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Eureka Tagalong Shelter Review

The perfect blend of spacious, rugged, portable, and fun - this canopy covers a lot of ground but doesn't take up a lot of space
eureka tagalong shelter canopy tent review
Credit: Eureka
Price:  $200 List
Manufacturer:   Eureka
By Jason Wanlass ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 24, 2022
73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 11
  • Functionality - 25% 7.0
  • Ease of Set Up - 25% 7.0
  • Protection - 20% 7.0
  • Craftsmanship - 15% 7.0
  • Portability - 15% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Eureka Tagalong Shelter is a spacious yet lightweight, adventure-style canopy that is perfect for trips to the beach or hanging out in the woods. It offers a large 10x10 footprint that can accommodate 4-6 people, including gear or coolers. Noted features are a reinforced design, extra pockets and hooks, splendid craftsmanship, and a waterproof canopy — all weighing in at just under 6 pounds. We recommend the Tagalong to adventurists who love the thrill of hiking to a secluded beach or overlook. Likewise, this canopy is perfect for parents heading to a little league soccer game or families hanging out at the lake. It offers the protection you want without having to lug around a canopy the size of a circus tent.
REASONS TO BUY
Well-made
Lightweight
Repels rain
Small packed-size
Lots of built-in features
REASONS TO AVOID
Sits low
Smaller that standard canopies
Sways in the wind
Takes time to set up

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Pros Well-made, lightweight, repels rain, small packed-size, lots of built-in featuresRugged, well-crafted, easy to set up, adjustable, excellent travel bagInexpensive, easy to set up, portable, compact, lightweightSimple to setup, handles the wind, comes with additional side wall, stylish and fun, easy to carryLess expensive, lighter than similar models, easy to set up and reposition, shades well
Cons Sits low, smaller that standard canopies, sways in the wind, takes time to set upExpensive, heavy, large packed-size, feet are plasticLower craftsmanship, small, bad air flow, doesn't repel rainLower craftsmanship, middle pole takes up space, smallThinner materials, ineffective roller bag, rain penetrates seams, wobbly in wind
Bottom Line The perfect blend of spacious, rugged, portable, and fun - this canopy covers a lot of ground but doesn't take up a lot of spaceWe scoured this monster canopy from head to toe and found nothing but qualityA great landing pad for a respite from the hot sun, but we wouldn't want to sit in it all dayThis canopy is fun, stylish, and can handle the sun, but it isn't as practical or accommodating as we hopedNot everyone needs a military-grade canopy tent, so if all you want are the basics, then don't pay more than necessary
Rating Categories Eureka Tagalong She... Eurmax Standard 10x10 Pacific Breeze Easy Up Qipi Beach Cabana Caravan Canopy V-Se...
Functionality (25%)
7.0
9.0
5.0
7.0
6.0
Ease of Set Up (25%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Protection (20%)
7.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Craftsmanship (15%)
7.0
10.0
5.0
5.0
6.0
Portability (15%)
9.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Specs Eureka Tagalong She... Eurmax Standard 10x10 Pacific Breeze Easy Up Qipi Beach Cabana Caravan Canopy V-Se...
Measured Weight 5.9 lbs 64.3 lbs 5.4 lbs 9.5 lbs 32.1 lbs
Peak Height 6.3 ft 11.0 ft 3.9 ft 7.5 ft 9.2 ft
Pole Material Aluminum Steel Fiberglass Metal Steel
Number of Poles 2 4 Poles integrated into tent material 1 4
Floor Dimensions 132" x 108" 120" x 120" 87" x 49", half-dome shape 72" x 72" 120" x 120"
Packed Size 23" x 10" x 6" 64.2" x 11.7" x 11.5" 40" x 5" x 5" 57" x 9 " x 7" 53" x 9" x 8"
Main Material Polyester 300D polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester
Design Type Free-standing Pop-Up Pop-Up Pop-Up/Anchored Pop-Up

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Tagalong didn't look like much when we first untied its packing straps, but after clipping in the aluminum frame and staking this thing down, we were pretty impressed. This canopy quickly jumped out as a possible award winner the first time we used it. It's perfect for wanderers, on-the-go adventurers, or soccer parents who simply want a lot of shade without a lot of weight or hassle.

