Kelty Noah's Tarp 9
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $69
A nice option if you don't want to pitch a tent, and a great choice to keep stuff dry.
- Packs small
- Lots of guyout points
- Stays waterproof
- Odd shape
- Optional poles are huge
I bought this with my REI dividend in 2010. My wife and I were headed to Yellowstone and Glacier NP's for a trip, and it seemed as though this tarp might come in handy. It did. We slept under it in Idaho Falls for a night in lieu of pitching a tent, and it spent several days strung up over our picnic tables, keeping stuff dry. The weird shape can make getting a taut pitch a PIA sometimes, but it also allows some creativity in the way it can be set up. I bought a pair of Kelty's optional poles, but they're really too big and bulky for anything other than car camping. We travel by motorcycle, and decided that having the extra heft along wasn't necessary. Our primary use has been as a shelter against the rain, and we normally try to guy as many lines as possible to keep the tarp nice and tight. During the first trip in '10, it held nicely against some light showers, with only some expected sagging with the weight of the rain water.
Fast forward to another trip to the same parks, and again the Noah's Tarp did yeoman's duty in keeping our stuff dry. We had quite a bit more rain this year, and as long as we pushed the big puddles out of the tarp before it sagged too much, all was well. We had to tighten lines on a frequent basis, but that's not a big deal. We use a product on the bikes called Rok Straps, which incorporate elastic webbing, and they were the cat's ass for easy cinching on the tarp. Everything stayed dry, even when there was a gallon or so trapped in the folds. It would have been nice to have had a pole for the center of the tarp to allow the water to run off, but hindsight is always 20/20.
I'm very pleased with this piece of gear, and would not hesitate to buy another one. The 9'x9' size is small, and there have been times when I wish that I'd have gone with the 12'x12' option, but really, there are no complaints. I'd use it as a backpacking shelter more often, but my wife is adamant about having a full tent to keep out any unwanted "guests." :)
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $65
It's not the lightest or largest option out there, but it's one of the best.
- Generous coverage
- Easy setup
- Tons of guyout points
- Sheds water like a pro
- Excellent single-person shelter
- Not the best shape for hammock coverage
- A little heavy
- Pitching in snowy conditions requires steeper pitch
- Two people sheltering under it can be cozy depending on the weather. Three gets crowded.
This tarp was one of those semi-impulsive purchases that turned out to be some of the best money I EVER spent.
What's not to like? Fast setup, strong, stable, reliable. I generally am able to set this tarp up in under ten minutes. My average setup time is 6-7 minutes. The generous number of tie-out points allow plenty of ways to put this up, beyond the classic 'diamond' setup. high, low, tent-style, you name it.
The tarp has handled any weather condition I've used it in ably, sometimes even better than I can. Being an open tarp, ventilation is no issue. Granted, in cold weather this is a downside.
Now, for hammocking, which is what I bought it for, this tarp is pretty good but a little on the minimalist side, I now realize. It gets the job done but there's no real weather buffer.
For ground-sleeping, it's more than adequate. Depending on the pitch style, there is plenty of room for one or two people (though two can get cozy in lousy weather pitches), and three is almost always a crowd.
It packs down into one of the side pockets on my pack, takes just a couple minutes. I have yet to have any failures on the guyouts, seams, anywhere. I've had this tarp weighed down by a couple hundred pounds of snow/slush, and while it stretched and bowed, it didn't take a set, and never failed.
Worth. Every. Penny.
Price Paid: $45?
I like the variety of tie points that allow dozens of setup options. The 9 foot size is about perfect for a backpacking kitchen or to allow a dry place to assemble or disassemble a tent. I use trees and trekking poles to set it up when backpacking so the stakes and lines are the only additional items needed.
I have owned mine for 10-15 years with no problems. I don't take it on backpack trips when rain is not in the forcast, but always take it when rain is anticipated.
Design: Tarp-General Shelter
Weight: Very Easy
Price Paid: $50
This is truly a great product! Kelty rocks on this tarp for backpacking or anywhere you need a quick, dependable, rugged, lightweight tarp. I have both the Noah's Tarp 9 and the Canyon Tarp, which is the same as the 16. I highly recommend this tarp. Plenty of guy out points, factory taped seams, light pleasing color....Just the right size for an extra backcounty shelter or vestibule for you tent. I love mine. I will not leave home without it on backpacking trips....Stakes and guy out lines are supplied. Very small stuff sack makes this an extra small package to add into any pack. You cannot lose on this product....especially for the quality verses price...
Update: May 30, 2006
Kelty has truly done their homework on these tarps! I own the Noah's Tarp 9 and the Grand Canyon Tarp (no longer made but similar to the Noah's 16 Tarp). The Noah's 9 tarp is the perfect thing to carry backpacking for additional shelter, extra protection over your tent or any kind of shelter. I have used mine in rainstorms, snow, and any time the threat of rain looms over a backpacking trip.
The tarp is tough, lightweight, has a pleasing color as the others reviews have stated, and is highly recommended. It drys out very fast, and has plenty of anchor points for setting up. The light weight, the small size, and the tough factory coated seams all impress me highly with this tarp. One added plus is the shape. Because of its shape, it handles high winds very well.
I have been extremely pleased with mine. It is well worth the money! The ONLY con I can think of is that the Noah's 9 will not cover a two-man tent entirely. Look at the Noah's 9 tarp for an added porch to your tent, or as something to tear your tent down under during a rain, or as a stand alone shelter for eating, or sleeping under it with one or two people if you do not carry a tent. Do not count on it to entirely cover a two-man tent. If you want that, I suggest a larger one.
Design: Tarp tent
Ease of Setup: Lots of options
Weight: 27 ounces
Price Paid: $58
This a very durable tarp with tons of options for set up. I take mine for three season hammock camping. Suspended on the diagonal, it gives great end to end coverage while retaining the option of staking it to the ground for max side coverage when the rain is blowing.
When I get to areas above treeline that do not offer good hammock hanging options, I use my hammock as a bivy and use the Noah's tarp as a tarp tent. With one hiking pole and three stakes, I've been able to set this up low and tight enough to withstand 50+ mph winds. I simply put some rocks and logs over the stakes for added security.
Since this tarp is tough and made from polyester, it is not the lightest tarp by a long shot. However, it does withstand more use and abuse than lighter silnylon tarps. I'd give it 5 stars, but there is a weight penalty.
Ease of Setup: About a dozen guy-out points
Weight: 1.5 lbs
Price Paid: $50
A very lightweight and cheap alternative to tenting. I added two old aluminum tent poles and about 12 stakes/guy out lines and it still comes in under 3 pounds. You can get it very taut, it has a multitude of configurations and can be raised or lowered to alter the declination of the sides, depending on how much storm protection you need. Very inexpensive when compared with the Moss Heptawing. Fully waterproof nylon without the annoying crinkling sound of cheap, woven plastic tarps. My only gripe was that I thought the loops were too big and didn't allow the tarp to achieve maximum tautness. This was remedied when I went to the shoe cobbler and had him sew the loops shut at about 2/3 the way.
Ease of Setup: easy
Weight: 24 oz
Price Paid: $50
This is probably the best value for the buck in tarps. light enough to be carried for extra shelter if you plan on carrying a tent. I use this with my bivy in winter when bugs are not a problem. The tarp's design allows a reasonably taut pitch with just two stakes and a guy line on each end tied to two points, ie trees, bushes, trek poles whatever. The polyester material will not stretch and is very waterproof however I found it necessary to seam seal it carefully. All in all, a high quality, useful product with a very reasonable price.