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Tarptent

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  • kennethjessett@sbcglobal.net
    I have a Tarptent Contrail and I used it on the latest JMT effort. Bottom line, it s not much good. The tent has a long profile and needs lots of space to
    Message 1 of 16 , Aug 12, 2014
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      I have a Tarptent Contrail and I used it on the latest JMT effort. Bottom line, it's not much good. The tent has a long profile and needs lots of space to erect it. It collapsed frequently probably due to the suspension support system - at the ends only - and one night after it collapsed the second time I left it laying on top of me, so it's more use as a ground sheet and not a lot of use as a tent. When the wind blows fiercely - as it did in that pleasant little meadow on the south side of Donahue - the tent acts like a sail, so I suppose properly rigged it could carry you all the way to Whitney. Half a star then in this review.Condensation was also a big problem and the sagging tent laying on top of and soaking the down sleeping bag does not lend itself to a happy hiker the next day.Anyway, it's cheapish - just over $200 - but it does really seem that you get just what you pay for.Ken.

    • John Ladd
      I haven t used the Contrail, but I have some second-hand experience that reinforces what Ken observes in his post. I hiked in the Trinity Alps / Marbles with a
      Message 2 of 16 , Aug 12, 2014
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        I haven't used the Contrail, but I have some second-hand experience that reinforces what Ken observes in his post. I hiked in the Trinity Alps / Marbles with a friend once -- going against my usual inclination to hike solo -- and his need (or at least desire) for a big tent pad to accommodate his Contrail often forced us to pass over small-pad campsites that I would have loved to stay at. It's fair to say, however, that there was a lower campsite availability up there than on the JMT, so that exacerbated our problem.

        On another trip, I had one night with some rain and gusty winds -- among the Foxtail Pine belt somewhat to the south of Helen lake -- where I had a reasonably comfortable night in a low-profile hooped bivy though there was a bit of a scramble entering and exiting it without getting too wet. Some other campers who were nearby in a Contrail said that their tent was so noisy all night that they got no sleep.

        John Curran Ladd
        1616 Castro Street
        San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
        415-648-9279


        On Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 12:39 PM, kenjessett@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
         

        I have a Tarptent Contrail and I used it on the latest JMT effort. Bottom line, it's not much good. The tent has a long profile and needs lots of space to erect it. It collapsed frequently probably due to the suspension support system - at the ends only - and one night after it collapsed the second time I left it laying on top of me, so it's more use as a ground sheet and not a lot of use as a tent. When the wind blows fiercely - as it did in that pleasant little meadow on the south side of Donahue - the tent acts like a sail, so I suppose properly rigged it could carry you all the way to Whitney. Half a star then in this review.Condensation was also a big problem and the sagging tent laying on top of and soaking the down sleeping bag does not lend itself to a happy hiker the next day.Anyway, it's cheapish - just over $200 - but it does really seem that you get just what you pay for.Ken.


      • rnperky@sbcglobal.net
        Good to hear some reveiws on the Contrail. I have looked at it seriously in the past, but couldn t get past the overall design and suspicions of it not
        Message 3 of 16 , Aug 12, 2014
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          Good to hear some reveiws on the Contrail. I have looked at it seriously in the past, but couldn't get past the overall design and suspicions of it not handling wind well. Thanks for the review Kenneth.
        • Joe MacLeish
          I took my Contrail on two JMTs. After the first one I swore to never take it again because of the condensation but I did anyway. After the second JMT I sold
          Message 4 of 16 , Aug 12, 2014
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            I took my Contrail on two JMTs.  After the first one I swore to never take it again because of the condensation but I did anyway.  After the second JMT I sold it immediately so I wouldn't take the easy way out again.  I bought the Light Heart SoLong 6 at 1 lb 8 oz (tent, bag, and pegs)  It is 80% double wall and only has a bit of condensation on the two single wall panels.  When I had condensation , my partner with a full double wall also had a really soaked fly.

             

            From: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com]
            Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 5:23 PM
            To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Tarptent

             

             

            Good to hear some reveiws on the Contrail. I have looked at it seriously in the past, but couldn't get past the overall design and suspicions of it not handling wind well. Thanks for the review Kenneth.

