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REPOST: Owner Reivew Tarptent Squall 2 - Brad Banker

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  • bbanker1974
    Hollis, thanks for the help so far. The report writer did the OR both times. I ll upload the file to the test folder. Let me know if there is anything else.
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 1, 2008
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      Hollis, thanks for the help so far. The report writer did the OR
      both times. I'll upload the file to the test folder. Let me know if
      there is anything else.
      Brad


      TARPTENT SQUALL 2

      OR
      October 08, 2008

      TESTER INFORMATION

      NAME: Brad Banker
      EMAIL: brad_banker@...
      AGE: 34
      LOCATION: Greensboro, NC, USA
      GENDER: M
      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.

      PRODUCT INFORMATION

      Manufacturer: Tarptent
      Year of Manufacture: 2004
      Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE -
      "http://www.tarptent.com/">>
      MSRP: US$230
      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.
      Sleeps 2
      Product details mostly as listed on manufacturer website, with some
      explaination or expansion by me:
      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 floor walls for splash, space,
      views, and airflow
      Dual trekking poles support; front poles available.
      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 form 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
      space
      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

      FIELD USE

      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 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 cold at temperatures several degrees warmer than it's 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. I 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 temparatures are where in my opinion, this setup
      shines. No condensation, light weight, quick and easy to set up and
      take down.

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1" IMAGE CAPTION = "First
      trip">>

      Tent setup:
      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.
      The Tarptent webpage shows several other ways to set up the Tarptent.

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 3" IMAGE CAPTION = "Courtesy of
      Tarptent.com">>
      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 5" IMAGE CAPTION = "Courtesy of
      Tarptent.com">>

      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.
      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
      around.
      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 an 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.
      Per manufacturer recommendations and with my own personal experience,
      it is best to pitch the tent with the low side into the wind. It is
      also recommeneded 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 have used 1 and 2 trekking poles to set up my tent. There are 3
      grommets in a row along the top bar of the tent over the entrance
      with which to insert the pole ends This allows for two different
      setups. Two poles on the outside, or one pole in the center. 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 poles can be angled out to increase the space for entry, exit and
      gear storage. The front guyline can also be angled out to give more
      room for entry on one side of the tent.

      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 Tryvek. 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 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 2" IMAGE CAPTION = "Mount
      Rogers Morning">>
      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 4" IMAGE CAPTION = "Courtesy of
      Tarptent.com">>

      SUMMARY

      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
      bit.

      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

      Condensation.
      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.

      SIGNATURE

      Brad Banker
      Greensboro, NC



      This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
      Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
    • Hollis Easter
      Hi Brad, Thanks for your work on this review! I appreciate your quick response. A few small spelling edits this time, along with some questions about the
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 2, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        Hi Brad,

        Thanks for your work on this review! I appreciate your quick response.

        A few small spelling edits this time, along with some questions about
        the Tarptent's setup method and design. Please REPOST the text and HTML
        once you've gotten the chance to make the edits.

        There are several places in your review where I get confused because of
        very long paragraphs or sections that run together. I think it would
        make a big difference just to add a few line breaks; my eye might have
        an easier time reading that way.

        Best,
        Hollis
        BGT Editor


        > Product details mostly as listed on manufacturer website, with some
        > explaination or expansion by me:

        EDIT: explanation
        Edit: I'd put some white space above the "Product details" line.

        > Dual trekking poles support; front poles available.

        EDIT: If you're adding your own explanation of things, I'd like some
        here. I still get hung up on the "Dual trekking poles support" thing. How
        about "Tarptent is supported by one or two trekking poles; additional front
        poles are also available." ?

        > sleeps cold at temperatures several degrees warmer than it's rating.

        EDIT: its

        > 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

        Edit: I would place a paragraph break before "I have since used ..."

        > difficulty. I summer conditions with the humidity in the south, it

        EDIT: _In_ summer conditions (missing n)

        > 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 temparatures are where in my opinion, this setup

        EDIT: temperatures

        > shines. No condensation, light weight, quick and easy to set up and
        > take down.

