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APPLICATION to test Tarptent Cloudbursts

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  • Andy Rad
    APPLICATION to test Tarptent Cloudbursts I have read/agree to the BGT Survival Guide v. 1202, have signed the tester agreement and received return
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2004
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      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.

      Personal Biography:
      Name: Andy Rad
      Age: 47
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6 foot (1.83m)
      Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
      Email Address: aisrad@...
      City, State, Country: Boise, Idaho, USA
      Date: 8/2/04

      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
      the llama.

      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
      the time.

      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.

      Testing Objectives:
      * 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.
      * Durability
      * Keeping the bugs out
      * Slight snow / sag
      * Setup

      Initial Testing:
      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
      and noted.

      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
      of yet.

      Test Location:
      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,
      moderately dry
      • 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

      Testing Conditions:
      • Bugs – all areas should be in insect season from late June –
      mid September
      • 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

      Test Strategy:
      • How easy to setup the Cloudbruts? This includes how long does
      it take.
      • 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:-

      Current Tests:
      Jetboil stove

      Muttluks (dog boots)

      Completed Tests:
      OR Windstopper Gripper Glove

      Owner Reviews:
      REI Half Dome Plus Shelter

      Golite Den 2 Shelter

      Marmot Down Vest

      Mountainsmith FrostfireII

      Therm-a-Rest Easy Chair – Lite 20
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