Sep 1, 2006 at 7:33 pm #1219481
@ledcactusyahoo-comLocale: Cascades / Olympics (WET)
Rumor has it there is going to be a 1.5 lb tarptent coming out on sunday evening September 3rd, that includes the floor. It is going to replace the virga.Sep 1, 2006 at 8:49 pm #1362222
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Heard that too. Has me very, very interested!!!! Way to go henry!!Sep 2, 2006 at 5:44 pm #1362245
There is now a BPL Spotlite posted for all you subscribers. The new model is called the Contrail. I have also posted a page here –>
ps I’m going hiking from Sept 4-14 (Red’s Meadow –> Whitney Portal. The Contrail will start shipping as soon as I get back.Sep 2, 2006 at 6:52 pm #1362249
neato! strong work!Sep 2, 2006 at 7:40 pm #1362254
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
Henry, you never cease to amaze. Nice work!Sep 2, 2006 at 8:45 pm #1362262
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
DARN, and I just bought a Double Rainbow for me and the wife. Now you go do this. If I tell her I’m buying another tent…………..
I really like those inward sloping netting sidewalls. Great for keeping rain splashes and canopy runoff further away from the floor. Ditto the interior-accessible roll-down rear storm shield.
Are you bringing it to the ALDHA-West Gathering for your display? Pretty please.
Three single person shelters seems like one too many. Does this mean an up-coming close-out sale on the Virga II? What does this bode for the new Rainbow? (has no effect on Double Rainbow sales).
Reading the Spotlight Review, it states only 4 stakes are needed but the photos clearly show 5 – both front corners, center rear, and one off each rear corner support. Maybe the reviewer added the center rear himself? Also, the review says the 14 inch supports are aluminum while your site says carbon fiber.
Let me guess…….the reviewer got a prototype and the final version lost 1 stake and switched support materials in the meantime.
You creative little devil, you ……….
Wandering BobSep 2, 2006 at 9:36 pm #1362266
Unfortunately, I can’t come to ALDHA-West this year — have to go support my wife on a fundraiser run in South Lake Tahoe that weekend–but I’ll see what I can do to have one at the gathering to check out.
It really is a 4-stake tent. Will Rietveld didn’t have good docs from me when he tried to set it up (and his sample was missing a rear cord) so he did the best he could based on his experience with the Virga 2. The rear stake isn’t needed at all and neither is a center front stake/cord though there is a pullout there and you can use one if you want to.
The Virga 2 is going away. I don’t even have any floored models left and after the few floorless models are gone then that will be it. I think the Contrail is better in every way. The Rainbow isn’t going anywhere but I’ll keep trying to make it better. The new seamless floor design on the Contrail will migrate into the Rainbow and Double Rainbow as soon as production schedules permit.
The rear struts are carbon fiber. They’re left over from when we pulled them out of the original Virga 2 (and Squall 2) cross strut application after a few reports of snaps. In that application, stress was off-axis. They’re perfect in this application because all the stress is straight down through the tubing and carbon fiber is really strong along the fiber orientation. Even if you did manage to break one in the Contrail, the shelter will still function just fine without it.
-HSep 2, 2006 at 10:15 pm #1362267
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Congrats on yet another masterpiece!
Now, being a Rainbow owner, I am also very much interested in what you wrote above: “The Rainbow isn’t going anywhere but I’ll keep trying to make it better”.
As you do that, please keep us current owners in mind, so that hopefully, we can upgrade ours as appropriate.Sep 2, 2006 at 10:25 pm #1362269
>Now, being a Rainbow owner, I am also very much interested in what you wrote above: “The Rainbow isn’t going anywhere but I’ll keep trying to make it better”.
Ben, the arch strap adjuster I put on your Rainbow will be standard going forward. Other than the aforementioned floor change, I have nothing else definitive in the works but I will certainly keep “upgrades” in mind.
-HSep 3, 2006 at 3:25 am #1362272
Does the 24.5 oz include the 4 stakes and the 2 oz front pole?Sep 3, 2006 at 6:14 am #1362274
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Beautiful tent Henry!!! Oh and thanks for such great customer service last week. It was appreciated!Sep 3, 2006 at 8:00 am #1362277
> Does the 24.5 oz include the 4 stakes and the 2 oz front pole?
Includes 4 stakes, guylines, and the stuffsack but not the optional front pole. If you’re not a trekking pole user and want to go really minimalist, it wil guy out to a tree if you attach some cording to the apex pullout.
-HSep 3, 2006 at 2:31 pm #1362287
@pivvayLocale: Rocky Mountains
Wow looks like a great tent for the wife and I. I’m plotting a SUL 2 person trip for us and I think this could make the cut. She’s not quite into tarp camping or bivying (my fav) yet but the hiking and camping have been recieved well since she gets new cool (and light) clothes to go with.Sep 3, 2006 at 2:39 pm #1362289
The spotlite review says that the Virga 2 and Contrail have identical floor dimensions. Is that correct? I can only find the total width for the Virga 2, not the floor’s width.
Also, the review says that the floor will soon be “standard” on Tarptents, whereas the floorless version will be an “option”. Is that a purely semantic change from the current descriptions, or does it indicate something more substantive, such as a change in the pricing or availability of floorless Tarptents.Sep 3, 2006 at 4:38 pm #1362295
Yes, the Contrail and Virga 2 have the same floor dimensions. The Contrail has signifigantly more useable foot room though so if you spread some some sort of interior groundsheet in the foot area to widen the effective floor width, the ease of comfort of using it for two, at least in a pinch, is greatly improved over the Virga 2.
And, yes, it’s semantics for changing the floors to standard from “optional”. We’ll still offer florless models but the percentage of people who order them that way anymore is so small that it seems silly to go on the way we’ve been doing it.
