Monday, 21 July 2014

Real Man Tested: Broadstone Pop-Up Tent

Real Man Tested: Broadstone Pop-Up Tent

Last year while planning for our annual Man of The Year trip to the top secret "Isle of Man," I found myself in the market for a tent. The first year I shared with fellow RMT contributors Ed (@EdRealManTravel) and Scott (@SFRealManTravel), but due to a snoring incident they gently suggested we each get our own accommodations.

My criteria was simple:
  • Two person
  • Easy to set-up/tear-down
  • Lightweight
  • Reasonable price
A casual flip through the weekly flyers found the Broadstone two-person pop-up tent on sale for 30% off at Canadian Tire. I only found a few reviews on the item, but was sold on the idea of a pop-up tent. I pulled the trigger and, with a little practice, was a pro at setting up and tearing down in less than a minute. The only thing left was for it to prove its worth on the "Isle of Man." Here's what we found:

What You get:
The Broadstone pop-up tent came with a carrying bag that doubles as a backpack, and standard ground pegs that fit in an inside pocket of the bag.

Canadian Tire Popup Tent
Broadstone pop-up tent with carry bag and tent pegs.
Look and Feel:
The hoops that form the overall support structure of the tent, and provide the pop-up feature, feel strong and sturdy. Very important as without them your pop-up tent becomes a misshapen tarp. The tent material,  EverDry polyester taffeta, feels like most other tents I've owned. The blue and yellow isn't a colour scheme you will find on the hottest fashion runway this year, but it's a tent, not a purse.

Ease of Use:
Setting this thing up is a breeze. Simply remove the safety strap and look out; the tent bursts into shape at a rate that will startle any unsuspecting onlooker. Then, just secure your tent with pegs and look for your cooler - because its Miller time. Tear down takes a little practice and the instructions provided become a little difficult to follow when it gets to the folding stage. I suggest watching the video below to fully understand what exactly you are expected to do. But breathe easy, it doesn't require an engineering degree.

Actual vs. Advertised:
This tent definitely pops-up, so that's an easy check mark. The tent's waterproof fabric, treated with a Rainguard™ system, got an early test as a downpour caught us as we made camp. The ability to set the tent up quickly made it the hero of the day as it saved the rest of our gear from getting soaked. That said, the heavy rain eventually got the better of the tent, which allowed a very small amount of water in. It is also on the smaller side for a two-person tent. More like a 1.5.

I picked this little beauty up for $69.99. The benefit of not having to fiddle around with poles or guy lines does help maximize vacation time. While some conventional dome tents come in at a lower price point, this pop-up tent is more cost-comparable to the new "easy up" segment. This tent is worth its sale price, but it is a little small.

This tent is great for recreational camping, backyard camp-outs with the kids, as a sun shelter at the beach, or anywhere a quick set-up shelter would be appreciated. While its usefulness as a back country camping tent might be limited by its packed size if you plan to portage, you can secure the carry bag to your pack for easy short-haul treks.

Overall Impressions and Final Score:
Over a year later I still smile when I set this tent up. The fact that it's easy to store with minimal pieces ices the cake. If there's one thing that leaves me wanting, it's the waterproof level. That said, I've never had a tent I trusted enough to not cover with a tarp for additional confidence. I purchased two small tarps, one as a ground sheet and one for additional cover, and have never looked back. I just pop, cast a line, and watch the other guys struggle to make camp.

VERDICT: Real Man Tested, Real Man Approved. 3.5/5

3.5 RMT beers out of five

Have a suggestion of a product you would like us to put through its paces? Let us know on Twitter @RealManTravels 


  1. I just found out that the 2-person tent has been discontinued. Boo. I was hoping to get one for my twin boys for camping this summer. I guess I can wait to get one of the 4-person tents when they go on sale (they're regularly $149 CAD). Thanks for the review...I was hoping to find someone who had actually bought one of these.

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