This write-up is a bit overdue to say the least. Military 1st sent us the Highlander Outdoor Juniper 4 four person tent some time ago, but the weather prohibited an accurate review. I actually tried putting it up on a frozen lake, but that proved quite tricky with wind, no anchor points, and no helper. I was finally able to find the proper time and setting to give the Juniper a fair evaluation.
For some, the question might be less of which tent they should buy, but how it looks and what or whom it will accommodate. After all, the perception may be a tent is a tent, you’ve set one up and you’ve seen them all. In theory, this may be true. Other than a few high end models, most tents set up and function similarly. But the attention to detail will make a difference between an enjoyable adventure, and a hassle.
I haven’t set up a tent for some time, the last model being a GP medium. However, many outdoor aficionados preparing for a camping trip might recall their last annoying tent set-up experience. Poles falling, wind blowing and an annoying partner doing much of nothing, accept making suggestions on where something goes. If that’s the case, the Juniper will be a refreshing change, as it was for me coming into the experience from scratch.
To start, the 4 person Juniper is a joy to deliver to your destination. It comes in a nylon bag not much more than 3 feet long and as wide as a roll-up military sleeping pad. It is light, and transportable in a large ruck, or cinched on the outside of your main load. This will not be your heavy or bulky item.
As one would expect, the set-up instructions are brief and common sense, but as manly men go, those are left attached to the inside of the carry bag only in case of extreme necessity, and consulted in secret. Realistically, the Highlander Tactical Juniper set up is very straight forward. This one took place in low-light, turned night time conditions and was still a breeze.
Once opened, the two piece design is evident of what goes where. The base and main section of the tent has rings on the floor. A really nice feature is that the floor is a heavy duty, but still light in weight tarp. Unless conditions are more extreme, such as additional moisture or an uneven surface, there is no need to use a tarp under the tent. Once the foundation is secured, there are two cross-member poles which snap together in a very traditional design. The elastic string inside the poles lines them up and pieces attach to form a straight and flexible piece. This is the one time you might peak either at the instructions or a final photo of the product, as the length of the poles is similar. Once decided on which two go on the main section of the tent, they slide along the nylon guides and snaps in a classic manner. Again, two people here will expedite the process and any snagging, but the task is certainly manageable with by oneself.
After both poles are in place and the main section erected, the steaks get secured in the ground and additional guide lines can be set up. The second tent section, or roof of Juniper, lay over the base, and forms an awning or a hallway of sorts to the main entrance. It is easy to see which side goes where by the shape and openings. Again, once in place, lines can be secured, tightened and additional stakes will ensure that the walls will resist wind and wildlife. After the set-up some really cool features became apparent. Anyone who has set up a tent at one time or another has probably tripped over the lines which extend from it. The ends of lines on the Juniper and other Highlander Outdoor models actually glow in the dark. Once your eyes adjust, they are pretty easy to see, although sprinting Malinois’ will still think they can run right through.
I used the Juniper during the day when the temperature was 75-80 degrees F, and at night when it dropped to 50-60. While a nylon tent, specially occupied will get warm during the day, the Juniper design of well-placed mesh windows does an excellent job in mitigating moisture. The rear wall of the tent is about half mesh, and the top cover functions as the complete wall system. As such, removing the outer section is not an option, especially because it performs other functions as a roof and walls. However, a vent on the back section of the tent is a two part system, and performs excellent in aiding to the air flow. The exterior wall has a small dormer which can be closed or opened. It is lined up against a mesh section of the main tent. In addition, the zippered windows offer protection and air flow as needed.
Another excellent feature are the bright and tough zipper pulls for the doors of the tent. This includes the main cabin, as well as the door to the vestibule. They are easy to find and manipulate in the dark and inclement weather, and eliminate the risk of opening a window rather than a door. The vestibule or hallway of the Juniper is a super functional part of the tent. It works well as designed – an area to dump dirty gear and shake off the debris rather than bringing it inside, a way to filter mosquitos and offer additional storage. But it also works great as an area for your camping companions, especially four-legged ones, and can even be used as an extension of the main space, offering two actual clear windows.
The tent withstood moderate winds and some pouring rain, and stayed completely dry inside, with some windows open and only mesh for the air flow. Some very nice touches are tabs and loops which secure areas of the tent not in use, including doors, windows and zippers. The tent has a low profile and a very attractive appearance once full setup, which for me is a quite a plus. While the tent will sleep 3 adults quite comfortably, my recommendation when buying one is to go up. That is if buy one which will sleep one more than you have. This allows for a little more comfort, flexibility and room for gear.
Additional features of these dome tents are fire retardant material, breathable polyester with external waterproof coating and fiberglass poles.
Highlander Outdoor is a a Scottish company, with a lot of experience and years of making camping gear. Their options include clothing, rucks, individual camping items, camping tents, sleeping bags, a dedicated tactical line, and more. The variety for each is truly impressive. You may recall our prior review of their Highlander Forces line smock, which also received high marks. Not only are they well-versed in camping, they have a very handy camping blog, and an awesome variety of options for all camping supplies. Military 1st, which is the only US supplier of Highlander Outdoor products I know, offers the Juniper 4 for under $140, with Juniper 2 and 3 currently in stock, and it only comes in sexy deep blue pictured here. The Juniper 4 rates 5 out of 5 in my book for value, performance, ease of use and quality.
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
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