        Comment: Thank you for adding this section. It's acceptable for an
        Owner Review as it stands, so I'm not going to ask for further
        information. However, since you're soon going to be a Tester (!), I
        wanted to share a piece of information.

        When testing gear for BGT (as opposed to writing about your own gear),
        there are some different rules. Most of them are detailed in the
        Survival Guide. One of our conventions for gear testing is that we explain
        where we test our gear and what the conditions were like. It's worth
        cultivating the habit of doing this even in ORs, because it will make you
        stand out among the other Testers.

        So, for example: I'm going to be sleeping out in my backyard tonight,
        testing a new insulation system for my hammock. I might write that as
        "November 2, 2008: Potsdam, NY. I slept out in my backyard while testing
        the _____. The temperature was about 28 F (-2 C) when I went out, with
        an overnight low of 20 F (-7 C). Wind speed was about 5 mph (8 kph)."

        > Tent setup:
        > 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.
        > The Tarptent webpage shows several other ways to set up the Tarptent.

        EDIT: Now that I've seen the photographs, I need to ask you to clarify
        some things here. To a veteran Tarptent user like you, your description
        of the setup method probably makes a lot of sense; tyros like me are
        left struggling.

        I'm not sure how many guylines come from where and attach to what
        things, and how that holds anything together--I'm even unsure about
        which end of the tent is the "rear" and which the "front". Again, this
        probably makes sense, but I'm not getting it.

        In this situation, it's often helpful to include a photograph that
        identifies the pieces you're talking about. If you annotated the first
        Tarptent.com photo to show where the primary line, guyline loop, etc.,
        are, that might be an easy solution. Even if you include a photo, the
        text will need some revision, but the photo might make it easier.

        If my request isn't clear, please tell me so I can try to fix it.

        Comment: I like the first photo you include from Tarptent.com, although
        it's a bit too distant to make out much detail. The other stock
        photographs tell me more about the beautiful landscape than about the
        Tarptent, and they're very similar to each other. For future reviews,
        then, you might also include photographs that specifically depict interesting
        things about the piece of gear.

        > There is also an detached floor option and one may also purchase the

        EDIT: a detached

        > also recommeneded pitch the tarp as close to the ground as possible

        EDIT: recommended to (two edits)

        > I have used 1 and 2 trekking poles to set up my tent. There are 3
        > grommets in a row along the top bar of the tent over the entrance
        > with which to insert the pole ends This allows for two different
        > setups. Two poles on the outside, or one pole in the center. 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.

        Comment: This is so much clearer now! Your comment about the difference
        in stability is _exactly_ the reason people come to BackpackGearTest:
        real-world information about how it works. Great work.

        > tent. She prefers a tent with double walls and doors on either

        EDIT: remove extra space before 'tent'

        > tent floor. I would rather replace the Tryvek. I have had no rips,

        EDIT: Tyvek

        > tears of signs of abrasion on the tent, but I tend to take care of my

        EDIT: tears or signs (not tears of signs)

        > 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

        Comment: You did a really nice job of altering this statement to make it
        clearer. Thank you.

        Nice work on this. We're getting really close!

        Best,
        Hollis
        BGT Editor
      • Brad Banker
        Thanks for the help so foar Hollis. I m going to take some more pictures and reword a few things before I repost. I understand what you mean by that section.
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 3, 2008
        • 0 Attachment
          Thanks for the help so foar Hollis. I'm going to take some more pictures and reword a few things before I repost. I understand what you mean by that section.
          Brad



          To: BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.comFrom: easter@...: Sun, 2 Nov 2008 19:55:10 -0800Subject: [BackpackGearTest] EDIT: REPOST: Owner Review Tarptent Squall 2 - Brad Banker




