Tribute to the Quest Preying Mantis Tent


I've been using a Quest Preying Mantis tent for about 7 years. It's a great tent, well-made and with a unique design. As far as I'm concerned, it's the best tent ever made! Too bad it's no longer available. (In the photo at the right--taken on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway trip--you can see the Preying Mantis behind my Dad's Eureka Timberline tent.)

I remember reading Backpacker magazine in the early '90's and seeing small ads for the Preying Mantis. The ads did their job: they left me wanting to know more about the tent, and wanting to have one. But, as I remember it, this was a nearly-$400 tent and I never had near that much money. I finally bought a Eureka Cirrus tent a few years later and forgot about the Preying Mantis.

Then, one day during the dot-com era of exceptional deals I came across a site that had the newly-discontinued Quest Preying Mantis for about $125. I snatched it up quick!

The Preying Mantis was a unique design. Most obviously, it offered a gigantic vestibule, roughly 2/3rds the size of the tent itself. That means this two-man tent really does comfortably fit two people because all of the gear easily sits in the vestibule. Overall, the tent is about 12-1/2 feet long.

The size of the vestibule isn't the only thing that makes it unique, though. The zipper to enter/exit the vestibule (and the tent, of course) is on the side of the fly--not on the ground. When entering, this isn't such a big deal but it's important when exiting. If you've got a vestibule with the zipper on the ground, you know that you basically need to plant your face in the ground to reach it. And unless you can bend in half, you don't want to put your boots on before opening the vestibule because you'll track dirt and mud into the tent; but if you don't put your boots on first and it's raining, you've got rain pouring into your tent while trying to get the boots on. The Preying Mantis completely avoids this trouble by just putting the door and zipper in the middle of the vestibule wall! I can sit in the tent, put my boots on in the vestibule, then open the vestibule door to exit--never getting wet or planting my face in the mud to reach the zipper!

Another great design feature is that the tent is entirely freestanding. Most "freestanding" tents still require you to stake the fly out to be effective in a rainstorm, but the Preying Mantis' fly doesn't. (There are many areas to stake out, and they certainly help stretch the fly a little more, but it's entirely effective unstaked.) Obviously, the whole fly wraps tightly around the tent, unlike many others that cover just the sides and leave the front and back open or just a demi-fly covering the vents. The result is that the tent is always completely dry. I've been camping in some pretty horrendous weather with this tent, and there's never been a drop of rain inside it.

Similarly, the shape of the tent is great at diverting wind. The tent is very quiet (even in heavy wind) because there's no loose fabric or open edges for the wind to catch. The Preying Mantis has four guy lines to help anchor the tent in inclimate weather, but the tent barely moves as-is, so I've never attached them to the fly.

The tent is mostly screen. That's a pretty common feature of 3-season tents now, but back then that was a rather brilliant innovation. Airflow is significantly better than in any other tent I've ever been in. Of course, in the winter it's amazing just how little warmth the tent provides. In my experience, most solid-wall tents are at least 10 degrees Farenheit warmer!

The tent itself is longer than most--about seven feet. I often sleep with my arms over my head, and there's plenty of room to do that in this tent. The tent's about 40 inches wide and tall, making it comfortable but not large enough to kneel in. As I mentioned before, with the fly over the tent, it's about 12 feet. The whole tent--including stakes and the guy lines I've never used--weighs just 6 pounds, 2 ounces.

I've used this tent quite a bit. I'd estimate it has seen about 150 nights of use. The Preying Mantis has held up very well (though I do take very good care of it). Last winter, however, the main pole hub connector snapped at the edge. There's enough of a lip left that the tent goes together fine, but I doubt it would last another winter. And this past summer, the vestibule zipper began falling apart: it's missing a few teeth and jams constantly.

As I said in the beginning, the Quest Preying Mantis is out of production. In fact, Quest doesn't even produce the same kind of high-quality equipment anymore. So, I needed a replacement tent. A few weeks ago I bought an EMS Moonshine, which seems like a good tent with several great features to it. Of course, I immediately noticed that I had to shove my face in the dirt to get the vestibule open!

