Gear Check: EMS Sugar Shack 3
Buying a tent can be a daunting process. There are so many different aspects to take into a account. When are you going to use it? How many people will be in it? Will you be backpacking with it? How tall are the people using it? Before buying a tent it is good to have these answers in mind. To help you get a better idea about tent buying, here is an in depth look at the Eastern Mountain Sports Sugar Shack 3.
For me, one of the most important things about a tent is how easy it is to put up. Even though the Sugar Shack 3 is a three person tent the first thing I did was to see if I could put it up by myself. The two main poles are together in a hub. They are easy to put together and clip on to the tent. I made my usual mistake of putting them upside down. The hub itself needs to hook onto the tent so it is important that the part that clips to the tent is on the bottom. This was a quick and easy fix for me as I laughed at myself since I always seem to manage to get this part wrong no matter what tent I am putting up. Next, I referred to the directions to see what to do with the two shorter poles. These poles are added to give you more head room and easier access to the doors. My suspicions were correct of where to put them but I wanted to make sure. Once all the poles were snapped in I threw the rain cover on top and attached them to the Jack’s Foot at each corner. Now it was time to get inside and check out the digs.
The floor area of the Sugar Shack 3 comes in at just under 44 sq feet. This easily fits three regular size sleeping bags. For maximum space you could alternate the bags so that the person in the middle is opposite of their companions. If you are afraid of kicking your friend in the head you could probably fit all three bags the same way depending on your size. The tent is 7’6″ long so your tall friends will fit in. If you are in a regular size sleeping bag this gives extra room either at your head or feet for inside storage. The Sugar Shack 3 also has gear lofts for more storage on the inside. For outside storage the Sugar Shack 3 has two doors leading out to vestibules giving you another 14 sq feet of storage. This is a great place to leave your smelly boots for the night. The rain fly will keep them dry if the weather turns but they still will be able to air out some. Plus you won’t have to worry about tracking any muck that’s on the bottom of your boots into the tent.
The Sugar Shack 3 is built as a three season backpacking tent. There is a lot of screen mesh on the tent itself. On a good summer night you can forgo the rain fly and feel like you are sleeping under the stars while being protected from bugs. With a peak height of 44in there is also plenty of room to sit up and play games if you come across foul weather and need to hide away for a little while. Don’t worry if you do get caught in the rain, the seams are sealed giving you a good waterproof floor. The maximum weight of the tent is 6lb 11oz which is on par with similar three person tents. Just remember that you can easily split that weight between everyone that will be sleeping in the tent. When your trip is over, you’ve cleaned and dried your tent, and it is time to put it away, the Sugar Shack 3 stores at 7 x 24in. This is also a nice pack size if you are a car camper and your vehicle is stuffed to the brim with coolers and gear.
While the Sugar Shack 3 is billed as a three person tent, EMS sponsored athlete Joe Kinder has used it as a two person base camp. With only two people in the tent, there is ample room for gear and bags. Do you already have a favorite 3 person tent? If so, leave a comment and let us know what you love about it.