Tarptent Rainshadow 2?

6:05 p.m. on October 15, 2012 (EDT)
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I’m looking of opinions on this tent, the Tarptent rainshadow 2



Anyone use one, or perhaps similar Tarptent products?

I am considering buying one and am wondering about condensation issues, durability, how stormproof they really are, and is this tent really a roomy and lightweight as it seems to be?

The intended application is a 2014 AT thru-hike by my wife and I.


6:14 p.m. on October 15, 2012 (EDT)
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it looks to me that this tent would get blown away in strong winds. there may be a condensation issue also. I'd look at other tents.

6:58 p.m. on October 15, 2012 (EDT)
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This is a very good tent from what I have heard. I have been impressed with all of the Tarptents, and their customer service is superb. I do not have direct experience with this model though.

And no it won't get 'blown away', once again I will say that it doesn't have to be a free standing 4 season mountaineering tent that can withstand 120mph winds and heavy snow loads to be useful and viable shelter. Different tools for different tasks. You don't need anything crazy for the AT or for most backpacking outings IMO. If your summiting some peak in mid winter then sure, go all out. But don't slam a good product just because.

10:48 p.m. on October 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Second the ver good tent comment. Proven on many thruhikes it provides a ton of space for the weight. Does just fine in the wind below tree line.

10:53 p.m. on October 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Henry Shires owns TarpTent and offers quality products with good customer service. A lot of UL backpackers use his products so go to www.backpacking.net (the forums); www.backpackinglight.com or www.whiteblaze.net to find users familiar with this tent or others that he makes. No, these are not mountaineering tents and Henry makes no pretense that they are, but for something like the AT, I would seriously consider one of them.

I owned a Cloud for a while but didn't use it in the field. I sold it to buy a winter tent because I wanted to go snow camping. But, I did look it over carefully and it was very well made.

11:09 a.m. on October 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Durability, storm-proofness and condensation are relative criteria. For their weight, my experience with a variety of Tarp Tents suggest that they preform quite well. Of course, a heavier two-part, all-season tent is likely to be more durable, less prone to condensation and more water-resistant. But on the AT, weight is a fairly important criteria, and most (not all!) people are willing to sacrifice a bit of performance in the pursuit of reducing pack weight.

For what it's worth, tarp tents are quite popular on the AT.

Have fun planning your hike!

3:24 p.m. on October 17, 2012 (EDT)
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My only concern is there's only one stake/guyline holding the whole thing up. still wonder how it would do in high winds.

9:13 p.m. on October 17, 2012 (EDT)
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What do you mean there is only 1 stake/guyline holding it up? There is one at each end and the corners... and you have the trekking poles...

Tarptents hold up just fine in storms/ gusty winds. They are not designed to take tons of abuse exposed above treeline, but they do just fine in the climate they are designed for. On the AT and other similar areas they can stand up to any t-storm that rolls through. They are not any weaker than a regular tarp, and I have survived quite a few very strong storms in mine.

I would say if your using this for its intended purpose and seasons you should not have any trouble dealing with your average thunderstorm, and even the rarer really strong/violent ones you can make it through if your properly staked out etc. In an area with at least moderate tree cover(which the AT is) the entire Tarptent line excells. They are not designed for exposed ridge lines or summits, nor deep winter excursions, but can handle pretty much anything else. I would say that they can easily handle gusts up to 50-60mph, and sustained winds in the 25-35 range. These are numbers from an "average" strong to severe thunder storm. For the average backpacker this tarp tent will meet all of their needs. One will rarely ever find themselves needing a shelter that can handle 60+mph winds on a routine basis, and if your going to be exposed to such a strong storm then either seek an area with natural shelter to help block winds or get off the trail.

8:31 p.m. on October 18, 2012 (EDT)
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sorry. can't really tell from the pictures...

9:35 p.m. on October 18, 2012 (EDT)
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Sometimes reading and doing research is better than just relying on pictures.  

10:17 a.m. on October 19, 2012 (EDT)
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Ive been considering a Tarptent to reduce my pack weight a bit. I'm thinking about the Moment because it can be made free-standing, an important criteria for me. Tarp tents, in general, seem to have a very loyal following. However the one common "complaint" seems to be about condensation...and in fact that's one factor that's holding me back. This may be something to check out with the Rainshadow the OP is considering.

12:33 p.m. on October 19, 2012 (EDT)
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Condensation is always an issue, and I don't think it's any worse in single wall tents than double wall tents.

By that I mean it can be pretty durn bad in both types depending upon conditions and the design of the particular shelter.

