Tarptent Double Rainbow
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: from tarptent.com. Cut the middle man.
Light and convenient. Difficult to set up correctly to keep out rain.
- Light and easy to set up.
- Handles wind reasonable well.
- Made in the USA.
- Weak constructions in areas.
- Not easy to keep out rain.
- Not really free standing without modification.
Not sure this tent is suitable for the Canadian Rockies. It needs pegs for setup, so when the ground or tent pad is covered in rock chips (frequently), you'll be struggling to secure it. Using hiking poles is not very functional, and I also don't want small animals chewing on the handles by leaving them outside.
Some people use a modified sleeve to be able to make the tent free standing when using hiking poles. I like to take my poles on day hikes from a base camp — a necessity to see the Rockies properly — so this isn't an option for me. A true free standing tent is more suitable.
I know that there is a setup to allow ventilation and a setup to keep out rain, but trying to raise the sides of the floor to keep out rain is not easy to do without pulling draw strings/straps and the floor too tight. To further complicate things, one of the tighteners became frayed and was almost useless. (Difficult repairs were required.) I'm not unrealistic, but I expect that straps and the tightening system should not have problems in the first week of use. That's basic.
I also have to prop the corners with boots to get the them set properly.
I even make sure the outer tarp is pulled as close as possible to the ground, but the inside is still vulnerable. Getting wet in temperatures just above freezing in the Rockies — even in July — wasn't fun. To be honest, it kept me dry for three of five nights that it had rained.
I found this tent not quite large enough for me and my backpack. I imagine that for two people it would be tight, so unless you travel with a significant other, why subject each other to your sounds and smells in such close range. Get your own tents — this one's light enough.
For some people this tent seems to function well. I'm used to a Sierra Design Observatory — a tent that hasn't failed in seven years of extensive use -—so the Double Rainbow is a bit of a letdown. It is, however, very light, so the compromise is that it is not heavy duty. The fabric itself is great, and I had no problems with the fly. As long as you don't abuse the fabric, it won't fail you.
Be aware that this is an ultra light. Much depends on how you use it. Lean how to set it up for various conditions and monitor the condition of the straps. Test it out for a few nights where you can make repairs easily. Once it's proven, then head out on a trek.
Design: Three season plus, freestanding
Ease of Setup: Under 2 minutes, even for the first time
Weight: 2.5lb without options
Price Paid: $225
This is one of, and the first of two, Henry Shire's tarptents I own. And I absolutely LOVE this tent when I want more room than my Contrail offers, or if I will be hiking in questionable weather.
It handles 60mph gusts with ease, is fast to set up -- under 2 minutes. Thread the center pole, stake out the 4 stakes, adjust as necessary. OR, for a freestanding setup, use your hiking poles.
I also own the "extras" you can get with this tent -- the liner and the trekking pole extenders, since my poles are a bit short. The liner is fabulous for keeping condensation off your gear, or to prevent the "misting" that often happens with silnylon tents in heavy rain. It also helps hold your body heat inside the tent, when the weather turns cold.
This tent will also stand up to a bit more snow than the Contrail, due to its dome-like build.
The vestibules are terrific. They not only hold a significant amount of gear, they also can be put up with a center, attached, rain curtain on both sides, with your trekking poles. Great for cooking in bad weather or just for a nice view when it's raining, without getting the inside of your tent wet.
At 2.5 lbs (without the options), it is a nice lightweight alternative to the heavier tents out there on the market. This one sleeps 2, but you had better like each other quite well. I use it for solo adventures only at this point, but it will sleep my 6'3" hubby quite comfortably too. With a bathtub floor, no rainwater will come in.
So far, this is my favorite tent from Henry Shires. My cost, when I got it, 3 years ago, was $225, including the options of the liner and trekking pole extenders. Well worth it for the money and ease of setup.
Design: 3+ season tarp tent which can be freestanding with the use of trekking poles
Ease of Setup: 1 Pole and 6 stakes make for set up times in 2 minutes.
Price Paid: $200
This is one great shelter for the go-light crowd. I use it mainly for a solo shelter, but 2 will fit quite comfortably. This shelter has lots of headroom and with the dual doors/vestibules, entry/exit is made simple and unimpeded.
Speaking of vestibules, Henry has a great arrangement going here. With the addition of the 'rain curtain' you can have the vestibule open and cook under it, during inclement weather. I have on occasion experienced some condensation inside, but certainly no worse (even better) than a lot of double walled tents. Adequate legroom for those that like to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out!
It withstood 55mph gusts in a sandstorm while backpacking in Canyonlands NP, Utah. It requires some careful seam sealing, as there are a few seams, especially around the vestibule attachment areas. With all the screening, it provides good ventilation and excellent protection from insects, etc.
Although it is freestanding with the use of 145cm trekking poles, I just stake it out to achieve a good taut pitch and use the trekking poles to hold open/up one of the vestibules.
During a downpour, water can run off the end of the tent section(around the pole ends) and into the interior of the tent, if you haven't pulled the pole ends all the way out. Just something to watch out when you set up. Set up is fast and easy(2 minutes)
This shelter(with 7 MSR Ground Hog tent stakes) weighs 1257g on my digital scales.
Who ever thought you could get so much space and coverage, for so little weight. I paid $200 on sale.
Where to Buy
The Tarptent Double Rainbow is not available from the stores we monitor.
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Free-standing (with 140 cm or longer trekking poles ; 130 cm or longer with optional extenders) or stake the four corners. Optional breathable liner for cool, damp conditions or as a thermal barrier.