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Tarptent Squall Initial Report Stuart Bilby

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  • Stu Bilby
    Here goes my initial report. Please forgive any yahooisms and my New Zealand spelling. - aluminium, grey and colour all are just fine by my spell-checker.
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 1, 2003
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      Here goes my initial report. Please forgive any yahooisms and my New
      Zealand spelling. - aluminium, grey and colour all are just fine by
      my spell-checker.
      Cheers Stu B

      Henry Shires Tarptent Squall
      Initial Report
      -----------------------------
      Year 2003 Model

      Reviewer
      Stuart Bilby, male, stu@... Age 36, 176 cm (5'9"), 80 kg (176
      lb)

      Backpacking Background
      I live in Auckland, New Zealand and have been heading into the
      mountains for 16 years. I am an experienced backpacker, tramper and
      climber and most of my trips are multi-day off-trail trips. I love
      the remote gorges, forests and glaciers of the South Island's west
      coast. Over the last two years I have converted to a lightweight
      style.

      I have used a wide range of solid double walled tents and over the
      last two years have mostly used a silnylon tarp. This is the first
      time I have seen a Tarptent.

      Website www.tarptent.com
      The website is great. It gives a thorough set of specifications,
      dimensions and ample photographs. The Frequently Asked Questions
      section is particularly helpful. Overall, it is one of the best gear
      sites I have seen - informative and easy to navigate. However, I
      would have appreciated metric measurements. The product I received
      was what I expected from the website.

      Price
      (from website)
      Squall US$180
      Sewn in floor, additional US$25


      Description
      "It's a tent."
      "It's a tarp."
      "No, it's a Tarptent!"
      The Tarptent is half way between a tent and a tarp. It has a single
      thin silnylon wall, mesh sides and ends. My one has the optional sewn-
      in floor made of black silnylon. All the silnylon in the tent is the
      very light 1.1 oz silicone coated ripstop nylon. This has a finished
      weight of around 1.3 oz/yd² (44 g/m²). It is so thin that you can
      read a page of writing through it, yet it is remarkably strong and
      waterproof. The stuffsacks and peg bag are made of the same material.

      The Tarptent has two poles. A hoop to keep the fabric off the user's
      feet and a vertical pole at the head entrance. The vertical pole can
      be replaced by a trekking pole. The poles are made of 0.344 inch (8.7
      mm) diameter, 7075 Easton aluminium.

      The tent generally appears to be neatly sewn. Like most tent
      manufacturers, Henry Shires leaves the new owner to seal the seams.
      This is because it is a messy, stinky job that involves putting ugly
      blobs of silicone all over a beautiful shiny new tent. I have put
      this chore off for another day.

      Weight

      Measured Weight
      main tent 675 g (21.7 oz)
      hooped pole 91 g ( 2.9 oz)
      pegs (4) 48 g ( 1.5 oz)
      pole and peg bag 20 g ( 0.6 oz)
      straight pole 51 g ( 1.6 oz) (optional)
      ___________________________________________
      total 885 g (28.5 oz)


      Manufacturer's Weight

      total 918 g (29.5 oz)

      It is great to see a piece of gear that is actually lighter on my
      scales than the manufacturer claims. The Tarptent is so light it is
      startling. An honest two-person tent that is a pleasure to put in my
      pack.

      Guylines and Pegs
      The guylines are strong, non-stretch, 2 mm Kevlar cored string. They
      have a cool reflective thread braided into the sheath, which
      theoretically makes them harder to trip over at night.

      The guylines are neatly knotted but the ends are not melted together,
      presumably because it is difficult to get the Kevlar fibres to bond
      to the sheath because of the different melting temperatures.

      There are only four pegs; front, rear and each side of the front
      door. There are tie-on points for an additional guyline on each side.
      My initial impression is that these may be needed to pull the tent
      taut when setting up on uneven or sloping ground. The pegs are
      titanium wire, with a hooked end.

      One improvement that I would like to see is, for the curved pole, a
      sleeve closed at one end. This would mean that the pole only has to
      be clipped into the grommet at the open end. I have used this on
      other tents and found it to make setup quicker and simpler.

      Colour
      The Squall comes only in grey. There are thousands of beautiful
      colours in the world but Henry picked grey. Grey may be a stealth
      sort of colour but it seems depressing to me and I would be very
      unlikely to select it if I had a choice. But, hey, I am not too old
      to acquire new tastes and over the test period I will see if it grows
      on me.

      Size
      The Squall has a generous floor area of 44 square feet (4.1 m²) and a
      normal peak roof height of 42 inches (107 cm). The roof height tapers
      down from this and there is not very much room for sitting up.
      However, one of the features of the Tarptent is that when using a
      trekking pole as the front pole, the roof can be raised to give more
      headroom or lowered to give less wind drag and more floor space.

