Looking for a gift for the graduate in your life? “A tent is the perfect gift!” was the thought train of my parents when they gifted me with an Elixir 2 (they bought an Elixir 3 for themselves at the same time) for my high school graduation. Five years later and I have to admit that, on this rare occasion, they were right. The Elixir is now my dependable adventure companion and a home away from home.
About the Elixir 2/3
The Elixir is made up of a nylon body, with a polyester rain fly. The poles are aluminum with both the tent body and the poles color-coded at attachment points for easy set-up. The packed weight of the 2-person is 6lbs, while the 3-person comes in at 7lbs. The floor is rectangular giving plenty of room for people to sleep head-to-head. The tent skeleton is made up of two poles that crossover each other at either end, and a third shorter pole that crosses over the top. This gives the Elixir a strong shape and plenty of headspace (my Dad is about 6’ and has a few inches above his head when sitting up). Both Elixir models have two doors with ample vestibule coverage to store your boots/backpack etc. The zippers are easy to use and rarely snag. There are large pockets at both ends of either model, as well as attachments for a gear loft if you desire (not included). The vestibule is equipped with vents at each end, and as long as the vestibule is pulled taunt, I have never had any issues with moisture/condensation inside the tent. The Elixir also comes with its own ground sheet. With the 2-person at $320 and the 3- person at $380, I think the Elixir is perfect for anyone looking for a versatile, durable, and trustworthy tent at a nicer price point than backpacking tents with a lower packed weight.
I have used both models of Elixir for a variety of different trips. Below I broke down the types of trips I have taken it on and how I felt it performed in each setting.
· Canoe/Kayak Trips: Personally, I think the Elixir is perfect for canoe/kayak trip camping. Its size and weight make it easy to pack into a canoe/kayak and it is super easy to set up and take down if you are on the move. It also stands up extremely well in high winds and rain. For two person canoe/kayak trips we often bring the three-person Elixir for a little extra room.
· Backpacking: With both sizes of Elixir weighing in at over 5lbs, it is on the heavier side for a backpacking tent. That being said, it is still small enough to be packed easily into a backpack, so while I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who does an extensive amount of backpacking or for thru hikes, I would consider it a great option for shorter backpacking trips and those looking for a tent that can be used for a variety of activities. We often split the weight of the tent when backpacking, making it even lighter!
· Car Camping: Ease of set-up, packability, and ample headspace make the Elixir a good choice for car camping. Again, we often take the three person tent for two people when car camping since weight isn’t an issue and it is nice to have some extra space.
· Winter Camping: Technically the Elixir is a 3-season tent, but I took it on our OL staff winter camping trip and it kept us dry and toasty in -20°C. We used an emergency blanket on the inside floor of the tent and layered up in lots of clothes and sleeping bags. The 3 person was definitely a tight squeeze for three people and all of our winter gear-this did add to our warmth though. The Elixir wouldn’t be my choice for an extended winter camping trip, but I would be comfortable spending a couple winter nights in it as long as temperatures weren’t much below -20°C.
Sometimes it can be hard to find gear that is useful for all of your adventures. My Elixir has been one of those pieces that I can take on any adventure and its performance never ceases to amaze me. From staying sturdy in high Saskatchewan winds, to being dry and warm in an August mountain snowstorm, I have yet to encounter a situation my Elixir can’t handle. It does everything a tent should do, and the memories it allows me to make on my adventures are why I would never trade it for any other tent!!