Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
NEW Tarptent
Display Avatars Sort By:
Robert Burns
( - F

Locale: Cascades / Olympics (WET)
NEW Tarptent on 09/01/2006 20:33:20 MDT Print View

Rumor has it there is going to be a 1.5 lb tarptent coming out on sunday evening September 3rd, that includes the floor. It is going to replace the virga.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: NEW Tarptent on 09/01/2006 21:49:22 MDT Print View

Heard that too. Has me very, very interested!!!! Way to go henry!!

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Tarptent Contrail on 09/02/2006 18:44:53 MDT Print View

There is now a BPL Spotlite posted for all you subscribers. The new model is called the Contrail. I have also posted a page here -->


ps I'm going hiking from Sept 4-14 (Red's Meadow --> Whitney Portal. The Contrail will start shipping as soon as I get back.

Summit CO
(Summit) - F

Locale: 9300ft
outstanding on 09/02/2006 19:52:50 MDT Print View

neato! strong work!

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Tarptent Contrail on 09/02/2006 20:40:10 MDT Print View

Henry, you never cease to amaze. Nice work!

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
New Tarptent on 09/02/2006 21:45:51 MDT Print View


DARN, and I just bought a Double Rainbow for me and the wife. Now you go do this. If I tell her I'm buying another tent..............

I really like those inward sloping netting sidewalls. Great for keeping rain splashes and canopy runoff further away from the floor. Ditto the interior-accessible roll-down rear storm shield.

Are you bringing it to the ALDHA-West Gathering for your display? Pretty please.

Three single person shelters seems like one too many. Does this mean an up-coming close-out sale on the Virga II? What does this bode for the new Rainbow? (has no effect on Double Rainbow sales).

Reading the Spotlight Review, it states only 4 stakes are needed but the photos clearly show 5 - both front corners, center rear, and one off each rear corner support. Maybe the reviewer added the center rear himself? Also, the review says the 14 inch supports are aluminum while your site says carbon fiber.

Let me guess.......the reviewer got a prototype and the final version lost 1 stake and switched support materials in the meantime.

You creative little devil, you ..........

Wandering Bob

Edited by wandering_bob on 09/02/2006 22:18:53 MDT.

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: New Tarptent on 09/02/2006 22:36:20 MDT Print View

Unfortunately, I can't come to ALDHA-West this year -- have to go support my wife on a fundraiser run in South Lake Tahoe that weekend--but I'll see what I can do to have one at the gathering to check out.

It really is a 4-stake tent. Will Rietveld didn't have good docs from me when he tried to set it up (and his sample was missing a rear cord) so he did the best he could based on his experience with the Virga 2. The rear stake isn't needed at all and neither is a center front stake/cord though there is a pullout there and you can use one if you want to.

The Virga 2 is going away. I don't even have any floored models left and after the few floorless models are gone then that will be it. I think the Contrail is better in every way. The Rainbow isn't going anywhere but I'll keep trying to make it better. The new seamless floor design on the Contrail will migrate into the Rainbow and Double Rainbow as soon as production schedules permit.

The rear struts are carbon fiber. They're left over from when we pulled them out of the original Virga 2 (and Squall 2) cross strut application after a few reports of snaps. In that application, stress was off-axis. They're perfect in this application because all the stress is straight down through the tubing and carbon fiber is really strong along the fiber orientation. Even if you did manage to break one in the Contrail, the shelter will still function just fine without it.


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: New Tarptent on 09/02/2006 23:15:25 MDT Print View


Congrats on yet another masterpiece!

Now, being a Rainbow owner, I am also very much interested in what you wrote above: "The Rainbow isn't going anywhere but I'll keep trying to make it better".

As you do that, please keep us current owners in mind, so that hopefully, we can upgrade ours as appropriate.

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: Re: New Tarptent on 09/02/2006 23:25:19 MDT Print View

>Now, being a Rainbow owner, I am also very much interested in what you wrote above: "The Rainbow isn't going anywhere but I'll keep trying to make it better".

Ben, the arch strap adjuster I put on your Rainbow will be standard going forward. Other than the aforementioned floor change, I have nothing else definitive in the works but I will certainly keep "upgrades" in mind.


David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Tarptent Contrail on 09/03/2006 04:25:23 MDT Print View

Does the 24.5 oz include the 4 stakes and the 2 oz front pole?

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Tarptent Contrail on 09/03/2006 07:14:18 MDT Print View

Beautiful tent Henry!!! Oh and thanks for such great customer service last week. It was appreciated!

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: Re: Tarptent Contrail on 09/03/2006 09:00:22 MDT Print View

> Does the 24.5 oz include the 4 stakes and the 2 oz front pole?

Includes 4 stakes, guylines, and the stuffsack but not the optional front pole. If you're not a trekking pole user and want to go really minimalist, it wil guy out to a tree if you attach some cording to the apex pullout.


Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Re: Tarptent Contrail on 09/03/2006 15:31:13 MDT Print View

Wow looks like a great tent for the wife and I. I'm plotting a SUL 2 person trip for us and I think this could make the cut. She's not quite into tarp camping or bivying (my fav) yet but the hiking and camping have been recieved well since she gets new cool (and light) clothes to go with.

Joseph Rothstein
(joe_r) - F
Spotlite review on 09/03/2006 15:39:42 MDT Print View

The spotlite review says that the Virga 2 and Contrail have identical floor dimensions. Is that correct? I can only find the total width for the Virga 2, not the floor's width.

Also, the review says that the floor will soon be "standard" on Tarptents, whereas the floorless version will be an "option". Is that a purely semantic change from the current descriptions, or does it indicate something more substantive, such as a change in the pricing or availability of floorless Tarptents.

Edited by joe_r on 09/03/2006 15:40:35 MDT.

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: Spotlite review on 09/03/2006 17:38:29 MDT Print View

Yes, the Contrail and Virga 2 have the same floor dimensions. The Contrail has signifigantly more useable foot room though so if you spread some some sort of interior groundsheet in the foot area to widen the effective floor width, the ease of comfort of using it for two, at least in a pinch, is greatly improved over the Virga 2.

And, yes, it's semantics for changing the floors to standard from "optional". We'll still offer florless models but the percentage of people who order them that way anymore is so small that it seems silly to go on the way we've been doing it.


al b
(ahbradley) - M
Re: Re: Spotlite review on 09/04/2006 05:10:03 MDT Print View

Have you considered a door in the side
rather in front, this would seem more convenient for entry/egress, with little change to tent?

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
New Tarptent Contrail on 09/04/2006 05:56:26 MDT Print View

Hey, you guys are perceptive! I revised the SpotLite review so it is accurate.

The review was a rush job, and I had to do it with a few things missing on the tent and no ready access to specifications. The struts are indeed carbon fiber (not aluminum), the basic pitch uses four stakes, and a front aluminum pole is not included.

Some users may want to take along 3 extra stakes to extend the sides and front for better rain protection and wind stability. I will check that out in my testing.

Happy hiking, Will

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
New Tarptent on 09/04/2006 10:24:09 MDT Print View


Your review was great and much appreciated. Don't beat yourself up. Henry is a designer and gear visionary; not a creative writer. He makes great tents but his documentation is of a lesser quality.

I think he does it deliberately so folks will email him with questions and comments about the products. He likes the one-on-one feedback.

I can't wait to see the Contrail at the ALDHA-West Gathering. Now.... how to convince the wife that yes, I do indeed need yet another Tarptent. Aha - "Well, you know Dear, our Double Rainbow looks so lonely in the closet. I think she needs a friend to keep her company. Oh, look at this little fella!"


Edited by wandering_bob on 09/04/2006 10:25:48 MDT.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Contrail - Floor weight? 6 oz? on 09/04/2006 16:25:50 MDT Print View

Thanks Henry. Very impressive design. More usable space, even simpler set-up... and lighter than the Virga 2!

Next weight question. The Virga 2 floor option is 6 oz. Can we assume that the Contrail floor is also 6 oz... and that a floorless Contrail with 4 stakes, guys and trekking pole instead of the optional dedicated pole would therefore come in at 18.5 oz? That would be VERY impressive! Close to the weight of the original... and yet sooo much better! :)

I mean... do we really need floors? Where I camp (boreal forest)... the surrounding ground sucks up all the water... for the most part. And crawling bugs are not really a problem either... not up here in Canada anyway. It's not like I'm camping in the Amazon :P I also like not having to worry about keeping my floor clean... since there is no floor :P

Edited by davidlewis on 09/05/2006 16:58:16 MDT.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Stealthy on 09/05/2006 16:56:00 MDT Print View

Hey Henry,

Was just admiting the Contrail again. One thing you neglect to mention on the Contrail page is it's cool "Stealth Bomber" styling!!! :)