Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 45
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-19-2015
    Location
    Hopkinsville, KY
    Age
    35
    Posts
    14

    Default Tarp Tent v/s Conventional Tent

    I can't say that I'm excited to be purchasing a new tent for the AT (because of the money), but I am excited to be purchasing a new tent for the AT (because I like new things). Confused yet? Good.

    I've always used conventional tents, with the exception of survival training, even on long distance treks. The idea of tarp tenting is intriguing, but I don't know anything about tarp tents that are manufactured as such and not just some improvised shelter made from a tarp or poncho.

    I'm trying not to break the bank when buying this new tent that I need (my lightest one is a 5 pound Eureka! and it is bulky) but the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1's are appealing. The platinum version looks very appealing given it's pack weight. The price... not so much. (unless I buy used... which I'm not apposed to if this wasn't such a long distance endeavor and I don't want a small tear that I can't see becoming a big problem later on.)

    Can anyone tell me the advantages/disadvantages of tarp tenting vs conventional tenting?

    Also can you point me in the direction of some light (yet relatively inexpensive) options for tarp tents?

    Thanks!
    Rare Breed

  2. #2
    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    09-26-2004
    Location
    Williamsburg, Virginia
    Age
    49
    Posts
    2,320
    Images
    52

    Default

    Can you clarify what you mean by tarp tent?

    Are you referring to the products offered by Tarptent, which are essentially conventional tents of single wall and hybrid design? Or do you mean a tarp used as shelter?
    igne et ferrum est potentas
    "In the beginning, all America was Virginia." -​William Byrd

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-19-2015
    Location
    Hopkinsville, KY
    Age
    35
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Sorry, I guess using the term tarp tent for any tarp used as a shelter is like using velcro to describe and hook and loop fastener lol.

    I'm talking about any tarp used as a shelter, but I'm not opposed to the hybrid designs. I'm looking for something lightweight and cost effective. I'm looking into the pros and cons of using a shelter rather than a conventional tent such as the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 or the Fly Creek Platinum, but I don't want to pay the upwards prices that those two options cost.

    Hope this clarifies.
    Rare Breed

  4. #4
    13-45 Section Hiker Trash Berserker's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-09-2008
    Location
    Lynchburg, VA
    Age
    46
    Posts
    1,066
    Images
    1

    Default

    In a nutshell:
    • A standard (rectangular or shaped) tarp usually has no floor and is open on the sides. Typically they are the lightest form of shelter.
    • A single walled shelter such as those offered by Tarptent is the same as a "conventional" tent except they are usually significantly lighter due to single wall construction (i.e. there's no separate rain fly).

    In my experience a tarp can be a bit finickey to set up unless you get a shaped one. They are open so critters can get up in there with you. If it rains hard and you are camped on a hard dirt surface you can get a lot of splash inside.

    A single walled shelter is usually the best of both worlds. They're typically heavier than a tarp, but much lighter than a conventional tent with a separate rain fly. The only "knock" on them is that typically you'll get some form of condensation on the inside. This isn't an issue unless you tend to regularly rub up against the walls, and can be easily wiped off with a small pack towel.
    AT: 2007-2019 (45 sections)
    JMT: 2013

  5. #5

    Default

    Seems like the Big Agnes start at around $250-320 depending on model, right? That's about the same cost as a TarpTent brand tent (maybe like $210 cheapest to $320 or so).

    Some of the other "tarp tent" (i.e. not "TarpTent" brand) type of tents can be had for as cheap as $125 (Six Moon Designs Skyscape Scout is ~37 ounces for $125), so there's definitely choices out there.

    The pros and cons of different tents/tarp-tents has literally been gone over thousands of times on this forum - a quick search will give you all the info you need.

