Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $259
I've used my Notch on several backpacking trips in Idaho and on my recent John Muir Trail thru-hike. It provides a good balance of light weight and security. The side-entry with dual doors and vestibules are a real plus. I'd recommend it as a solo shelter for summer/early fall backpacking and thru hikes.
- Two doors and two vestibules
- Fairly light at 26 oz
- Full screening keeps out the bugs, snakes, etc.
- Only requires 4 stakes
- Side entry provides easy access
- Option to set up as tarp or bug shelter
- Reasonable price, great customer service
- Takes practice to set up with a taut pitch
- Doubt it would hold up to heavy snow
- Integrated struts at each end limit packing options
Although I wouldn't want to brave a snowstorm in this shelter, it has protected me well through extended rain, heavy frost, hail, and 35-40mph wind. It does take some practice to get a taut pitch, and takes longer to set up than a tent with poles, but the weight savings are worth the extra fuss. I put rocks on top of the stakes to make sure they held if it was windy. It only requires 4 stakes, which is less than many non-freestanding shelters.
I'm small (5'2"/102 lbs), so space was not an issue for me. I was able to stretch out and sit up easily. There was enough room at the head or foot of the Notch for my pack if I wanted to bring it in from the vestibule. I've even had my border collie in it with me a few times.
I never had a problem with excessive condensation, but admit that I've used it only it low-humidity Western climates.
This shelter requires 2 hiking poles for set-up, which is not an issue for me since I always backpack with poles. On the negative side, I did find that the handle-down position made the tops of my poles very dirty and I needed to wipe them off each morning to avoid grinding dirt into my hands.
The notch doesn't take up much space in my pack, but the integrated struts at each end would not fit into my pack horizontally, so packing options were constrained.
All in all, I'm very happy with the Notch and plan to use it on future summer hikes.
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $200
Henry Shires' Tarptent Notch is a solid performing, lightweight, solo shelter. It has two vestibules as well as two doors to enter/exit and access items. It can be used as tarp only, mesh inner only, or both together for rain and bug protection. It sets up quickly and utilizes trekking poles for its structure.
- Packs small
- Two vestibules
- Two doors
- Uses trekking poles as support
- Decent headroom
- Fairly small footprint of inner mesh
- Hard to unclip/clip in inner mesh
This is a review of the Henry Shires' Tarptent Notch.
The Tarptent Notch is a single-person shelter. It could be classified as a double wall shelter as it has a separate "inner mesh" or "bug net" and a rain fly. It has two vestibules as well as two doors. It uses trekking poles to set up (although you can use "normal tent poles" of correct length or even sticks to set up the shelter).
The Notch has a rain fly and an inner mesh. The rain fly can be set up independently. This is great for trips when bug protection is not needed. It reduces the weight and pack size of the shelter. The inner mesh can also be set up independently. This is great for clear nights, but when bug protection is necessary. And as a unit, the rain fly and inner mesh make for a shelter to escape from rain, wind, and bugs. I like this versatility of the Notch. In colder weather you can bring only the tarp. In warm weather you would bring both, but have the option to only use the inner mesh if it is a nice night and want to really see the stars and get the most ventilation. I must admit that I have not used the inner mesh set up on its own at the time of this writing.
Two vestibules and two doors really make the Notch very accessible. Two vestibules allow you to store some items on one side and some on the other. They are large enough to store a pack and shoes in one vestibule just fine. This may be handy if you want to leave one door clear to enter and exit. Or if raining sideways or the weather changes you may want to move items from one vestibule to the other.
The interior or inner mesh is small, yet comfortable. I am 6'2" and even on a 2.5" thick inflatable mattress such as the Exped UL 7 I can sit up in the middle of the shelter and not hit my head. It is long enough that my sleeping bag just touches the mesh above my feet and head, but there is still a couple of inches lengthwise on both ends. The footprint of the inner mesh is sort of a rectangle/diamond that widens at the center and narrows at the ends. This matches body shape and is effective. There is slight room on both sides in the middle of the inner mesh for some small items if need be. It is relatively easy to changes clothes, pack/unpack your bag, hang out, etc in the inner mesh. It strikes a good balance of being lightweight, yet allowing room to be comfortable.
It is lightweight. Tarptent claims 26 ounces for the complete shelter. This includes rain fly, inner mesh, guylines, 4 Easton aluminum stakes, stake sack, and stuff sack. All of these are included when you purchase the shelter, although I bought mine used with the exact same items. 1 pound and 10 ounces for a comfortable, complete shelter with all of its features is pretty decent.
I have used the Notch in northern Minnesota in spring. I have also used it in spring in the desert of Moab, Utah. So far it has done well.
I have been happy with this tent and I highly recommend the Tarptent Notch. You can visit the Tarptent website for more photos, details, and even a set up video.
Where to Buy
The Tarptent Notch is not available from the stores we monitor.
You may be able to find it new or used at one of these sites:
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.
- Dual trekking pole support; no poles in your living space.
- Double wall, dual entry, and dual vestibules
- Separate living compartment clips up to fly and is completely removable.
- Separate living compartment sets up independently.
- Interior never gets wet during entry, exit, setup or takedown in storms.
- Roomy with generous vestibules for excellent gear storage space
- Excellent ventilation, views, and moisture management
- Taut pitch with PitchLoc foldable corners
- Reflective spectra cord guylines
- Fast setup — about 1 minute from sack to pitched
- Integrated line tighteners