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Seager Banquet Free Range A

Jun 04, 2023

The Coors Banquet Free Range A-Frame Tent from Seager is a collaboration shelter that surprised me with its durability, waterproofing, functionality, and "true grit" — on top of all that, it just looks freakin' cool.

Craft beer and camping go hand in hand. There’s just something about cracking into an ice-cold oat soda — or even a half-warm one that’s been rolling around in your pack — after a day of wandering that really sets the mood. Coors Golden, or “The Banquet,” is arguably one of the first craft beers to make some noise.

This happened before my time. But my uncle told me that he used to drive out to Colorado and “mule” cases of that frothy stuff back to Connecticut. It might be hard for some of you to think of Coors Banquet beer being on par with Heady Topper or Pliny the Elder, but it’s God’s honest truth.

The folks at Seager, a company founded with “the intention to uphold the Grit and Ruggedness of the Old West” partnered with Coors and created a classic A-frame tent that I had to try out. I got my hands on a sample and hit the woods to put this thing to the test, and to find out whether or not this was some co-branded gimmick, or the real Seager deal.

I carried a six-pack of Banquet stubbies with me as well.

In short: Coors Banquet beer and camping both exemplify Americana. The good Americana — like the stuff from the 1980s when dudes had burly beards, women wore flannel, and they both gassed big beers and camped in A-frame tents on the open range. The Seager Coors Banquet Free Range A-Frame Tent harkens to that time. It’s rugged, and uses extremely high-quality materials, is highly waterproof, well-ventilated, and sets up quickly. It’s heavy, but if you don’t mind carrying a few extra pounds around, it’s a functional and retro-looking tent.

The Seager Coors Banquet Free Range A-Frame Tent is a reskinned version of the Seager Free Range tent. And let me tell you this isn’t one of those cheap things that liquor stores raffle off or give away. This tent is true grit. It’s easy to set up, wicked comfortable to crash in, and its technical specs rival and exceed those of some of the most technical backpacking tents in the outdoor world today.

But just like the Banquet isn’t a lightweight beer, this isn’t a lightweight tent. Some folks might scoff at the 8-pound carry weight. Minimalists will run in terror. But as someone who’s happily hauled around a 3-pound tent for the last few years, adding another 5 pounds to my pack didn’t bother me at all. In fact, it was an honor.

A-frame tents aren’t made to be spacious polyester palaces. They’re made to fit two people sufficiently or one person comfortably. They’re also known for their great ventilation, and — within the last decade or so — are easy to set up. This Free Range tent is all of that and then some.

The tent itself is made from 68D polyester fabric with a 2,000mm waterhead. Adding the rainfly, which is made from the same denier material, increases that waterhead to 5,000mm. It utilizes 5.75-inch diameter metal shock-corded poles that index into hubs at the front and back of the tent. Those hubs are connected to the tent itself, and along with seven nylon clips keep the tent upright and tight, even in wind and rain.

The great ventilation found in tents of this nature is due to large doors at each end of the tent and two large windows on the sides. The tent doors open at the top, which allows heat to rise and escape. All of this is amplified by the design of the fly, which can be pulled out away from the sides of the tent up to 18 inches. This keeps the rain out but lets a nice, cool breeze in.

There are ample storage pockets at each corner of the tent and two smaller pockets above each door.

The tent comes with eight tent stakes — six for the tent and two for the fly — but I replaced those before the first pitch. They’re lightweight, but not durable, so I upgraded them to beefier aluminum stakes from REI. I am not sure if you’ll need to do this, but out where I live and camp, there’s a lot of traprock under the surface of the soil. I’ve killed many a good tent stake over the years.

The tent is designed to be staked into the ground, but it can easily be a free-standing tent. That said, the ground poles have smaller stakes to index them into a grommet on the tent itself. They’ll poke into the ground about an inch.

I’ll be totally transparent here when I tell you that I pitched this tent to my editor well before knowing much about it. I just wanted to test out a cool tent branded by a brewing company that I love. I would be lying if I didn’t get some pushback. And rightfully so; there’s a lot of co-branded crap out there that isn’t worth reviewing and recommending.

This tent is not that.

Seager’s Free Range tent is a quality tent that rivals car camping tents from Big Agnes, The North Face, MSR, and REI. In some cases, it’s made from a higher denier and has a better waterhead than tents that cost $300-400 more. I am not going to point fingers at any one particular tent. But I can tell you that the Free Range exceeds the specs of some of the top-rated backpacking tents on the market today.

Just so I could make such a bold claim, I went over this tent inch by inch. I inspected the seams, zippers, mesh — everything. I couldn’t find one damn thing I didn’t like about it. Every corner is reinforced. Even the carry bag was well thought out, with multiple lashing points and a shoulder strap. I’ve purchased tents in the past that I’ve felt compelled to waterproof or seam seal. I didn’t need to do any of that with the Free Range.

Sometimes life lines up just right and I was able to go camping with the Banquet Free Range A-Frame Tent the night that it arrived. So, there were no test runs or anything. I was heading out to a remote area and was willing to take on anything that came my way, warts and all.

That said, I am happy to report that everything was smooth sailing. From setup to the first night out by the lake, to a rainstorm the next night, and waking up bone dry in the morning.

The instructions that came with the tent call for setting up the poles in the tent before staking it down. But out of habit, I staked it down first. The whole thing was up and ready for occupancy in about 5 minutes. The tent poles are color-coded, but they honestly don’t need to be. With this tent being an elongated equilateral triangle and with four of the five poles being identical, it’s obvious how it’s all going to build out.

Night one was quick and easy. I set the tent up, watched the sunset, and crushed a few Banquets. Then I fell asleep to the sounds of the water lapping at the shore of the lake behind me. It was a little breezy throughout the night, but I woke up bright and early — sufficiently rested.

For night two in the Banquet Free Range A-Frame Tent, I moved camp back to the backyard at the house. It rained nonstop from 11 p.m. until 3 a.m.. And it was a solid soaking rain. I have a long yard that starts up at the road and rolls down the half-acre back to a stream at the bottom, in the woods. That stream was roaring when I woke up — but inside I was bone dry. I even checked all the corners and seams, and there were no signs of water or condensation inside.

I’ve got a couple of end-of-summer ragers coming up where I know I won’t be driving anywhere at the end of the party. I’ll be taking this tent along with me, with room for one more.

Growing up, Coors commercials (like the one linked above) featured people doing rugged stuff. A lot of it was centered around camping, and it was wicked appealing to me. What drew me to this tent was that mindset.

Seager is a solid company that makes some really great products. Its catalog is dripping with that machismo, but I don’t think a lot of folks realize it has this tent in its lineup.

Sure, I love a company that’s known for its high-end technical equipment dropping a new tent or pack. But I really love it when a company that you wouldn’t consider getting your next piece of reliable camping equipment from comes out with something like this Free Range tent.

I’m doubly stoked the brand decided to team up with Coors to make this variant of that tent.

I’ve been testing tents all summer. I’ve got a really good grasp of what’s out there. When you combine that with almost 30 years of outfitting people with tents, sleeping bags, etc., I think it’s safe to say that I’m not just out here blowing smoke. Will this tent withstand a blizzard at a base camp on Everest? Heck, no. But it wasn’t designed to.

But, for $250, you can get either the Free Range or the Coors Banquet Free Range and invest in a reliable tent that you can have a good night’s sleep in. One that will get you through a summer storm, and look good doing it.

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