Share Your Thoughts ( Comments Already)

Older Comments (35)

Dan & Sherree & Patrick currently uses Facebook for comments. Older comments are still here for readers, though. Read old comments »

Hi. Actually, you can get a preying mantis 4 season for $69.99 plus $10.99 shipping. It is now made by Jeep but is the same tent with a few upgrades/improvements. Just clike in the link below

now it's on sale thru july 3 for less than previouisly mentioned

First, the Jeep PM is not the same as the Quest PM. If you read the reviews posted at misc. gear review sites you will see a drastic change when Jeep started reproducing the tent. Folks are complaining the Jeep laminate peels off the fly after one or two outings. My $350 (in 1995 $s) quest PM is not the same as that *crap* Jeep is pushing for $70.

I’ve had my quest PM 4S for 10 years now. It is heavy (~7.5lb), but very comfortable in the extreme cold. I just took it above 9,000 feet in the high Uinta Mountains in late April. It was pounded with rain and then snow, and then frozen slush from the wind blown trees (it’s the end of May and we just got a foot of snow at 8,000 ft). A couple of drips made it through the fly and rolled off the outer tent. I recoated the fly and retaped the seems when I got home. I expect another 2-5 years out of this awesome tent. It has taken me from winter camping in western Montana and the north Idaho Frank-Church wilderness to the hot Utah desert, to the High Uinta mountain range from spring to fall. This is truly a great summer to high altitude winter tent. I know the tent is on its last legs, but I just can’t find another with the same functionality. Maybe I’ll replace it with whatever Hilleberg is selling as their Jannu when I retire the mantis, I don’t know.

Sounds like pigwiggle, above, is a little prudish. Seems like a little TLC with an inexpensive "remake" of the classic Mantis will yield a fine tent at a fraction of the cost. If a few leaky seams is all pigwiggle has to complain about I wouldn't let that get in my way of trying a great buy!

Quest brand is a part of Northpore outdoor Ltd. (I saw a website with sold out sign for Quest Preying Mantis for $179.99), World's largest outdoor gear producer. The Jeep Preying mantis tent is also produced by Northpore. Conclusion: Quest preying Mantis is the older version of Jeep Preying Mantis produced by Northpore. By the way, Northpore Ltd. is headquartered in Hong Kong. I bet the $300 Quest Preying Mantis mentioned was not manufactured in the U.S. Welcome to Global Economy! Maybe one day Jeep cars are far less than now.

Correction: Northpole Ltd., not Northpore Ltd. Ebay has Jeep Preying Mantis for sale for $97.00 plus $12.00 shipping. sells the same thing for $49.99.

I have had my quest preying mantis for 8 years now. I absolutely love it! It has weathered the worst rain storms time and time again. Just this year 12 of us set up camp and it poured non-stop for 4 days. We lost 8 people from our group because their tents couldn't hold up in the weather. The only two tents left standing was my 8 year old amazing quest preying mantis and a four season North Face my friends were in. God I wish they would start making this tent again. I checked out the Jeep version and it is significantly heavier and I doubt the quality.

If you are interested I have apreying mantis that has truley only been used once! I had to leave it at my folks place after I bought it, moved around a couple of times, bought other tents in the interim, and just came back across it. I read your page while searching for info about the tent, as I have only used it once and haven't heard of quest since.

Alycia, I am definitely interested in it, if it's the original quest.

I can't believe it. I was just looking through some old pictures and saw one of my old QPM4S. What a great tent that was. It was a little screwy to set up, but I became an expert, and that tent took me all over North America. It was the perfect rainy day tent, because of the vestibule. And now it lives again! Keep the dream alive!

I'm looking for any info on a gueat tent I thing it it/was called high wall. it is a 3 man about 5-6lb. Thank You Don
PS if that was not the name I will try to find
out what it was called TY

I have a PM4s as well and I am looking for the little hub that attaches the front pole triangle in the vestibule. I would also be open to selling the tent as well.

Aug. 1, 2007 I have an original Quest Preying Mantis tent that I want to sell. I've even modified the tent by adding extra panels over the screens for winter camping. The window covers I added can be zipped open so the tent is now a true 3-4 season tent. You can contact me at

I have a Never Used QUEST PREYING MANTIS 4 SEASON 2 MAN TENT sale. It has been in my storage for 12 years, just found it. $125.00 plus shipping. I can take paypal.

