View Full Version : Sublite vs Contrail

01-16-2009, 17:47
I am trying to decide between these two tarptents and was looking for opinions/reviews/experiences with either/or. I will be thru-hiking leaving in mid-march. I realize the main difference is the 6 more ounces in weight and the vestibule of the contrail.
If anyone has any information on durability, ease of setup, ability to stand dry, ease of pack-up, sturdiness, ect. Anyone with any information on any of these factors for either tarptent will very much be appreciated.


01-16-2009, 21:21
The contrail is a fairly easy set up. Franco is the expert on the set up of the Contrail. I have used several of the Henry Shires tarp tents but have not used the Sublite. The back two struts on the Contrail require some adjustment but overall it would be a great choice.. My question would have to do with the durability of the fabric of the Sublite....

01-16-2009, 22:37
I think the Sublite Sil uses the same 1.1 oz/sq yd ripstop silnylon(1.4 oz/sq yd finished wt.) as the Contrail. So, if durability is a concern between the two models it's not because of the fabric. The Sublite also comes in spunbonded olefin, basically Tyvek, but I don't think this version of Tyvek(there R several) is the same found in big box home improvement centers. I would email Henry if U have further questions about detailed fabric usage.

01-16-2009, 23:12
I believe the Sublite Sil will shed snow better than the Contrail - I am talking about minimal snow in this case. It will also take up a smaller overall footprint. However, the Contrail has a vestibule and is a little bigger. So really it comes down to your needs. The Sublite Sil is only 3 oz lighter than the Contrail.

01-17-2009, 13:41
what about the sublite.? it is 3 ounces lighter than the sublite sil, and 6 ounces lighter than the contrail.
does the sublite have good rain protection?

01-18-2009, 11:48
does the sublite have good rain protection?

Shires does not recommend the (TyvekŪ) Sublite in heavy rain. From the website:

"TyvekŪ fabric handles even heavy rain of moderate duration. Fine for all night moderate rains but not recommended for long-duration intense rainstorms."

This is just a guess, but I suspect the issue is penetration of heavy rain in the form of misting or spatter. Note that this can actually be a minor issue with silnylon as well.

As for the Sublite Sil-- Until the Sublite Sil Tarptent actually hits the trail (it's due for release any day now) we can only make educated guesses as to its actual performance.

"The Sublite Sil is in production but timing [for release] is after mid-January." -HS

01-18-2009, 12:22
You guys covered it well. I also love my Contrail and I personally would not use Tyvek for a tent, especially on the AT. I'd also like to add that Franco has a great snow pitch for the Contrail that works fine.

01-18-2009, 13:11
I have used the Contrail extensively for two years and also bought the Sublite Sil when it first came out. The advantages are: Contrail= faster to put up and small vestibule. The Sublite Sil= much sturdier setup, able to use in a substantial snowfall (which I have). Disadvantages: Contrail= less viewpoints to outside and less stable in very strong winds. Sublite= doorpanel must be closed during rain unless the door "awning" is put up, no vestibule. Of course the Contrail is front entry and the Sublite is side entry. Sublite wins the weight contest. They both pack close to the same size. Any specific questions, please PM me.

01-18-2009, 17:24
Quoddy was one of the first to get a production model of the Sublite Sil, I understand that a second batch is in production now.
From Retro "This is just a guess, but I suspect the issue is penetration of heavy rain in the form of misting or spatter. Note that this can actually be a minor issue with silnylon as well."
Correct .As with silnylon there will be conflicting reports about how "rainproof" Tyvek 1443R ( known as soft or clothing Tyvek, not that similar to Homewrap) . Retro is correct in identifying that more than the duration (I have seen comments like "it rained all night and I stayed dry") the strength of the rain will determine penetration. Bigger raindrops fall at a higher speed and are more likely to cause "misting" but silnylon is a bit more water-resistant.
I do agree with Quoddy's comments. By design the Sublite should be more wind/snow worthy, however as Garlic has pointed out, the Contrail with a bit of help can be much better than some have experienced.

01-18-2009, 18:16
When fabrics soak through, they naturally become heavier. I would shy away from Tyvek for an extended hike for that reason alone. It's not totally waterproof. It may not stretch when wet like silnylon, but it will absorb water with time. As a groundcloth, it also gets fuzzy with use and begins to pick up ground debris. It's doubtful the canopy of the sublite will get fuzzy (pill, I guess), since it's not in a friction situation, but it may be more susceptible to puncture and slicing (a branch falling from a tree) than silnylon. Just trying to catch every angle of thought.

01-18-2009, 20:12
Since U mention wt. as a determination I would also have to include SMD Wild Oasis and Lunar Solo and GG The One on my short list of comparable featured shelters. .

01-18-2009, 20:19
thanks for all the input. i have decided to go with the sublite sil for my thru-hike.