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Application to test Tarptent Double Rainbow - Pam Wyant

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  • pamwyant
    Application to test Tarptent Double Rainbow Date: July 1, 2006 I have read the entirety of The BackpackGearTest Survival Guide v. 1202, including Chapter 5.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2006
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      Application to test Tarptent Double Rainbow

      Date: July 1, 2006

      I have read the entirety of The BackpackGearTest Survival Guide v.
      1202, including Chapter 5. My tester agreement is on file. I agree
      to comply with the testing and report requirements, including
      meeting or exceeding the current minimum nights in the field policy.

      Biographical information -

      Name: Pamela Wyant
      Age: 48
      Gender: Female
      Height: 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
      Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
      E-mail address: pamwyant(at)yahoo(dot)com
      Location: Western West Virginia, U.S.A.

      Backpacking Background: Finally pursuing a long-time interest, I
      started backpacking 3 years ago. I've progressed from day-hiking
      and single overnights my first year, to weekend trips the second,
      and finally to a 7-night trip on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia
      this year. I hike and backpack mainly in the hills and valleys of
      West Virginia, and generally use a hammock sleeping system. For a
      two-day trip my typical pack weighs 22-30 lb (10-14 kg) including
      consumables, and I'm still trying to lighten that a bit.

      If selected for this test, I would prefer to test the Double Rainbow
      with the bathtub floor option.

      Field Information -

      I would mainly be testing the Double Rainbow Tarptent in West
      Virginia and the adjacent area of Virginia. Elevations would vary
      from around 550 to over 4000 feet (150 to over 1200 meters), with a
      good bit of elevation gain and loss on most backpacking trips.
      Considering a four month testing period, I would expect to
      experience temperature ranges perhaps as low as 30 F (-1 C) to highs
      perhaps as much as 100 F (38 C). Weather would undoubtedly vary
      from bright and sunny days and clear nights to periods of prolonged
      rain, with some light snow possible toward the end of the test
      period. Rainfall is generally ample in the areas I tend to backpack
      in, with normal monthly levels ranging from 3-5 inches, and humidity
      levels are often high, which should provide a good opportunity for
      testing how the Tarptent Double Rainbow handles condensation.

      I am normally a hammock sleeper, and consider myself a lightweight
      and somewhat minimalist backpacker. I try to carry only what I
      truly need for safety and moderate comfort, and I'm continually
      working on lightening my pack, which should vary between 22-30
      pounds (10-14 kilograms), including consumables, during the
      anticipated test period, depending on weather conditions and
      duration of the trip.

      Why I'd like to test the Double Rainbow -

      First, let me say that I love sleeping in my hammock for its
      comfort. However, there are times that it just isn't practical,
      such as in areas that either don't have enough trees or that have
      too many trees too close together or too much underbrush to hang a
      hammock. The lack of privacy for changing can also be an issue at
      times. Either I end up trying to hide behind a tree to change
      (which is especially difficult when the leaves are down!) or trying
      to wiggle in and out of my clothes inside my hammock (which I can
      manage, but often isn't very comfortable). So, at this point, I'm
      ready to try a tent or tent-like structure for backpacking. My
      current tent is an inexpensive model that is better suited for car
      camping than backpacking, both because of size and weight (over 6 lb
      or nearly 3 kg), so I would love to test the Tarptent Double Rainbow
      and experience the benefit of carrying a light weight shelter with
      more space for changing and moving around. I'm also planning on
      taking my 2-year old grandson on a few camping or backpacking trips
      this summer, so a shelter I can share with him is definitely
      required. The great reputation of Henry Shire's innovative
      Tarptents, the light weight for a double shelter, and the ability to
      use the Double Rainbow both freestanding or staked down make me
      particularly interested in this shelter.

      Testing Plan –

      First, I plan to try sharing the shelter with several different
      people, to get an idea both of how spacious (or crowded) it is when
      shared with others, and how various combinations of people affect
      condensation and ventilation. This would include my 2-year old
      grandson (a veritable heater when he sleeps), my husband, one of my
      daughters, and if possible an unrelated hiking companion (female –
      sorry guys, I'm not up to sharing a tent with strange men, although
      come to think of it some might consider my husband strange <grin>).
      I would also try using the Double Rainbow with either my husband or
      one of my daughters AND my grandson, to see if it can accommodate
      three if one is a small child, which might be an important
      consideration for young families. I would also be using the shelter
      quite often on a solo basis, which should allow me lots of space to
      spread out, and an opportunity to report on how this affects
      ventilation and condensation, since I know many hikers prefer a 2-
      person tent for the space even when hiking solo. I would be using
      the Double Rainbow for both backpacking and camping.

      As of the time of this application, I have the following trips
      planned:

      July:
      - A 2-night backpacking trip mid-month in Shendandoah National Park
      (not likely the Double Rainbow would be delivered by then, but if it
      was, I would definitely take it along.)