Performance Comparison


eureka tagalong shelter canopy tent review - the tagalong is a little smaller than the typical cathedral style...
The Tagalong is a little smaller than the typical cathedral style pop-ups, but it still is quite roomy and easy to spend time under.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Functionality


The thin, tent-like fabric and aluminum poles of the Tagalong aren't very impressive at first glance, but when combined, they produce a decently accommodating shelter with lots of little user-friendly extras. We feel the Tagalong is a great choice for a beach outing, picnics, car-camping trips, or outdoor soccer games.


The unique shape of the Tagalong is appealing, and it's fun to set up and use. Its legs flare, making it difficult to get an accurate measurement, but the canopy is about 8x8 at the top and 10x10 at the bottom. Its valances are angled and sit much lower than a traditional canopy, allowing it to block out the sun's different angles better than some of its competitors.

eureka tagalong shelter canopy tent review - we feel there are many applications for the tagalong, though we...
We feel there are many applications for the Tagalong, though we think it excels on the shoreline because it's lightweight and portable.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

There are many things we love about the Tagalong. Its open design and longer valances perfectly balance sun protection and airflow, keeping you shaded and cool for most of the day. It's also filled with loops and hooks for gear, and it even has mesh pockets built into its legs. Much like a lightweight backpacking tent, the Tagalong can be easily lifted into the air by one person, and this comes in handy for shaking off sand or repositioning. Additionally, the canopy has a 50+ UPF rating.

eureka tagalong shelter canopy tent review - we loved the canopy's mesh pockets and gear hooks. when the sun goes...
We loved the canopy's mesh pockets and gear hooks. When the sun goes down its easy to hang a lamp and keep the beach party going.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

We love the "it" factor of this shader. It sits low and has a sleek design, like a race car. However, it cannot be adjusted. With a peak height of just over 6 feet and a main entrance that stands at only 5 feet, the Tagalong feels a little more cramped if a lot of people want to seek shelter at the same time. We feel it can accommodate between 4-6 people, depending on age, chair size, and gear. Lastly, its thinner, 63-denier polyester taffeta fabric allows ambient sunlight to glare through into the eyes. This isn't a huge problem, but it's noticeable compared to the thicker canopy materials employed by other models.

eureka tagalong shelter canopy tent review - the polyester canopy fabric is strong and waterproof. it provides...
The polyester canopy fabric is strong and waterproof. It provides great shade, but, much like a backpacking tent, it still allows the sun's glare to peak through into your eyes.
Credit: Jason Wanlass


Ease of Set Up


After countless assemblies in everything from grass to sand, we found the setup process of the Tagalong to be fairly straightforward and intuitive. If you've ever set up a camping tent, you'll be able to set up this canopy without ever looking at the instructions.


While one person can set up this canopy with relative ease, it is much easier with two. That said, the Tagalong did not earn the highest scores in this metric because the tent material gets easily twisted and blown out of configuration if there's a breeze during setup. Additionally, it takes time to slide the poles into the canopy sleeves, arch the tent into position, fill up the built-in sandbags, and stake it down.

eureka tagalong shelter canopy tent review - during our tests we were often left to set up the tagalong on our...
During our tests we were often left to set up the Tagalong on our own. One person can easily accomplish the task; however the canopy is like a giant parachute making it challenging to complete this when there is wind.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Despite the intuitive assembly, the Tagalong actually requires double or triple the amount of time to set up compared to the other models we examined. So, the process is easy, but it just takes more time. Its strong, 7000-series aluminum poles are very long and a little awkward to maneuver.