  6. #6
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-20-2013
    Location
    Upper East Side of Texas
    Age
    73
    Posts
    8,284

    Cool

    There are beaucoup threads around WhiteBlaze, some very current, on various shelter options. A quick search, or just a quick look at the "What's New" pages, will find them.
    I'm pondering a 3 season shelter addition to compliment my 1 person 4 season bombshelter (Garuda Atman tent ) and save some weight relative to the Atman in the process. My focus is on the cottage industry vendors. Shelter styles come in various sizes & shapes. Single wall, Double wall, Hybrid single-double wall, A-frame, Single hoop, Pyramid, Hexamid, Front entry, Side entry, single door, 2 doors, Trekking pole supported, Dedicated pole supported. Some vendors will offer dedicated tent poles for those who don't use trekking poles. The variations go on.
    The front runners on my list are, in no particular order:
    TarpTent
    Lightheart Gear
    Six Moon Designs
    Zpacks
    Mountain Laurel Designs
    Yama Mountain Gear
    Hyperlite Mountain Gear
    Locus Gear
    Seek Outside
    Many more I'm sure
    And myriad tarp makers with or without floor/bug netting inserts. The hammock folks are big on tarps.

    BTW, for the price of the Fly Creek Platinum you could buy a 1 AND 2 person tents from TarpTent or a nice 1 person TarpTent AND a decent down sleeping bag.

    Good luck shopping.

    Wayne
    Eddie Valiant: "That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."
    https://wayne-ayearwithbigfootandbubba.blogspot.com
    FlickrMyBookTwitSpaceFace



  7. #7
    Clueless Weekender
    Join Date
    04-10-2011
    Location
    Niskayuna, New York
    Age
    63
    Posts
    3,863
    Journal Entries
    10

    Default

    There are plenty of long-winded discussions (including mine) elsewhere on the site. But for what it's worth, I settled on the TarpTent Notch. I've put at least a few hundred miles on it (the 135-mile Northville Placid Trail and a bunch of weekends in the Catskills, the Taconics and Harriman) and I'm still quite pleased with it. I've had it out in temperatures ranging from -5 to +95 F, in rain and snow and sleet, on hard sandstone and soft hemlock needles and squishy clay and tramped-out snow, and it's kept me dry and out of the wind and bugs. It's easy to pitch. I'm a largish individual, and I fit inside. It's trekking pole supported, so the weight is quite bearable. I got the one with the half-solid inner tent because I camp in cold weather, so it's 29 ounces. The base model is 26.

    One bit of advice: Blessed is he who sleepeth behind bug netting, for he shall remain sane.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  8. #8
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-20-2013
    Location
    Upper East Side of Texas
    Age
    73
    Posts
    8,284

    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    ...

    One bit of advice: Blessed is he who sleepeth behind bug netting, for he shall remain sane.
    "There it is."

    Wayne
    Eddie Valiant: "That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."
    https://wayne-ayearwithbigfootandbubba.blogspot.com
    FlickrMyBookTwitSpaceFace



  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-10-2005
    Location
    Bedford, MA
    Posts
    12,678

    Default

    I'm good with my Tarptent Rainbow. No experience with true tarping, but I appreciate the benefits of bug protection. The Rainbow is a 32 oz. single-walled tent, very roomy and quick to set up. It has a bathtub floor, vestibule and bug netting. It has minor condensation issues, typical of single-wall tents. Proper siting deals with most condensation issues.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-01-2014
    Location
    Norwell, MA
    Age
    57
    Posts
    2,193

    Default

    Learn to tarp. It's the lightest, cheapest, most versatile, most creative and most mannly. You can always add bug netting when needed. I have some very nice tents. I only use tents when I am going with someone else I want to sleep with and I can't talk them into tarping.

  11. #11
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-20-2013
    Location
    Upper East Side of Texas
    Age
    73
    Posts
    8,284

    Default

    It seems that the Notch & Rainbow have very happy users.
    The only way that I can see to choose between the two would be a coin toss.
    Pondering.

    Wayne
    Eddie Valiant: "That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."
    https://wayne-ayearwithbigfootandbubba.blogspot.com
    FlickrMyBookTwitSpaceFace



  12. #12
    Registered User Walkintom's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-16-2010
    Location
    Eagle River, WI
    Age
    47
    Posts
    697

    Default

    We have a Notch and a Double Rainbow. The Double Rainbow sees all the use, even on single person trips. The weight/convenience/comfort all works out to favor it in most circumstances.

