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Tarptent Double Rainbow Tent REVIEW
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Tarptent Double Rainbow Tent REVIEW on 11/21/2006 20:10:42 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Tarptent Double Rainbow Tent REVIEW

Edited by bugbomb on 11/21/2006 20:12:00 MST.

David Stenberg
(dstenberg1) - F

Locale: South
packs in the pics on 11/22/2006 10:27:32 MST Print View

You got your hands on the new Golite packs early! I wish I could do the same. Can't wait to hear about them. Hopefully in a spotlite or indepth review soon!

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Tarptent Double Rainbow Tent REVIEW on 11/25/2006 22:46:18 MST Print View

My wife and I love our DR. It has replaced our beloved 20-year-old TNF Tadpole as our preferred "couples tent". Others have tried; this is the only one to have succeeded, and that includes our BatRay II (a close second).

We did not find the DR to be too narrow for two adults and their gear (I'm 5'9"; she's 5'6"). We had plenty of side-to-side room, but then after 35 years together, we tend to enjoy sleeping very close to each other to begin with. We had more than enough room to sleep apart had we so desired.

More width adds more weight. Would we willingly spend 24-48 hours inside the DR during bad weather? Yes. Would we be comfortable? Yes. Would we be elated with the experience? Of course not! No lightweight backpacking shelter is really designed for long term comfort under such conditions (if you want that, buy TNF VE-25 and carry the weight), but it's a whole lot better than being out there walking through absolute crap. Been there; done that; learned my lesson the first time!

That said, I would have to agree that the maximum length of trekking poles does limit the shelter design. Personally, I would not have made this tent free-standing, although I understand why it was done. It works well for the Rainbow; less so for the DR. And yes, the trekking pole attachment straps can be a very minor annoyance. If you don't like them, cut them off. Just be sure you never want to take advantage of the free-standing functionality before you do.

While it is admittedly nice to have the ability to pitch it free-standing, we'd be ill-advised to do so in even the slightest breeze. We've watched too many Girl and Boy Scouts chase their free-standing dome tents across some field at Camporees when the weight of their gear (minus their bodies) was not sufficient to keep the wind from turning the unstaked tents into tumbleweeds. We'll ALWAYS stake our DR down. The added weight of 6 pegs is miniscule compared to the risk of having a sudden breeze toss the thing into the sharp branches of near-by vegetation just as a storm approaches. Also, we noticed that the lowest section of my trekking poles tended to bend slightly when fully extended and tensioned to support the DR. That can't be good for the poles in the long term.

The existing top vents worked fine for us, but then we weren't out in a rainstorm.

For those of you who might take the DR into known high wind environments, the added guy-outs along the arch pole could make sense, and Henry can add them if you desire. Even then, there are better tents out there which are designed for that sort of thing; you'd be well advised to give them serious consideration before pushing the limits of the DR design. I'm sure Henry would second that suggestion.

For the bulk of us, it's a non-issue. Personally, should I unexpectedly encounter high wind conditions either through pure chance or (more likely) through foolishly choosing a poor campsite, I'd take some TripTeaze and secure 1 or 2 loops under the velcro flap on each end of the cross-pole sleeve at the top of the tent, then secure the line(s) to peg(s) or rock(s) out in front of the vestibule on each side (a total of two or four added lines depending on wind strength). As Henry a stated in other threads, guying out the vestibules IN THE MANNER FOR WHICH THEY WERE DESIGNED gives plenty of wind stability. Trying to cross the vestibule flaps actually lessens that stability.

Bottom line - match your gear to the conditions expected and your level of expertise. Don't take a tarp to Everest or a VE-25 to the Mojave desert and expect everything to go off without a hitch. If you anticipate the need (or want) to push the design envelope for your gear, be sure you have the skill and experience to make the right choices when you modify the pitch or otherwise use it outside its designed limits in order to accommodate the conditions.

You'll see this statement in several of my posts on this and other forums: Don't let your ego write checks your body (and/or gear) can't cash!

Wandering Bob

Edited by wandering_bob on 11/25/2006 23:12:41 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Tarptent Double Rainbow Tent REVIEW on 11/26/2006 03:47:39 MST Print View

Freestanding: an unsolicited word of advice.

ALWAYS (at least in my neck of the woods as winds can come up during the night on some occasions) stake down a free-standing tent. Why become a piece of "Texas Tumbleweed" in the middle of the night?

