Review of the Eureka Camping gear kit, Jetboil stove and few others. I am by no means expert but I'll try my best to put together an easy to follow review.
I've been using the Eureka Midiori Solo, Casper Sleeping bag and sleeping mat for almost a year. Jetboil & MSR Dragonfly for about 7 months. (note: I've spent maybe 40 days indoors, so that means nearly 11 months of sleeping in the tent, setting it up every evening and putting it away every morning).
(* I have not paid for any of the Eureka Gear or Jetboil but I will do my best to give a fair review)
Eureka Midiori Solo
- the two tent-pole cross design is easy to put together (no need to keep instructions)
- stent has survived some harsh weather and done well in -30C or below, wind gusts (40-50mph), heavy snowfall and my careless packing, etc.
- huge rain fly - normally 1 man tent is too small but the large vestibule allows to stash all your gear (at times the 4 panniers, handlebar bag and a 65L hiking backpack)
- no need to spray/etc. to make it waterproof, I've never bothered checking the seams or anything like that
- ventilation: I do not recall having an issue with condensation, even if tent walls get wet my sleeping bag & gear stays dry
- weight - there are tents that are lighter than the Midiori but their cost is double or triple
- few issues that I've had to deal with with winter camping (not what tent was designed for):
- hook on top where poles cross can't be done with mitts (everything else can though)
- cord on tent poles can freeze, meaning you can't put the poles together because extra cord will stick out (solved by keeping the poles near your body for 10-20 minutes before camping) - problem only occurs at -20C or below
- If there is any moisture and its cold, tent poles can freeze (solved by blowing on them for few seconds. DO NOT LICK THEM!)
- Blowing snow: had one night in Wyoming with high wind gusts and snow, being a 3-season tent snow was able to go under the fly and cover me (solved by arranging the panniers to block it)
The Midiori Solo is an amazing tent. I absolutely love it. It has done extremely well in winter camping, despite being a 3-season tent
Eureka Casper Sleeping Bag (15F / -9C)
- although it's been rated to -9C, I have had comfortable nights at -20C (with a fleece liner) and survived through -30C (or lower, my thermometer bottomed out at -30C). I wouldn't suggest using it in -30C though!
- having the large size bag is perfectly comfortable for a tall person (6' 2"), if needed you can only have your nose sticking out.
- weight - being synthetic, it's significantly heavier than down (although getting your down sleeping bag wet during a cold spell can be very bad)
The eureka Bero (20F / -7C): I switched to that after a brief time of using both bags together to deal with the cold in Colorado. Compared to the Casper, its lighter (but not sacrificing too much warmth) but I feel that the casper did better in much lower temperatures.
I would recommend the Casper / Bero sleeping bags
Eureka Sleeping Pads: Eureka Airrest DC lite camper 2" / Eureka Airrest Packlight
(I was using Eureka DC lite 2" until it got ran over by a pickup truck in my bag (long story), then switched to the Packlight - aside from the slightly smaller size, the packlight did just as well at a fraction of the weight)
Other than that I don't feel I have too much to add. The mat includes repair kit - which I've had to use and it works perfect (On camper 2" I got a puncture camping over glass, on Packlight it was due to improper packing, where I didn't keep it in the bag and it was rubbing against the my spare spokes). Great "R" values on both (good insulation from cold, so you don't wake up in a puddle if camping on snow)
I would recommend the Eureka sleeping mats, although you will be able to find lighter ones for higher price.
MSR Dragonfly stove
I got this in Alaska due to concerns of cold weather / altitude affecting gas stove performance. It takes a little longer to set up and take apart, and significantly longer to boil water (and less efficient) compared to the Jetboil. One of the bigger hassles is topping off fuel - white gas is often expensive and you will almost always have more when you fill up.
*biggest advantage is being able to use different fuels (which will be important in central, south america and other places)
I wouldn't use it in places where gas is available but it's a must have for some locations.
Jetboil SOL gas stove
After getting the JetBoil SOL, I turned on my dragonfly three times. Two times when melting a lot of snow and few more when I was out of gas.
- Biggest advantage is speed - boils water / melts snow extremely fast.
- The Jetboil fuel does great in low temperatures (I've used it at -30C, if you keep the canister near your body before using it, it runs even better),
- much easier to set up compared to the MSR.
- Boiling cup can be used as mug (Hot coco, coffee, tea!)
- despite what instructions say you can easily do other stuff than boiling water: boil in bag rice (or other boil-in-bag meals), pasta (need to stir very often).
- simmer control is difficult but not impossible (there is a new model coming out soon that fixes it)
- I didn't have much success with the autolighter, not sure why but after 3 months it works on and off so I just use a lighter
Amazing stove. I highly recommend it, get a larger boil cup (default is about 6-700ML), consider gas fuel availability where you are going.
The Eureka camping kit has served me well over 330+ Days of camping. Which is more than what most people would do in a 5 or 6 year span. I would highly recommend the equipment for any use (although if you are going for winter camping it would be best to get the appropriate gear).
Weight seems to be an issue but for bicycle touring I would take the Midiori anytime (I've also backpacked 6days/75miles across Grand Canyon and done fine)
MSR Dragonfly is great but unless gas fuel is unavailable, I would stick to the JetBoil SOL