Tarptent Rainshadow 2
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $285
Very roomy, very easy to set up, very lightweight.
- Easy to set up
- Well ventilated
- Big footprint (the downside of roomy)
- Threading the arch pole is a learned skill
So we got the tent and me and the two boys set it up quickly and easily in the yard. It looked big, and when we got in to sleep, it was!
Easy to make taut, the lack of regular corner stakes makes it very quick — essentially the floor is suspended from the tarp. It seemed like it would be easy to get frustrated putting the arch pole through the sleeve. We had luck putting the sleeve on the arch pole and then un-bunching it to the other end.
Since the forcast rains didn't come, we don't yet know how it handles rain. Our questions mainly concern the eaves, where the mesh connecting the tarp to the floor is sewn to the tarp right at the edge of the tarp. The floor is well inside the tarp, so as long as the rain doesn't run back down the mesh it should work well.
It's big! Very comfortable for three sleepers, and room for people to sit up. I'm 6'4" and had no problems with the length or the height.
The big front window and mesh all around yield a great airy feel. It was a hot night, but the breeze through the tent was cooling. It isn't air conditioned though; we got out in the morning because the sun was starting to heat it up.
The tent went back in the bag easily!
OK! We've come back from a 19-day car trip/backpacking trip and it did rain! Still a very easy tent to set up and pack back up. Still very roomy for three tall people. Learned how to keep the edges of the floor up and how to set the edges of the fly lower in the rain. It does work to keep things dry! Just don't get freaked out by some water blowing/dripping in through the mesh on all four sides.
Our only bad night would have been a bad night in most three-season tents. It was a huge thunderstorm in western Nebraska that blew the tent pegs out and the tent down.
Design: tarp-tent with swen-in bug netting and bathtub floor
Ease of Setup: just 5 stakes and and either 2 or 3 poles make for a quick, but not free-standing, setup
Weight: 42 oz
Price Paid: $255
Weighing in at just two and a half pounds and offering 50 square feet of very livable space, the Tarptent Rainshadow 2 by Henry Shires is a veritable palace. Don’t let the “2” in the name fool you: most manufacturers would call a tent this size a three-person.
The design is straightforward: a waterproof silnylon tarp is supported by a single aluminum hoop at one end and two trekking poles at the other. A sewn-in full-coverage insect with zippered door net hangs from the tarp and attaches to the optional floor.
Like most of Shires’ Tarptent designs, the Rainshadow is available with or without a floor. We opted for the floored version. Once you factor in the weight of an additional ground cloth, the weight savings of the floorless model are negligible.
Unlike pure tarp designs, the Rainshadow 2 incorporates two poles: a hoop in the rear and a small "strut" at the top of the front door. Both poles “open up” the tent, providing more than adequate headroom and creating a sizable screened opening to promote cross-ventilation.
Condensation is a concern in any single-wall shelter, but we haven't had any problems with the Rainshadow 2. The tent has a built-in front beak that can be pitched fairly low to create a small vestibule and provide shelter from blowing rain or tied back to the body of the tent to allow for maximum ventilation. In extremely humid conditions, Shires recommends leaving the screen unzipped and tied back to achieve adequate ventilation. We haven’t needed to do this, but there is a noticeable increase in airflow when the door is unzipped.
During a night of constant rain this summer, we had neither leaks nor condensation. The Rainshadow's optional floor is cleverly designed. In dry conditions it can lay flat for maximum ventilation. But when conditions get wet the corners can be easily clipped to the canopy to create a bathtub floor.
With a little experimenting, it's also possible to pitch the sides of the tent low to the ground for protection or high for ventilation. The bottom of the tent canopy is several inches wider and longer than the floor, so even with a high pitch there is adequate protection from non-blowing rain. In wind-driven rain a low/tighter pitch is necessary.
The Rainshadow 2 is not freestanding, but pitches easily with just five stakes. (Lightweight Easton aluminum nail-type stakes are included.) The rear hoop design requires just a single stake to the rear of the tent, and all the other guy points can be easily accessed from the front door for any necessary adjustments during the night. The inclusion of lightweight reflective guy lines (Kelty Triptease Lightline) is a nice touch.
My only qualm with the Rainshadow 2 is that it can be rather difficult to stow. The Rainshadow’s stuff sack can at times seem maddeningly undersized, with slippery silnylon popping back out as quickly as its stuffed in. The sewn-in front strut also demands careful handling in order to fit in the stuff sack without putting undue stress on nearby seams. The tent originally came nicely folded and rolled, but I’ve not been able to duplicate that.
At two-and-a-half pounds, about a third the weight of comparably-sized double-wall tents, the Tarptent Rainshadow 2 is a great way to lighten up in summer and milder three-season conditions.
Price Paid: $250
Caution read before buying from Tarptent!!
I own a Rainshadow 2 and used it on the JMT for 3 weeks. The tent worked great in the dry high altitudes of the Sierra Nevada Mtns with little condensation problems. I like the roominess of the tent but after only 3 weeks the stitching on many of the stays and pole attach sections started coming apart after several field repairs we were able to complete the hike.
I sent the tent back in for repair to Tarptent and to my despair I found that Tarptent took almost a year to repair it! After sending multiple emails to Tarptent they finally responded after I threatened to come by there shop in person to talk to someone. They stated that they had some kind of weather incident and that their shop was damaged and they could no longer find my tent.
Low and behold they finally agreed to send me a new replacement tent but what arrived was my old tent and a message stating that they found the old tent in a corner of the shop. The tent had been returned with two large 10" rips to the bottom and I had identified the areas of repair needed but only half of them were re-stitched.
I again emailed Tarptent to see what could be worked out and they have at this time still failed to respond they did although send me a tube of silicone and some patch material which I believe is an unacceptable way to handle the repair.
I had heard good things about Tarptent so I am not sure if this is an isolated issue but there lack of communication and fairness to my issue should be considered before buying one of their products.
Where to Buy
The Tarptent Rainshadow 2 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.
The patent pending Rainshadow 2 offers substantial space and setup improvements to the 1st generation Rainshadow design. With optional trekking pole(s) support, weighs 42 ounces complete including stakes, lines, and sewn-in floor.