The Quickdraw Tent
Outdoor Innovations' Quickdraw Tent Short Cuts
by: Staff
The tent packed away in its bag.
The "Quickdraw" tent

I love camping, but I hate setting up and breaking down camp. It seems to take me forever, especially after a long day on the trail. I seem to always be the last one ready to hit the trail again early in the morning while the rest of the group I am traveling with is waiting around for me to get packed up. I am always on the lookout for anything that helps me set up, or break down camp faster, easier, or smarter.

So with a phrase like "Self Erects in Just 3 SECONDS!" in a big yellow triangle on the label, the "Quickdraw" tent from Outdoor Innovations attracted my immediate attention when I was shopping down at my local Big-5 sporting goods store. It was on sale (marked down to $79), so I bought it.

The 3 short poles are easy to handle
3 equal length poles provide additional support.

Of course, the first big question is: "does this tent really set up in 3 seconds?"
Well, once you get it out of the bag, it does pop open in about 3 seconds or so, but it will generally take a few more minutes to get the tent ready to sleep in. Still, even the first time out of the bag and without reading any instructions, it was probably the fastest and easiest tent setup I have ever done.

The tent pops open, add 3 poles and you could be ready to sleep...
The tent set up without the rain fly. The large ventilation panels provided good air flow.

The tent pops open on a coiled spring steel frame, then 3 short (easy to handle), equal length (can't get mixed up) shock corded fiberglass poles are plugged into sockets to provide additional support for the tent. Once these poles are in place and the tent base is staked out, the tent is a reasonably rigid structure. On a calm summer night this would be as far as I would go and I would easily be finished in less than 5 minutes. If the weather was less certain I would attach the rain fly.

The rain fly adds a great deal of rigidity to the tent.
The tent set up with the rain fly, staked and guyed out.

The rain fly covers a good portion of the tent and has two vestibules, one on each end, that can be used to keep a gear out of the elements, or even just muddy shoes out of the tent. The rain fly simply attaches to the corners of the tent body using nylon clips, then the ends of the fly are staked out. The rain fly can be further guyed to provide more separation from the tent, more protection, and more stability. With the rain fly attached, staked out, and guyed, the tent is quite rigid. Although I have not had a chance to use it in harsh weather I would expect that it would do reasonably well in moderate rain and winds.

Full height tent doors
Large semicircular doors make getting in and out quite easy.

Outdoor Innovations rates this as a 2 person tent, but unlike some other tent manufacturers claims, when they say a 2 person tent they actually mean that 2 people can comfortably stay in this tent - even if they are not dwarf anorexic siamese twins. The tent floor measures a comfortable 8.5 feet x 5 feet and the tent is just a couple of inches shy of 4 feet tall. There is a large semicircular door on each end that are quite easy to get in and out of.

The tent has a spacious interior
The tent has a large interior. The yardstick inside is provided for scale.

The tent is constructed out of a flame retardent treated nylon taffeta material, but the material seems lighter than some other tents we have used. The tent has a very large No-See-Um roof panel (as does each of the doors). One construction detail that I am a bit concerned about was that the floor had a the number of seams right at the bottom edge, I will need to keep these carefully sealed to prevent water leakage during wet weather. The tent comes with a full complement of the standard wire tent stakes and 2 lengths of cord. The stakes, the poles, and of course the tent all stow away in individual pockets in the storage bag.

Pictures - perfect for guys like me...
The sewn in instruction sheet makes sure you won't forget how to get it back in the bag.

The tent setup was quick, actually even quicker that I had anticipated, but I was surprised that the tent came down and stowed away quickly too. After pulling up the stakes, unclipping and folding the rain fly (made easier because it can be folded flat and does not have to be wound up in a tight little roll), the tent is folded back up with just a few strange and unnatural contortions needed. Outdoor Innovations has even sewn a diagram of the storage procedure right into the tent bag. A great feature, that I find missing in all too many tents these days, is that everything actually fits easily back into the storage bag (even thrown together in the field).

The shape of the stowed tent is quite different than conventional tents (a flat circle instead of a rolled log), but if you are camping from a vehicles it should not be any problem to carry, and if you are on foot it could be easily attached across the back of a pack (but this 2 person model might be a bit wide). The tent weighs 7 lbs.

This should be a great 3 season tent, and I look forward to seeing how it fares in the long run. For $79 I really did not expect very much, I have become used to paying a couple of hundred dollars for a reasonable tent, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I got for my money. Sure, I like aluminum poles much better than fiberglass, the material could be heavier and I am going to keep and eye on the seams around the edges of the floor - but there is an awful lot to like about this tent. For reasonable weather it should work out great (if you're expecting really bad weather you may want to stick with an "expedition" type tent) and if it helps to keep me from being the last person ready to go - then I am sure that this tent may be the one that I end up using the most often.


  • Outdoor Innovations Ltd.
    Dept. ORN
    150 North Sunway Drive
    Gilbert, AZ 85223
    Phone : +1 (602) 545 6666 or (800)-448-TENT