I recently found an interesting tent concept online that I thought was original and creative. Once looking at them on their website, I was really interested in checking one out for myself. So I contacted the company and arranged to get my hands on one to see them for myself.
The company is called Standing Room Tents (www.StandingRoomTents.com). The tent I am reviewing is the "Standing Room 100 Hanging Tent" which is currently listed at $129. The concept is built on a 10' x 10' canopy shade system that does not come with the tent, but which most campers already own (most cost under $100). The canopies are sold at most outdoor stores. They fold up in a nice little case, usually with wheels for easy transport. The tent portion that is sold by Standing Room Tents is built to attach to this type of canopy frame. So it doesn't come with any poles, but attaches with latches to the canopy frame with hooks and ties.
The tent arrived in a small bag only 24" long and 10" wide. It's small size made it nice as most tents 10' x 10' x 8.5' (at center) are much bigger. However, because it was not including the canopy frame, it wasn't really the true size. Realistically, you'd have to include the canopy too when calculating the entire size (and cost). But rarely (if ever) do you find a tent where only half of it can be used for a canopy, which is a cool feature.
The first step was to set up the canopy. I'd done this many times so it only took a few moments. Unless you are unnaturally tall, you don't want to extend the legs all the way until you have connected the middle of the tent to the middle of the canopy. There are two hooks in the center of the tent that hook tothe bars in the center of the canopy, as shown in the picture below.
After the two center hooks are connected to the frame, you can raise up the legs on the canopy the the fully raised position. Next you connect a hook located at each top corner of the tent to the loops inside the top underside corder of the canopy. Next you connect two more plastic hooks (like the ones in the picture above) on each of the four sides. So after attaching the two center hooks, one hook in each corner and then two hooks on each side, the top portion of the tent is completely connected to the canopy.
Next, there are ties midway down on each corner to tie the tent to the legs of the canopy. Tie all four, but not too tight as this may cause problems opening and closing the doors if there is too much tension.
After all four sides are tied, connect the wire hooks on each corder of the tent to the bottom of each leg of the canopy (either to the hole shown in the picture or to the holes on the leg itself). Once this has been done, the tent is completely attached to the canopy. After the canopy was set up, it took me about 5 minutes or so to attach the tent to the canopy by myself. It is extremely easy for a single individual to complete the setup, which is a great benefit, particularly for those who won't have any help when using the tent.
The tent had a unique and original look to it. I was really impressed with the basic concept and simplicity. Now it was time to really look it over...
The walls of the tent seemed to be just the basic tent material. It didn't seem to be anything great, nor was it real cheap. The directions said that it does a good job of repelling water, but if you expect heavy rain conditions to treat the sides with a waterproofing product. On inspection, I'd recommend the same. A strait down rainfall wouldn't be a concern (assuming you had a good quality canopy, but if there was a side blowing, heavy rainfall, I'd be concerned without having some extra waterproofing.
There is a door located on each side of the tent. Each have both a screen and wind closure. They open starting at the bottom right corner, unzipping upward, curving toward the top to the left side. There is a second zipper also starting on the bottom right side, unzipping along the bottom toward the left side. So the door is connected on the entire left side. It can be rolled open and kept contained using clasps (like the one shown in the pic on the right).
Having a door on each end is nice because you can connect two tents together, attaching the back door of one to the front door of the next. If you have a 10' x 20' canopy, this would work best because if it rains and you have two 10' x 10' canopies together, the water would run down the middle of the two, right into the tent, flooding the tents.
There are two windows, one on each side. They are half circles, that use two zippers that unzip down, allowing partial or fully opened windows.
There are also small pockets on each side of the windows (4 total pockets) for holding small items. These are particularly useful at night when emptying out pockets and holding flashlights.
The outside of the window has two loops for tying down the sides of the tent in windy situations (although the directions say that the tent is not designed for heavy winds). One above the window and one below.
Power Cord Opening
There are two different openings in two corners with a velcro closure for power cords for whatever is needed (TVs, breathing machines, etc). This could be a great feature, particularly for backyard campouts when power is accessible via an extension cord. This isn't a selling point, but a nice extra feature.
The floor is made from the standard tent flooring material found on most basic tents. It continues up the sides a couple inches which helps keep water out when it rains. Overall it seemed to be pretty decent quality.
On the outside around the floor, the only tie-downs are on each corner (attaching to the canopy, requiring the canopy to be tied down for true stability). That's it, other than the two loops above and below the windows (wind tie-downs). This leaves the floor unattached to the ground. In my opinion, there needs to be loops in several spots across the sides, front & back for staking it down. Wind, rain, etc. causes the floating tent to be more unstable than it should be. This is an easy fix that should be addressed.
The zippers were ok, neither great nor bad. They zipped well and didn't seem to have any hangups. However, when zipped up, quite a bit of light could be seen between the zipper. The picture shows less than is seen in person. So the integrity is unknown. It could be fine and never be a problem. Keeping the water out is another question with this zipper. Using it over time in various weather conditions will tell. I think most people would be willing to pay a few extra bucks for a higher quality zipper system. This isn't a final judgement, just an initial observation.
There was a hook on the inside at the top in the center. And also loops on the inside around the side up toward the top for attaching various things (also attached under the windows for tying off the window flaps when open). These both come in handy for various tent accessories, hanging a light, etc.
After a close review of the tent, I have the following observations:
- Simple - extremely easy to set up, even for 1 person - common sense directions
- Airflow - windows and/or doors on every side, allowing plenty of ventilation from every side
- Doors - two doors allow entry/exit from both ends, good for emergencies and/or attaching multiple tents together
- Size - small package when rolled up - doesn't take up much space
- Versatile - able to use the canopy with or without the tent - easily attached at last minute
- Space - maximizes space with high, straight walls (vs tents that slope downward at sides)
- Mobile - when inside is empty, four people can pick up the tent and move it
- Value for Price - quality on par with other tents in the same price range or even those slightly more expensive - great value
- Staking - no loops along floor on outside for staking down to add security during various weather conditions
- Material - mediocre material for walls - may need additional treatment for water proofing - on par with other basic tents
- Zippers - mediocre zippers - they look like they'll do the job but I wish they were slightly better quality
- More Leg Ties - it would be nice to have 2 or 3 ties at each leg, instead of just 1 (plus top and bottom ones) - this would add stability in windy conditions
I'm actually really pleased and impressed with the tent. It is very inexpensive at only $129. And although I mentioned that I'd like better quality materials, this would also increase the price, doubling or even tripling the cost. This cost increase may price out some budget buyers. A potential solution might be to offer a couple different options, much like the canvas tent companies offer. A lower price for one quality (best value) and a higher price for better quality (luxury).
Because I sometimes camp in windy, wet conditions, this may not be the first tent I grab every time. However, when I'm camping in good weather, I wouldn't hesitate to grab this tent. It's a simplistic tent with lots of space. It would be easy to set up, even in the dark. It could also be a great choice as a secondary tent to hold gear in... or to equip with a small card table and chairs for games at night or during rainy weather... or to keep playing kids in at night. The small size, ease of assembly and inexpensive price tag opens up all kinds of options.
Overall, I like this tent. Even with it's limitations, I think it's a great product. So if you're in the market for a cool tent at a great price, pick up a Standing Room Tent! Just be sure you have the 10' x 10' canopy first!
Enjoy the journey!