          • Bill Heiser
            Hmmm, now I m worried. I recently bought a Tarptent Moment DW, as it saves some weight compared to my Copper Spur UL 1. I hope I didn t make a mistake, the
            Message 5 of 16 , Aug 12, 2014
            Hmmm, now I'm worried.  I recently bought a Tarptent Moment DW, as it saves some weight compared to my Copper Spur UL 1.  I hope I didn't make a mistake, the Moment and Contrail don't look all that dissimilar. ... guess I may find out the hard way ...

            August 12, 2014 at 5:22 PM
             

            Good to hear some reveiws on the Contrail. I have looked at it seriously in the past, but couldn't get past the overall design and suspicions of it not handling wind well. Thanks for the review Kenneth.

            August 12, 2014 at 3:19 PM
             
            I haven't used the Contrail, but I have some second-hand experience that reinforces what Ken observes in his post. I hiked in the Trinity Alps / Marbles with a friend once -- going against my usual inclination to hike solo -- and his need (or at least desire) for a big tent pad to accommodate his Contrail often forced us to pass over small-pad campsites that I would have loved to stay at. It's fair to say, however, that there was a lower campsite availability up there than on the JMT, so that exacerbated our problem.

            On another trip, I had one night with some rain and gusty winds -- among the Foxtail Pine belt somewhat to the south of Helen lake -- where I had a reasonably comfortable night in a low-profile hooped bivy though there was a bit of a scramble entering and exiting it without getting too wet. Some other campers who were nearby in a Contrail said that their tent was so noisy all night that they got no sleep.

            John Curran Ladd
            1616 Castro Street
            San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
            415-648-9279



            August 12, 2014 at 12:39 PM
             

            I have a Tarptent Contrail and I used it on the latest JMT effort. Bottom line, it's not much good. The tent has a long profile and needs lots of space to erect it. It collapsed frequently probably due to the suspension support system - at the ends only - and one night after it collapsed the second time I left it laying on top of me, so it's more use as a ground sheet and not a lot of use as a tent. When the wind blows fiercely - as it did in that pleasant little meadow on the south side of Donahue - the tent acts like a sail, so I suppose properly rigged it could carry you all the way to Whitney. Half a star then in this review.Condensation was also a big problem and the sagging tent laying on top of and soaking the down sleeping bag does not lend itself to a happy hiker the next day.Anyway, it's cheapish - just over $200 - but it does really seem that you get just what you pay for.Ken.

        • rnperky@sbcglobal.net
          I have the older design of the TT Moment, and its a solid tent. I did get condensation, but you will get that on any single wall shelter if not opened up to
          Message 6 of 16 , Aug 12, 2014
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            I have the older design of the TT Moment, and its a solid tent. I did get condensation, but you will get that on any single wall shelter if not opened up to ventilate correctly. I don't know how the 'new' design of the TT Moment compares to the old, but I looks more stable than the Contrail from what I can tell.
          • Bill Heiser
            Thanks- hopefully it will be OK. I haven t been able to use it yet, but from what I can see it seems like it should be OK, and it got some pretty good
            Message 7 of 16 , Aug 12, 2014
            Thanks- hopefully it will be OK.  I haven't been able to use it yet, but from what I can see it seems like it should be OK, and it got some pretty good reviews.

            August 12, 2014 at 5:56 PM
             

            I have the older design of the TT Moment, and its a solid tent. I did get condensation, but you will get that on any single wall shelter if not opened up to ventilate correctly. I don't know how the 'new' design of the TT Moment compares to the old, but I looks more stable than the Contrail from what I can tell.

