I bought an REI Alcove Shelter for Kathleen for Mother's Day, and this is already one of the most useful gifts that Jimmy, Peter, and I have given her.
Jimmy and I brainstormed about what to give Kathleen this year, and we settled on something that would make Summer parties in our backyard more enjoyable. This is a 10-by-10 foot tent that provides cover and some rain protection. It weighs 15 pounds (3 x 3 m, 7.1 kg), and is easy for one adult to assemble.
Our primary interest in buying the Alcove Shelter was to use it as a picnic table cover, as you seen in our pictures. But, I actually think that there are four separate reasons to buy and use this tent:
- Backyard party table cover
A 10 x 10 foot shelter is the perfect size for a picnic table cover. This means everyone seated at the table is under the cover of the Alcove Shelter, and there is also a small amount of undercover space on each side for walking.
- Camping work or dining shelter
If you camp, the Alcove Shelter can be used to shelter a picnic table, like we do in our backyard. But, you can also use the Alcove Shelter as a covered work area that is not inside your sleeping tent or underneath your SUV or car's hatch.
- Tailgating shelter
If you attend sporting events and you tailgate in a parking lot or field, the Alcove Shelter could be a great solution. It's lightweight, packs down into a 10 x 30 inch stuff sack, and can use guywires for additional wind resistance.
- Business shelter
If you need the ability to meet the public in an outdoor setting for business or civic activities, you might really like doing it under an Alcove Shelter. I've seen this sort of tent used outside of election polling locations in Newtown, because Pennsylvania requires political lobbying to take place at least a certain distance from the voting booths.
I can also see the Alcove Shelter being used as a shelter for registration desks at 5k races.
My guess is that we're going to end up using the REI Alcove Shelter five or six times this Summer. I will try to come back to this article in October or November and say how many times we actually use it.
The Alcove Shelter is on sale for 30% off during the REI Anniversary Sale which ends on May 26; So if you want to get it for $80 instead of $109, you have one business day left to buy it at that price. I'm sure my family will get $109 of use out of this tent; I recommend it highly.