Tarptent Contrail Tent REVIEW

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Tarptent Contrail Tent REVIEW

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    Sam Haraldson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Gallatin Range

    I don’t personally think that a tents visual appearance has any merit for its practicality or useability but for the record I’ll add that the Contrail is a very sexy tent.

    I was only introduced to Shire’s tents within the past year as I started researching DIY tent plans. What I like most about the Contrail is that it gets back to what Henry was first doing with tents – minimal roof with bug netting. His Rainbow designs albeit practical and worthy they are simply not tarptents.

    Will, thanks for another top-notch review. Your extensive testing and matter-of-fact presentation of results and findings plays an enormous part in making informed decisions.

    Charles Thompson


    Locale: Land of Toto

    The issue of ugly is settled. I have seen stelth bombers and fighters take off from Whiteman AFB in MO. They have a beauty to them. Now, why do you think this tent is called Contrail? Because it resembles the bomber, an object in the sky flying with a contrail.

    Rob Lewis
    BPL Member


    Locale: Northeast

    I have experience 3 dislikes about the Contrail, which is still a great lightweight shelter.

    1. Front entry door is hard to get in and out of with a verticle pole. (better if pole is at an angle.)

    2. When pitched on a slope, I have found the floor tensioners to pull the stakes out of the ground because of sliding down the slope. (Im sure that better site selection in this case would help)

    3. Must be careful about placing the pole in the grommet, as I poked a hole in the silnylon in the same place as Will's review.

    Overall it is a good lightweight shelter, and for someone new to Ultralight backpacking, I love the missing weight and time consuming setup of my old tent!!

    Franco Darioli


    Locale: Gauche, CU.

    Wow, that is a blast from the past.
    But since the Contrail is still alive and well…
    Point 1 and 3 are "solved in this pic :
    Contrail V poles

    easy enough to use two poles and to use the handle on top rather than on the ground.
    That way your poles tips can also be inserted in the soil as a peg.
    If you do only use one pole, then yes you can set it to one side at least till you go to sleep.
    Contrail pole aside
    As for point two, I could be wrong but you would have the same problem with shelters that have the inner (tent over there) pegged independently from the fly.

    Rocco Speranza
    BPL Member


    Locale: Western NC Mtns

    I just messaged you on the other Backpacker Forum. I'll ask my question again here in a different way encase someone else can answer as well.

    Is the 2008 version the one being made now?
    Is that the 2008 version in the pics above?

    How much better is the new versus the old 2006 version?

    Thanks again for your help!

    Franco Darioli


    Locale: Gauche, CU.

    Hi Rocco
    I had the original and have now have the current version.
    In total there are 3 slightly different versions , the one sold now is the result of several minor tweaks that Henry has made over the years.
    The current version has the ability to slide the box end down to ground level for extra rain and wind protection.
    I prefer to use the extra middle strut at the end for extra leverage (working in combination with the front guyline)
    You can see that in my videos at YouTube (I see you have already found those…)
    The other upgrades are less visible but nevertheless useful.

    Rocco Speranza
    BPL Member


    Locale: Western NC Mtns

    Thanks for the replies. Yeah, I think I'll want the newer version since I plan to keep this awhile.

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