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GoLite Wolf Creek L2 Review

GoLite Wolf Creek L2
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Price:  $199 List
Pros:  Excellent value, moderately lightweight, supportive pockets
Cons:  Can be short for people around six feet tall, vents could be larger.
Manufacturer:   GoLite
By Chris McNamara and Max Neale  ⋅  May 27, 2013
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46
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Livability - 20% 6
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 6
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 6
  • Durability - 10% 5
  • Adaptability - 10% 1
  • Weight - 20% 3
  • Packed Size - 10% 4

Our Verdict

Unfortunately, GoLite has gone out of business and their products are no longer available unless you can find them used. The Wolf Creek competes most directly with the REI Half Dome 2, which is larger, heavier, and $10 cheaper. We believe that most people that primarily car camp and occasionally backpack will be better with the Half Dome's increased comfort. If saving weight is a top priority and you want epic alpine wind protection consider the Tarptent Double Rainbow, which costs $279. See how all of tents we've tested compare by checking out our Backpacking Tent Review.

The GoLite Wolf Creek L2 offers campers and backpacks an exceptional bang for the buck. This tent packs the comfort of two doors and two vestibules into a relatively small 4.5 lb. package, all for only $150. Many other tents are similarly inexpensive, but few offer the Wolf Creek's quality design and materials.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Weather Resistance


The Wolf Creek uses three 9mm DAC Featherlite NSL poles that are connected with lightweight DAC hubs and form an H shape that creates moderately steep sidewalls. The tent is surprisingly stable and strong when its four midlevel and six ground level tieouts are guyed out. Though we have yet to take the tent through a serious three-season storm in exposed, above treeline terrain we were impressed with the Wolf Creek's performance in a vicious spring hail and rainstorm in Yosemite valley (a longtime local Tom Evans reported that it was one of the largest storms he's seen in the valley). In this storm we found that the Wolf Creek's inner and outer tent design resists splashback very well—better than many tents that cost twice as much.

The Wolf Creek uses moderate quality fabrics that are considerably better than the vast majority of fabrics found on similarly cheap tents. We feel that this is a significant advantage because we suspect the Wolf Creek may last longer over time.

The Wolf creek uses DAC Jake's Feet (plastic components made by the pole manufacturer that connect the poles to the inner tent) that—our testing shows—are not as reliable as traditional grommets. We would much prefer grommets and plastic buckles to connect the poles and fly to the inner tent.

Like most two door tents, each side of the Wolf Creek has a vent above the vestibule door. Unfortunately, we found these vents to be less functional than many other similar vents on other tents; their openings are relatively small and do not promote lots of airflow. Consequently, the tent is slightly more prone to condensation than others- a minor drawback.

GoLite Wolf Creek L2's vent is only minimally effective. More air transfer could better combat condensation.
GoLite Wolf Creek L2's vent is only minimally effective. More air transfer could better combat condensation.

Adaptability


The Wolf Creek scores low in this area because it must be pitched in the same configuration regardless of environmental conditions, such as site characteristics and weather. Compared to ultralight shelters, which are often modular, the Wolf Creek is not at all adaptable. But this is typical for double wall two door tent design- it is an inherent drawback that only the Hilleberg Rogen is moderately successful at overcoming.

The Hilleberg Rogen and Anjan (left) are the only tents that pitch in a floorless configuration  which increases versatility and reduces weight  and is much stronger  lighter  and more weather resistant than "fast pitching" (right).
The Hilleberg Rogen and Anjan (left) are the only tents that pitch in a floorless configuration, which increases versatility and reduces weight, and is much stronger, lighter, and more weather resistant than "fast pitching" (right).

Livability


Two doors and two vestibules make the tent luxurious for backpacking and sufficiently comfortable for car camping. Four excellent pockets line the corners and provide supportive storage space for small to midsize items. The tent's largest drawback regarding livability is its length; we found it to be on the short for people around or over six feet tall. The 6' 1" the author needs to work hard to stay in the middle of the tent so that his toes and head do not touch both ends simultaneously. We feel that people of any height would benefit from an extra few inches in length.

Weight and Packed Size


With the included stakes and guylines the Wolf Creek weighs 4 lbs 7 oz. This is about average for a two door three-season tent; it's acceptably lightweight for backpacking trips of shorter duration. However, some other tents perform better in several metrics and weigh less.

Best Applications


Mostly car camping and occasional backpacking.

Value/ Conclusion


GoLite's direct to consumer business model makes this tent an excellent value. For most people that car camp more than they backpack and want one tent to do both we believe that the Half Dome 2 is a better choice than the Wolf Creek. However, if you already have a large family style camping tent and are looking for a cheap and lightweight tent for backpacking the Wolf Creek is one of the best values we know of. Its largest competitor in the "primarily backpacking" category is the Tarptent Double Rainbow, which is significantly lighter, considerably stronger in high winds, slightly smaller, and about $70 more expensive. If you aren't as concerned with weight and don't need bomber alpine wind protection the Wolf Creek is a superb option that's very affordable for its performance.


Chris McNamara and Max Neale