About the Company
Tarptents are ultralight, mobile shelters that shed everything from flying bugs to summer snow. Elegant and airy, Tarptents set up virtually anywhere. Designed by and for the outdoor enthusiast, Tarptents keep you dry and sane no matter the elements. Made in the U.S.A and constructed of the lightest and highest quality materials available, Tarptents let you focus on the joy of the journey, not on the pain of getting there. (From the company website)
Three Tarptents and a Hilleberg
Henry Shires was teacher and a backpacker who decided he could make a better, lighter weight tent than was commercially available. It is now his full time business, and his tents are some of the most commonly used for PCT and other long distance hikers.
Ultralight – as low as 22 ounces with trekking pole
Squall 2 on the Cotahuasi River
Fast setup – 2 minutes from sack to pitched
Dual trekking poles support (except Cloudburst 2)
Reflective spectra cord guylines
Catenary ridgelines for wind, sag, and storms
Small packed size
Minimal stakes required
Quick drying – inside and out in minutes
Abundant netting for views, airflow, and bug resistance
Front/rear beaks shield windblown rain and provide protected space for gear
Floorless or sewn-in flooring option
Tyvek® groundsheets available.
My ExperienceI used a Virga 2 Tarptent (1 person) on my Pacific Crest Trail hike, for about 130 nights (The rest of the nights I slept without a tent or was in a motel). It kept me and my gear dry from the rain but it is prone to condensation, like all single wall tents, if you don't leave the door open. It was very light weight, 1 lb 10 oz, using trekking poles to support it. It made the whole trip with out any problems, except a few small holes in the screen mesh where I must have snagged it on something.
It is normally very stable as long as it is set up tight. It is best with the foot (smaller) end into the wind. There were 2 very windy nights where it flapped too much and kept me awake, one of those was on Mt. Hood, just above the Lodge. I ended removing the front poles and using it like a bivy sack.
The Virga 2 doesn't show up on the company website now, but the Contrail is a 1 person model that weighs about the same. I am now using a Squall 2, which is the exact same design as the Virga 2, expect it is for 2 people and weighs just over 2 lb. Both normally use 4 stakes, but can be used with only 3. They can also be used with 1 or 2 trekking poles. If you use 2, it eliminates the center front pole, for easier entry.
A number of my hiking companions used the Rainbow, which uses 4 stakes for non free standing, but can be used with 2 trekking poles as a free standing tent. Everyone I talked to was very happy with them. It is now available in a 2 person version as well.
SpecificationsWeights are in ounces, dimensions are in inches
| || Sleeps || Weight || Height || Length ||
| Contrail || 1 || 24.5 || 45 || 94 ||
| Rainbow || 1 || 32 || 43 || 98 ||
| Squall 2 || 2 || 34 || 45 || 94 ||
| Cloudburst 2 || 2 || 39 || 42 || 94 ||
| Double Rainbow || 2 || 40 || 43 || 98 ||
| Rainshadow 2 || 3 || 42 || 48 || 94 ||
| || || || || ||