User Review: Tarptent Notch
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.