Catoma EBNS Enhanced Bed Net System

rated 3.0 of 5 stars
I originally posted this review on another site. I got into it with one of their guest writers who was paraphrasing everything he posted. He cried, threatened to leave, naturally they banned me. And in doing so - refused to remove my content. Though completely off topic, I reposted my content here as a simple way to say FU to them. Enjoy...
  • The Catoma EBNS (military version) has some good qualities…

    Killer Review 4 of 4 people found this review helpful:

    Rating: rated 2.5 of 5 stars
    Source: bought it new
    Price Paid: $280 including Easton 8" stakes.
    Summary
    The Catoma EBNS (military version) has some good qualities about it. If you're looking for something more than a bivy sack and don't mind the weight, this is an option you might want to look at.

    Best used on a cot, under a much larger shelter for anything over a week or in wet climate.
    Pros
    • Durable
    • Rainfly has a nice vestibule area
    • Enough room for up to a 6' person
    • Netting is good quality.
    • Easy setup and tear down
    • Designed to additionally set up on top of a cot
    • Stuff sack designed to lash to exterior of pack
    Cons
    • Heavy — 4.5+ lbs
    • Weak spot in the netting to pole strap
    • Catoma doesn't back up their gear unless purchased directly from them.
    • Drip area on rainfly due to entry design when open
    • Exterior waterproofing not that durable
    • No Ground Sheet available
    There are two versions of the Catoma EBNS. The civilian and military/tactical versions. Both are similar in design, I have the military/tactical version of the Catoma EBNS.

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    Setup is a breeze. It's dummy proof. But follow the instructions on how to hold the tent folded up before removing the strap because once the strap is off this thing will pop out with a fair amount of force.
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    The first time it pops you in the family jewels, you won't make that mistake again.
    Tear down is also easy.
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    Folding up the tent easy once you understand how. The instructions are sewn into the stuff sack but can be confusing for the first twist. There is a video to show you how to do it. It's fairly simple once you get the first twist correctly done, the last twist takes a "little" persuasion.
    The fiberglass pop out frame is really tough. Difficult to break unless you got the first twist wrong and try to force the last twist.
    The entire system packs nicely in its stuff sack with its aluminum pole and stakes.

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    Four adjustable straps on the pack allow it to be lashed to your pack externally.
    The Rainfly can be set up on its own for a quick shelter as seen below.

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    The rainfly's seams are all taped and double stiched. However, the downside of of this type opening design is, if left open, they will allow dew and/or condensation to drip into the bed net. The Bed Net floor is not seam sealed and that's something you'll want to do before heading out.
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    Quick Tip 1: Recently I was involved in re-waterproofing the EBNS exposed sides (urethane coating was fine). To combat the condensation/dew dripping onto the netting and into the bed net, I decided to apply the waterproofing spray [303 Fabric Guard] to the netting as well. In a simple drip test, the water beaded up nicely and rolled off. It didn't clog the pores of the netting and it's certainly not going to save you from getting wet in a down pour, but it looks like it will save you from waking up to wet gear in the morning due to dripping off the rainfly.
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    Ventilation on this particular Rainfly is limited to two, one at each end.
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    They have since added a third vent in the center. You find this on the civilian models.
    The rainfly does have a decent vestibule area on both sides of the bed net with the largest area on the backside for gear. However, you'll have to make your own ground cloth as none are factory available.
    In my opinion the rainfly could use an extra stake down loop in the door area.
    Urethane coating is on both the rainfly and bed net tub floor is a good thickness, but adds weight.
    The Bed Net itself, seen below, has a fair amount of room to turn around in.
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    It doesn't make you feel too cramped.  Entrance has been made easier with the full length zipper on either side. However, it needs a hold for using the zipper on the inside like it has on the outside.
    At 6' and a size 12 shoe, with approximately 1"clearance above my head, and using the frame pole, you can see you still have several inches of room at your feet in the pic below.
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    The Bed Net is stand alone and can be set up on top of a cot, which it has strap provisions for.
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    Quick Tip 2:
    The Bed Net itself isn't quite sturdy enough to stand on its own without the aluminum frame. The ends tend to sag which can be an issue if your 6' or so tall. I suggest you always use the aluminum frame whether or not you're using the rainfly.
    To give the EBNS more rigidity whether using the rainfly or not, lash the frame pole to the fiberglass rod where they intersect as seen below.