So then, what's the advantage of "freestanding" one may ask?

Although most of the Forum participants already know the answers:

1. Allows easier movement or reorientation of the shelter if winds (with rains) shift, IF one desired to do this so that the vestible or doors could remain open for better ventilation and condensation reduction. However, one will get wet doing so if the rains have already started.

2. On surfaces that don't offer a great deal of hold for stakes, it allows the tent to be more easily erected and staked down, since the stakes are not asked to do more holding than the ground permits (of course, strong winds might make their demands upon the stakes). Deadfall and rocks, etc. *might* be unecessary for getting a good pitch in these situations.

3. If camping somewhere for a couple of days, it's easy enough to pull up the stakes and move the shelter out of the damaging sunlight during the day and then place it back in the more desirable location for the night. This is just a bit easier than taking it down and re-pitching it each evening.

4. I've seen people, at established camp sites in places where camp fires were allowed, pull up their stakes and move their freestander when the fire was larger and some "sparks" were floating in the warm air currents (yes, i know. you'll get no argument from me here - i don't build such types of fires even where allowed; however, given the nature of non-flame retardant UL fabrics, why take a chance that a strong gust of wind might kick up some sparks/tiny embers?). Then when the fire was dying down, move it closer to the fire and just stake it down. Others needed to either take their shelters down and repitch, or wait until later in the night to pitch their shelter when they'd just rather climb into their bag and go to sleep.

Yes, i know, none of these are real compelling arguments. There are ways around each minor obstacle.

Is "freestanding" an absolute requirement? No. All other things being equal (which they're generally not), is it a nice feature? Yes.

Personally, i don't feel it's necessary.

Edited by pj on 11/26/2006 03:52:27 MST.

Ronald Gaulden
(ch1cote) - F
Fantastic Tent on 10/15/2007 18:17:11 MDT Print View

Love it! My wife and I used this on our 07 thru of the AT. What a great haven from the bad weather and bugs. I'd say for couples it's great for two or two really close friends, otherwise it's a little narrow. With some extra stakes and guy lines you can really have fun with this tent with all the set up options. I love the freestanding abilities, it made it great when the ground was practically impenetrable and on the area's where we had to sleep on platforms. It handled some really heavy downpours, although we did give it a once over coating in VT after a seriously heavy night of rain where misting was an understatement. All in all I'd recommend this tent! The newer ones have zippered Vestibules now too!

Mikkel Storesund
(mikestoresund) - MLife

Locale: West of Denver
Just received mine on 05/11/2011 12:33:25 MDT Print View

I received my Double Rainbow last week and I seam sealed it this last weekend. They have added the guy attachments along the pole sleeve for increased stability, the vestibule flaps have a zipper, the vents look to be increased comparing the picture, the pole attachments are now sleeves to insert the pole as compared to the grommets shown in this review, and the trekking pole attachment is a Velcro strip along the pole sleeve insert. It looks like all the recommended improvements have been incorporated.
After seam sealing and replacing the provided stakes with my Vargo titanium stakes, and with the added ‘condensation liner, the packed weight on my scale is 2 pounds 10 ounces. I will be using the tent this coming weekend at 9800 feet along Guanella Pass and I look forward to it.

Mikkel Storesund
(mikestoresund) - MLife

Locale: West of Denver
After using for a while... on 03/08/2013 17:40:45 MST Print View

I have had my DR for almost 2 years now and have used it on many treks along the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail in all four-seasons. After getting a puncture in the floor I added a Tyvek groundsheet to help protect the floor, so packed the tent, stakes and ground cloth weigh in right at 3 pounds.

The tent is perfectly sized for me, my Retriever and our gear.

I prefer staking out at all points versus freestanding even in calm weather, so I can use my poles for vestibule changes. In colder weather, adding a mylar blanket along the walls and floor is a ‘warm welcome.’ In real bad weather I pitch a tarp over the tent to hold / deflect most of the snow and adds another space layer of insulation.

While this is not a true four-season tent, an added tarp and mylar can make due for a weekend, but I would not recommend during the winter.

Easy to set up quickly
Good sized vestibules with optional setups for better views and circulation
Good circulation

Condensation buildup more in colder weather
Not as durable as other tents I own

Edited by mikestoresund on 03/08/2013 17:42:26 MST.