Similar to high-end backcountry tents, the Tagalong has full-length...
Similar to high-end backcountry tents, the Tagalong has full-length fabric sleeves to house its aluminum frame poles. The result is greater stability and resiliency.
Yeah... they're the longest tent poles we've ever seen.
Yeah... they're the longest tent poles we've ever seen.

We highly recommend using the built-in guy lines, which will take additional time to secure. And, unlike many other canopy tents, the take-down process requires an equal amount of time. Regardless, we love this canopy and didn't mind the extra 3-5 minutes required to set it up.

The built-in sand bags are a little small but the still do an...
The built-in sand bags are a little small but the still do an effective job at keeping the canopy stable on loose ground.
The built-in guy-lines roll up and store neatly in the triangular...
The built-in guy-lines roll up and store neatly in the triangular pouch on the right.

Protection


Despite being a little wobbly in the wind, we still awarded the Tagalong a good score for protection. It noticeably sways during breezy conditions, but when staked down and anchored with its built-in guy lines and sandbags, this canopy resists wind quite well — just not as well as the beefier models we tested. In terms of sun and rain protection, it is rated at 50+ UPF, and it avoids water like a cat.


We were pleased to see the Tagalong incorporate design styles similar to high-end, four-season tents used for expeditions or in regions with extreme weather. Those features include enclosed, full-length sleeves for its poles, giving the tent frame added strength and stability. Additionally, all four legs are reinforced by interconnected webbing, which can be covered with sand — this keeps each leg from moving independently and provides a stronger base. We also were pleased to see that key fabric joints are reinforced, and all of the tent's seams are double-stitched and weather-taped.

The Eureka doesn't miss a beat. Every seam is coated in wide seam...
The Eureka doesn't miss a beat. Every seam is coated in wide seam tape. This increases strength and keeps rainwater from passing through the stitching.
In addition to filling the built-in sand bags, we also buried the...
In addition to filling the built-in sand bags, we also buried the bottom webbing in sand whenever we were at the beach. We feel it was very effective at keeping the canopy firmly in place.


We suggest purchasing inexpensive empty sandbags to bring along on your adventures. They are compact and lightweight, and after being filled with rocks or sand, they become an excellent anchor for tent guy lines. Just this simple addition will greatly improve the performance of your Tagalong.

eureka tagalong shelter canopy tent review - the canopy's valances hang very low off of the canopy ceiling. this...
The canopy's valances hang very low off of the canopy ceiling. This deliberate design choice blocks more angles of the sun and protects more effectively against rain and wind by being closer to the ground.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

We doused the Tagalong with a backyard hose to see how it responds to heavy rain, and we were pleased with the results. Not a single drop made its way through into the interior. Additionally, the longer valances block the sun more efficiently and add increased protection from blowing rain. Our only complaint is that the tent-style design cannot be adjusted to lower heights, which would allow users the ability to really hunker down if a freak storm blows in.

eureka tagalong shelter canopy tent review - on grass, sand or dirt, we feel using the guy-lines is a must in...
On grass, sand or dirt, we feel using the guy-lines is a must in order to keep this tent sturdy during breezy days.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Regarding protection, we only noted two small negatives: the Tagalong sways in the wind, and its tent-like material provides good shade but still allows ambient sunlight to shine through. In the end, we were impressed that such a simple design can offer excellent protection from sun, wind, and rain. While the Tagalong didn't earn the highest scores in this metric because it doesn't match the protective level of larger, more rugged models we tested, it is a fantastic shelter for the right use cases.

eureka tagalong shelter canopy tent review - not only is this a cool photo, it's also a great representation of...
Not only is this a cool photo, it's also a great representation of how well the Tagalong's canopy repels large amounts of water. During our tests, we never saw a drop leak through.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Craftsmanship


The Tagalong is well-built and has very few moving parts, resulting in a shelter rugged enough to weather years of use if used and maintained with care. It earned above-average scores for craftsmanship, falling short of the best scores only because its canopy is thinner and its frame is aluminum. It doesn't compare to the 500-denier fabrics and powder-coated steel used to build other styles. That said, beefy and heavy isn't the Tagalong's niche, and we feel it is the perfect design for a portable, grab-and-go canopy.


