Slingfin Splitwing UL Tarp Review
Sep 19, 2019 at 2:14 pm #3610887David HosmerBPL Member
@novohozSep 19, 2019 at 9:24 pm #3610929
I purchased this tarp along with the vestibule and groundsheet a few weeks ago, and I’m taking it to Zion in 10 days. To this point I’ve only played around with it in the yard, but so far I’m in love. It takes up very little pack space, and the combination of those 3 components is slightly lighter than my Echo II tarp with groundsheet. In other words, for slightly less weight I get a vestibule for better weather protection when needed. My only minor quibble is that the front and rear guylines need to be a little bit longer (the guys at SplitWing told me that they were going to address this, and it may already be fixed).
I predict that this is going to be a popular shelter for UL backpackers. It is going to be ideal for folks who A) hike the AT and plan to use the shelters most of the time, but want a lightweight backup with real function in their pack, and B) western thru-hikers who usually get to cowboy camp, but who likewise need a real shelter for just in case.Sep 19, 2019 at 9:28 pm #3610930
Not trying to spam here, but for those who might be interested in some additional details, I did a “first impressions” review at http://fivestarhikes.com/index.php/2019/07/04/slingfin-splitwing-ul-tarp/Sep 19, 2019 at 9:43 pm #3610931Geoff CaplanBPL Member
@geoffcaplanLocale: Lake District, Cumbria
Some interesting ideas, but I have reservations.
First, they’ve used a 10d fabric for the fly. That’s pretty marginal for exposed camping, especially if there’s a risk of wet snow. Though in mitigation they’ve used a high quality 6.6 nylon. I contacted a few makers about this recently and they were recommending that anything under 30d should only be used in sheltered conditions. All their marketing shows below-the-treeline pitches, and I’m thinking that this is where this shelter belongs. Not an issue if that’s where you camp, but it does limit the flexibility. Of course the payoff is the low weight, which is pretty nice.
Second, they have placed the side guy attachment quite high, and I’m not convinced this will provide the optimal angles and stretch when guyed to the ground. For some reason on their product page the illustrate it being mysteriously suspended from above which adds to my suspicions. And there’s only 1 guy per side. The big side panels are the weak point of any A frame and the guying is important – I think that this design might be flappy in the wind. The best design I’ve seen is the Paratarp with 3 side attachments placed low, which looks bomber as well as being more flexible.
Third, they opted for a fixed triangle to close the foot end. I like the Paratarp idea better – you can choose between an open pitch in good weather for views and venting, and a very stormproof closed pitch. In storm pitch the rear pole is inside the Paratarp, so you can reach it to increase the stretch on a sagging fly without leaving the shelter. Not an option with the Splitwing.
Fourth, I’m struggling to get my head around the signature split beak at the front. I can see that it offers a choice of pitching heights, but because it’s split almost up to the pole it doesn’t improve the drip line much. So I’m guessing that the main aim is to protect the edges of the beak? I like the zipless beak design and the way it doesn’t need any extra pegs, but I do worry with beaks that they might flap in storms compared to a sewn-in vestibule. Do you have any experience with this? Plus, according to the pitching video you are stuck with a fairly low 110 cm height when using the beak.
They don’t give any dimensions that I can see, but the foot end seems perilously low. Is there enough space there for a thick pad and lofty bag?
Finally, the bug net seems optimised for fair weather only. There’s no draught protection, and not even a bathtub, so not ideal for freezing winds or Scottish bogs.
Having said all that, for sheltered camping on forest duff this does look a nice shelter – I’m coming at it from the perspective of someone who camps on the windy heights of northern Europe.Sep 19, 2019 at 9:51 pm #3610935
“I like the zipless beak design and the way it doesn’t need any extra pegs, but I do worry with beaks that they might flap in storms compared to a sewn-in vestibule. Do you have any experience with this? Plus, according to the pitching video you are stuck with a fairly low 110 cm height when using the beak.