          • dbindsch@rocketmail.com
            I don t have experience with the Contrail, but I have used the Rainbow on several multi day trips in the SIerra (and elsewhere). Although I ve since moved to
            Message 8 of 16 , Aug 12, 2014
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              I don't have experience with the Contrail, but I have used the Rainbow on several multi day trips in the SIerra (and elsewhere). Although I've since moved to using a flat tarp, I was always happy with the Rainbow. In particular, it held up in a hellacious thunderstorm near Cottonwood Pass (Chicken Spring Lake) that featured 35-40 mph winds blowing from 3 of the 4 pts of the compass and a torrential downpour that came and went over a 90 minute period. The only thing I had to do was get out of the tent at one point (during a lull) and readjust a couple of stakes that I hadn't placed heavy enough rocks on. Other than some minor splash at a couple of the corners, no water got in. This despite the fact that during some of the heavier gusts I really thought the tent would collapse as it canted to one side or the other. I believe the Rainbow retails for about $250 or so.
            • brucelem12
              I had a Tarptent Contrail for a short while, (switched to much lighter Zpacks Hexamid), and I actually liked it and had no problems in short heavy storms, but
              Message 9 of 16 , Aug 13, 2014
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                I had a Tarptent Contrail for a short while, (switched to much lighter Zpacks Hexamid), and I actually liked it and had no problems in short heavy storms, but never a long or super windy storm. It is critical to use the "optional" short stake at the feet, and to have the guy lines very tight or water will pool on the tent. I concur that it's probably not the best choice for consistent heavy rain.

                Also borrowed a one person Tarptent Rainbow for a JMT section and liked it. Stood up to a good thunderstorm and a very windy short hailstorm. A hiking partner has used one for years on JMT and other through a wide variety of storms and has had no problems/likes it a lot.

                As far as condensation...at least for me, it's occasionally unavoidable regardless the particular (single wall) tent.

                Bruce

                RollingTree.com

              • Mike Bakewell
                The experience I have had with the contrail mirrors a little of the others. I added two stakes at the sides (the tent has those loops included) when expecting
                Message 10 of 16 , Aug 13, 2014
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                  The experience I have had with the contrail mirrors a little of the others. I added two stakes at the sides (the tent has those loops included) when expecting wind and had no problem. Condensation when in the tent with the flap closed was a problem. 

                  Sent from my iPad

                  On Aug 12, 2014, at 10:38 PM, "dbindsch@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                   

                  I don't have experience with the Contrail, but I have used the Rainbow on several multi day trips in the SIerra (and elsewhere). Although I've since moved to using a flat tarp, I was always happy with the Rainbow. In particular, it held up in a hellacious thunderstorm near Cottonwood Pass (Chicken Spring Lake) that featured 35-40 mph winds blowing from 3 of the 4 pts of the compass and a torrential downpour that came and went over a 90 minute period. The only thing I had to do was get out of the tent at one point (during a lull) and readjust a couple of stakes that I hadn't placed heavy enough rocks on. Other than some minor splash at a couple of the corners, no water got in. This despite the fact that during some of the heavier gusts I really thought the tent would collapse as it canted to one side or the other. I believe the Rainbow retails for about $250 or so.

                • Stuart Dodson
                  I have used the Contrail on the JMT and had no problems at all, also in the AT and it stood up well in winds and rain.I now have the Moment- it is a better
                  Message 11 of 16 , Aug 14, 2014
                  I have used the Contrail on the JMT and had no problems at all, also in the AT and it stood up well in winds and rain.I now have the Moment- it is a better tent but I think very different to the Contrail as it has a hooped pole of its own.The Moment is heavier but needs a smaller space to erect.


                  On Wednesday, 13 August 2014, 2:01, "Bill Heiser bill@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


                   
                  [Attachment(s) from Bill Heiser included below]
                  Thanks- hopefully it will be OK.  I haven't been able to use it yet, but from what I can see it seems like it should be OK, and it got some pretty good reviews.

                  August 12, 2014 at 5:56 PM
                   
                  I have the older design of the TT Moment, and its a solid tent. I did get condensation, but you will get that on any single wall shelter if not opened up to ventilate correctly. I don't know how the 'new' design of the TT Moment compares to the old, but I looks more stable than the Contrail from what I can tell.


