Jul 29, 2009 at 9:27 pm #1238199
From what I heard…Gossamer Gear has excellent service with Grant and Glen running the show. Im unfamiliar with who I believed to be named Henry Shire the guy who is in charge over at Tarptent.
Regardless, I am considering the Squall Classic from Gossamer or one of the following Tarptents: Squall 2, Double Rainbow, Cloundburst 2, or Rainshadow 2.
Which do you like and why?
How do they hand from a durability standpoint (this is most important)?
Will they stand strong on the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and/or the Contiential Divide Trail in windy and stormy conditions while also keeping me and my partner dry? On a side note, I dont care to stay in shelthers all too often, so this will be my primary sleeping quarters 90% of the time.
Can I pay either of the companies an extra amount of money to seam seal their tent(s) for me?
I noticed that the Squall Classic is almost $75 more than all of the Tarp Tents, in there an important reason behind this?Jul 29, 2009 at 9:36 pm #1517507
Both companies are great. The guys behind both companies have treated me like I was the most important customer in the world. You can't go wrong. You do realize the Squall Classic is a Henry Shire's design, don't you?Jul 29, 2009 at 9:53 pm #1517509
.Jul 29, 2009 at 11:26 pm #1517515
@rezniemLocale: San Francisco
Reading your posts is like a rapid-fire of the all the threads on BPL over the past two years I've been following it!
What's next? Synthetic vs. Down?
But to answer your question, squall is made of spinnaker which supposedly doesn't "mist" like sil-nylon allegedly does. See the great "misting" debate in the forum for more info. It also remains taut, where sil-nylon does not. This, at least, is not controversial.
The squall has been used successfully on the JMT. The double rainbow is not impervious to wind. Search for this too, and you'll find a nifty video of a double rainbow in wind!
Have you slept in a single wall shelter before? When it rains hard and the humidity is high, the raindrops knock condensation off the fly and it sprays mist into the tent (and all over you). Just something to be aware of. Also, the splashing rain can blow in through the mesh. To avoid condensation, you have to have it pitched very airy, which of course is chillier than a regular double wall tent. Keep that in mind. The reader reviews are a good resource for this.Jul 29, 2009 at 11:34 pm #1517516
My apologies Nate if my questions are rapid and typical of what you would expect out of a novice that needs to read more before he asks questions. Its just that you guys offer the most brillant answers ever and its fun getting to know you all rather than remaining in the shadows just reading away. Regardless, I will try to ease up on my questions, as I do not want people to get so annoyed with my eagerness to learn that they no longer want it answer any of my questions :/ Thank you for all your help. I definitely have to read about this mist thing that you speak of. In otherwords, would it be safe to say that this tent is not one to consider if I am planning to do the triple crown over the next three years without using any of the shelters? Thanks!
P.S. Know anything about Synthetic vs. Down :pJul 30, 2009 at 12:31 am #1517529
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I own a TT Conrail & used it for the last 3 years with great success but I'm selling it to get the new TT Moment. Now THERE'S a tent that has truly great design.
EricJul 30, 2009 at 8:23 am #1517582
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
My short answer is that all of these shelters are good and would do fine on any of the long trails. You need to decide how much space you want and what features. In general I think the Double Rainbow is the most versatile of the three at the cost of some extra weight. Some very brief observations about each of these shelters and links to some good summaries by others on my recommended ultralight shelters page.Jul 30, 2009 at 9:21 am #1517602
@jollygreenLocale: Near the bottom
Tim, you can't go wrong reading Marks web pages. Tons of info with lots of links. I know it has really helped me out a lot. Kodos to Mark.Jul 30, 2009 at 10:14 am #1517621
Just for the record, Tarptent and Gossamer Gear go way back and we're all good friends. Glen and I just got back from 5 days hiking together around Mt Rainier.
-HJul 30, 2009 at 10:42 am #1517633
.Jul 30, 2009 at 12:59 pm #1517694
@carazLocale: bay area
I say this with the greatest degree of humbleness and respect, but if you are planning on finishing the triple crown (a grand task in every sense of the word) over the next three years, than none of the gear sees the start will see the end. That is not to say that duribility becomes an issue, rather, you are going to grow and learn more than these forums will ever teach you. The gear is secondary to the state of mind, don't worry about it quitting on you, worry instead about you quitting on it. You will become accustomed to sleeping outside, your desire for fully enclosed "heavy" shelters will wane and every piece of gear will become lighter and smaller. I would highly wager that a cuben tarp and ultralight bivy will be what you sleep with on the final stretch of even the first thruhike. I know your back is not accustomed to sleeping on the ground yet but after 100 nights it most certainly will be. If money is no object you can not go wrong with either of the tents, if you are not independently wealthy and a $300 investment is not something you are quickly willing to sacrifice than perhaphs go for the lightest most minimal option now, and learn to use it (nothing is really sacrificed in terms of comfort or protection, only perception). Carrying any item for over 6000 miles will teach you that it can always be lighter. Good luck with it all, maybe I'll see you out there!