My wife and I have run into very bad condensation in a Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight. This is a classic tent that had been on the market a very long time and you'd think they got the bugs worked out of it by now, right?


The doorway and vesitbule on the Flashlight is set up so that in even the lightest drizzle you need to close it up to prevent rain getting inside, and closed up tight, it has zero ventilation.

This is some of the condensation we've gotten in this tent. Note it didn't even rain that night, but it was cold and we'd closed up the tent to conserve heat as best we could.




Double wall tent are said to have an advantage because the inner wall ( usually mostly mesh these days ) can catch the condensation and keep it from dripping onto you and your bedding.

But in a single wall tent you could simply reach up and wipe the condensation off with a bandana before it gets to the drippy stage!

If the Flashlight simply had a vent up top of the door or vestibule, this condensation probably would not happen as the warm, damp air rises, and it would have a place to exit the tent.

The tarp tent Rainshadow 2 and similar but smaller Squall 2 are shaped sorta like the Flashlight, but have much more venting, and for that matter you can't close these two tarp tents down totally if you wanted to, so I imagine they would be better than the Flashlight...Right?

So I really think the chances of bad condensation is a matter of the design of the individual shelter and the conditions one is operating under more than simply a matter of double or single walls.

Indeed,  the above photo was taken on a six day hike that involved crossing rivers, lots of snowpack and a good bit of rain. The days were warm-ish, the nights cool, and everything was constantly damp. I think we were in the dew point the whole dang trip!

I'm sure that was unusually demanding conditions, and the Clip Flashlight is ordinarily a decent enough tent, or it would not have remained in production this long.    

A tent that I have a very great deal of experience with is the Timberline 2. This tent never has condensation issues - 



It has no "vestibule" ( i hate those silly things! ) so you can't nail the rainfly down to the ground even if you wanted to, and because of the overhangs you never have to totally close the outter door and window.

It always ventilates, period. In fact, it has the best ventialted rain fly of any tent I know of, period, yet is totally stormproof. If the dang thing wasn't so heavy, I'd never look any further for a tent.

Take a big glass bowl, and turn it over onto damp ground, and leave it there over night. You can bet your bottom dollar it will be damp with condensation by morning, and it doesn't even have two people sleeping inside it.

Now take a look at most any modern dome tent with it's vestibule staked right to the earth and closed. It looks like an bowl right? And it gathers condensation like one too.

I hate condensation buildup in tents, so I hate the way a good many tents ( both single and double wall ) are made these days!  

So I'm a little picky when it comes to tents I guess...

Anyway, the Rainshadow 2 looks decent enough for me, but I am concerned it's a bit too big. The tent is huge, and I'm wondering about finding decent sites to set it up in?

The smaller-but-otherwise-identical Squall 2 ( only two pounds! ) looks great, but I worry it's to small. If I try to cram my wife into another shelter the size of the Clip Flashlight for any period of time she ain't gonna be happy...Which means I ain't gonna be happy....

I wish I could simply go to REI and set one of these things up and look at it!    

4:41 a.m. on October 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Here's an old thread on this issue, started by yours truly. I'm starting to think the industry is ready for a revolution in tent ventilation...

3:46 p.m. on October 20, 2012 (EDT)
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BigRed said:

Here's an old thread on this issue, started by yours truly. I'm starting to think the industry is ready for a revolution in tent ventilation...

Ya think, I've never had condensation problems in a tent that is vented correctly. If you take a gander you will see the Euro tent makers have already figured this out for the most part. In America most seem to be content buying expensive tent after expensive tent only to complain about the issues of the tent only to buy another tent with the same issues. Hence one of the reasons for the incredibly large amount of used (or hardly used) tents on the US market.

If you take a look at vintage American tents there were a substantial number of quality tent designers & manufacture’s that took the time and effort to vent their tents in various ways that worked, but in typical American fashion we change models so fast that we lose the good qualities of the item in an effort to keep up with all the other designer and manufacture’s new models. It does seem to be the American way.

5:23 p.m. on October 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I've had copious condensation issues with a flat tarp before. Ventilation only works if you have a decent breeze.

7:07 p.m. on October 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I have a clip flashlite and have never had a problem with condensation, but then I'm in California where it never gets really wet. I would think that condensation in this tent would be a problem in the south or the east coast, because of all the humidity there. the only thing I noticed with that tent is the rainfly drips at the top of the zipper flap, needs some seamsealer I guess. The flashlight I have is about ten years old. it is a nice roomy one person tent, a bit too small for two people. You could use it as a two person I guess, if you didn't mind cuddling up!

9:04 p.m. on October 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Trailjester said:

... I'm in California where it never gets really wet. ...

