View Full Version : Tarptent choices
I know there's a bunch of other threads about tarptents recently but...
I was looking at the sublite, sublite sil, contrail and rainbow. I am looking for something I can use as a solo hiker on the AT when shelter space in unavailable and hopefully for a thru next year. Front/ side access isn't too important to me. I am mainly wondering:
- How necessary is a freestanding tent is on the AT?
- Which tents have misting/ condensation issues (I already have read the rainbow has and I don't really want the extra weight of a liner)?
- Does anyone feel cramped in any of these solo tents?
- How adequate are the vestibules for gear?
Thanks for any input!
If you are looking for a solo tent and you use trekking poles, then I would look closely at the lightheart.
I have the tarp tent rain shadow II, because I hike with my kids. I have only used it a few times, and really like it. But, if I found a double wall tent for 3 at the same weight I would buy it in a second. My solo tent is a BA FC2, which I got before I knew about the lightheart.
For a solo tent, I was very impressed with the lightheart.
My BA FC2 is free standing, but I have never needed it to be. As long as there are trees and rocks, I don't think free standing is necessary. I have set up my rain shadow II on a wooden platform with just a few extra feet of para cord.
I used the TT contrail for the 1,000 mi southern half. I worked very well. A freestanding tent is not necesary for the AT, most single wall tents have some misting if the fabric gets soaked in a heavy rain. the contrail is a 1+ tent--I was able to get me and all my gear inside and the vestibule works for putting some gear outside, but it isn't necessary as the tent is long and some gear can be stowed at the foot end. At 24 oz, it was the right choice for me.
Tarptent sublite, sublite sil -- I like this design, BUT:
sublite is tyvek and I'm not sure it's suitable for the East where it's wetter than out west.
sublite sil: I don't think it's available now unless you can pick a used one.
The other Henry Shires (tarptent.com) tents are good choices. People use them successfully on the AT.
You could also consider various tarp or tarptent configurations with a separate bug tent for buggy conditions, check out Owareusa, Mountainlaureldesigns or bearpaw tents.
I used the Contrail for a couple of years but went on to the Moment for the 100 mile wilderness last year.The Moment I find is better,more room and easier to sit up in ,and with a smaller footprint its easier to find a pitch.
+1 for the lightheart. Lots of room. not much weight.
I’ve had my Contrail for a few years and its been great. Condensation happens but it’s relatively minimal because there’s a lot of ventilation. Lots of gear space, lightweight and sets up FAST. I’ve never felt cramped (5’11”, 170lb) - even when sleeping two. The relatively large footprint size (for a solo) can be a downside when you’re tight on ground space.
Thanks for the advice. I was completely unaware that the sublite was made of tyvek and it probably won't work well around here, especially this year. The sublite sil is out of stock, so the contrail it is!
I bought a Contrail about 4 years ago. It has served me well. No complaints. However, I'm 6' 6" so I'm basically end to end in the tent. Probably, because of my height, a bit harder to sit up or turn around to exit. My pack and shoes fit inside the vestibule no problem. A great tent.