For its intended use, we feel the Tagalong boasts impressive craftsmanship. As mentioned in our protection metric, this shelter is double-stitched, weather-taped, and reinforced. It uses full-length fabric sleeves to house its aluminum frame instead of mesh or plastic clips. These design features are then complemented with continuous webbing at its base. The fabric, plastic, and metal used in the construction are top-notch, leaving us with very few concerns. The only slight criticism we have is that we wish the stakes were cork-screw shaped and larger, longer, and tougher.

From 7000-series aluminum poles to double-stitched and reinforced...
From 7000-series aluminum poles to double-stitched and reinforced seams, every inch of the Tagalong shows a commitment to quality.
We loved the adjustment straps that gave us the ability to cinch the...
We loved the adjustment straps that gave us the ability to cinch the tent tight after setup was complete.

Portability


We held back on giving the Tagalong really high scores on all of our previous metrics; however, that is not the case when it comes to portability. Transportation is this canopy's forte. It's lightweight and proud of it, earning it some of our best marks in this area.


This canopy fits easily into any trunk or back seat, and when you reach the beach, it can easily ride on your back with the help of a comfortable shoulder strap. Weighing in at just under 6 pounds, the Tagalong is super easy to carry while rock-hopping, river-wading, or schlepping through sand.

eureka tagalong shelter canopy tent review - an outside pocket allows you to store your stakes and canopy...
An outside pocket allows you to store your stakes and canopy separately. This prevents loss and also protects the canopy from being torn or covered in dirt.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

The included tote bag is about the size of a regular draw-string backpack, and it has a cool triangle zipper pocket on the cover flap to hold all your stakes. We also loved the handy weather-proofed instructions that are permanently sewn to the inside of the bag. We can sum up the portability of the Tagalong in two words: easy peasy.

eureka tagalong shelter canopy tent review - it's easy to grab this canopy, sling it over your back, and head out...
It's easy to grab this canopy, sling it over your back, and head out for a cool destination. That's why we say its our favorite adventure canopy.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Should You Buy the Eureka Tagalong Shelter?


If you're always wondering what's over the hill or around the bend, the Tagalong Shelter is a great choice for you. It's perfect for adventurers who want to sea kayak to a secluded beach, hike to a scenic overlook, or canoe to an island in the middle of a lake. Likewise, if you just want a chill day in the forest, this canopy is your perfect grab-and-go companion. You should consider buying the Tagalong if you want a lightweight canopy that is easy to carry and fun to use. However, you will have to be willing to accept its limitations: lightweight = less rugged. That said, the manufacturer didn't cut any corners. This canopy is well-crafted, so plan on spending a little extra.

eureka tagalong shelter canopy tent review - the eureka tagalong excels as a beach canopy, but we also enjoyed...
The Eureka Tagalong excels as a beach canopy, but we also enjoyed setting it up in mountain meadows, sand dunes, and regular campgrounds.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

What Other Canopy Tents Should You Consider?


If your idea of a day on the shoreline includes a massive canopy tent that is rugged, waterproof, and doesn't flinch when faced with wind, we highly recommend our top-scoring tent, the Eurmax Standard 10x10. This tank of a canopy borders on commercial grade, and we feel it is built to take on nearly anything from trade shows to surfing competitions. If you like spending time in the mountains but are looking for a more comprehensive shelter that can protect against sun, wind, rain, AND bugs, we suggest the Clam Outdoors Quick-Set Escape. It's the best camping canopy shelter we've ever seen.

eureka tagalong shelter canopy tent review - we often kept the lamp turned on at night so we could find our way...
We often kept the lamp turned on at night so we could find our way back to our place. And, it also just looked cool.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Jason Wanlass
 
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