Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Review: The Green Elephant Utilitent

The Green Elephant set up on the campsite cement slab. We camped for six days, finally leaving because of continual wind.

First of all, after I purchased the Green Elephant Utilitent last July (2018), the company owner sent me an email stating that if there were any issues to please contact him. I wish I had kept the letter for this review, but didn't. My wife and I have used the utilitent as an outside restroom for our tiny trailer's portable toilet last year and the early season of this year for a combined total of about a month.

Using the 5-star system of evaluation, the Green Elephant Utilitent receives 3 stars.

Pros

  • The tent is easy to erect. It opens easily and stakes well. The guylines work well in the wind, even though one reviewer had an issue with the tent in the wind. My experience is that the tent is guyed well if the tent is staked well at the bottom and the guylines are secured on all four sides and staked at the optimal angles.
  • Folded and bagged, the tent is compact and easy to store. The flat shape takes up little space and can easily just be placed on top of any stack of items in the back of our SUV.
  • The tent is large enough to easily hold a portable toilet. I don't mind that the tent doesn't have a floor. Almost always, the tent is erected on gravel or cement. I can even mount it on the plastic "carpet" we usually spread out on gravel to keep down the dirt in our tiny trailer.
  • The tent "cap" attaches easily and keeps out the rain. If you're shorter, try putting it on prior to setting up the tent, or open the tent four-square on its side and add the cap. I'm 5'8" and have to stretch to add the cap when the tent is erect because the utilitent is a good height.
  • With the "cap" off, the venting is good with the net top, which has a hole in the roof for a shower hose. We've never used a shower in the tent, but I think it would work well. Inside there is a net bag hanging high of the back wall where shower supplies or a camp towel could be stored during a shower.

Cons

  • The tent is difficult to fold. If I watch a "how-to" video for folding just prior to breaking down the tent, it's easier. I know it's my fault and that I'll eventually gain the muscle memory technique to easily fold the tent, but at this point, it's still an iffy procedure. I even once just stuck the unfolded, flat tent in our tiny trailer and then folded the tent on the garage floor when arriving home (and reviewing the folding video again).
  • As one reviewer stated, the toilet paper Velcro attachment places the toilet paper against the inside surface of the tent. Come rain or morning condensation dew, the paper is damp. I just sit the paper roll on top of the portable toilet so that the paper is not touching any tent surface. All tents get condensation, so the Velcro attachment is more for a day-use situation.
  • The first thing I did after buying the utilitent was to buy larger tent stakes. Those provided by the company with the purchase are wimpy and easily pulled out with a wind. 
  • I'm not sure if this is the tent's fault, but in the photo at the top of this review, the tent was staked on cement for six days in wind (two sides staked to the edge of the grass, two bottom sides secured with cord and tied to the trailer stabilizer and a cement parking block). After six days of wind, the fabric at the bottom of the tent which surrounds the plastic bottom frame was frayed, worn through by the movement of the tent against the cement. Is this just expected wear in the circumstances? Should the tent have more sturdy fabric on the bottom? I'm not sure, but I went home and added duct tape to the four bottom edges. I would suggest any buyer to proactively add the duct tape prior to using the tent. 
  • The bottom of the storage bag is beginning to fray or pull apart. This, obviously, is not wind damage.

Here is a YouTube video from the Green Elephant on how to unfold and fold the utilitent.


It's probably obvious after this pro/con list as to why the Green Elephant Utilitent has been given a 3-star rating. It goes up quickly, and when mounted, the tent works well for its purpose. The tent functions well in rain and wind. When bagged, the tent is easy to store, and, honestly, the tent looks good when set up. On the negative side, buying larger tent stakes is necessary, and there are some issues regarding how well the tent will hold up with frequent use in contrary weather.

The portable toilet sets up well. The Velcro strip can be seen on the left side. The mesh net can be seen holding toilet paper in the back. The zipper door works well.

Duct tape (silver) has been added along all four bottom sides of the tent where the yellow fabric containing the integrated pole system has frayed. The tape seems to work well.

I like this tent and hope it holds up. It does a good job serving our camping purpose as an outside bathroom. I intend to use the tent until it falls apart, and I intend to wrestle the tent into submission when folding it up until I finally get the knack of twisting it just right into its neat little circle fold.

I'll add to this review if an update is appropriate at the end of our second season of using the Green Elephant Utilitent.

(Note: this product was bought by me. Any free or replaced items provided by the seller/manufacturer will be noted.)

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4 comments:

  1. I have a similar one from sportsman’s guide about 20 years ago. I put a small folding table in it I keep toilet paper in a ziplock bag. And I keep wipes in another. Only think I don’t have isbthe rain fly. I use an umbrella or one from an old tent. I also put a foldedbtarp down if need for the floor. Great review. Oh and mine came with a solar shower I’ve never used.

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    1. Sounds like there has been a solution to the potty challenge for quite some time. Thanks for your comments and kind words.

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  2. We have the same tent and use it for the same purposes. We are very happy with it. My husband has mastered the folding up, so it is always his job. Ha!

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    1. Sounds like your husband's a step ahead of me. My wife has been very kind and considerate regarding my tent-bending skills. :)

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