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Tarptent Advice

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Tarptent Advice

Postby Clubb » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:24 pm

ah, shaving weight...............the age old pursuit of the backpacker.

I'll get right to it. I'm looking at getting an ultralight solo tent. I'm currently packing in a North Face Pebble thats a 2 person and 4-5 lbs. When my wife goes with me this works.

I"ve also got a bivy, but dont really like it for backpacking. Its more for hike in hunting trips. I want a little more room for summer backpacking.

I've been looking at the Tarptents and for the price, weight, and seemingly glowing reviews, how can you go wrong?

I've been thinking about the Moment, Contrail, and Sublite, or Sublite Sil. I'm not sure if I want a tent that utilizes hiking poles or not, but I'm intrigued by the option.

Talk me out of getting a Tarptent.



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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:23 pm

I have been using the Rainbow for a couple of years now, and can say that is a very
solid, and spacious tent.
I have been through several big storms with it, and it has held up fine.
Besides the flimsy zipper, and having to seam seal it, I have nothing negative to
say about it.
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:26 pm

I would get a Sublite in silnylon in a heartbeat, if tents were my thing, but I get way more headroom and comfort in a hammock under a nice tarp.

I have a Sublite in Tyvek and find it a really nice solo tent - way more headroom than one would expect, enough space for me (5' 7") and my gear, easily set up in minutes, and the Tyvek is hands down the best condensation prevention in the galaxy. It's going alpine with me in the summer.

I've got a friend who has a Moment. It's a nice tent but seems condensation prone. I hear Henry has a liner for it now.

If you don't want to use hiking poles you can get Easton poles that work with the Sublite - I have them too. Just some extra weight in the pack. I prefer using my Lightrek trekking poles to give me a little flexibility in pitching it high or low.
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby BSquared » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:28 pm

Clubb wrote:ah, shaving weight...............the age old pursuit of the backpacker.

..

Talk me out of getting a Tarptent.

No way. Of all the "go light" purchases I made prior to my JMT thru hike in 2005, that's the one I'm most pleased with. I bought a Squall with a sewn-in floor, which at that time was an extra-cost option. It's no longer available, but it appears to be quite similar to their current models. My tent is light, durable, waterproof, bug resistant, and it doesn't sweat, even out here in the steamy east.
—B²
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:32 pm

AlmostThere wrote "I've got a friend who has a Moment. It's a nice tent but seems
condensation prone." That is good to hear, but condensation can be caused by a lot
of different factors beyond the tent makers control, and sometimes could be more
the users fault as you know.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:42 pm

maverick wrote:AlmostThere wrote "I've got a friend who has a Moment. It's a nice tent but seems
condensation prone." That is good to hear, but condensation can be caused by a lot
of different factors beyond the tent makers control, and sometimes could be more
the users fault as you know.


It's not just my friend. There are a multitude of threads on the subject at backpacking light and at least one other forum.... so much so that Henry is making the optional liners for them.
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:03 pm

AlmostThere wrote "It's not just my friend. There are a multitude of threads on the
subject at backpacking light and at least one other forum.... so much so that Henry
is making the optional liners for them." Yeah I saw the liners being offered last year
but did not read that there was such an issue with condensation since I have not
had it, with my Rainbow, thanks for pointing this out.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby Flux » Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:32 pm

One thing I can't understand is that folks buy these types of shelters, basically sleep with a 4" gap all around at ground level, and then get upset with condensation and/or draft.

One thing that has kept me away is draft for sure, I like to be able to seal it up and have venting up top where the wind can't get me.
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:37 pm

Any single wall shelter will probably have an issue with condensation. How much of an issue depends...

I don't see people as being upset about it - not everyone thinks it's a real problem, just something you need to address somehow if it gets bad enough to start dripping on everything. Sometimes that's as simple as a pack towel.

People who freak out about their down quilts unrealistically have the tendency to be upset by a little condensation. I'm not among them.... I enjoy the Tyvek version also because it is not going to heat up in full sun, and provides shade, making it a great place to take a nap in the middle of the day in treeless areas.
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:40 pm

AlmostThere wrote "I enjoy the Tyvek version also because it is not going to heat
up in full sun, and provides shade, making it a great place to take a nap in the
middle of the day in treeless areas."
What other differences between it, and the sil versions have you experienced?
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby oldranger » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:33 pm

I use a contrail. Less than 1 out of 5 nights condensation is an issue. Invariably it is when I would like to get an early start. I do carry an extra towel to deal with condensation when those mornings occur. Think I might start carrying a sponge instead. But the Contrail weighs 1 lb. 13 ounces including 6 stakes, some pc cord I have tied to a couple of places on the tent, and the stuff sack. As with most tents the advertised weight does not include stakes.

I consider the condensation a small issue. Two other problems are 1. It gets too hot in the sunlight to use as an escape from mosquitoes. 2. It is getting more and more difficult for me to get in and out of it.

Other alternatives I have seen: Big Agnes Flycreek UL 1. This is a true double tent, can be set up without the fly. Problems for me: Weighs 1lb more than Contrail. Not much easier to get in and out.

There are a couple of side entry tents of comparable weight to the Contrail that would be easier to get in and out of but as I recall they are also single wall tents. I think by Bearpaw, Enlightened Equipment, Gossamer Gear and Hyperlite Mt. Gear. (one of these could be a front entry, my notes and memory are both a bit sketchy.

There is one fly/mosquito netting w/ tub floor that I have seen at about the same weight as the Contrail but it seems fairly complex to set up but if you didn't need the fly you don't have to set the fly up. According to my notes this is by Alpinlite Gear.

All of these solo tents except maybe the Fly creek and the Tarp tents are in the $300 and up range.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:45 pm

maverick wrote:AlmostThere wrote "I enjoy the Tyvek version also because it is not going to heat
up in full sun, and provides shade, making it a great place to take a nap in the
middle of the day in treeless areas."
What other differences between it, and the sil versions have you experienced?


In very heavy rain, your bathtub floor becomes a bathtub.

I do not know if the rain was actually coming through the tyvek, since I bailed at the three hour mark and left the tent in the pouring down rain by itself... when I went to take it down in the morning the fabric was soaked through, the floor was full of water (poured gallons out) and the side edges were sagging into the mesh.

I suspect that the majority of the water was running down through the mesh from the outsides of the tent. The tent was still standing, one foot end support had toppled over, and when I drained all the water out the tent, normally 20 oz, felt like it weighed quite a number of pounds.

But this was an inappropriate intentional use by me - I knew it would not be up for a Pacific coastal winter rainstorm! the manufacturer is very clear about its tolerances - when I knew I had a car handy to climb into. I subjected it to six hours of ongoing sheets of heavy rain.

I will take it into the mountains in summer, and I know it will stand up to moderate rain. It stood up to a couple of hours of intermittent rain before the real stuff started, and stood up to heavy rain for another couple hours before it started to drip on me. And then it drowned...

FYI, some of the PU coated dome tents in my group were also dying in that rainstorm! I was shortly joined in my car by one of the campers who didn't wake up until her dime store sleeping bag and all her clothes were completely soaked. My tarptent did me the favor of landing a good sized cold drop of water smack between my eyes to wake me well before my down quilt got even a little wet. We sat in the car watching flashlights in some of the other tents while people were finding leaks and moving around....
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