They don’t give any dimensions that I can see, but the foot end seems perilously low. Is there enough space there for a thick pad and lofty bag?”
I’m hoping to get answers to all of those questions in Zion soon; there’s a good chance of some windy conditions on at least one night. In my yard, I had plenty of room at the foot end (tarp only) with a S2S pad and a Nunatak Arc 30. I’m 6’2″. Can’t speak to the room when using the inner tent….I’m going to stick to my Aeon in buggy conditions.
I HOPE the SplitWing turns out to be wind worthy. If it is, I’ll be taking it on a CDT section hike in Colorado next summer.Sep 19, 2019 at 10:04 pm #3610939Geoff CaplanBPL Member
@geoffcaplanLocale: Lake District, Cumbria
Hi Five Star
Just read your review. Sounds like an “interesting” afternoon – you’re a man that suffers for your art!
Another thing that struck me from your pics is that getting in and out might be a bit of a faff with the beak deployed, as you’d have to unclip the corner of the beak, undo the velcro, and also undo the guy to the wing as well, unless you are OK with crawling really low. Then reverse once inside.
Or is it less hassle than it looks?Sep 19, 2019 at 10:51 pm #3610943Dan YBPL Member
They are in stock:Sep 19, 2019 at 11:59 pm #3610955
LOL yeah, I picked a miserable day for my first set-up in the yard. 90+, humid, fire ants….
Unclipping a wing isn’t a big deal at all for entry. If you set it up using the highest pole length (130cm) I don’t even feel the need. Entry when using the vestibule is a little more “pfaffish” in that the vestibule doesn’t have a center zip- you unclip the vestibule on one side and roll it across. OTOH, the set up of the vestibule is a snap. Super well-designed.Sep 20, 2019 at 1:09 am #3610960Monte MastersonBPL Member
@septimiusLocale: Changes Often
So the fly. mesh inner and vestibule are $340? You could get a very similar Trekkertent Stealth 1.5 for 220 pounds ($275). And the 20g silpoly Stealth fly would be stronger in big weather too. The Trekkertent weighs 24 oz. It also looks a lot easier to enter and exit than the Splitwing. The Splitwing appears a bit busy, expensive and rayway like for me..Nov 6, 2019 at 12:04 am #3617411AdamBPL Member
FWIW, I’ve been using this tarp shelter (tarp, vestibule, and groundsheet – no bug tent, yet anyway) for the past couple months backcountry hunting and hiking in the Cascades. Overall, I love it. I especially love how easy it is to carry, and I’ve been through a few showers (and a little snow) under it; I definitely have a lot of confidence in the shelter it provides.
Personally, I’d have no hesitation pitching it above the treeline if I could properly position and tension it.
The only minor gripe I have is that it’s a bit awkward to enter under the “wings.” Not a problem, really, just a little annoyance.Jun 6, 2020 at 5:47 pm #3651393David HosmerBPL Member
When considering the SplitWing above the tree line (or out in the desert, or a canyon, or anyplace exposed to the winds and gusts) you have to look at how you’re playing the tent. The first time or two that I pitched in a wind storm I foolishly pitched crossways to the wind and it got LOUD! When I started putting more thought into placement and stuck the foot end into the wind (like Slingfin suggests) I never had problems.
More often than not, I guyed out the sides to rocks or trees and almost never stake them down. I’m not sure if the more horizontal angle helps or hurts flapping but it works for me.
I’ve had this shelter in rain and admittedly dry snow and everything rolls right off.
Getting in and out with the vestibule is one of those things that seems like it will be weird and uncomfortable but is pretty pleasant once you get in there and do it.
I usually sleep with a 2 in (5.08 cm) pad and a sleep with different bags that range from paper thin to 2-3 inches of loft. I have size 12 feet (I don’t know the Metric equivalent) and have never had problems with not having enough foot room in this shelter.
There may be less expensive options but I worry about how often they’ll need to be replaced.Jun 22, 2021 at 8:07 am #3719548Josh JBPL Member
since your review what your long term impressions?
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