Product: ICS (Improved Combat Shelter)
Manufacturer: ORC Industries (Also: Eureka and Diamond manufacture the TCOP I believe, which is a similar tent.)
Date Purchased: 5/20/2010
Condition Purchased: New
Cost: 100 (used) – 300 (new) Seems to be the range.
Set Included Components:
Tent Main Body
Tent Vestibule / Rain Cover
3 Tent Poles (2 for main body forming an X shape, 1 for vestibule)
2 sets of 7 Tent Stakes (14 total)
2 packages Seam Grip
Let’s look at the positive things this tent has going for it:
First I should mention the floor on this tent is similar to a bathtub shape. The tent was designed in such a way that the seams of the tent never touch the ground. The material is stretched upward on the sides so the seams appear to be about 3 inches off the ground. This is beneficial as the seams of a tent are generally the areas which water tends to find its way inside.
Another great feature is the black material that is on the inside of the vestibule and the tent main body. This black material is said to suppress IR signatures and allows one to exercise “light discipline”. I can say that with the vestibule put on this tent is almost pitch black inside. With some adjusting of the vestibule it is possible to get the tent pitch black with no light leakage coming in or going out. Using a flash light in the tent equally does not show any light outside of the tent at night.
This tent is more than enough room for one individual and gear. The gear will have to be kept outside of the main tent body under the vestibule, but I do not see this as a problem. It is by no means large, twenty-six square feet of space or so, but it is possible to fit a couple people in a tight squeeze. This tent was designed to be slept in. I don’t see a person wanting to spend a lot of time in the confined space unless they are about to doze off. That said I think the small size is a benefit as well for hiding purposes. Put this tent in the middle of the woods in the right light, or lack of, and it is hard to spot.
The colors that this tent is offered in (ACU, Woodland (I believe?), etc.) give it a sort of stealthy appearance in the woods. This is where I have problems with a lot of the upper end four season tents I looked at before purchasing the ICS. Sure, they had quality and durability but they were mainly made out of brightly colored fabric. When I go camping I don’t necessarily want camouflage, but I do not like sticking out in a bright yellow or orange tent. It just doesn’t seem right to me for the location. That said it is possible a camouflage tent may make people suspicious if they do see it. That is if they do see it. I can almost guarantee those high quality bright red tents can be spotted from space.
Although I have a lot of great things to say about this tent package there were some drawbacks:
For one, my set did not include a footprint for the tent. I like using footprints that are matched with a tent for a couple reasons. First, they don’t extend beyond the tent body and do not require folding that a tarp would. Second, the ones that I have purchased appear to be thicker than a lot of the generic tarps one would buy, and often times made out of better material. Also, because of the way they are fitted they usually cut down on some of the weight. I do not know a lot of people that cut up tarps to size but I do know a few that go to those lengths. I figure a footprint is generally a better solution, however, “after market” footprints are relatively expensive for what they are ($30 or so).
Another downside is that this is not rated as a four season tent. I have no doubt that it would stand up to some snow, but honestly I haven’t winter camped with it in the conditions necessary to really test it. If I had to guess the tent would probably hold up an inch or so, but doubtful of anything over that. Also it doesn’t have the heavy sloping sides that a four season tent does that allow snow to shift off the top. This is coupled with the fact the tent poles are positioned differently in both setups. I plan on staying in the southern ½ of the US if the SHTF (if possible). Snowfall is generally not that heavy with some exceptions for my area, and this isn’t my long term shelter solution so I find the tent works for my needs.
The version I purchased does not have a free standing vestibule. It must be used in conjunction with the tent body. I have seen in other variants or similar tents (TCOP) that the vestibule can be used standalone. This is not the case with the ORC Industries ICS. I consider this a downside as it would be nice to be able to split up the setup for nights that no more than a vestibule is required for comfort. Another downside to the version I purchased is that there is no internal overhead storage rack that many tents have. This is probably necessary to the design as my head lightly touches the roof of the tent when sitting down and I am 5’11”. As I said, this tent is for either sleeping or shelter from weather and not much beyond that. Certainly not a tent you would be okay with spending hours in unless necessary given the limited movement available. Another thing I didn’t care for is that my set didn’t include any extra poles. This could me just being picky, but as a general rule I like having spares of everything.
This is my review of the ORC Industries ICS. Overall I think it is the best one man three seasons tent that I have ever owned, and I would rate it high against any other tent in its class. If you are a looking for a non-military tent you can look at the Eureka Backcountry (if I recall correctly). The ICS and Backcountry size/shape are pretty much identical. I hope my review helped any of those on the fence, if you have any questions or comments feel free to post and I will try to answer them. As of late I am trying to post more reviews on the gear I own. I am starting with the gear I am generally happy with and working my way back to some I am not.