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Robert Brookshire
(brookshire) - M
weaknesses? on 09/11/2006 14:11:21 MDT Print View

I'm really interested in the Contrail. I've been looking pretty hard at the Rainbow, but I prefer a door that doesn't overhang the interior space at all. Getting into your tent in the pouring rain a couple of times teaches you the value of great door design and the compromises involved in some of the lightest designs. This is one reason I've also been looking at the SMD Lunar Solo, as the flat front means that the door can probably stay open in light rain. However, the setup on the Lunar Solo looks more complicated and I much prefer first-time pitches.

The Contrail looks pretty bomber for a tarptent, but I have one concern. The rear storm flap on the Contrail is taking the place of the usual overhanging foot beak, but can an interior flap really keep water out of the floor? I assume that the storm flap simply reaches down below the bathtub floor and therefore keeps water out, but I can't really determine this from the initial photos and description.

I look forward to seeing a full review of the Contrail and hearing user reports from you folks! It really looks like a great replacement for the Virga2 and may be my next shelter. Bugs are a real nuisance in most places I hike and poncho-tarps give no reprieve without a confining bivi.

Siegmund Beimfohr
(SigBeimfohr) - M
Contrail height on 09/11/2006 14:38:11 MDT Print View

Have been looking for a light-weight tent for some time and the Contrail looks like a good possibility. One request when in-depth review is done: can you provide interior headroom dimensions not only at the peak (45"?) but at "usable" distances from the peak (2', mid-tent, etc.). It appears that the slope is not straight-line to the 14" high foot. If I'm buying a tent, I want to be able to sit up easily (I'm 6'1") or I might as well settle for a bivy.

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: Contrail - Floor weight? 6 oz? on 09/12/2006 22:35:13 MDT Print View

Hi David,

The Contrail floor is about 4 1/2" ounces including the floor, pullouts, and cording--Virga 2 floor is heavier because it contains a zipper and more fabric. The Virga 2 floor was 5-piece vs. the 1-piece Contrail floor. So, floorless Contrail is more like 20 ounces.

-H

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: weaknesses? on 09/12/2006 22:58:34 MDT Print View

>The Contrail looks pretty bomber for a tarptent, but I have one concern. The rear storm flap on the Contrail is taking the place of the usual overhanging foot beak, but can an interior flap really keep water out of the floor? I assume that the storm flap simply reaches down below the bathtub floor and therefore keeps water out, but I can't really determine this from the initial photos and description.

The Contrail floor design, like all our other models, hinges on insetting the edges from the driplines and providing a lip for any droplets that actually roll all the way down and in toward the floor edge. The storm flap is really there for preventing blowing rain from coming through the netting above the floor level (similar in concept to the prior rear beak). The Contrail floor is inset 10" from the rear edge dripline which means that in overhead rain you definitely don't need to drop the flap. Otherwise the flap does block off the back mesh down a distance of 7 1/4" and leaves the remaining 6 3/4" unblocked. Because the floor begins so far into the interior and it has a raised edge, rain has to blow at something like 18 degrees above horizontal to actually make it though to the floor--quite a bit more extreme than is prevented by the Virga/Virga 2 design. If you have wind that extreme it's probably better to just drop the whole back end (by folding the struts under) and let the perimeter sit flush to the ground.

-H

Edited by 07100 on 09/13/2006 10:33:53 MDT.

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Spotlite review on 09/12/2006 23:06:02 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?

Side designs have other issues, most notably rain falling into the interior when you get in and out. It could be done with the Contrail but you would need quite a bit of extra complexity, cost and weight and lose the door overhang now present in the design. If you angle the front pole off to one side (as shown in the Contrail photos on our website) , the Contrail is wide enough that, I think, it’s actually quite easy to enter and exit.

-H

Lawton Grinter
(disco)

Locale: Rocky Mountains
go henry on 09/12/2006 23:54:19 MDT Print View

i for one am loving the return to the simplest, lightest design possible. easy set up, lightest weight. that's why i still love my old battered squall 1.

go henry!

p.s. i also like the tip or handle side up setup option for a trekking pole. more than once i've had the rubber handle of my trekking pole chewed up by rodents in the night for salt, since i had to have it tip side up (and handle at ground level).

Edited by disco on 09/12/2006 23:59:07 MDT.