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Tarptent Contrail Tent REVIEW
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Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Tarptent Contrail Tent REVIEW on 11/19/2006 19:41:19 MST Print View

When the weather turns to absolute crap, function trumps form every time.

I don't give a #$%& what my gear or I look like. I do care how it performs and how secure I am.

I've got a Contrail and enjoy it. I rather like its lines. I also recognize its design limitations so would never dream of trying to make this a 4 season tent. Neither would I take it along if I had any reason to expect I might run into a snowstorm.

John Davis
(JNDavis) - F

Locale: Isle of Man
Tarptent Contrail Tent REVIEW on 11/20/2006 14:11:32 MST Print View

Thanks, David. It's cuter than I remembered, so thank heavens I didn't try drawing one from memory.

Now, how would you midge-proof one if using only a tray-shaped groundsheet, instead of an inner. Perhaps a Gossamer Gear-style, mini mozzie net would do it.

By the way, I never knew Tony had a dog.

Edited by JNDavis on 11/20/2006 14:22:23 MST.

David Couch
(Davidc) - F

Locale: England
Re: Tarptent Contrail Tent REVIEW on 11/20/2006 17:19:53 MST Print View

John, enough about the Wilson tent in a Contrail thread. Set yourself up a profile, or use mine to email me and I'll answer your question.

John Davis
(JNDavis) - F

Locale: Isle of Man
Tarptent Contrail Tent REVIEW on 11/21/2006 12:41:04 MST Print View

That's me told!

Have set up a profile.

Just one problem with staying on the subject. I have killed several threads stone dead when behaving properly.

So, final thoughts on the Contrail. I'm seriously tempted by the Squall Classic, which gets the things right that the Contrail gets wrong. Just look at that gorgeous catenary profile! Oh, dear. There I go again.

Dane Burke
(Dane) - F

Locale: Western Washington
Re: Contrail Length With Rear Flattened on 11/22/2006 15:26:33 MST Print View

Thank you Will, both for your response and the helpful review.


Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Tarptent Contrail Tent REVIEW on 11/28/2006 21:31:25 MST Print View

I don't personally think that a tents visual appearance has any merit for its practicality or useability but for the record I'll add that the Contrail is a very sexy tent.

I was only introduced to Shire's tents within the past year as I started researching DIY tent plans. What I like most about the Contrail is that it gets back to what Henry was first doing with tents - minimal roof with bug netting. His Rainbow designs albeit practical and worthy they are simply not tarptents.

Will, thanks for another top-notch review. Your extensive testing and matter-of-fact presentation of results and findings plays an enormous part in making informed decisions.

Charles Thompson
(DemeraraDrinker) - F

Locale: Land of Toto
Tarptent Contrail on 02/29/2008 17:56:38 MST Print View

The issue of ugly is settled. I have seen stelth bombers and fighters take off from Whiteman AFB in MO. They have a beauty to them. Now, why do you think this tent is called Contrail? Because it resembles the bomber, an object in the sky flying with a contrail.

Rob Lewis
(roblewis) - F

Locale: Northeast
Re: Contrail Length With Rear Flattened on 12/31/2010 13:14:04 MST Print View

I have experience 3 dislikes about the Contrail, which is still a great lightweight shelter.

1. Front entry door is hard to get in and out of with a verticle pole. (better if pole is at an angle.)

2. When pitched on a slope, I have found the floor tensioners to pull the stakes out of the ground because of sliding down the slope. (Im sure that better site selection in this case would help)

3. Must be careful about placing the pole in the grommet, as I poked a hole in the silnylon in the same place as Will's review.

Overall it is a good lightweight shelter, and for someone new to Ultralight backpacking, I love the missing weight and time consuming setup of my old tent!!

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Tarptent Contrail Tent REVIEW on 12/31/2010 18:40:13 MST Print View

Wow, that is a blast from the past.
But since the Contrail is still alive and well...
Point 1 and 3 are "solved in this pic :
Contrail V poles

easy enough to use two poles and to use the handle on top rather than on the ground.
That way your poles tips can also be inserted in the soil as a peg.
If you do only use one pole, then yes you can set it to one side at least till you go to sleep.
Contrail pole aside
As for point two, I could be wrong but you would have the same problem with shelters that have the inner (tent over there) pegged independently from the fly.

Rocco Speranza

Locale: Western NC Mtns
Re: Tarptent Contrail Tent REVIEW on 10/29/2012 10:15:52 MDT Print View

I just messaged you on the other Backpacker Forum. I'll ask my question again here in a different way encase someone else can answer as well.

Is the 2008 version the one being made now?
Is that the 2008 version in the pics above?

How much better is the new versus the old 2006 version?

Thanks again for your help!

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Tarptent Contrail Tent REVIEW on 10/29/2012 16:18:35 MDT Print View

Hi Rocco
I had the original and have now have the current version.
In total there are 3 slightly different versions , the one sold now is the result of several minor tweaks that Henry has made over the years.
The current version has the ability to slide the box end down to ground level for extra rain and wind protection.
I prefer to use the extra middle strut at the end for extra leverage (working in combination with the front guyline)
You can see that in my videos at YouTube (I see you have already found those...)
The other upgrades are less visible but nevertheless useful.

Rocco Speranza

Locale: Western NC Mtns
thx! on 10/30/2012 07:36:22 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies. Yeah, I think I'll want the newer version since I plan to keep this awhile.