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Tarptent

Tents, tarps, sleeping bags & general campsite gear

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Silent Kokopelli
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Tarptent

Post by Norb » Nov 02 2009 8:43 pm

I'm looking for a solo shelter and am considering a Tarptent. Deciding between the Contrail, Rainbow and Squall 2 models. I'm happy with my MSR Hubba-Hubba which is great for my wife and I(and light enough for a solo trip), but would like to cut some weight for solo trips. I'm considering one of the tarptents that fit 2 in case it would work for both of us as well.

Anyone have any experience with these?

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te_wa
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Re: Tarptent

Post by te_wa » Nov 02 2009 9:00 pm

I have experience with the first two, and the third is just a large Virga (discontinued)
the contrail has huge panels that will sag a LOT in rain or humidity (such is the case for all things silnylon)
the rainbow and double rainbow are nice enough, but ive heard several complaints of inability to thread the long pole thru the center pole-sleeve.
If considering the Contrail, you may also want to look at the Stevenson's Warmlite and the Six Moon Designs 1)gatewood cape or 2)Lunar Solo
if you like the Rainbow/DR, you must check out the SMD Lunar Duo and/or the Refuge.

its been a long time since i fussed over tents. if you do solo trips, dont discount the amazing versatility of a hammock system. trust me, there are at least a dozen hikers i personally know and hike with that have converted to hammocks permanently.
I have a Grand Trunk Nano 7 that ive converted the suspension to a Whoopie Sling for a total weight of 7.7 ounces. And of course, i use a te-wa underquilt that is only 13 ounces. A 11 oz MacCat standard tarp in Spinnaker rounds out the package. see my article about hammock camping in the navigation bar, articles, hammocks as camping shelters.

or you could always get the 18oz tarptent sublite in tyvek.
:D

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big_load
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Re: Tarptent

Post by big_load » Nov 02 2009 9:13 pm

I have a Contrail and a Double Rainbow. The Contrail is my all-time favorite solo shelter. It does sag a little in the rain, but not enough to bother me, and it's a lot of room for the weight. The Double Rainbow is great for two, and is Mrs. big_load's favorite because of its great storm resistance and side entry. The pole threading is only pain at the last instant of getting into the grommet, or sometimes it isn't. In either case, it's all over in a minute. I also previously owned Cloudburst, which Mrs. big_load found too drafty in bad weather (although I used in a hurricane once with no ill effects).

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fairweather8588
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Re: Tarptent

Post by fairweather8588 » Nov 03 2009 1:31 am

Tarptents are awesome, highly recommend that you get one
No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength

Kerouac

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BobP
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Re: Tarptent

Post by BobP » Nov 03 2009 7:26 am

I'm happy with my MSR Hubba-Hubba

I have the solo Hubba. You can try using your rainfly as a tarptent.
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hikeaz
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Re: Tarptent

Post by hikeaz » Nov 03 2009 4:26 pm

For the H-H MSR says:
Minimum Weight 4 lbs 3 oz / 1890 g
Packaged Weight 4 lbs 11 oz / 2120 g
Fly with Footprint Weight 3 lbs 2 oz / 1470 g
Floor Area 29 sq. ft / 2.8 sq. m

I recommend against the guy-line-infested Cloudburst or Rainshadow.
The Double Rainbow seems the best for what you are wanting. (It seems that Henry has solved most of the pole-fit issues from the early models). I have had experience with the Rainbow, although not the D.R.and it is a nice design. As opposed to the Squall, for your 9 oz. weight premium you get vestibules and side entry - well worth the weight IMO.
What you are buying for your $225., though, is about two pounds of weight savings over the full H-H setup, or a pound over the fly/footprint H-H option.
Weight 41 oz (1165 g)
Floor Width 50 in (127 cm)
Floor Length 88 in (224 cm)
Floor Area 29-36 sq ft

I might suggest that you merely look on craigslist (nationally) for a used Virga (should run about $50-$75) for your solo shelter.
kurt

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fairweather8588
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Re: Tarptent

Post by fairweather8588 » Nov 03 2009 10:05 pm

I'd agree about the Cloudburst, even though it was a palace to sleep in, it was always sort of a pain to set up
No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength

Kerouac

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Re: Tarptent

Post by Norb » Nov 04 2009 7:08 pm

Well..after some back and forth with myself I decided on the Contrail. I am intrigued by the hammocks, however. I need to see them in action sometime. I definitely think I'd sleep much better in one...

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big_load
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Re: Tarptent

Post by big_load » Nov 04 2009 7:25 pm

It takes some practice to get good at setting up the Contrail. I found it frustrating at first, both in terms of setup time and getting consistent results. The newer model has a better system for staking out the foot corners, and I modified mine to match it. Before long I could set it up faster than anything else I've ever had. Good luck!

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davis2001r6
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Re: Tarptent

Post by davis2001r6 » Nov 10 2009 12:10 pm

I failed my 1st attempt to set-up the contrail. Camping in Sequia NP before starting a 5 day 75 mile trip, couldn't get the stakes to go in the ground and the campground and it kept falling over on me. So it went in the truck and I took my Black Diamond Lighthouse tent (still my favorite tent).

After getting home and spending some time with the contrail I got it working. Henry makes some quality products and stands behind his work. I had some seams start ripping on the Squall that I had and sent it to him and he had it back to me within a week with no charge. I think he even paid shipping BOTH ways.

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Re: Tarptent

Post by Norb » Nov 11 2009 8:31 pm

I was pretty frustrated with my first attempt to setup the Contrail. Mostly because I only have a small patch of dirt in my backyard - the rest is pavers. So eventually I had to set it up without stakes to do the seamsealing - by anchoring the lines to patio chairs. Not stable enough for wind, etc, but it did the trick. I think I'll be fine when I get it out on a trip. I do kinda feel like I need three hands to set it up though...

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azbackpackr
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Re: Tarptent

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 11 2009 9:49 pm

I had this solo tent you couldn't sit up in, and could hardly even bend your knees enough to change your trousers. And you had to stake it out to make it stay up, AND it sagged in the rain. It was black, and my friends called it the Black Coffin whenever I brought it on a hike. (It was a Slumberjack.) Actually, I probably still have it. I never get rid of anything! :D Te-wa can have it for his museum one of these days.

So, because I dislike relying on staking out, and didn't like the ultra-saggy scene, I bought a Big Agnes freestanding solo tent, the eVent, I think it's called. It is really really comfy, at least once you're in it, and never, ever sags, or anything. Weighs about 3 lbs. So it is not ultra-ultra light. One thing I don't like about the eVent AT ALL, though, is that the door is on the end--very hard to get in and out of! On the other hand, the Hubba's side entrance is much easier to get in and out of, and it has that fly that comes over to form a vestibule so you don't dump water in the tent when you are crawling in and out in the rain.

Ok ok, I will look into hammocks. But how is it you can always find a place to put them up? I need to show up at one of the hangin's.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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pencak
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Re: Tarptent

Post by pencak » Mar 17 2010 9:34 pm

I like the SilTarp II http://www.integraldesigns.com/product_ ... cfm?id=727
Here are some examples of mine set up:
http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=120240
http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=120239
http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=120237
http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=121720
At 14oz it's pretty light and fairly large at 8' x 10'. It was well worth the money IMO. I pre-tie the line on it because it makes it way easier to set up. Those pictures at Joshua Tree the wind was blowing around 25mph at night. I had to tie it down in more spots but it held up fine. However, trying to fold it and roll it up and put it in the soda can sized stuff sack in any wind over 5mph is a lesson in frustration. The Sil material is kind of slippery.
Pencak aka Larry Rudd
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