      - A 5-night Girl Scout camp mid-month in Central West Virginia
      (directly following the backpacking trip)

      August:
      - 3 nights camping while white water rafting in the New River Gorge
      area of West Virginia

      - 2 weekends at Girl Scout camp in central and northern West Virginia

      -A 2-night backpacking trip in Otter Creek Wilderness in eastern
      West Virginia

      September:
      - A 2-night backpacking trip to Seneca Creek in eastern West Virginia

      October
      - A 2-night backpacking trip to Cranberry Wilderness in eastern West
      Virginia
      - A camping training event at Girl Scout camp in central West
      Virginia

      As time permits, I'll also squeeze in a few impromptu overnight or
      weekend family camping trips.

      If I am selected for the test, my initial report will of course
      include information on the size and weight of the Double Rainbow,
      the appearance and feel of the fabrics it is made of, and a
      description of the general features such as the netting doors, the
      beaks, the corner pullouts, and any guyline attachments. I'll
      describe initial set-up, including how the arch pole and strut work,
      and how the trekking poles attach to make the Double Rainbow free
      standing. I'll also report on how the bathtub floor works – whether
      it is sewn in, or clips on only, how clipping it to the walls works,
      and whether the height of the Double Rainbow is affected by clipping
      the floor to the walls for protection or leaving it unclipped for
      ventilation. I'll report on spaciousness (or lack thereof) of the
      interior of the Tarptent from the perspective of myself along, with
      my husband, and with my husband and my grandson, including how much
      of the Double Rainbow has enough headroom to comfortably sit up.
      I'll describe how practical the beak areas are for storing gear, and
      various ways they can be configured for privacy and for maximum
      ventilation, and the way they fasten or roll up out of the way.
      I'll note whether the materials and zippers seem to be of good
      quality and sturdy feeling, whether the stitching is even and tight,
      whether the poles fit together smoothly and insert easily into the
      sleeves, and if there are any obvious flaws in the materials or
      workmanship. I'll measure the Double Rainbow to see if the
      advertised size is consistent with the delivered product, and report
      on the packed size, including the length of the poles when packed.
      I will also summarize any information or instructions that arrive
      with the Tarptent, the process of seam-sealing the Double Rainbow,
      and describe any included accessories such as stakes or stuff
      sacks. I'll also, of course, describe my plan for field-testing.

      For my field report and long term reports, I will look the following
      issues:

      How easy has the Tarptent become to set up? Am I more proficient at
      it near the end of the test than at the beginning or has it been
      simple to set up all the way through the test? Are there any little
      tips or techniques I've found helpful in setup? Do the stakes or
      guyouts require repositioning after initial setup to keep the tent
      taut or can I set it up the first time and not have to reposition
      anything? Do the corners slip on the trekking poles or stay in
      place?

      How well do the beak areas work for storage? Does anything hold
      them closed and together on the outside when I want privacy or wind
      protection, or do they gap apart in the middle? Do they provide
      enough protection to shelter me for a few seconds so I can stay dry
      there in inclement weather while I unzip the tent entry? Do items I
      store there get wet in varied levels of precipitation? Is the
      netting door well protected by the beaks in bad weather or do I
      get "splash through" from the doors when it rains hard? Is it
      possible to cook in the beak area in reasonable safety?

      How spacious does the Double Rainbow feel inside? How sharply do
      the walls slope from the edges to provide headroom? Can two of us
      comfortably sit up inside at various points inside the Tarptent, or
      only in the center? Or do we find we can't comfortably sit up at
      all? Can we both change clothes at the same time? If not, can one
      change and the other sit up, or does one of us have to lay down
      scrunched to one side in order for the other to change? Do we have
      room to stretch and move, or play cards or games if we are holed up
      in the Tarptent due to a storm or bad weather? Can two adults sleep
      comfortably inside even if they are "tossers and turners"? Do we
      feel uncomfortably scrunched if we add our small grandson with us?

      How well does the Tarptent hold up over the course of the test? Is
      it durable? Have stitches come loose or has anything broken? Is
      the fabric tough enough to resist punctures and abrasion from the
      normal vegetation around here, which may include assorted briars and
      brambles, or has it developed small holes?

      Is the Double Rainbow leakproof in the rain? Do hard driven storms
      or gentler but prolonged rains affect it differently? If it does
      leak, where is the leak located, and how significant is it - would
      it soak my sleeping bag or be just a bit of spray or a few drops
      that can easily be mopped up with a camp towel or bandana?

      I think I'll like the large amount of mesh the Tarptent appears to
      have in the summer, but what about when it gets cooler? Do I wish
      for a little heavier fabric to help keep warmth in, or does the
      extra ventilation the mesh provides help keep me warm by dissipating
      moisture that would otherwise condense on the walls and drip on me
      and my gear? Do I find the Double Rainbow seems colder toward
      morning due to condensation? We usually experience a lot of
      humidity in summer and can have wide temperature swings in the fall –
      how does the Double Rainbow handle these conditions as far as
      condensation is concerned? If condensation occurs, where does it
      build up worse? Does it drip on my sleeping bag, or is the Double
      Rainbow constructed so that it runs down the walls and puddles at
      the edges? If we receive the clip-in liner, how does it help under
      conditions that cause condensation?

