Eureka! Suma 3 ReviewDecember 20, 2018
- Fast set up
- Plenty of living space
- Large gear loft
- Only one door/vestibule
- Vulnerable wind profile
- Poorly designed storage sacks
At just over 4 square meters of floor space, the Suma delivers the biggest footprint of any of the six tents we looked at. But the usable space is much less than that due to the shallow angles of the end walls. The simple dome design creates tight corners between the end walls and the floor, making the narrow ends of the floor unusable for anything but small gear storage. At 127 cm at the peak, the Suma 3 boasts the greatest peak height in this test group, but that height comes at a cost – the tall center and creates an exaggerated wind profile. It has an average amount of vestibule area but concentrated all up front.
The Suma is a similar weight of the rest of the tents, but when rolled it presents a larger-than-average bundle. The stuff sack is cylindrical, so good for quick stuffing. For the weight, you get a simple dome that will generally perform adequately, particularly for those adventures that don’t ask much of their gear.
The Suma is very straightforward to set up because it is a simple two-pole dome tent. This tent would be a touch faster to set up they combined the two poles with a flexible joint. That approach would also increase weatherproofness by increasing stability. As it is, there is no linkage where the poles cross at the peak – just a regular clip on either side of it, on only one pole. It’s not protected during setup, but it is quick. The poles connect to the corners of the tent with a pole-into-grommet system.
The Suma took the bottom spot in this category. The simple dome pole setup doesn’t provide much structure for blowing winds as the high peak and broad side-walls present a lot of big surfaces to get buffeted by the wind. Though it was secure when new, a taped seam across the center the floor presents a worry for future water seepage. The Suma includes plenty of guy-line attachment points – at each corner, at the center of each wall, and four others – but the high side profile is a big target for strong, sustained winds.
A large gear loft connects near the peak providing plenty of storage for light items, but the frame superstructure doesn’t provide enough structure to put anything heavy in the loft. It is good for things you might way accessible in the middle of the night, like rain jackets and flashlights. This tent lost points in this category because it only has one door, one vent, and one vestibule.Continue Reading
Scott Morris guides backpacking expeditions and hiking trips for Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. He is a writer, traveler, and runner. Scott tests backpacking equipment.