), and I also really like the gear caddy that is included with the tent. The gear caddy includes two pockets with light dissipators which enable the tent to be lit up with headlamps. Really, the entire time I was setting up this tent, I was impressed with the design and engineering that went into the Losi 3P.

There were a couple things that I personally think could be improved upon. First, the body of the tent is definitely on the dark side. My wife liked this, while I didn't - obviously its a matter of preference. Second, the vestibules seem to be on the small side. This coupled with the fact that the fly sits several inches off the ground (third issue) make it hard to put our two backpacks in a single vestibule without blocking a lot of the door. Finally, I'm not entirely sure why the fly leaves so much of the sides of the tent exposed. I understand that all of the mesh is covered so the tent is technically waterproof, but all it will take is something inside touching a part of the tent that is not covered by the fly and water is going to wick through. I'm assuming that this aspect of the fly design has to do with either keeping weight down or improving breathability (there are no vents on the Losi 3P), but it does concern me a little bit. The final problem, and probably the biggest for me, is that there is no way that the floor dimensions are 79x91 inches as advertised. When I put four sleeping pads in the tent, there is almost no room left. Since the sleeping pads are only 72 inches long, I would have expected approximately 6 inches at the end of the sleeping pads for things like shoes - however, there is absolutely no room to spare. Also, the sleeping pads pretty much have to touch to get all 4 in. And with these being 20" wide each. there should have been nearly a foot of extra room - it just isn't there.

Comparison to Copper Spur UL4:
1) More durable materials; more solid feel
2) IMHO more interesting engineering and design
3) Walls are more vertical
4) Darker inside
5) Definitely a little heavier (I didn't actually weigh this), but the Losi 3P also packs down to a smaller size
6) Noticeably smaller footprint. Based on advertised specs, the difference is 7 sq ft, but it seemed like more than that in reality.

Final decision: I'll be keeping the Copper Spur UL4 and returning the Losi 3P. The decision is pretty much exclusively because I need to be able to sleep 4 people in the tent whenever we use it. The vestibules don't seem quite big enough for 4 packs, and I fear that we would always have issues with water seeping through the sides of the tent because of how tight the fit is. It's really not fair to criticize a 3 person tent for not being able to be used as a dedicated 4 person tent - I get it. The Losi 3P gets a 5 star review because it is a fantastic 3 person tent. My wife isn't really happy with this decision, and despite the limitations I've listed for my needs, I'm still pretty disappointed that I'm sending this tent back - that's how much I like it.