APPLICATION to test Tarptent Cloudbursts
- APPLICATION to test Tarptent Cloudbursts
I have read/agree to the BGT Survival Guide v. 1202, have signed the
tester agreement and received return confirmation.
Name: Andy Rad
Height: 6 foot (1.83m)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
Email Address: aisrad@...
City, State, Country: Boise, Idaho, USA
I started backpacking 21 years ago, mostly 3 day trips with at least
one 7 day trip per year. By backpacking, I'm referring to summer,
winter camping, and occasionally fall hunting. About half my trips
are light weight solo and the other half with family or friends. At
least once a year I bring a small group of church kids on a 3 day
trip. I purchased a pet/pack llama, named Sarapi, when my 3rd child
was 2, some 11 years ago. This allowed me to continue backpacking as
a family activity. When I'm not with the family/llama I tend to take
less-traveled trails or bushwhack the hard mountainous terrain in and
around Idaho. In recent years I've begun substituting a collie for
I've had numerous tents throughout my backpacking life and have
written an Owner Review on the single wall Golite Den 2, and an
Owener Review on the REI Half Dome Plus. To date they are my two
favorite tents. The Golite Den 2 is an ultalight silnylon single
wall 2 person tent and is an excellent fair weather tent whereas the
Half Dome Plus is a battle ship when it comes to foul weather. If it
weren't for the Half Dome weighing in at 5lb 5oz I would use it all
To give you an idea on the tents I have/had: Walrus 4 person (9lb
6oz), Sierra Designs Clip3 (5lb 5oz), Diamond 2 person (4lb 6oz)
single wall that leaks, Sierra Designs Goretex Devine Light(2lb 6oz)
very small single wall that is starting to leak through the floor, No-
name 2 person (5lb 12oz) that leaks, Mountainsmith 4 man
mountainshelter (6lb 3oz) single wall tipi, Golite Hex2 (4lb 3oz)
single wall tipi, Golite Den2 (3lb 2oz) single wall, Marmot Sanctum
(9lb 9oz), Sierra Designs Clip 2 (4lb 11.3oz), Gortex bivy (1lb
5oz). I still have about half of these tents and use them when I
take groups of kids into the backcountry (2 trips this year) or when
friends want to barrow them.
I bring this up to let you know that I've had considerable experience
with tents and enjoy testing new gear as much as I enjoy getting out
into the backcountry.
My backpacking style is on the light weight side. 3 night solo trips
are ~20 lbs (without water), 5 night 2 person trips are about ~30
lbs. 2 or 3 night trips with my wife are 40lbs. Most of my gear is
light and I take few items beyond the basics. Basic pack gear isn't
too expensive but it is heavy. I feel it costs ~$50 for every pound
you want to loose beyond basic gear. When you get to the ultralight
it can go up to $100 per pound. The degree of pack weight becomes a
function of price, what you can sacrifice, and functionality of gear.
About half my backpacking is solo and I either take my REI bivy if
there is little chance of rain, or my single wall Sierra Designs
Gortex Devine Light if the weather looks uncertain. The Devine Light
condensates so bad, no vestibule, so confining, and now that the
floor is wearing thin it just doesn't do such a great job of keeping
out extended periods of rain and I can't sit up in it. If it looks
like foul weather and weight isn't a huge concern then it is the
Golite Den 2. Even though it is single wall and condensates badly in
foul weather, it does a decent job as a single person. For just 12
additional ounces it is worth it. I think silnylon is the best tent
material out there as I pointed out the benefits in my OR.
For 2 person backpacking/sleeping it is the Golite 2 in decent
weather and the REI Half Dome Plus in foul weather.
Tarptent Cloudbursts looks like the best of both worlds. It is
silnylon for strength/durability/weathering, and the weight is about
a pound less than my Golite Den2. Like my Devine Light and Den 2, the
Cloudbursts doesn't have a vestibule. Vestibules are nice, but do
add weight. I've started taking a 3oz sheet of Tyvek to cover my
boots and items outside the entrance. Seems to work great and lends
to flexibility for other uses, like a sheet to take a nap on.
At first notice of this test I ignored it, because the tent's
construction looked as though water could run in from the side over
the floor and into my down bag. After a couple of hours reading the
BackpackGearTest reports on the Virga and Squall, studying Tarptent's
site, and searching the web for testimonials, I still have concern,
but to a lesser degree. The Issue isn't so much long extended rains,
but the thunderstorms that happen about 30% of the nights in our
mountains. It is nothing to have 20 minutes of heavy rain and wind
in the early evening and then clear until the next evening. Pitching
the tent will require diligence to insure a path for water to run
away from the tent rather than through the tent.
Condensation isn't generally such a big issue until mid September, at
which time the mountain temperatures begin to get around 40F at night
with overcast. Couple that with a thunderstorm in the evening or
light rain and my present single wall tents become very wet. On a
trip a couple weeks ago, it rained a good portion of the night and my
down bag gained 1.7oz of water due to condensation running down my
Divine Light and onto my bag. Considering the bag's total weight is
1# 10oz, there was a fair amount of water that had found its way
inside and I thought it was my imagination that the bad seemed damp.
Up to that point I had always figured the shell was just getting wet
and there really wasn't that much condensation.
With that said, testing the Cloudbruts would be an honor. The
Cloudbursts will likely have less condensation, but has the
possibility of water entering from the sides. The weight is that of
my single person Devine Light and about a pound less than my Den 2.
