User Review: Tarptent Contrail
Design: Lightweight tarptent
Ease of Setup: Easy with a little practice
Weight: 1.5 pounds without the four stakes
Price Paid: $200
The Contrail is an excellent shelter for the long-distance hiker. So far I've used mine for 3300 miles over the last two seasons, and it's still going strong. This year I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in the Eastern US. Last year I hiked 1100 miles on the Continental Divide Trail in the Western US.
The Contrail provided excellent shelter in heavy rain with moderate-to-strong winds, moderate hail, and light snow (2" or less). And it provides very good bug-free ventilation. I've never slept as well in harsh conditions as I have in this tent.
It's important to keep in mind that this is a lightweight silnylon shelter and it has its limitations. The user needs to be aware of condensation and misting issues. Site selection is very important. I would not recommend this tent for an inexperienced weekend hiker in heavy rain, for instance.
But for an experienced long-distance hiker, I haven't seen a better shelter. It's easy to pitch with only 4 stakes (but it takes a week or so to get really good at it), it's lightweight (23 ounces without stakes), easy to pack (no poles if you use a hiking stick), adaptable for different conditions, and there's nothing to break (again, no poles).
This is the third Henry Shires tent I've owned. I wore out the other two. I haven't needed help with the Contrail, but I was always impressed with the company's customer service.
Where to Buy
The Tarptent Contrail is not available from the stores we monitor.
You may be able to find it new or used at one of these sites:
US | Canada | UK | Aus
Or you may want to check for a dealer list or direct sales on the Tarptent website.
Retailers: Do you sell this product? List your site here.