      It fits two adults comfortably and I would be willing to squeeze in
      three, especially if they didn't mind occasional condensation from
      touching the tent walls. I plan to try using the Tarptent with three
      people during the test period.


      Documentation
      The Tarptent comes with a single black and white page of instructions
      that describe set up and seam sealing. The instructions are succinct
      and helpful. The only part I didn't understand was "The tent is
      designed to have 8-9" high front corners...". It wasn't clear to me
      where the front corner was, and why it should have a height. But
      everything became clear during set up and the Tarptent is very
      straightforward to put together.

      Testing Plan
      I plan to take the Tarptent Squall on a number of winter trips into
      the ranges of the central North Island. I am interested to see its
      weatherproofness, how often condensation is a problem in New
      Zealand's wet conditions and to see how it stands up to the rigours
      of regular use.

      Dislikes
      Grey colour
      Likes
      Very light weight
      Roomy for two
      Fast set up
      Titanium pegs
      Summary
      The Tarptent Squall is very light weight. It appears to be well
      thought out and it is easy to set up. Overall, my initial impressions
      are very positive and I am looking forward to using it further.

      1 July 2003
    • Curt and Rene
      Thanks for the report, Stu. Here are my edits (few) for your consideration, marked with a double asterisk **: -Curt ... gear ... **Optional edit, but
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 2, 2003
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        Thanks for the report, Stu. Here are my edits (few) for your
        consideration, marked with a double asterisk **:

        -Curt

        > Henry Shires Tarptent Squall
        > Initial Report
        > -----------------------------
        > Year 2003 Model
        >
        > Reviewer
        > Stuart Bilby, male, stu@b... Age 36, 176 cm (5'9"), 80 kg (176
        > lb)
        >
        > Backpacking Background
        > I live in Auckland, New Zealand and have been heading into the
        > mountains for 16 years. I am an experienced backpacker, tramper and
        > climber and most of my trips are multi-day off-trail trips. I love
        > the remote gorges, forests and glaciers of the South Island's west
        > coast. Over the last two years I have converted to a lightweight
        > style.
        >
        > I have used a wide range of solid double walled tents and over the
        > last two years have mostly used a silnylon tarp. This is the first
        > time I have seen a Tarptent.
        >
        > Website www.tarptent.com
        > The website is great. It gives a thorough set of specifications,
        > dimensions and ample photographs. The Frequently Asked Questions
        > section is particularly helpful. Overall, it is one of the best
        gear
        > sites I have seen - informative and easy to navigate. However, I
        > would have appreciated metric measurements. The product I received
        > was what I expected from the website.
        >
        > Price
        > (from website)
        > Squall US$180
        > Sewn in floor, additional US$25
        >
        >
        > Description
        > "It's a tent."
        > "It's a tarp."
        > "No, it's a Tarptent!"
        > The Tarptent is half way between a tent and a tarp. It has a single
        > thin silnylon wall, mesh sides and ends.

        **Optional edit, but replacing the comma with the word "with" makes
        this a bit clearer. "...silnylon wall with mesh sides..."

        My one has the optional sewn-in floor made of black silnylon.

