Site icon Tent Trailer Camping 101

Review of the Eureka! Northern Breeze Camping Screen House 10×10

Advertisements

I selected this screen house after a month of researching screen houses. I narrowed my search down to 10 various brands and models, then decided on this one. The Eureka! Northern Breeze Camping Screen House comes in two sizes; 10′ x 10′ and 12′ x 12.’ I bought the 10′ version on Amazon for $529. It was an expensive purchase compared to the competition, but it met some key selection criteria I’ll discuss below. I consider this more of a tent than a screen house. Most other models only have screen sides, while some have optional side panels available for purchase. All four sides of this shelter have screen mesh walls, along with side walls permanently attached, and they can be used as side walls or awnings, or rolled up and tied off. With the optional floor, it is essentially a tent. So, I’ll just call it a tent.

Eureka! Northern Breeze 10

The main reason for my selection of this tent was the flexibility in different applications. Until a few years ago, I didn’t know what a screen house was. After seeing some other campers with screen setups over picnic tables, I did some reasearch and learned these are essentially a bug shelter without a floor and can be moved around, put over picnic tables, etc. I bought the optional screen house floor for $54 to have the flexibility to use it as a tent if camping with family or friends who need a place to sleep.

Eureka! Northern Breeze 10 Floor

I will discuss setup, then my observations, and go into more detail on my impressions and conclusions.

Setup. Before arriving at our campsite, I had planned to put this up and then move it over our picnic table. However, our site was so small, the picnic table was right next to the pad, so that wasn’t going to work. Also, the ground in our site was not completely flat, and there were some small thorny scrub bushes all over. The only place I had room to set this up was between the picnic table and the site marker. So, plan B was to set it up as a standalone screen house, and put chairs and tables inside for a seating area. To prep the area, I had to cut some small thorny bushes, then laid out my CGEAR sand mat (10’x10′) as a footprint. I was afraid the thorn bushes would puncture the Northern Breeze floor, so I decided not to put that down.

Frisco Campground, Cape Hatteras National Sea Shore, Site P66

The Northern Breeze comes in a nice carrying bag with shoulder strap. Inside, it has aluminum poles with internal bungie cords for easy assembly. These poles are in a separate storage bag. Also included are plastic tent stakes and 8 guy lines, two for each corner. There are also two additional poles that can be used to make any side into an awning.

I took out the poles, guy lines and stakes and laid them out on the picnic table. I had read the assembly instructions and had watched a YouTube video before leaving home, so I figured the setup should be pretty easy.

The tent stands on four aluminum poles, connecting to a cast aluminum hub that is attached to the center at the top of the tent. I assembled the bungee connected poles and set them aside.

My wife and I spread the tent over the footprint, identifying the corners. The next step was to connect the four poles to the central hub. Here is where things went wrong. I was trying to connect the curved ends of the poles to the hub instead of the straight ends. Both sides of the poles will fit over the hub, so I was confused for a while and had to get out my iPad to watch the setup video again to figure it out. It was my mistake, but Eureka could have made it easier by color coding the straight ends that connect to the hub.

Attaching the wrong side of the pole to the hub

After correcting my mistake, setup was pretty easy. It was constantly breezy with wind coming off the ocean (which we could see from our site by the way), so I had to put down stakes and guy lines as I went to keep the tent from blowing away. This photo gives a good view of the ventilated blue top section that helps with air flow.

The ends of the poles connect to a ring pin at the bottom of each corner, and side clips on the tent connect to the poles.

Elastic donuts at each corner of the top of the tent connect to hooks on the poles. These make a good taut connection. I connected additional guy lines and staked them down and these held the tent firmly in place. The sturdy plastic tent stakes pounded into the sandy ground and held firmly in place. We rolled up two sides for ventilation, and left two sides down for privacy and wind protection. Overall, this was easy to set up by myself, and after overcoming my pole mistake, I put it up in about 20 minutes. Not bad for the first time. We put our Snow Peak folding chairs inside for a screened seating area, as well as our Helinox Table One, and GO Anywhere Camping Toilet. This was our go-to seating area in a place with lots of biting bugs.

Impressions.

Bug Protection

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The no-see-um mesh is very fine and well made, as are the zippers. It is very easy to see through and there are no seams to obstruct our view other than the zippered ends (on both sides of the tent). The ground flaps at the base of the tent are adequate to lay flat on the ground and keep bugs out. Unfortunately, our site was not flat, causing some gaps for bugs to get in. Also, zippers hold the sides together when all screen sides are down. The motion caused by the constant wind caused the zippers to slightly unzip and had to be snugged down once in a while. You can also see from the photo above, the uneven ground caused a ripple in the screen, but this did not affect the zipper action. This kept most of the bugs out, but some got in and we had some bites.