    Frankly, it's pretty posh to use as a solo tent. Room for you, all your gear and to sprawl.

  13. #13
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-22-2002
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Age
    57
    Posts
    7,888
    Images
    296

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    It seems that the Notch & Rainbow have very happy users.
    The only way that I can see to choose between the two would be a coin toss.


    If you use trekking poles, the Notch saves you the weight of the tent pole. If you don't, then the Rainbow includes the pole (at a higher weight of course).

    The Notch has two doors and two vestibules, which is good for airflow and venting, and you can often leave the lee side open in the rain.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  14. #14

    Default

    Tarp tent for nice dryish weather
    conventional tent for bad weather

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-17-2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Age
    60
    Posts
    4,673

    Default

    It seems to me that there is a continuum of tent styles from traditional tents to tarps with some hybrids being more tent-like and other being more tarp-like. You can do what I did. Research it for years. Drive yourself nuts looking for just the right tent. Finally buy the perfect tent. Then sell it on line after one trip because you decided you want something else. Have fun!

  16. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    07-30-2009
    Location
    Woodbridge, Virginia
    Age
    60
    Posts
    2,345

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    If you use trekking poles, the Notch saves you the weight of the tent pole. If you don't, then the Rainbow includes the pole (at a higher weight of course).

    The Notch has two doors and two vestibules, which is good for airflow and venting, and you can often leave the lee side open in the rain.
    The Double Rainbow (a veritable palace for one) also has two doors and vestibules.

  17. #17
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-20-2013
    Location
    Upper East Side of Texas
    Age
    73
    Posts
    8,284

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Jones View Post
    The Double Rainbow (a veritable palace for one) also has two doors and vestibules.
    Throw another fly in the ointment.
    My problem is trying to reconcile one tent for both bicycle touring and backpacking. I can buy extra poles for the Notch and get two doors. The Rainbow works for both travel modes, but with only one door. The Double Rainbow has the pole system and door arrangement that I want. Henry, add a door to the Rainbow!
    The Solong 6 is tantalizing as well.

    Wayne

    Sent from my AT100 using Tapatalk
    Eddie Valiant: "That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."
    https://wayne-ayearwithbigfootandbubba.blogspot.com
    FlickrMyBookTwitSpaceFace



  18. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-19-2015
    Location
    Hopkinsville, KY
    Age
    35
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Wow, so much info! Thanks to everyone who contributed! I've looked at Tarp Tent and ZPacks. Sounds like Tarp Tent has good duribilty from what you all have shared. Thanks!
    Rare Breed

  19. #19
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-22-2002
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Age
    57
    Posts
    7,888
    Images
    296

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    Tarp tent for nice dryish weather
    conventional tent for bad weather

    Why use anything for nice weather?

    The absolute worst storms I have ever experienced outside were in a single wall "tarp tent" -- a Six Moons Designs Lunar Duo. It performed flawlessly, much better than any other tent we have used (and we've used a lot of tents over the years).

    I have seen this sort of "tarp tents are for good weather only" thing before, and it's just not so. As with conventional tents, there is a wide variety of tarp tents available, suitable for a wide range of conditions, and one selects the proper tent for the job, no matter whether it's a conventional double wall or a hybrid ultralight of some sort.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  20. #20
    Garlic
    Join Date
    10-15-2008
    Location
    Golden CO or Scottsdale AZ
    Age
    62
    Posts
    5,379
    Images
    2

    Default

    A few things that haven't been mentioned yet:

    Experience counts. Everything should be geared to getting a good night's sleep and there are many factors, of which the tent is only one.

    Site selection becomes important as you save weight in tent design. Drainage and condensation can vary depending on proximity to water, ground cover, exposure to wind, tree cover, etc.

    What's the shelter for? Get the right tool for the job. A tarptent is a pretty good compromise for an AT thru hike, but falls short when trying to sit out a full day of heavy rain in camp if that's your traveling style. Or when trying to set a speed record.

    There is no such thing as the perfect tent. If there were, there would only be one tent (and there would be no more threads on this subject).
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •