Reviewers Paid: $220.00-$270.00
|Weight - complete||
34 ounces (965 grams)
43 inches (110 cm)
38-46 inches (96-117 cm)
88-96 inches (223-244 cm)
This is a lightweight tent that is easy to set up and feels very roomy. It is quick and easy to set up and take down.
- High ceiling
- Slick floor
I've been camping for the last few years using a bivy sack. I've used one from thunderstorms to snow, and hot/humid to just above zero. After a rough night in July, I decided to get a tent.
Most of my camping is done out of backpacking, so I wanted a tent that was light and didn't take up much space. The Tarptent Rainbow seemed to fit the bill for weight and packability and offer a lot more room than my bivy sack.
The Rainbow is a very good first lightweight tent experience. Going from a bivy to this tent is like moving into a palace. There is plenty of room for me and all of my gear, even with the floor pulled all of the way up.
My main reason for switching to a tent was getting wet in the rain, from condensation. I used this tent for a night in steady to heavy rain and stayed dry the whole time. There was a light layer of condensation, but it wiped off easily and wasn't dripping on me. I would rate it as the most comfortable night I've spent camping in the rain.
I purchased the tent with the footprint and the seam sealing kit. Seam sealing was not a big deal and the footprint performed well on some thorny ground. I have read reviews that say the floor is slick, I will agree. I put a few light lines of seam sealer on the inside floor, but should have done several more. When set up on uneven ground I slid to to low side. This should be easily fixed with some more lines and circles on the floor.
I would recommend this tent to anyone who is thinking about getting one. The roomy interior and ease of setup make using it a real pleasure. I will update this review after remarking the floor and using the tent on a few more camping trips.
Lightweight and roomy with an easy setup.
- 36 ounces with the packaged ridge pole and stakes
- Roomy interior
- Adjustable bathtub floor
- Easy to set up
- Porch option
- US made product
- Some condensation
- Returns and repairs take some time
A deciding factor for me, aside from the Rainbow's great reviews, weight, and livability was Tarptent is a U.S. based company, offering multiple shelter options, all made in Nevada City, California. Purchasing from a boutique gear company is just as easy as ordering from the larger outfitters, such as REI. Hit up the TarpTent website, place your order and these guys will make your tent and ship it to you.
I elected to seam seal the Rainbow myself. TarpTent offers this service for an additional fee, $30, and really, that's a bargain. I wanted to learn to seam seal and had no issues with rain leaking in following my first seam sealing attempt.
The Rainbow has spent multiple nights on the Appalachian Trail, on various North Carolina mountain trails and wilderness locations, and a couple nights in my yard. This tent feels bomb proof. There's ample floor space for me, my pack, the contents of my pack, a 60 pound Lab and 9 pound Chihuahua.
The headroom in the Rainbow is impressive. The clever use of a ridge pole and cross pole produce what feels like vertical sides. Two 6 foot plus hikers have asked to check out the interior and have crawled in my Rainbow with room to spare. The bathtub floor adjusts to close the tent in during colder weather and lowers to allow for adequate air flow during warmer months.
The "tarp" portion of the tent stakes out on each corner, the back and the vestibule. You can adjust the tension on the stakes to raise the "tarp" which will help you learn to address the condensation issues of a single wall tent. And there will be condensation. Pitching in low lying areas or close to water will add to the condensation but this can be addressed by simply using your camp towel to wipe off any excess.
Several other hikers, one using an REI Quarter Dome and one using a Big Agnes Fly Creek both had to remove condensation from their rain flies before packing up. So I felt the condensation on the Rainbow was no more or less of an issue and easily addressed. I have not encountered anything more than your average wind, cold, and rain and let me just say again, the Rainbow feels bomb proof.
The setup and break down on the Rainbow is quick and simple; one ridge pole, 6 stakes, all packed into the stuff provided by TarpTent. The ridge pole could be a bit of an issue, as it's the length of the tent, if you're in a super tight location.
To set up, lock the ridge pole into its length and insert into the ridge sleeve, securing at both ends of the tent, stake it out, look it over, and tighten it up as needed. I can have the tent completely set up and ready to go in less than two minutes if the site location provided has ideal soil for staking. There is an optional use of trekking poles in place of the 4 corner stakes.
I'm curious about the life span of the zippers on the vestibule and no-see-um mesh door, but I feel confident the excellent customer service offered by TarpTent will work with me if there are any issues. A potential con for some will be returns or repairs. TarpTent has excellent customer service reviews, but for repairs or returns you will need to ship your tent and this could result in downtime.
Overall, I'm more than satisfied with the craftsmanship of the Rainbow, the weight-to-livability ratio, and the ease of setup. I feel like the Tarptent Rainbow is an excellent one-person tent and is a steal at under $300.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $259
Hard to beat this tarptent. It is super light (2 lbs) and super roomy for 1 (could hold 2 in a pinch) and it pitches very tight and storm-worthy.
I have been in some big thunderstorms with high winds in the Rainbow and it held up to Mother Nature's abuse and kept me dry and comfortable - VERY little wind-driven spray or splattering. I have even taken it winter camping and it did great, with better condensation control than you would expect from a single-wall tent.
You can't go wrong with the Rainbow if you're going light but want something that feels like a real tent. I have used it in a variety of conditions and it has kept me comfortable through all of them - and it requires less focus on wind position when pitching it than the other tarptents in Henry's line.
This is up there amongst the best $200 I have spent on gear and it is great working directly with Henry. Nice to have the designer/owner standing behind his product the way he does.
Design: three-season single-wall tent
Ease of Setup: easy to setup, but a tight pitch requires some practice
Weight: 2 pounds
Price Paid: $220
Lightweight (1 Kg). Great for backpacking in most seasons. Durable for light rain, though allows some condensation (or with dew).
- Space for an average-high hiker and a big backpack
- Easy assembly
- Durable materials
- Condensation under 60°F
A good three-season tent. The additional inner wall (that can be attached manually from the inside while raining!! Awesome!) is very good in preventing getting wet from condensation.
Thus saying, during not-so-cold weather there's condensation.
Very light, great for single backpacking for long periods of time.
Easy and fast assembling.
Has enough room for a single backpacker and her backpack, or even for two people with no bags.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 270$