 Haha! :)  That's what I thought, too, until I went on a 30-day trip this summer in the Sierra and got rain on 10 of the 30 days.  On a number of days I started late to allow time for my tent & other gear to dry.

Aside from the rain, I even had some condensation in my tent, too, a few times, even when it wasn't raining... This was with my Copper Spur UL 1.

11:05 p.m. on October 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I have used a Contrail TarpTent in NC and VA. We tend to have a lot of humidity. I did not have a problem with condensation. That is not to say that there never was any at all, but there was very little and it was not a problem. On the whole, this is the best ventilated tent I have ever used. Lightweight, great design, easy to put up. My only beef is that I wish the vestibule went a little closer to the ground -- it angles up as it gets farther away from the tent, which in a heavy rain means that you get some moisture on the gear you stashed in the vestibule. If you look at the head-on photo of the Rainshadow, you will see that the "beak" on this one does the same thing. I learned to not put much there; just my boots, close to the tent door where they stay dry. The pack etc. is just beside the tent, under a poncho if we are likely to have rain or dense fog.

This is not an all-season tent. Not an all-purpose tent either. But for what I use it for -- lightweight solo backpacking in above-freezing temperatures -- it is superb. The Rainshadow looks like a very similar design, with many of the same qualities, only with room for more people. I'd have to give it a thumbs-up, and would enjoy trying one out.

12:36 a.m. on October 22, 2012 (EDT)
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" I've never had condensation problems in a tent that is vented correctly. If you take a gander you will see the Euro tent makers have already figured this out for the most part. "

It  could be your personal experience , however others that camp in different conditions will disagree.

That is in the sense that if one ventilates his tent correctly automatically that eliminates condensation .As the Family Guy pointed out you can get heavy condensation under an open tarp..

Yet again the "euro tent" term is used as if there was such a thing. There is no more Euro tent than there is "Japanese car" or "Chinese MP3 player".. Probably missed by some is the fact that Tipi Walter was in fact saying that he has had LESS condensation from inside a US designed tent than from  his various "Euro" tents. BHeiser explained that well in fact by pointing out that if you have a fly down to the ground (and this is typical of certain but not all Euro tents...) you will likely trap more condensation.

Same for the single wall double wall generalisation. Again bHeister is very well aware that simply because there is a double wall that does not put up a STOP sign for condensation.

Location, weather conditions, size of the tent and occupants, terrain  as well as design and proper use will determine just how much condensation you get. As an example a certain tent was very recently described by a guy as bone dry giving "zero condensation" a few days later at another forum another one used the term "condensation machine". Both probably accurately describer THEIR experience with the same tent...


Here is one of the most popular tent designs in Europe , it is the Pop Up Tent :


Is this the type  Euro tent we are talking about ? Quechua is one of the largest European brands.

4:43 p.m. on October 22, 2012 (EDT)
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should have said I'm in SOUTHERN california where it doesn't get too wet...is that a single or double wall tent? looks like a condensation machine... 

6:22 p.m. on October 22, 2012 (EDT)
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It is a double wall and yes probably a condensation factory..

I was just making the point that there is no such thing as a "euro" tent nor the simplistic "Us design bad" "Euro design " good...

6:27 p.m. on October 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Had to throw this in...


I started tarping last summer just for the fun of it and was quite suprised to find my tarp nearly dripping with condensation upon the first nights use:






This camp was at about 6000 feet elevation in a small grassy clearing in the midst of a Rhododendron thicket on Grassy Ridge in Roan Mountain TN. There was no rain and the temps were between 50 and 70 degrees F as I recall.

10:39 p.m. on October 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Patman, that is because of the moisture coming up from the ground.  Next time, try using a much larger groundsheet as an experiment and see if condensation is much reduced.

11:26 a.m. on October 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Patman, at least you had a pretty camp amid the rhododendrons!

When it doesn't look like rain I think not bothering with any roof at all is the best way to deal with high humidity -

Anyway, I reckon the Rainshadow 2 would work about as well as anything for my needs. Indeed, I'm now thinking it's a bit to big? Might be easier to find a spot for a smaller tent? Some of the pictures of the Rainshadow 2 on-line make it look downright huge.

So now I'm looking at the Squall 2, the little brother of the Rainshadow.



It looks roomy enough for two, doesn't it? Easy to set up and at only two pounds, it's hard to resist!

Dang it, I wish I could see one of these before I pony up the coin and buy it!





8:13 p.m. on October 23, 2012 (EDT)
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the rainshadow is listed as a three person tent...did you want that much room? the squall is listed as a 2 person, maybe better suited to what your looking for...

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