There is no reason this couldn't be my all-in-one tent.
As was pointed out in my owner review of the Golite Den 2, I was
wondering when a manufacture would start using silnylon for the
floor. This year there are just a few. I think very highly of
silnylon for both weather protection and durability.
I used to use factory foot prints, or 3 mil plastic, but in the last
couple of years switched to Dupont Tyvek. It is an ideal ground
cloth material or rain covering, 3 mil plastic is approximately 20%
heavier, and coated nylon is approximately 55% heavier, yet has
comparable durability as coated nylon. For the extra 3 ounces of
Tyvek I will probably use a ground cloth/tyvek under the floor,
because a good portion of the time I'm on some gravel. Just this
weekend I was sleeping on a 10K feet summit in gravel.
The convertible floor system would be my 1st choice of flooring, as
that seems to solve the issue of a cloudburst not washing in over the
floor and into the bag. The ability to have a bathtub floor
eliminates the need to be so selective on tent placement and water
drainage. The second choice is the sewn in floor.
* Condensation will be highly observed and noted. My Den 2 has a
real issue with this in humid conditions when the main opening is
partially closed. The shape of this tent appears to keep the walls
off the sleeping bag and will be noted.
* How does it handle thunderstorms and general rain.
* Keeping the bugs out
* Slight snow / sag
I've familiar with seam sealing silnylon, as that is what my Den 2
is. Thus I'll be seam sealing the Cloudbursts for two reasons.
First for weather protection and second the Squall report indicated
that the seams are not tucked and double stitched, thus the seam
sealing will add durability in the event a thread were to unravel.
Workmanship and ease of setup are to be noted. I'll also be setting
up some gear and evaluating the roominess/comfort.
Summer through Fall Testing:
This tent is light enough that I could use if for my solo trips, and
that would open it up to a full season of use. As noted previously,
I enjoy using/testing new gear as much as I enjoy getting out and
making my way through the back country.
Since the tent is mostly screen material I suspect that dirt and dust
will be transported into the tent during wind. This will be tested
Durability is always an issue and will be noted during test
submissions. I would like to use tyvek as the ground cloth, unless
Tarptent would prefer I use the floor by itself.
Testing will most likely cease around Thanksgiving, thus getting in a
full 6 months if testing will likely not be possible, unless I do
some southern state camping. I did some last year, but no plans as
My trips will be primarily in Idaho:
North Idaho/Montana boarder in mid August. Selkirk mountains
or Glacier National Park 7500ft night temperatures 55F to 70f 3
night Solo trip. Conditions moderately dry.
Central/eastern Idaho Challis Wilderness in Late
August/September 4 night trip 9000 ft, 45F 60F solo or 2
person trip conditions are generally dry, but that time of year not
uncommon to begin getting rain.
Eastern Oregon/Wallowa/Eagle Cap Wilderness (north side)- 3
or 4 night trip in Sept/Oct, 8500ft, 45F-65F, solo or 2 person,
South Central Idaho Sawtooth mountains (west low land side),
2 night trip over Memorial day, 6000ft, 30F 45F, 2 person, humid/wet
South Central Idaho Pioneer mountains, 3 night in September,
10000ft, 43F-50 degree, 2 person, dry
Oregon Coast, 3 nights in Sept/Oct, 55F 70F, 2 person, humid
South Central Oregon Crater lake, 1 night Sept/Oct, 8000ft, 2
Wyoming Wind rivers in Sept/Oct
Central Idaho Red Mountains, 2 trips, 2 nights each in July,
6000ft, 40-60F, 2 person, moderately dry
Couple of Black Powder hunting trips in Oct/Nov.
North/Central Idaho, 7000ft, 20-60F, and hopefully about 6 inches of
Bugs all areas should be in insect season from late June
Humidity - Northern Idaho, central Idaho, and Oregon should
be humid, whereas eastern Idaho (Sawtooths and Challis wilderness)
tend to be dry except as fall sets in and that is when I generally
hit these areas.
Rain - I would estimate at least 5 nights of rain, several
Wind Calm to some gale wind forces prior and during the
How easy to setup the Cloudbruts? This includes how long does
How well does it handle humidity? Is condensation a problem?
How well does it work in humid/rain conditions? Is the slop/sides of
the tent such that contact with the sleeping bag is minimized.
How does it hold up in normal rain? How much seam sealing
does the tent require? Does the tent remain water resistant in a
downpour? How much condensation builds up during rain on the inside
of the tent?
How stable is the tent design?
Tent has 1 door, how easy to get in and out of the tent. How
easy to get in/out of the tent when another person is inside? How
well do the zippers work?
How well does the tent handle wind? Are there external guy
points for wind situations and how do they stabilize the tent?
How large is the tent? Can 2 adults sleep comfortably? How
much gear does it hold with 1 and 2 people.
Does it keep the bugs out? Does convertible floor work (is
it also sewn in).
How hard to change cloths in the tent, sit up, play cards?
How useful is the storage sack or is it so small you can
hardly get the contents back in.
How durable is the floor?
I would look forward to adding this to my new ulta-lite gear for the
test season. As I stated before, testing is as much fun as packing:-
Muttluks (dog boots)
OR Windstopper Gripper Glove
REI Half Dome Plus Shelter
Golite Den 2 Shelter
Marmot Down Vest
Therm-a-Rest Easy Chair Lite 20