                • faridwatson
                  I tried a tarptent for the first time on my July JMT and really liked it; it worked well with the many rainy days, but ... WARNING! ... there is a learning
                  Message 12 of 16 , Aug 15, 2014
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                    I tried a tarptent for the first time on my July JMT and really liked it; it worked well with the many rainy days, but ... WARNING! ... there is a learning curve to setting that puppy up.  You have to be very careful of terraine and dig rain ditches where needed, since it has no floor.  A plastic ground cloth under your sleeping pad might be required.  The lighter it is, the more difficult to deal with in a gusty wind (I was solo, BTW).  My tarptent (Brooks-Range Mountaineering) came with a rope and I left enough slack after tying off that I was able to loop the rope's end back to the trekking poles to pull the tarptent taut  -- a technique that took several days to discover.  I added my own twine guide lines through the tarp's little loops; by accident, I used different colored twine for the corners, middle, and in-betweeners ... and that was VERY HANDY since the wind can have its way and the colors help you see where you are when trying to fold the tarp up ... as it tries to lift you off the ground like a kite.  BTW, I thought the "2 man" tarp was *just* adequate for a single person, and I'd never get the "solo" version ... too small.  IMHO.
                  • John Ladd
                    On Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 9:23 AM, faridwatson01@gmail.com [johnmuirtrail]
                    Message 13 of 16 , Aug 15, 2014
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                      On Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 9:23 AM, faridwatson01@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                      dig rain ditches where needed

                      Ouch! Digging rain ditches is really, really bad idea if you are using a previously prepared tent pad (as most of us do along the JMT). 

                      It's a quick way to ruin a tentpad as people with different size tents dig differently sized and shaped rain ditches. Maybe, if you are preparing a virgin campsite and very carefully restore it afterward, refilling the ditches and tamping them down firmly. But a well-packed, well cleaned existing tent pad is a precious resource, usually developed by years of people using and improving it, and rain ditches seriously compromise it.

                      Sorry to get all preachy on you. But it's a really bad idea.

                      John Curran Ladd
                      1616 Castro Street
                      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                      415-648-9279
                    • rnperky@sbcglobal.net
                      I think you are talking about a different topic. TarpTent is a BRAND of tent, not USING a tarp as a tent.
                      Message 14 of 16 , Aug 15, 2014
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                        I think you are talking about a different topic. TarpTent is a BRAND of tent, not USING a tarp as a tent.
                      • faridwatson
                        I found that the pre-existing rain ditch at the Backpackers camp at Whitney Portal was *indispensable* in the flash storm at hit at about 3am on August 2,
                        Message 15 of 16 , Aug 16, 2014
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                          I found that the pre-existing rain ditch at the Backpackers camp at Whitney Portal was *indispensable* in the flash storm at hit at about 3am on August 2, 2014.  The camp vacated the next day.  One guy reported two inches of rain inside his tent and he was camped around Guitar lake.  If you are using a tarptent of some kind, you must be very aware of the terraine and its slope.  Choose carefully.  What do you mean by "previously prepared tent pad" ... the ground itself?  But I basically agree and follow the "leave no trace" idea.  Cleaning up after yourself is very important, agreed.
                        • John Ladd
                          Farid asked What do you mean by previously prepared tent pad ... the ground itself? I find that I usually can find a patch of ground where someone else -
                          Message 16 of 16 , Aug 16, 2014
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                            Farid asked "What do you mean by "previously prepared tent pad" ... the ground itself?"

                            I find that I usually can find a patch of ground where someone else - probably many someone else's - have ended up clearing a flat stretch of ground of the debris and rocks that would otherwise litter it.  Gradually these "tent pads" get packed down into a surface that is a lot easier to sleep on than a true virgin site of flat ground where you end up spending 10-20 minutes preparing it and still don't get rid of all the little bumps. It's those kinds of "prepared" sites where I have concern that multiple people will cause deterioration of they rain ditch various-size tents.

                            Farid: Glad to hear you used an existing one and cleaned up afterward. I was concerned that others reading your original comment about rain ditches would think that the hiking community still accepts the practice. They were pretty common in the 60's and 70's and you would see sites with all sorts of intersecting and overlapping ditches, sometimes partly filled in but often not. But is (thankfully) much less common now. The wide acceptance of Leave No trace is helping a lot and we preserve that system mostly by reminding each other of its importance, particularly the less obvious parts of it. That's all I meant to do.

                            On Sat, Aug 16, 2014 at 10:13 AM, faridwatson01@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                            What do you mean by "previously prepared tent pad" ... the ground itself?



                            John Curran Ladd
                            1616 Castro Street
                            San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                            415-648-9279
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