Fabric

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I thought the fabric was excellent. We did not get rained on, but the morning dew beaded up just like on our Yakima roof top tent, and it stayed dry inside. There was no condensation inside. According to Eureka, the fabric is waterproof like their tent fabrics. They specify; Roof Fabric 150D polyester oxford 3000 mm, Sidewall Fabric 68D 185T polyester taffeta 3000 mm, and the Mesh 40D polyester no-see-um. The fabric stayed fairly quiet in spite of a stiff and constant breeze. The ventilation system in the roof helped with air circulation.

Awnings

Rating: 5 out of 5.

All four sides can be staked out with poles and used as awnings. Eureka includes two poles and guy lines for one awning setup. There are grommets on each side wall for use as an awning.

Poles and guylines

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The aluminum poles are light, sturdy and well made. The cast aluminum central hub system is sturdy and well designed. The bungee donut connectors that attach to hooks on the poles keep the roof tight. Plenty of guy lines are provided, with a simple plastic friction slider to keep lines taught. They are a high visibility color and easy to see. It is a big tent, but for most uses I think four lines would be adequate. I would not use this in a standalone configuration with no guy lines.

Floor

Rating: 4 out of 5.

While I did not put the floor in, it is a thin fabric much like a typical tent floor. I would recommend always using a footprint like the CGEAR sand mat to protect the floor. Also, there is one connection point on each side of the tent for the floor to connect to tent. It provides a way to keep it straight and from slipping, but does not provide a seal between the floor and tent side. On a future trip with the floor installed, I’ll revise this with more details.

Stability

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is very stable when staked down. There are other screen rooms out there that can be free-standing most of the time. This, however, isn’t one of them. While it comes with enough guy lines for two per corner, I recommend at least one per corner.

Wind and rain resistance

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

When the sides are rolled down, they connect at the base, and are under the blue fabric on each side with velcro. If the wind is calm, this provides an adequate overlap for rain. However, wind can blow this open, allowing wind and some water to blow in. Pulling this back with my hand, you can see the potential gap. In the photo below, you can see how the side is protected behind a zipper pocket at the top of the side wall. This is a nice feature when the sides are down to help water shed down the side wall. These are unzipped when the sides are rolled up. Also in this photo you can see one of the bungee donuts that connect the tent to the hook on the side pole. Very well designed.

I was a bit disappointed that there were not more attachment points between the blue side skirts and the white side walls when down. The insect mesh remains a bug barrier behind the side wall, but the gaps would allow wind and water to get in during a heavy storm. If we get rained on during future trips, I’ll add more details to this assessment.

Folding and storage

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Folding this up was fairly simple using two people. After folding it up, I replaced the cheap tie string that it came tied with to two luggage tie down straps to get the roll compressed enough to fit back in the bag. It is a little tight. The dimensions of the storage bag are small enough to fit inside a soft duffle I keep on my trailer. This was a major point of consideration over larger and heavier quick setup alternatives like the Clam and Gazelle quick pop up shelters, which are heavier and much longer when folded.

Usability and Flexibility

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This shelter is large enough to easily fit over a standard picnic table with room to spare. It was more than adequate for my wife and I to use as a screened in seating and eating area. The ceiling is very high, and the side walls are almost vertical. There is lots of usable space inside. There is a loop in the center of the roof to attach a light. The center height is over 8′.

This is the most flexible screen house that I found in over a month of research. It can be used as a screen house, with all four side walls rolled up. In another configuration, any or all of the side walls can be set up as awnings. It comes with aluminum poles and guy lines to do that for one side. To use as a tent, the optional floor can be put down, with all the sides rolled down. As a shade and rain awning, either of two sides can be unzipped and rolled up so a small teardrop or camper could be backed under it. The only reason I deducted half a star is because of my comments earlier about some gaps that could let in some wind and rain, and the floor doesn’t completely zip in or connect all the way around the inside. Therefore, I wouldn’t call this a real tent substitute, although it comes close.

Overall rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I couldn’t give this a perfect rating because of the few minor observations I mentioned earlier. However, this is an excellent product and I’m happy I bought it. I paid full price at $529, which was pretty pricey compared to other screen rooms, but none of the others have this degree of flexibility. I did not receive any compensation in return for this review. I checked Amazon where it is currently on sale for $450, making it much more competitive. Eureka has been making this model for over 10 years, and have continued to tweak improvements.

I highly recommend the Eureka Northern Breeze due to it’s quality and flexibility. I’ve found that folks in the little trailer community are generally looking for at least one of these three things; a shaded rainproof awning, a screen room that can be put over a picnic table, or a side-tent that can be set up next to a trailer for a place to stand up, offering privacy, and storage. In different configurations, this can meet the bill for all three applications. If you are only looking for a screen house with no walls or awnings, there are cheaper alternatives available.

This review contains links to Amazon products. If you buy from them, your price remains the same, and I will get a small commission from your purchase.

Exit mobile version