          Hi Brad,Thanks for your work on this review! I appreciate your quick response.A few small spelling edits this time, along with some questions aboutthe Tarptent's setup method and design. Please REPOST the text and HTMLonce you've gotten the chance to make the edits.There are several places in your review where I get confused because ofvery long paragraphs or sections that run together. I think it wouldmake a big difference just to add a few line breaks; my eye might havean easier time reading that way. Best,HollisBGT Editor> Product details mostly as listed on manufacturer website, with some > explaination or expansion by me:EDIT: explanationEdit: I'd put some white space above the "Product details" line.> Dual trekking poles support; front poles available.EDIT: If you're adding your own explanation of things, I'd like somehere. I still get hung up on the "Dual trekking poles support" thing. Howabout "Tarptent is supported by one or two trekking poles; additional frontpoles are also available." ?> sleeps cold at temperatures several degrees warmer than it's rating. EDIT: its> 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 Edit: I would place a paragraph break before "I have since used ..."> difficulty. I summer conditions with the humidity in the south, it EDIT: _In_ summer conditions (missing n)> 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 temparatures are where in my opinion, this setup EDIT: temperatures> shines. No condensation, light weight, quick and easy to set up and > take down.Comment: Thank you for adding this section. It's acceptable for anOwner Review as it stands, so I'm not going to ask for furtherinformation. However, since you're soon going to be a Tester (!), Iwanted to share a piece of information.When testing gear for BGT (as opposed to writing about your own gear),there are some different rules. Most of them are detailed in theSurvival Guide. One of our conventions for gear testing is that we explainwhere we test our gear and what the conditions were like. It's worthcultivating the habit of doing this even in ORs, because it will make youstand out among the other Testers.So, for example: I'm going to be sleeping out in my backyard tonight,testing a new insulation system for my hammock. I might write that as "November 2, 2008: Potsdam, NY. I slept out in my backyard while testingthe _____. The temperature was about 28 F (-2 C) when I went out, withan overnight low of 20 F (-7 C). Wind speed was about 5 mph (8 kph)."> Tent setup:> 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. > The Tarptent webpage shows several other ways to set up the Tarptent.EDIT: Now that I've seen the photographs, I need to ask you to clarifysome things here. To a veteran Tarptent user like you, your descriptionof the setup method probably makes a lot of sense; tyros like me areleft struggling.I'm not sure how many guylines come from where and attach to whatthings, and how that holds anything together--I'm even unsure aboutwhich end of the tent is the "rear" and which the "front". Again, thisprobably makes sense, but I'm not getting it. In this situation, it's often helpful to include a photograph thatidentifies the pieces you're talking about. If you annotated the firstTarptent.com photo to show where the primary line, guyline loop, etc.,are, that might be an easy solution. Even if you include a photo, thetext will need some revision, but the photo might make it easier.If my request isn't clear, please tell me so I can try to fix it.Comment: I like the first photo you include from Tarptent.com, althoughit's a bit too distant to make out much detail. The other stockphotographs tell me more about the beautiful landscape than about theTarptent, and they're very similar to each other. For future reviews,then, you might also include photographs that specifically depict interestingthings about the piece of gear.> There is also an detached floor option and one may also purchase the EDIT: a detached> also recommeneded pitch the tarp as close to the ground as possible EDIT: recommended to (two edits)> I have used 1 and 2 trekking poles to set up my tent. There are 3 > grommets in a row along the top bar of the tent over the entrance > with which to insert the pole ends This allows for two different > setups. Two poles on the outside, or one pole in the center. 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. Comment: This is so much clearer now! Your comment about the differencein stability is _exactly_ the reason people come to BackpackGearTest:real-world information about how it works. Great work.> tent. She prefers a tent with double walls and doors on either EDIT: remove extra space before 'tent'> tent floor. I would rather replace the Tryvek. I have had no rips, EDIT: Tyvek> tears of signs of abrasion on the tent, but I tend to take care of my EDIT: tears or signs (not tears of signs)> 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 Comment: You did a really nice job of altering this statement to make itclearer. Thank you.Nice work on this. We're getting really close!Best,HollisBGT Editor





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