If I could travel back through time and convince myself to listen I would buy thisJul 30, 2009 at 2:22 pm #1517742
@jessecoonceLocale: in the sticks
No experience with either, but I can't wait to get a TT Moment. Consider my order placed as soon as it is available.Jul 30, 2009 at 3:28 pm #1517754
"Some very brief observations about each of these shelters and links to some good summaries by others on my…"
Mark Im going to get right on reading your reviews and thoughts. Thanks a lot. I have a feeling that your opinions will be very thorough.
"Just for the record, Tarptent and Gossamer Gear go way back and we're all good friends. Glen and I just got back from 5 days hiking together around Mt Rainier."
There's the man of the hour. Hey Henry pleasure to meet you. So in your opinion, do you believe that both Glen's and your tents can hold up to extremely windy conditions and keep us from getting wet in pouring rain as well as warm enough if we have decent sleeping bags and clothes? We are talking Triple Crown conditions mind you.
"I say this with the greatest degree of humbleness and respect, but if you are planning on finishing the triple crown (a grand task in every sense of the word) over the next three years, than none of the gear sees the start will see the end."
Oh ya Sean..correct you are and I appreciate you opening up your conversation in a respectful manner. That was very nice of you. Im aiming and hoping that it will at least last once for each trip. I understand that I will have to change out some small things along the way, but Im hoping major things can last me through each trip and then be replaced for the next. Is that wishful thinking?
And another thing, you are correct, it is not a matter of the gear outlasting me, its about me outlasting the gear. My plan is to do the Triple Crown, but this is only the plan. Ill be done with college by next year so I want to so and see as much as possible before starting my first serious job. I think once and if I make it thru my first hike, only then will I be able to tell if I will want to do the other two. We shall see. Thanks for your kind advice.Jul 30, 2009 at 3:49 pm #1517761
This one goes out to Nate…
Well I did that search for the Double Rainbow in the wind and found nothing on youtube. Then I did a search on google to see if another site had something. When doing so, I found this but must say it honestly hasn't been much help to giving me a better idea on how well it performs.
I did find this though…what a freaking bummer…Im rethinking the tart tent now but wont jump the gun just yet.Jul 30, 2009 at 4:28 pm #1517776
@gohawksLocale: SE IowaJul 30, 2009 at 4:45 pm #1517781
totally forgot the link. Thanks Jay your a lifesaver =)Jul 30, 2009 at 5:06 pm #1517787
@iwillchopyouhotmail-comLocale: Lake Tahoe
I actually kind of disagree with Sean about going lighter and lighter on each successive thru-hike. My wife and I carried a heavier shelter on the CDT ('05) than we did on the PCT ('03), though it was only a difference of 6 oz. We carried the TT Squall (the original) on the PCT and only one of us could sit up at a time while getting dressed and whatnot. It got annoying. Also, changing/lowering the pitch for rain was also annoying (and even harder to get dressed when the ceiling was lower). So, we got the TT Cloudburst (the original) and we could both sit up at the same time and it didn't require us to lower the pitch for bad weather. It seems that when you spend such a large amount of time in a shelter as you do on thru-hikes, often times keeping comfort/sanity will trump weight. Just my opinion.
Actually, I think that maybe the heavier shelter for our CDT hike was the only item that was heavier than on our earlier thru-hikes.
You mentioned you had a partner–if this a significant other, or just a buddy? If it is just a buddy, then I would strongly suggest getting different shelters. The alone time when you are both having bad days could save the relationship (speaking from experience).
As for wind–you will almost positively not experience strong enough wind to destroy any tent by GG or TT. And if you do find yourself in a windy spot, try your best to find a sheltered spot to pitch the shelter. Being ultralight is largely working with nature as much as possible.
As for misting–this does occur in very bad storms but you will probably be able to count the times it happens on one hand for each long trail you finish.
Best of luck to you. What order do you intend to do the trails in?
