Thanks! Done and done. I'm replacing the previous test version in
owner review folder.
Thanks for the help.
TARPTENT SQUALL 2
October 08, 2008
NAME: Brad Banker
LOCATION: Greensboro, NC, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 0" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 240 lb (109.00 kg)
I went on my first backpacking trip at 5 years old, and hiked quite a
bit growing up. I picked it back up again in my 20's and have
regularly backpacked now for over 10 years. I backpack the mountains
of North Carolina and Virginia on 1-5 night solo or group trips,
mostly on or around the Appalachian Trail in all seasons in
temperatures from 90+ F (32 C) to under 0 F (-17 C). My companions
are my wife and my two golden retrievers, or whoever wants to
disappear into the woods for a while.
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE -
Listed Weight: 34 oz (940 g)
Measured Weight: 34 oz (940 g) as advertised.
I added two more stakes and some extra guylines that add 4 more oz
(113 g) and a Tyvek ground sheet that makes a grand total of 43 oz
(1219 g) for my entire 3 season tent system.
Product details as listed on manufacturer website:
Weight 34 oz (940 g) using trekking poles (trekking pole weight not
Width 78/51 in (198/130 cm)
Length 94 in (239 cm)
Height 45 in (114 cm) adjustable
Floor Area 30-37 sq ft (2.8-3.4 sq m)
Beak Area 7 sq ft (0.65 sq m)
Stakes (included) 4
Packed size 20 x 4 in (51 x 10 cm)
Hybrid bathtub floor clip/ unclip floor walls for splash, space,
views, and airflow
Dual trekking poles support for front of tent; front poles available
for purchase separately if you do not use or carry poles.
Note: There are three grommets in the front part of the tarp to
insert either trekking poles, or poles (not included, but can be
purchased from Tarptent.com) in a one pole or two pole configuration.
Abundant netting for views, airflow, and insect resistance; bug proof
when zipped up
Front beak shields rain, provides gear storage and small vestibule
Fast setup 2 minutes from sack to pitched
Integrated line tighteners
Quick drying inside and out in minutes
Small packed size removable strut for stuffing
Catenary ridgelines for wind, sag, and storms
Reflective Spectra cord guylines included
My Tent History: Henry Shires, the originator and owner, was very
helpful both initially and since my Tarptent purchase. I did a fair
amount of shopping around while trying to convert from my old 7 lb (3
kg) 2.5-person tent to a lighter 3-season option. I read a lot of
reviews and posts on various websites. I asked a lot of questions
and eventually decided on a single-walled option. The Squall 2 was
an excellent compromise between the standard tent and ultralight tarp
usage. I will in this review use tarp and tent somewhat
interchangeably because it is a Tarptent.
Initial Impressions: I ordered my Tarptent directly from the website
listed in the beginning of this review. I had some questions before
I purchased it. I posted some questions on www.whiteblaze.net, which
Henry Shires frequents, and he answered many of my questions within
one day. I also emailed him before purchasing, and once since for
help, and he was prompt and informative in response. My Squall 2
arrived with all of the advertised components and detailed
instructions. The weight of the tent was measured as advertised.
My first experience with this tent was on a solo overnight in
February in North Carolina with my 110 lb (45.36 kg) golden
retriever. The temperature dipped to 16 F (-8.88 C). I was somewhat
ill-prepared in that I was carrying my 20 F (-9 C) down bag which
sleeps cold at temperatures several degrees warmer than its rating.
My dog had only a fleece blanket. I was accustomed to the extra 5-10
F (3-6 C) of comfort that a double-wall tent gives. I was cold and
my dog was shivering all night the first night. I have since gotten
a 0 F (-18 C) bag for colder weather. The tent was pitched for
medium ventilation and there was minimal condensation in the
morning. My dog was no worse for wear in the morning.
I have since used this tent for all different types of weather from
summer heat to winter cold in rain, sleet and 1.5 in (3.81 cm) of
snow without difficulty. In summer conditions with the humidity in
the south, it took some some practice pitching the tarp to get
maximal ventilation and reduce condensation. In heavy rain with
warmer temperatures, I have to pitch the tarp high for maximal
ventilation, but adjust the floor higher to decrease splash and mist
accumulation on my gear. Fall and spring temperatures are where in
my opinion, this setup shines. No condensation, light weight, quick
and easy to set up and take down.
The Tarptent is a single-walled design with a single curved pole that
is inserted into the rear part of the tent for a hoop style support.
The rear of the tent is anchored by an ingenious method of one
guyline loop across the back, and another line in the center attached
to the primary line tied together. The center line is longer. To
erect the tent, anchor the longer loop with the stake and pull the
tent forward to create even tension from back to front. This allows
the user to angle the tent and adjust tension with the two loops.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 3" IMAGE CAPTION = "tent rear
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 4" IMAGE CAPTION = "tent rear
There is a front guyline that is staked to the ground to maintain
tension in the front, and two guylines off the front lateral corners
that are staked into the ground as well. There are two loops on the
side of the tent to add extra guylines if needed to increase
stability for wind, etc. Both the front and lateral guylines have
tension adjusters that make for quick and easy fine tuning.
I chose the standard option of a sewn-in bathtub floor which is
connected to the silnylon body of the tarp by mesh netting. The
bathtub floor is able to be adjusted by a series of shock cords with
slide locks. This allows the user to adjust the tension on the floor
and increase height for protection or ventilation through the tent.