        **My one reads clearer as "mine". "Mine has the optional..." Maybe
        this is a New Zealand thing :)

        All the silnylon in the tent is the
        > very light 1.1 oz silicone coated ripstop nylon. This has a
        finished
        > weight of around 1.3 oz/yd² (44 g/m²). It is so thin that you can
        > read a page of writing through it, yet it is remarkably strong and
        > waterproof. The stuffsacks and peg bag are made of the same
        material.
        >
        > The Tarptent has two poles. A hoop to keep the fabric off the
        user's
        > feet and a vertical pole at the head entrance. The vertical pole
        can
        > be replaced by a trekking pole. The poles are made of 0.344 inch
        (8.7
        > mm) diameter, 7075 Easton aluminium.
        >
        > The tent generally appears to be neatly sewn. Like most tent
        > manufacturers, Henry Shires leaves the new owner to seal the seams.
        > This is because it is a messy, stinky job that involves putting
        ugly
        > blobs of silicone all over a beautiful shiny new tent. I have put
        > this chore off for another day.
        >
        > Weight
        >
        > Measured Weight
        > main tent 675 g (21.7 oz)
        > hooped pole 91 g ( 2.9 oz)
        > pegs (4) 48 g ( 1.5 oz)
        > pole and peg bag 20 g ( 0.6 oz)
        > straight pole 51 g ( 1.6 oz) (optional)
        > ___________________________________________
        > total 885 g (28.5 oz)
        >
        >
        > Manufacturer's Weight
        >
        > total 918 g (29.5 oz)
        >
        > It is great to see a piece of gear that is actually lighter on my
        > scales than the manufacturer claims. The Tarptent is so light it is
        > startling. An honest two-person tent that is a pleasure to put in
        my
        > pack.
        >
        > Guylines and Pegs
        > The guylines are strong, non-stretch, 2 mm Kevlar cored string.
        They
        > have a cool reflective thread braided into the sheath, which
        > theoretically makes them harder to trip over at night.
        >
        > The guylines are neatly knotted but the ends are not melted
        together,
        > presumably because it is difficult to get the Kevlar fibres to bond
        > to the sheath because of the different melting temperatures.
        >
        > There are only four pegs; front, rear and each side of the front
        > door. There are tie-on points for an additional guyline on each
        side.
        > My initial impression is that these may be needed to pull the tent
        > taut when setting up on uneven or sloping ground. The pegs are
        > titanium wire, with a hooked end.
        >
        > One improvement that I would like to see is, for the curved pole, a
        > sleeve closed at one end. This would mean that the pole only has to
        > be clipped into the grommet at the open end. I have used this on
        > other tents and found it to make setup quicker and simpler.

        **I'm not completely sure what you're describing here. Would the
        closed end then have one pole tip held in by fabric only? Could you
        describe this a bit more?

        > Colour
        > The Squall comes only in grey. There are thousands of beautiful
        > colours in the world but Henry picked grey. Grey may be a stealth
        > sort of colour but it seems depressing to me and I would be very
        > unlikely to select it if I had a choice. But, hey, I am not too old
        > to acquire new tastes and over the test period I will see if it
        grows
        > on me.
        >
        > Size
        > The Squall has a generous floor area of 44 square feet (4.1 m²) and
        a
        > normal peak roof height of 42 inches (107 cm). The roof height
        tapers
        > down from this and there is not very much room for sitting up.
        > However, one of the features of the Tarptent is that when using a
        > trekking pole as the front pole, the roof can be raised to give
        more
        > headroom or lowered to give less wind drag and more floor space.
        >
        > It fits two adults comfortably and I would be willing to squeeze in
        > three, especially if they didn't mind occasional condensation from
        > touching the tent walls. I plan to try using the Tarptent with
        three
        > people during the test period.
        >
        >
        > Documentation
        > The Tarptent comes with a single black and white page of
        instructions
        > that describe set up and seam sealing. The instructions are
        succinct
        > and helpful. The only part I didn't understand was "The tent is
        > designed to have 8-9" high front corners...". It wasn't clear to me
        > where the front corner was, and why it should have a height. But
        > everything became clear during set up and the Tarptent is very
        > straightforward to put together.
        >
        > Testing Plan
        > I plan to take the Tarptent Squall on a number of winter trips into
        > the ranges of the central North Island. I am interested to see its
        > weatherproofness, how often condensation is a problem in New
        > Zealand's wet conditions and to see how it stands up to the rigours
        > of regular use.
        >
        > Dislikes
        > Grey colour
        > Likes
        > Very light weight
        > Roomy for two
        > Fast set up
        > Titanium pegs
        > Summary
        > The Tarptent Squall is very light weight. It appears to be well
        > thought out and it is easy to set up. Overall, my initial
        impressions
        > are very positive and I am looking forward to using it further.
        >
        > 1 July 2003
      • Stu Bilby
        Thanks for your edit Curt. All your suggestions were good and I have adopted them. ... a ... to ... What I mean is a pole sleeve closed at one end, with the
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 3, 2003
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          Thanks for your edit Curt. All your suggestions were good and I have
          adopted them.

          > > One improvement that I would like to see is, for the curved pole,
          a
          > > sleeve closed at one end. This would mean that the pole only has
          to
          > > be clipped into the grommet at the open end. I have used this on
          > > other tents and found it to make setup quicker and simpler.
          >
          > **I'm not completely sure what you're describing here. Would the
          > closed end then have one pole tip held in by fabric only? Could
          >you describe this a bit more?

          What I mean is a pole sleeve closed at one end, with the tip of the
          pole only held by reinforced fabric - often reinforced with a bit of
          webbing. This has been standard on Macpac tents for around 5 years
          and I miss it on the Squall. It means you can inset the poles from
          one side and then clip them into the single grommet per pole without
          having to go to the other side of the tent. Fast, simple, no
          diadvantages. A 'why didn't I think of that' idea.

          I have added a sentence in my report and uploaded it.

          Stu B
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