Edit–I wouldn't go for spinnaker if you intend to use the shelter for as long as possible. I would also recommend a groundsheet under your shelter to prolong the life of the floor (if you get that option). I've had Henry Shires repair the Cloudburst after a thru-hike and it's now seen another 4000 or so miles, so I'm inclined to recommend his products.Jul 30, 2009 at 6:01 pm #1517797
Im going to shoot you an email, hope thats cool. I feel as though I can relate with you on a lot of things. In the mean time, thanks for the information that you have provided thus far.
(Revised)…I got to thinking…Ill just ask you my questions here…other people might benefit from hearing the conversation that otherwise would have been through email…working on next pst right now if you are reading this.Jul 30, 2009 at 6:26 pm #1517802
+1 to the advice to read Mark Verber's webpages avidly… lots of really useful information which should cover a great many of your questions.Jul 30, 2009 at 6:45 pm #1517804
I am basing what I am about to say off of the Squall 2 and Cloudburst 2 specifications. So maybe things have changed since then and that is why there are discrepancies in our comparisons. From what I have read on http://www.tarptent.com here our each of the tents specifications.
Length: 94 inches
Width: 78/51 inches
Height: 45 inches
Weight: 34 ozs (using trekking poles.)
Length: 94 inches
Width: 70/51 inches
Height: 42 inches
Weight: 38 ozs (because it doesnt use a trekking pole design, is that correct, thats what I got.)
If we were to compare the two the Squall 2 appears to be larger, am I mistaken? If I am not, then perhaps things have changed since the original models came out.
"We carried the TT Squall (the original) on the PCT and only one of us could sit up at a time while getting dressed and whatnot. It got annoying."
Judging by what I have read, it looks like this problem has been removed.
"Also, changing/lowering the pitch for rain was also annoying (and even harder to get dressed when the ceiling was lower). So, we got the TT Cloudburst (the original) and we could both sit up at the same time and it didn't require us to lower the pitch for bad weather."
Really? Does anyone know if this is still the case? Its nice to know that you dont have to worry about adjustments for weather with the Cloudburst. So true or not true?
"You mentioned you had a partner–if this a significant other, or just a buddy?"
Significant other, otherwise you threw a good idea out there with a friend. However, did you ever get sick of your wife at times while hiking? If so, and this happens to me with my girlfriend, would it be wrong for me to kick her outside for a couple of nights. I mean not in the rain or anything of course, just a night with the mosquitos to give us a little space and to cause her some pain and suffering for getting on my nerves :P
"As for wind–you will almost positively not experience strong enough wind to destroy any tent by GG or TT."
I hope this is correct. However, am I right in assuming that the Squall 2 would hold up more strongly against the wind due to it being able to incorporate trekking poles into its design while the Cloudburst does not have this option (if this is right.) Plus the Squall seems like it holds more tightly to the ground compared to the Cloudburst with its Hula-hoop like opening at the front.
"As for misting–this does occur in very bad storms but you will probably be able to count the times it happens on one hand for each long trail you finish."
If this is the case, and we have come to the conclusion that the Squall 2 has this misting problem, would it be better to go with Gossamer Gear's Squall Classic? I mean besides the difference between the materials used and the Squall Classic being $95 more in price, in there anything else that can be mentioned? And on the note of price, why do you think the Classic is more expensive the Squall 2. Is it simply due to that difference in material that was spoken of?
"I wouldn't go for spinnaker if you intend to use the shelter for as long as possible. I would also recommend a groundsheet under your shelter to prolong the life of the floor (if you get that option)."
The spinnaker material is in the Squall Classic isnt it, thats the special material that helps cut down on the misting correct? Well if I understand stand that I might have to buy another one while on my triple crown adventure and maybe even have some repairs done to the tent I choose between trips, wouldnt the spinnaker be the better option. As far as a ground sheet is concerned, I will definitely be getting one of those, you can be guaranteed that much for sure =)
If anyone else outside of Zack could also give me their two cents on matters Id really appreicate it. I feel as though I am getting closer and closer to finding hte ideal tart tent for me. Thanks a lot everyone!Jul 30, 2009 at 6:57 pm #1517807
@arichardson6Locale: North East
meh..I'm studying for the GRE so I can't answer all your questions, but I can say that tents aren't all about specs. Height can be measured at different points. You have to look at the shape of the tent as well. Specifically, check out the angle of the walls :-)
Alright..back to work..ecology Ph.D. here I come!Jul 30, 2009 at 7:08 pm #1517808
I read the link that you provided and the link about bathtub floors and found it enlightening. Then I got to reading this part:
"Extreme Conditions. Most of these shelters don't handle extreme conditions well. What's extreme? For me, winds consistently above 30-40 mph, standing water, or real snowfall."