-HSep 4, 2006 at 4:10 am #1362314
Have you considered a door in the side
rather in front, this would seem more convenient for entry/egress, with little change to tent?Sep 4, 2006 at 4:56 am #1362315
@williwabbitLocale: Southwest Colorado
Hey, you guys are perceptive! I revised the SpotLite review so it is accurate.
The review was a rush job, and I had to do it with a few things missing on the tent and no ready access to specifications. The struts are indeed carbon fiber (not aluminum), the basic pitch uses four stakes, and a front aluminum pole is not included.
Some users may want to take along 3 extra stakes to extend the sides and front for better rain protection and wind stability. I will check that out in my testing.
Happy hiking, WillSep 4, 2006 at 9:24 am #1362323
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
Your review was great and much appreciated. Don’t beat yourself up. Henry is a designer and gear visionary; not a creative writer. He makes great tents but his documentation is of a lesser quality.
I think he does it deliberately so folks will email him with questions and comments about the products. He likes the one-on-one feedback.
I can’t wait to see the Contrail at the ALDHA-West Gathering. Now…. how to convince the wife that yes, I do indeed need yet another Tarptent. Aha – “Well, you know Dear, our Double Rainbow looks so lonely in the closet. I think she needs a friend to keep her company. Oh, look at this little fella!”
:DSep 4, 2006 at 3:25 pm #1362342
Thanks Henry. Very impressive design. More usable space, even simpler set-up… and lighter than the Virga 2!
Next weight question. The Virga 2 floor option is 6 oz. Can we assume that the Contrail floor is also 6 oz… and that a floorless Contrail with 4 stakes, guys and trekking pole instead of the optional dedicated pole would therefore come in at 18.5 oz? That would be VERY impressive! Close to the weight of the original… and yet sooo much better! :)
I mean… do we really need floors? Where I camp (boreal forest)… the surrounding ground sucks up all the water… for the most part. And crawling bugs are not really a problem either… not up here in Canada anyway. It’s not like I’m camping in the Amazon :PSep 5, 2006 at 3:56 pm #1362446
Was just admiting the Contrail again. One thing you neglect to mention on the Contrail page is it’s cool “Stealth Bomber” styling!!! :)Sep 11, 2006 at 1:11 pm #1362831
I’m really interested in the Contrail. I’ve been looking pretty hard at the Rainbow, but I prefer a door that doesn’t overhang the interior space at all. Getting into your tent in the pouring rain a couple of times teaches you the value of great door design and the compromises involved in some of the lightest designs. This is one reason I’ve also been looking at the SMD Lunar Solo, as the flat front means that the door can probably stay open in light rain. However, the setup on the Lunar Solo looks more complicated and I much prefer first-time pitches.
The Contrail looks pretty bomber for a tarptent, but I have one concern. The rear storm flap on the Contrail is taking the place of the usual overhanging foot beak, but can an interior flap really keep water out of the floor? I assume that the storm flap simply reaches down below the bathtub floor and therefore keeps water out, but I can’t really determine this from the initial photos and description.
I look forward to seeing a full review of the Contrail and hearing user reports from you folks! It really looks like a great replacement for the Virga2 and may be my next shelter. Bugs are a real nuisance in most places I hike and poncho-tarps give no reprieve without a confining bivi.Sep 11, 2006 at 1:38 pm #1362832
Have been looking for a light-weight tent for some time and the Contrail looks like a good possibility. One request when in-depth review is done: can you provide interior headroom dimensions not only at the peak (45″?) but at “usable” distances from the peak (2′, mid-tent, etc.). It appears that the slope is not straight-line to the 14″ high foot. If I’m buying a tent, I want to be able to sit up easily (I’m 6’1″) or I might as well settle for a bivy.Sep 12, 2006 at 9:35 pm #1362916
The Contrail floor is about 4 1/2″ ounces including the floor, pullouts, and cording–Virga 2 floor is heavier because it contains a zipper and more fabric. The Virga 2 floor was 5-piece vs. the 1-piece Contrail floor. So, floorless Contrail is more like 20 ounces.
-HSep 12, 2006 at 9:58 pm #1362918
>The Contrail looks pretty bomber for a tarptent, but I have one concern. The rear storm flap on the Contrail is taking the place of the usual overhanging foot beak, but can an interior flap really keep water out of the floor? I assume that the storm flap simply reaches down below the bathtub floor and therefore keeps water out, but I can’t really determine this from the initial photos and description.
The Contrail floor design, like all our other models, hinges on insetting the edges from the driplines and providing a lip for any droplets that actually roll all the way down and in toward the floor edge. The storm flap is really there for preventing blowing rain from coming through the netting above the floor level (similar in concept to the prior rear beak). The Contrail floor is inset 10″ from the rear edge dripline which means that in overhead rain you definitely don’t need to drop the flap. Otherwise the flap does block off the back mesh down a distance of 7 1/4″ and leaves the remaining 6 3/4″ unblocked. Because the floor begins so far into the interior and it has a raised edge, rain has to blow at something like 18 degrees above horizontal to actually make it though to the floor–quite a bit more extreme than is prevented by the Virga/Virga 2 design. If you have wind that extreme it’s probably better to just drop the whole back end (by folding the struts under) and let the perimeter sit flush to the ground.
-HSep 12, 2006 at 10:06 pm #1362919
>Have you considered a door in the side
rather in front, this would seem more convenient for entry/egress, with little change to tent?
Side designs have other issues, most notably rain falling into the interior when you get in and out. It could be done with the Contrail but you would need quite a bit of extra complexity, cost and weight and lose the door overhang now present in the design. If you angle the front pole off to one side (as shown in the Contrail photos on our website) , the Contrail is wide enough that, I think, it’s actually quite easy to enter and exit.
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