The bathtub floor is connected to the tarp top by mesh all the way
The tent may be supported either by a single pole that is able to be
purchased separately, or by the more common option of using 1-2
trekking or hiking poles (which is the option that I choose.) The
front piece that the poles are inserted into has three grommets, and
apparently has a stay that can be removed, but I have never removed
it. It seems to roll up well and stuff into its stuff sack without
taking it out.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1" IMAGE CAPTION = "grommets">>
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 2" IMAGE CAPTION = "grommets
I have used both 1 and 2 trekking poles to set up my tent. It is
possible to use the two lateral grommets which has the added benefit
of angling the poles out to give more space to enter and exit the
tent, as well as more functional room for gear, cooking, etc. The
most likely combinations are two poles on the outside, or one pole in
the center, both of which are demonstrated below. I assume one
could use all three grommets and do three poles, but it would be
difficult to enter the tent. I do notice a significant difference in
stability in using two poles on the outer two grommets. The top bar
seems to rock from side to side in this case. The front guyline can
also be angled out to either side to give more room for entry on one
side of the tent, without significantly negatively affecting the tent
stability, but it does make the beak a little more difficult to
extend. The tent is held up by the combined tension on the 4
guylines, with the front pole support and the rear hoop support.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 5" IMAGE CAPTION = "2 poles
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 6" IMAGE CAPTION = "one pole
The front entrance is mesh with a zipper down the front and two
zippers across the bottom in an inverse T formation allowing complete
protection from all pests of the flying and crawling variety.
There is also a detached floor option and one may also purchase the
tarp with no floor.
From the sides of the tent there are two sides of a "beak" that may
be rolled down and secured to the front guyline to form a vestibule.
This vestibule does not reach all the way to the ground, but in my
experience has been enough to keep the rain or snow off my gear,
temper moderate wind, but allow sufficient ventilation to minimize
condensation due to the single-wall design.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 7" IMAGE CAPTION = "beak one">>
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 8" IMAGE CAPTION = "beak two">>
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 9" IMAGE CAPTION = "beak side">>
Per manufacturer recommendations and with my own personal experience,
it is best to pitch the tent with the low, or rear side into the
wind. It is also recommended to pitch the tarp as close to the
ground as possible in colder or windier weather to minimize the
breeze, and pitch it up higher with max ventilation for warmer
weather, which is easy to do with a little practice.
I am continually amazed by the light weight of this tent, even with
the Tyvek ground sheet and extra lines and stakes I added. I added
these mostly to be able to guy the tent out for more stability with
snow and high winds. For somebody who used to lug a 7 lb (3 kg) tent
for solo trips, the significantly lighter weight has been a
blessing. I am amazed at how much space there is in my 3500 ci (57
L) pack, and this purchase has helped me get my base weight down to
approximately 19 lb (8.62 kg) for 3 days. It has become my favorite
tent setup for solo trips. It would be my first choice for trips
with my wife, but for some reason, she does not really like the
tent. She prefers a tent with double walls and doors on either
side. I had entertained the idea of getting a Rainshadow 2 Tarptent
which is the 3 person version, but the idea was nixed.
Long term use and maintenance: I seam sealed the tent with the
recommended silicone sealant when I purchased it and once 2 years
later. There have been minimal signs of wear, although I did not use
a ground sheet for the first few years, but started recently to
protect the floor. This Tarptent has been a great purchase, and I
decided to invest in a little Tyvek barrier between the ground and my
tent floor. I would rather replace the Tyvek than have to send the
whole tent back to be repaired. I have had no rips, tears or signs
of abrasion on the tent, but I tend to take care of my gear. The
zippers, Velcro, slide locks, shock cords and guylines have worked
great and are all very lightweight. The guylines are all reflective
which is great in the dark with a headlamp on, especially with the
beak line, as seen in one of the photo's below.
General observations: This is my first single-wall tent, so learning
to manage, minimize or eliminate condensation in the main compartment
was something to get used to. The better I get with estimating
ventilation needs, the less I have. A small pack towel takes care of
the rest. It was an adjustment for me to get used to less head room
compared to my old tent, which had more of a dome style. I do,
however, have plenty of room to sit up at the front of the tent. The
vestibule area does not completely reach the ground, which I am used
to, but comes close enough to keep the rain and snow off my gear.
When I use this as a solo tent, I have no difficulty fitting me and
all of my gear in. Using it for two people, some gear will probably
need to be stowed under the vestibule, but overall it is roomy in my
opinion. The most snow I've been in was as mentioned above. I had
the tent guyed out very tightly and didn't have any problems, but
have not tested more heavy snow conditions yet (maybe global warming
will ensure that I never have to in North Carolina.) The tent sets
up very quickly and packs down very small. I can't say enough about
how small this tent packs down and how light it is.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 10" IMAGE CAPTION = "first
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 11" IMAGE CAPTION = "mount
In summary, I have been very pleased with my Tarptent Squall 2
purchase. I have had excellent customer service from Henry Shires.
This tent has been an extremely helpful purchase in reducing my base
weight without sacrificing comfort or security. It is a good
blending of a standard tent design and an ultralight tarp setup.
There is a learning curve with this tent setup, but with some work it
is possible to overcome the condensation problems associated with a
single-wall design. I would not hesitate to recommend this tent to
anybody who wishes to reduce pack weight without sacrificing
the "tent feel" and does not mind playing around with their gear a
THINGS I LIKE
Very lightweight option for 1-2 people.
Very sturdy and well built.
Single-wall design (in the summer.)
Sets up with trekking poles (which I already use.)
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
Learning curve for setting the tent up for existing conditions.
Single-wall design (in the winter.)
My wife does not like it.
Not much else - overall I love it.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.