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    This will not only add rigidity but pull the ends up and more taut giving you more room.
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    Quick Tip 3:  The Bed Net itself gets a majority of its standing support from a thin fiberglass rod that runs around the perimeter (which are replaceable by the way). But when it comes to prepping it or heat curing when applying some types of waterproofing. It's easier just to remove the rod.
    It's pretty easy to remove as well as put back in. Just mentally note how it encircled the tent when you take it out.
    The rod is held in place by a small coupler as seen below.
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    The rod ends are epoxyed into the coupler. By grasping the coupler with one hand, twist one of the rod ends breaking it free with your other hand. Use some force to initially break it free but not so much you break the rod. Then just work the rod end completely out of the coupler by twisting it back and forth.
    Remove the rod from the pole sleeves by pulling the end that still has the coupler attached to it towards you, feeding the other loose end as needed. Here's the bed net of mine after heat curing the waterproofer with the rod still out.

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    When putting the rod back in, just feed it back through as it came out, this is not the time to reinvent how it's done. Same way in as it came out. Then simply two part epoxy the rod back into the coupler if you wish, or use a strong but temporary waterproof glue as I did.
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    The EBNS Field Repair kit comes with an additional coupler if needed. This can be used if you break the rod or lose the original coupler.
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    The EBNS comes factory impregnated with Permethrin. In part or as a whole, I don't know for sure.
    When I bought mine it came with an aluminum pole and optional 8" stakes by Easton.
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    The Catoma EBNS is not for the ultralight gear heads. Weight comes in at 4.5+ pounds packed. You can get a larger two-man tent with the same pack weight. Perhaps not the same quality material, but the same weight. And the same size tent at less weight.
    There is a weak spot on the Bed Net.
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    The straps that are sewn into the netting that then hook onto the pole can pull out of the netting material. I believe it may be dependant on who did the sewing. So check to see if your straps are sewn in properly and securely. If not, grab a needle and thread and add to it.
    On that note,
    Though Catoma customer service is nice enough and will try to help you, apparently they don't know which tents were military issue and which are not. Furthermore, they don't have all the replacement parts. i.e. the strap with "G" hook that holds the net to the pole. And furthermore, which I found most disappointing, unlike other tent manufacturers like TNF, they will not back up their products unless you purchased it directly from them and they have you on file.
    In the case of a simple strap replacement that obviously had not been sewn in properly, they didn't have the part, and wanted to charge $25 plus shipping for a complete strap kit used with the IBNS upgrade. They didn't want to open it up to get the single strap out of, that I might be able "jerry rig" or cut to use as a replacement. To me, that's not backing up your product line.
    As some have waved the "it's made in America" flag about Catoma products. When it comes to backing up their gear, I don't give a hoot where it's made. And a little fyi, only some of their tents, no matter the model, are made in America... it'll state so on the box. Not that that's of any consequence.
    In summary, it's not a bad choice when selecting a solo tent. Good low profile. Seems to be of good quality over all. It has some additional features you won't find with other tents. You need to weigh out the pros and cons yourself to see if it fits your need.
    It can be considered a little pricy but like everything in this world, you can get used ones for less.
    Cost New: approx $230 to $580 depending on color choice and if it's Berry compliant.
    The one seen in the above images is Coyote Brown.
    Paid $280 though they have gone down in price since.
    Added info. (06.20.15)
    I've been using the EBNS continuously and in a variety of warn weather conditions as well as in various ways for over 5 months straight now.
    For weekend outings and maybe a week use by itself it's passable, but for long term use by itself, it's much too small and way too low a profile.
    On a cot is best, however you will get humidity trapped inside. And if it rains, water inbetween the bed net and cot as the rain fly does not cover the corners of the cot.
    Best to use at minimum a 9x7 tarp over the whole thing using additional poles. Or build a larger tarp tent and put it inside with or with out the rain fly.
    I use a Slumberjack full cot with it now inside a 14x9 diy tarp A-frame. Which makes it okay. It does keep the bugs out, but even on the cot, it's a pain to get in and out of.
    Due to many design flaws it's not a practical tent or shelter.

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