Hi all,

I just recently bought a never used quest 4s preying mantis tent, but it didn't have set up instructions. If anyone has a link or some other way to give me the instructions I would be grateful. Thanks!

I am looking for replacement pole for a quest preying mantis tent. I need 1 of the cross poles 130 inches long. I have looked everywhere. Please help! Thanks!

Shay; i am interested in your tent please e-mail me back so we can discuss


If any of you folks still have a Quest PM (NOT Jeep) for sale, I'll take it! Let me know via email:

Shay, if you still have the tent, I'm interested.

Alycia Bean, same thing.

Also, those seeking replacement poles:

Forgot to include my email:

Shay, if you still have the tent, I'm interested.

Alycia Bean, same thing.

Also, those seeking replacement poles:

Does anybody have a real quest preying mantis tent for sale? Bought one in 1991.Just about wore out.Would love to find one in new shape.Please email if you have or know where you can get one. Thanks a lot,Sam

I have had my Preying Mantis for 13 yrs - love it! Only problem it is the only tent my husband knows (I have borrow lesser tents over the years)and he thinks there are better ones on the market - he is about to learn the hard way this is as good as a tent gets.

I have a Quest Praying Mantis 4S that I would consider selling. It has been used but is in great shape including the instructions. Anyone interested email me. I can take pictures for anyone who wants to see.


Sorry I thought that the email would show up.


I have an original Quest Preying Mantis 4S , with ploes and set-up instructions, but the fly has torn. does anyone have a tent without poles, who'd want to sell a fly in good condition?

Hi, Don't know if anyone is interested, but I just placed an ad for a never used Quest Praying Mantis on Craigs List.

I have a Quest Preying Mantis that is essentially new that I would like to sell. I purchased it new in 1996, intending to begin getting into backpacking with my dog as a companion. (I thought the vestibule would make a excellent spot for my Golden). A couple of months later, I met my wife who was not into camping, so it never got used. It's been set up twice. If anyone is interested in buying it, please let me know. Thanks.

Relative to the offer to sell the tent above, the email is:

Good news on the Jeep - because everything you have written is RIGHT ON!!!

BEST TENT DESIGN EVER! - listen up TNF, Sierra Designs, etc

This tent is for LIVING the wilderness. It's made to handle rainy days - the vestibule design is key! That small fabric section was trippable, but getting your boots on in the morning out of the rain is truely pricesless - and keeping your pack out of the rain and within reach is too. The roll back rainfly over the sleeping side made it perfectly vented as a bug sheild on clear nights. I would send the designer a nice present and lobby to get them a job at one of the major manufacturers. I would love to see this done again in an untralight version with the latest materials.

Mine wore out about 2000 after spending 90 to a 100 nights a year in it. I've missed it since, wish I new about the Jeep knockoff - but looks like I can't get that anymore either.

Oh and my tip for all the quest lovers out there - cut yourself a groundcloth to size out of some thick polyethylene and cut it to shape on the ground - it will give you a groundcover in your vestibule if you want it.

I'm thinking about selling my Quest Preying Mantis 3S on craigslist, but I wanted to try here first. I am in Granby, CT. Just like everyone else, I love this tent, but I'm looking for something new. I bought it around '94 or '95 and I've probably used the tent about 25 times. One of the poles broke and busted through the fly right above the front Sportiva hub. I sent it out and had it professionally repaired by Peregrine Outfitters (pole and fly) out in Freemont, CA. Other than that, everyone is still intact and working well. Shoot me an email if you are interested.

I have had a Praying Mantis 4S since about 1995 and just recently the fly has called it quits. The rest of the tent is still in great shape. Does anyone know of a way to get a replacement fly? Does anyone still have a lightly used PM4S they are willing to sell? Please email if you do. Thanks.

I have a Praying Mantis in great condition other than the tent zipper.....any suggestions on how to get it repaired/replaced?...Thanks

« Close old comments


Powered by the Patrick theme and Movable Type Advanced!