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Tarptent Notch Review

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Tarptent Notch Review

Postby sheperd80 » Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:22 am

Ive spent enough nights in this tent that i think i can give it a fair review.

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Pros:

Weight. At 27 oz the Notch is very light for a full featured double-wall shelter.

Ease of Use. Pitching is pretty fast and easy once you do it a couple times.

Versatility. 2 side entry doors and 2 vestibules give alot of options for gear stashing. Getting in and out is much nicer than in front entry tents. When used with adjustable trekking poles you have alot of options for dealing with weather, condensation and uneven ground. With only 4 stakes and the diamond shape i can pitch it in tight locations. It can pitch with just the rainfly, just the inner net, or both giving some real lightweight options depending on expected conditions. Extra guyout points are provided to add stability though i havent needed them yet.

Durability: I cant comment on long term durability yet, but so far it seems much tougher than it looks. No signs of wear yet after using it all season.

Weather Worthiness. It stands up well against wind and driving rain. No leaks or collapses to speak of. I wouldnt hesitate to use it in any 3 season conditions.

Ventilation. No condensation issues yet, though sierra summers are easy in that regard. Ridge vents, end vents and adjustable height give you ways to deal with it in more humid climates.

Cons:

Packability. The triangular gussets are what make this design work, but they also make it pack longer than id like. It can be awkward to fit inside a smaller pack with a bear can. It works out ok in my Exos 48 but just barely.

Fiddle Factor. I find myself messing with it alot. The door zippers are also the side guy-outs so i find it best to loosen the tension before opening the doors. Small buckles take tension off the zipper itself, but add a step to getting in and out.

Size. Im 6'1" and i can sit up and lay down comfortably but theres nothing to spare. Its barely big enough to fit a large (76x25) sleeping pad. The vestibules are small as well. I store my pack and other uneeded items under one side, and shoes and water under the other for easy midnight access. It works but i prefer the larger vestibule of other shelters.

Not Freestanding. I havent had any trouble pitching this tent yet, but a freestanding option is always nice to have.

Summary:

All in all i like the Notch alot, but i dont quite love it. The cons are pretty neglible. The weight, versatility and other pros make it a good fit for me. I dont see replacing it anytime soon.
I hear alot of complaints about sil nylon stretching and sagging. For me, in the dry sierra its a non issue. I add a little tension to each guy right before bed and it stays taught all night. Even if i didnt do that i think it would still hold up.
Like most ultralight gear, there are trade offs. Its not as convenient or easy as a freestanding cross-pole tent, but its much lighter and more versatile.



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Re: Tarptent Notch Review

Postby Asolthane » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:27 pm

Are you still using this tent?

How do you find it in heavy wind? How low to the ground can you pitch it? How has it held up? Have you cooked in a vestibule?

I got a six moons Deschutes tarp in the holiday sale, but the bug inner for that is smaller, and I can't sit up without hitting my head on the sloping back wall. This seems like a better option for me.
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Re: Tarptent Notch Review

Postby Oubliet » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:30 pm

I've used the BD BetaLight with a Sea to Summit single bugnet hung from one of the upright poles. It works well in wind ) sometimes I need to use rocks to augment the anchors.)

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Re: Tarptent Notch Review

Postby Ska-T » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:21 am

sheperd80 wrote:Cons:

Packability. The triangular gussets are what make this design work, but they also make it pack longer than id like. It can be awkward to fit inside a smaller pack with a bear can. It works out ok in my Exos 48 but just barely.

Size. Im 6'1" and i can sit up and lay down comfortably but theres nothing to spare. Its barely big enough to fit a large (76x25) sleeping pad. The vestibules are small as well. I store my pack and other uneeded items under one side, and shoes and water under the other for easy midnight access. It works but i prefer the larger vestibule of other shelters.


Thanks for the detailed review. I am sure HST members will find it useful. I also own a Notch and want to provide a slightly alternate view for two of your "Cons".

Re Packability: One can remove the 2 carbon fiber struts at each end (4 in total) from their fabric sleeves and carry them separate from the rest of the tarptent. This will only take an extra couple of minutes when setting up or taking down the tent. [Everyone has a different way of packing their backpack. Personally, I don't bother removing the struts and lash the Notch (in its stuff sack) to the outside of my Khamsin 38 under the side compression straps with the lower end of the rolled Notch jammed into the small wand pocket.]

Re Size: I am also 6' 1" (or at least used to be before I started shrinking with advanced age). I find the length of the Notch sufficient, although to keep the weight down it is not a generous design. Taller people will find the head room more comfortable with a thin sleeping pad, such as the 1" thick Thermarest I use. More to the point, regarding the width, to me the Notch best fits a 20" wide pad. Even though the Tarptent web site says that you can use a 25" wide pad, I think that is stretching things and expecting too much from this narrow 1-man tarptent. The Notch is narrow at the head and foot ends, 20" wide at the very ends.

Let me point out one thing about stability. You can add a guyline at the top of each trekking pole (or tent pole). These guylines (at the ground end) each can be attached to one of the normal 4 stakes, or for extra strength in the wind, to an additional stake, making 6 stakes in total. Independent of the wind, I find that guying out the trekking poles from the top makes the Notch more taut and less saggy.
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Re: Tarptent Notch Review

Postby sheperd80 » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:39 am

Asolthane wrote:Are you still using this tent?

How do you find it in heavy wind? How low to the ground can you pitch it? How has it held up? Have you cooked in a vestibule?

I got a six moons Deschutes tarp in the holiday sale, but the bug inner for that is smaller, and I can't sit up without hitting my head on the sloping back wall. This seems like a better option for me.

I havent experienced any real heavy wind in it yet so i cant say but it feels very stable when pitched correctly. Especially when adding guys to the top of your poles as ska-t mentioned. The key is finding the right location, but with its small footprint i didnt find that too difficult.

You can pitch it pretty low, i slept through some light but steady rain and with the fly pulled low and wide i stayed perfectly dry and had no splashing up under the fly. But again location is key for that.

That tent has held up well so far. I have no holes or anything yet and all the guys and rods have held together fine. Ive only spent maybe 10 nights in it though. But despite the thin materials i think itll hold up well for a long time.

I havent cooked in the vestibule. Its very small but if u were sitting inside the tent u could probably do it.

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