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Tarptent Advice

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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby The Other Tom » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:04 pm

Another vote for the rainbow. Plenty of room and light weight. I also have a Stephenson which is condensation prone, but I haven't had a problem with the tarptent.



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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:11 pm

I bought a Tarptent Moment last year and used it over 50 nights. In almost every case there was condensation. I am fully aware of how to set up a tent to avoid condensation. I honestly feel it is a design flaw of that particular tent. The top vents are too small. It never outright dripped but the inside of the single wall almost always is wet or totally frost covered. I am short, so I had plenty of room to sit up without scraping the wall. My biggest gripe about the condensation is that I ended up packing a very wet tent every morning, then had to unpacked it during the day at a rest stop to dry it out. I am an early bird, so usually am on the trail before the sun hits. When set up it dries quickly once the sun hits it. It handled intense rainstorms quite well. The pegs that come with it are flimsy- I broke one the first night out! I have tons of tent pegs from other tents, so that was not a problem. Although you can set it up on two pegs, you really need four for a set up if you use the guy lines (really needed in any kind of wind). And I brought two more pegs just to peg out two floor corners. In summary, it is still a good light tent for the Sierra. I would not use it in the Rockies where days of rainy weather would make it impossible to dry out. My other complaint about Tarptents (all of them) is that they have a relatively large "footprint" making it tough to find a spot to set it up in tight situations. Tall people will love Tarptents for their length. My little Micro-zoid was more my size, but I could not sit up in it. I have yet to find a tent that is "perfect". I think you have to choose what is the most important features, and just put up with those few other things that may not be to your liking. At least the Tarptents are reasonablly priced and light weight, so I am willing to deal with the condensation and size issues.
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:31 pm

OH yeah! Those Easton stakes? All of mine developed a nice curvature, and when I loaned the Sublite to someone, she was setting up and broke one of them in two. Swapped 'em out for groundhogs.
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby Clubb » Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:44 pm

Good stuff guys. I figured some of you would have the good and bad on the tarptents.
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:04 pm

I don't know if there's much bad about them... It's like any piece of gear. Everything has its limits and applications... they aren't made to be bombproof, or perfect for every environment. And you do have to understand how to use them and have a notion of good site selection, if you're going out for some extended duration.
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby markskor » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:37 pm

Like Mav above, have been using the Rainbow last two seasons...80 + nights.
Pros:
Great solo tent - light - plenty of space for 1, room for all gear inside - a palace, adequate vestibule for boots, cooking. Some misting but mostly stayed dry, even under heavy overnight torrents. Condensation some, but not really noticeable.
Cons:
Not designed for 50+ winds, no matter how well guyed out.
Tent (sil fabric) heats up, sort of infra-red effect...impossible to stay/nap in tent afternoons...unless pitched in shade or drape a towel atop to block the sun.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby Clubb » Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:55 am

AlmostThere wrote:I don't know if there's much bad about them... It's like any piece of gear. Everything has its limits and applications... they aren't made to be bombproof, or perfect for every environment. And you do have to understand how to use them and have a notion of good site selection, if you're going out for some extended duration.


I here ya. I love the weight and price. Im not so sure about the "draftiness" or "bombproofness" in nasty weather. I'm trying to decide betweeen this style and something like the Big Agnes Seedhouse. More weight, but more burly ,and prolly suitable for more conditions.

decisions, decisions.
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby oldranger » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:02 am

I have experienced up to 2" of snow, high winds and driving thunderstorms in the Contrail. Nothing has ever gotten wet. I do set it up differently than designed--I use a stick or my second trekking pole to create an A shape at the foot. Most of the wind is knocked down so I don't feel that is an issue for me. Having both a Tarptent and a Big Agnes Tent one thing directly comparable is the quality of the mosquito netting. The tarptent mosquito netting is much stronger. I really like the Rainbows that Markskor and Maverick and others use. It is really spacious. But it is a little heavier and has the same problem of inadequate ventillation when the sun is bright.

Mike
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:14 am

I go backpacking with a lot of Big Agnes fans. One thing that struck me - all those end entry models have that crazy sloping door, like the one that made me get rid of the Clip Flashlight a while back. Opening that in a driving rain is just asking for a bath, for you and everything inside the tent.

I won't use a tent without a side entry. One, the ease of getting in and out - swing your legs through and out, instead of doing a complete end to end. Two, the majority of the end entry doors are just inviting water into the tent.

Look at the end entry Tarptents... the doors aren't sloped like a ramp. What happens when the tent designer actually camps in the rain once in a while! :whistle:
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby Flux » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:06 am

Don't get me wrong on my initial post about draft and condensation. These are things to simply consider when you head this direction. Tarptents are some of the most clever designs you will run into, everything you need and nothing you don't. I am lusting after a moment or a rainbow.

Again, I think your style of hiking, what you will run into, and how high up you sleep are a big consideration. I have a BD lighthouse that comes in at about 3.5 lbs, but is an absolute beast in the wind due to it's crossing pole design. I have been dabbling in designing a tent and I keep coming back toward this design for more than a few reasons. But it's a tent and weighs more than the tarptent. I would not hesitate to take this into light snow and cold conditions. I camp between 10-12k, so wind and cold temps are there all year round. The BD has it's drawbacks too though.

I do wish the tarptents would come with a draft skirt. An extra length around the perimeter that you could drop down to limit breezes or pull up to max out ventilation. This is my personal deal really, but wind=cold.
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:19 am

Flux wrote:
I do wish the tarptents would come with a draft skirt. An extra length around the perimeter that you could drop down to limit breezes or pull up to max out ventilation. This is my personal deal really, but wind=cold.


Why add extra weight when you can just pitch them all the way down to the ground?

You can do that, y'know.
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Re: Tarptent Advice

Postby Flux » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:30 am

AlmostThere wrote:
Flux wrote:
I do wish the tarptents would come with a draft skirt. An extra length around the perimeter that you could drop down to limit breezes or pull up to max out ventilation. This is my personal deal really, but wind=cold.


Why add extra weight when you can just pitch them all the way down to the ground?

You can do that, y'know.



So tents like the rainbow and moment have that ability with the static pole length??

I am curious because my 2 wall tents with the built in vestibule/rainflys are a total PITA to get the fly down to the ground if it can be done at all in a taught fashion. More than a few times I have not spread the vestibules out, but let them lie against the sides to seal up the tent better.

It just appears that in the photos the tarptents kind of hover 3-4 inches above the ground when they are properly set up and are taught.

Can you tell I don't like drafts??
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