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MSR E-Wing

rated 5.0 of 5 stars
photo: MSR E-Wing tarp/shelter

As a reverse (camping) snob, I had to break down and buy the E-Wing and now I take it to most outdoor events.


  • The damn thing can do just about everything as far as I can tell.
  • The thing is tough and much more attractive than the typical tarp or poncho.


  • A bit pricey

If you're like me, you try to keep camping fun. An important ingredient in that equation is to keep costs down. I am very sensitive to those "gucci" campers who buy everything from REI or similar Cadillac outfitters.

On a recent camping / kayaking trip, however, a fellow camper who shares my penchant for frugality surprised me by pulling from a tiny nylon bag, what I thought was a poncho which he placed over his head for the half-day rain shower we had that morning.

I didn't think much about it till later when we set up camp and the rain started in again. Fred pulls out the thing I thought was a poncho and erected a tent over our kitchen area. Again, that night, he uses this thing as a tent over our gear and everything stayed dry. Next morning, over breakfast, I asked him who makes this tarp (or whatever it's called).

He called it an Ewing (sneakers), so I asked him to spell it. That's when I learned that it's called an E-Wing. Before our trip was over I became a convert and went out and bought my own E-Wing tarp. My wife and I take it with us to the kids' soccer and baseball games.  It gets a lot of comments from friends and strangers alike.

Now my wife wants one of her own. We'll see what Santa leaves under the tree at Christmas.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $165 +/-

I recently purchased an MSR E-Wing Shelter/Tarp and couldn't be happier with it! I trawled the internet searching for some information and a couple reviews about it, but didn't find much. All I could seem to find was what MSR had wrote about it on their website, which for all I knew could have been biased, anyway I took the plunge and it arrived on my door step couple days later.

The E-Wing is a multi purpose tarp/shelter, they do say you can use it as a poncho, however at £60 I don't really dare and so I use it along side my bivy as a shelter from the elements. To erect the E-Wing you use the multiple tie points with either a stick, walking pole or really anything you can attach a guy line to... I even used one of my climbing cams to attach the guy line to rock face worked quite well. MSR shows two images on their website of how to set up the E-Wing however after experimenting I found at least another three methods of making a shelter using only guy lines, pegs and walking poles.

I found the perfect way to use the E-Wing is with a bivy, I use a RAB storm bivy. The E-Wing keeps me dry and leave room for me to store my rucksack and depending on which set up method you use there's still room to cook (cooking is not advised if you're using the lower methods of set up)

I am really impressed with durability of the E-Wing, and the versatility, however I was shocked to find that after paying £60 for it, it doesn't come with guy lines or pegs. This is the only disappointment I have had with the MSR E-Wing and to be honest is not major.

Design: Tarp/Shelter
Sleeps: 1
Ease of Setup: Couldn't be easier
Weight: 600g
Price Paid: £60

Small and light emergency tarp.


  • Small
  • Light
  • Quality


  • Small

Have a previous generation of e-wing, the one without rand and smaller. I use it as emergency shelter in my kayak. I had to seal the seams, but after that it is waterproof and incredibly small.

Packs in own supplied stuff bag, not in the portion it was originally packed (that would be impossible to fit after unpacking) but into bigger portion that is attached to it.

I can fit four Mountain Hardwear sand anchors, 6 V stakes, some rope with Nite Ize figure 9, and after all of this it is about the size of a Nalgene bottle. Stored and being taken on trips it still in a great shape after few years, no issues.

It could be set as a tarp using half of the paddle, and I am playing with different configurations. Not the biggest tarp and I would not take it as an overnight tarp, but as emergency or sunshade / rain tarp during a day trip it is great. Weight is very small and it could be taken on short hikes without much burden.

Please understand size of the tarp before buying, it is not big (especially the older version). For what it is , it is great.

Quality of construction / stitching is customary MSR = very good. Guys definitely take pride in what they put their name on.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50

When a buddy of mine first bought an E-Wing I laughed in his face. "Who needs a tarp? Just wear a rain coat." That's what I said.

Well the next time we went backpacking it started to rain. Normally I have a pretty miserable time in the rain with everything getting wet. Well my buddy pulled out his E-Wing and I helped him set it up and I have to say that my opinion of it changed right then and there.

I immediately realized how incredibly versatile this piece of fabric is. Use it as a rain fly, use it as a shelter, use it as an emergency tarp or poncho. The possibilities are many. Forgo a tent and save some weight by just using the E-Wing.

I liked it so much that I went out the next day and bought one for myself. I take it on every trip I go on now. With my two trekking poles it makes an awesome cooking and dining shelter or just sunshade. I lay under it to take a nap, I read under it, I cook under it. I love this tarp.

Get two together like we do on occasion and you have a near bombproof shelter. And when it's time to pack it up it compresses to the size of a pop can, literally. A very smart purchase in my opinion.

Design: Pitches with trekking poles
Sleeps: 2
Ease of Setup: Very easy and versitile
Weight: 6 oz.
Price Paid: $70

Make a great tarp into an ultralight tent.


  • light
  • waterproof
  • strong


  • cantaleaver design

After I first set this tarp up and realize that it would only cover 3 feet at ground level on each side I set my seamstress wife to the challenge. She put a triangular piece of silnylon on each end and on each side, so it is now a full rectangle (app 6x9).  

Next she put in mosquito netting and a door in each end with a velcro closeur and tie backs. The end result is a great 20 ounce tent that is a palace for one or can sleep two if staked high.

You will need hiking poles or close trees to set it up. I used it for three days of downpouring rain and two other nights of below freezing weather and it performed perfect.

Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $50

I love this thing and use it all summer long for various pack trips in the Colorado Rockies and the Utah desert. Keeps the sun off and the rain out.


  • Weight
  • Packability
  • Well built

Source: bought it new

A must have for any wilderness explorer... don't leave home without it!

Design: Tarp
Sleeps: 2
Ease of Setup: very easy
Price Paid: $79.95

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Price MSRP: $149.95
Historic Range: $59.93-$174.95
Reviewers Paid: $50.00-$165.00
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