OR: Tarptent Squall 2 - Brad Banker
- Sorry, accidently left my name off...
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 solor 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.
Weight 34 oz (940 g) using trekking poles
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 fl oor walls for splash, space,
views, and airflow
Dual trekking poles support; front poles available
Abundant netting for views, airflow, and insect resistance; bug proof
when zipped up
Front beak shields rain, provides gear storage
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 dragging my 7
lb (3 kg) old 2.5 person tent which was great for two although heavy
by today's standards, to a lighter weight 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 interchangibly 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 1
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 like a 30 F (-1.10 C) bag. 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.
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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 with another line attached
to the primary line tied together. To erect the tent, anchor the
longer loop with the stake and pull the tent forward to create even
tension from back to front. 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.
You can follow <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE -
"http://www.tarptent.com/squall2.html" LINK TEXT = "this link">> to
see more pics on setup variations.
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<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 5" IMAGE CAPTION = "Courtesy of
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.)
I chose the standard option of a sewn in bathtub floor which is
connected to the silnylon body of the tarp by a 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 front entrance is mesh with a zipper down the front and across
the bottom in an inverse T formation allowing you complete protection
from all pests of the flying and crawling variety.
There is also an non attached 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.
Per manufacturer recommendations and with my own personal experience,
it is best to pitch the tent with the low side into the wind, and
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
I have used 1 and 2 trekking poles to set up my tent. There are 3
grommets along the top bar of the tent with which to insert the
trekking pole ends, which allows both the two poles on the outsides,
or one pole in the center. I do notice a significant difference in
stability in using both poles. The poles can be angled out to
increase the space for entry, exit and gear storage. The front
guyline can also be angled out to bias the room for entry on one side
of the front of the tent.
I am continually amazed the 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 small 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 two sided entry tent with double walls. 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. I have had no rips, tears of 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.
General observations: This is my first single wall tent, so getting
used to 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. 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.
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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 light weight option for 1-2 people.
Single wall design (in the summer.)
Sets up with trekking poles.
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.