      Speaking of the clip-in liner, how much weight does it add to the
      Double Rainbow? Is it easy to install? Does it hamper
      ventilation? Under windy conditions does it help keep me warmer by
      blocking the wind?

      How do strong winds affect the Double Rainbow? Does the sil-nylon
      material flap maddeningly in the wind, or does the design of the
      Tarptent keep it taut and relatively quiet? What about rain – does
      it make the sil-nylon sag? Can any adjustments be made from the
      inside or under the protection of the beaks if need be, or do I have
      to expose myself to wind and rain to tighten things up? Has the
      arch pole or strut pole broken or bent during high winds?

      How does the bathtub floor work? Is it protective enough to keep my
      sleeping bag & gear dry in a storm? Can it be partially clipped up
      for partial ventilation and partial rain protection or is it "all or
      nothing"? Is it hard to clean the floor of the Tarptent out because
      of the deep bathtub sides when dirt or debris accumulates? Being
      made of silnylon, do I find the floor excessively slippery? Does my
      sleeping pad slide about under me? Do I end up with gear under my
      pad at night because it slides about, or my head or feet against the
      walls? I plan to use a piece of plastic as a "footprint" to protect
      the floor. Does the floor slip on the plastic? Does the
      manufacturer recommend treating the floor to make it less slick?

      Are the included Easton aluminum stakes sturdy enough to use in soil
      that may have a few rocks or roots? Will they hold well in loose or
      sandy soil?

      Is the Double Rainbow configured so that it provides maximum usable
      space while keeping as small a "footprint" as possible? In the
      hilly, often rocky terrain of West Virginia, it's sometimes hard to
      find a large flat area – do I often find it difficult to find a
      place to pitch the Double Rainbow on backpacking trips?

      Is the Double Rainbow spacious enough to be practical for car
      camping purposes in addition to backpacking? I have some small
      cots – can I comfortably fit one or even two in when I car camp, to
      allow for greater comfort?

      Have I had any warranty issues, and if so, were they well handled?

      Finally, I will answer the question – can someone like me who is
      normally a hammock sleeper find happiness in a Tarptent?

      Recent completed test series:

      Big Sky Products Warm-n-Cozy Epic Pants

      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Clothing/Pants and
      Shorts/Big Sky Products Warm-n-Cozy Epic Pants/Pam Wyant/

      Big Sky Products Warm-n-Cozy Epic Jacket

      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Clothing/Jackets/Big Sky
      Products Warm-n-Cozy Epic Jacket/Pam Wyant/

      In addition to these two recently completed test series, I have
      completed test series on:
      Dunham Waffle Stomper Terrastyder Low shoes
      Grabber Performance Group Warmers
      Imlay Canyon Gear Canyon Knife
      Brunton Glorb Lantern
      Dunham Alcatraz shoes
      DeLorme Earthmate GPS LT-20
      AntiGravityGear Universal Alcohol Stove Accessory Pack
      Luxury Lite Travel Pillow

      I have completed a total of 7 owner reviews, 3 of which were in
      response to monthly calls for owner reviews.

      Link to all my completed reviews & reports:
      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/tester_reviews/pamwyant

      Current Tests:

      Big Sky Products Warm-N-Cozy Better-than-Fleece convertible sweater
      and jacket –initial and field reports complete, long term report due
      August 15.

      Black Diamond Mountain Series Enduro CF Hiking Poles – initial
      report complete, field report due July 4.

      Granite Gear Stratus Latitude Pack – initial report complete, field
      report posted and awaiting edit.

      Klearwater Water Treatment – initial and field reports complete,
      long term report due July 25.

      Current applications out: Pacific Outdoor Equipment Kid's Mini Chair

      Other BackpackGearTest activities:

      Currently monitoring Suunto Vector Wristop Computer
      Mentor program (currently as mentor, formerly as mentee)
      Owner Review Editor

      Past tests monitored:
      Spenco Backpacker Footbeds
      Duofold Multisport Mid-Layer Jacket

      I have sufficient time to test and report on the Double Rainbow, as
      outlined above, in addition to completing current tests and reports,
      and there would be no conflict caused by testing this item with the
      other current test items. One of my tests will be ending in less
      than a month, and a second ending within six weeks. I have
      demonstrated I can handle multiple tests at the same time, while
      submitting reports in a timely manner. I haven't yet had the
      opportunity to test a shelter, and I would be ecstatic to test this
      Tarptent.

      As always, I would like to thank BackpackGearTest for providing
      opportunities to test a variety of gear, for providing an unbiased
      source to research gear I am interested in, and for the chance to
      apply for this test.

      Pam
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