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
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.
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
- 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)
- 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
- A 2-night backpacking trip to Seneca Creek in eastern West Virginia
- A 2-night backpacking trip to Cranberry Wilderness in eastern West
- A camping training event at Girl Scout camp in central West
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
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
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
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
Shorts/Big Sky Products Warm-n-Cozy Epic Pants/Pam Wyant/
Big Sky Products Warm-n-Cozy Epic Jacket
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:
Big Sky Products Warm-N-Cozy Better-than-Fleece convertible sweater
and jacket initial and field reports complete, long term report due
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
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.