I dont think I will ever see any heavy snow fall with the months that we will be hiking. Rainy stormy winds are what concern me most. With the trails I will be doing wont I most likely encounter winds above 30-40mph? I wont lie, I really havent a clue to what the answer is to this question. However, it was my impress that you can hit 50 mph winds on some really horrible days. Depending on your answer, could this lead to a tarp tent not being right for me?
Ok well back to reading, dont know if Ill get to read it all tonight, but Ill keep reading away and respond back here in between reading segments. Thanks!Jul 30, 2009 at 7:22 pm #1517809
"Advantages of the DR are that it provides more shelter from storms (I have used a Squall in high winds… but I wouldn't recommend it… it felt like I was in a wind tunnel.)"
So maybe a no go on the Squall 2. The Squall Classic appears to be given even lower rates from what you wrote. The conclusion being is that you seem to praise the Double Rainbow the most. However, I ask you this then. I got the MSR Carbon Reflex 2 for $307 which normally retails for $500 + tax. From what I can see, it looks like it is almost the same exact tent in design. Each has a long main pole that arches along the whole tent and then a smaller one that arches accross it. Well if thats the case why change? I will admitt is is a half pound lighter and $47 less that what I paid for mine, but is there any other huge differences? As far as the weight is concerned, it can kind of be justified slighty because it offers a very thick floor. Long story short, do you think the Double Rainbow would out perform the MSR Carbon Reflex 2 in extreme conditions and last as long?Jul 30, 2009 at 7:26 pm #1517810
@iwillchopyouhotmail-comLocale: Lake Tahoe
I haven't seen either of the enhanced Squalls or Cloudbursts, so I'm hesitant to comment on them. However, in my experience I found the arching walls of the Cloudburst easier to move around under without rubbing my bag against the walls, as opposed to the flat walls of the Squall. It seems that the new Squall is taller and wider, so that may make this a moot point. Also, the shelters are both intended to be set up with the foot into the wind, so the front opening design is of little importance in this regard (but winds do shift…). I have found that hoop design tunnel tents handle wind very well. Again, wind was not of much worry on the triple crown for me as I try my hardest to pitch under trees to help with wind, warmth and condensation.
In regard to changing the pitch with rain, I've found that with the netting sewn directly to the edge of the tarp, water can roll down the netting and into the tent if you don't pitch the tent correctly. However, with the Cloudburst, it has the roll down storm flaps that counter this. Personally, I now like tents like SMD Lunar Solo (I have no experience with the Duo), that don't have the netting sewn into the tarp edge. I think a big shelter design flaw is one that when it rains, you are required to go out into the rain.
My wife and I get along probably the best when we are on hikes together (we met on the AT, so we already had backpacking as our passion). I've seen strong relationships implode on trails, and all I'll say about that is to remain flexible and keep perspective.
Misting occurs on single wall shelters, regardless of material. It is when the sometimes inevitable interior condensation is basically knocked free by heavy rainfall on the exterior of the tarp. Again, another reason why I try to sleep under trees. And hopefully somebody else can jump in here, but is spinnaker as waterproof as silnylon? For some reason I don't think it is?
I'm curious what order you plan to hike the trails in? Here's my take on the feel of each trail:
AT–social party (can be both good and bad). People are genuinely excited to be backpacking (most for the first time), regardless of what or how much they are carrying. Gear is largely irrelevant, the experience is king.
PCT–some posturing in the beginning by people who think they are more experienced than others (at least I experienced this). Gear is seen as much more important, and the majority have already hiked a long trail. By the end, gear is largely irrelevant, the experience is king.
CDT–While almost nobody is carrying more than 15 lbs baseweight, noboby really cares what or how much you are carrying. It's assumed that everybody has hiked another trail (though I met 3 people where it was their first trail and they were definitely the most into the hike). People really look out for each other and it's definitely a one-big-family atmosphere–largely due to the fact that you might hike for a month or two without seeing another hiker. Embrace the brutality!Jul 30, 2009 at 7:43 pm #1517814
The Cloudburst has more *useable* space than the Squall.
You mention the word *extreme conditions* but then earlier on say you are through hiking. They are totally different. Sensible site selection would never get extreme conditions.
These shelters have large unsupported panels of fabric. The odd trekking pole here/there difference would be trivial in affecting wind performance.
Given your personality type, I am putting money on the fact that whatever you buy now you will replace with something else. So you might as well get the lightest option as you can't go down in wieght from there.
I recommend a Cuben tarp from MLD and a TiGoat bivy with insect mesh. The combination has passed through multiple through hikes.
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