Thursday, June 04, 2015

Eureka! Bug Shelter

There will be bugs.  It's a fact.  Unless you're camping in the deep of winter.

Our first canoe trip together was the last weekend of September 2013.  There were bugs, but they were few and far between.  We could co-exist with them quite happily.  However, after this trip the canoe "bug" bit us hard and we couldn't wait until the official ice-out to get back in the park the following spring.  We both knew that we would need to do something to cope with the bugs and we found it with the Eureka! bug shelter.
She's a beaut!  On our first trip with the shelter, we religiously staked it every day of our trip, however, the bugs were not bad.  We started considering it more as our "bug insurance".

The shelter comes in two sizes.  I originally purchased just the tarp at LeBaron in late March.  They did not yet have their spring stock in and this must have been left from last year.  I started scouring the city for the screened portion.  I went to Bushtukah and asked about it.  Someone piped in that they had their stock in the warehouse, he thought they had the screen portion, it was just a matter of them unpacking and bringing the stock into the store.  They took my name.  And never called.  LeBaron also had my name.  They did call.  But by the time they did, I had already found one at the Boy Scout Store on Baseline Avenue.

I went in on a cold morning in early April.  The cheerful young man at the cash welcomed me to the store, mentioned that they had a "15% off everything in the store" sale going on and asked if he could be of assistance.  I heard "50% off everything in the store" and started behaving just like the woman in the Ikea commmercial "start the car, start the car!".  I mentioned what I was looking for and he went to the back to get one.  Meanwhile, I've got a basket and I'm just piling things into it.

He came over to ask if I had any questions and I asked about a particular item.  He confirmed, "Yes, it is also 15% off."  Ohhhhhhhhhh.  oops.  I put a few things back.  I did buy a Eureka! tripod chair and a Eureka! clear plastic dry bag (I would use for food).  And I went home with the screened portion of my bug shelter.

I live in an apartment.  I was so eager to see how it worked, I managed to set up the structure in my livingroom/dining room area that very morning.  I should have taken a picture of that!

The netting portion fits into the tarp portion with clips.  It's super easy once the tarp is hung to set the screen up.  A key trick is to mark the middle clip of the screen (I have a mint green ribbon on it), so when you pull it out of the bag, you can start with at least one right clip in the right spot. 

The other key trick is hanging the tarp at the right height and choosing trees to hang it from that are the right distance apart.  This is more of a trial and error, we're still working on it.  

When the screened portion has been clipped into the tarp, you have a lot of ways to adjust the structure.  The clips themselves are on a length of webbing - they can be loosened or tightened.  There are plastic parts that allow you to adjust the guy wires as well.  The tent portion stakes not only at the four corners, but halfway down each side.  The entry and exit is through two zippered doors that are at the high ends of the structure.  There is fabric that should be folded under for the "floor" to keep the bugs from coming in the bottom.  However, it does not keep slugs out as we learned on one particularly rainy trip.  

Once set up, it has plenty of room for 2 chairs and we use it to cook and eat in.  It's not overly tall, but neither am I, and I can change my clothes in it.  The tent we are using does not allow either of us to stand.

We bought some bright orange paracord to replace the black cord that came with the structure.  Orange is much easier to see as you walk around the campsite.  We also picked up some lighter weight pegs at MEC.

The tarp, netting, guylines, and pegs probably weigh in at around: 3.34 kg. We do not use the sacs they came in when taking the structure with us.  We have a couple of compression bags we squish them into.  Bulk is the enemy!  But we do store the shelter in the sacs they came in over the winter, where they are loose and less likely to develop weaknesses along the folding portions.  Another reason to stuff it rather than neatly fold and tuck it.

Recommend?  Absolutely!

Here's a link to more online information about it:

How do you cope with the bugs?  I should add a picture of the witch's hat I made into a wide-brimmed bug hat.  :-)


  1. Hi,
    2 questions please:
    How did you manage to hang the rope so high on the trees?
    Any leaks during a rain? On the seams maybe?
    Thank you!

    1. We run some 550 cord between two trees for the center line, I just reach up the tree trunk as high as I reasonably can, I usually like to have that center line about 7 feet of the ground, the weight of the tarp and bug shelter will drop that by about a foot when it is all said and done.

      The tarp has been great, I like to keep the gear clean, washing and treating the material between seasons, no leaks so far!. When the rain gets really bad we supplement this tarp with another tarp for a larger dry area, usually creating a porch type area near whichever side we are using for the main entrance.