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Anyone have experience with the Stratospire 2?
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Jeff Creamer
(jcreamer) - MLife
Anyone have experience with the Stratospire 2? on 04/02/2013 16:20:56 MDT Print View

In the all important world of finding the right tent, I am considering the Stratospire 2. It will be used for me and my son. We are both average build. I am intrigued by the floor space and design. At 40 ounces, there are lighter tents out there. But seems like sub 2.5/3 pound tents for two people are really expensive. I am concerned about condensation, but this always seems to be a problem regardless of tent in the SE.
I am also open for suggestions/ideas. Would like to invest in one tent that I can take care of and keep long term. Right now my brain is overloaded with numbers and pictures of tents. Should mention that this will be used primarily in the SE and AT type hiking.
Thanks in advance.

Edited by jcreamer on 04/02/2013 16:22:28 MDT.

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Re: Anyone have experience with the Stratospire 2? on 04/02/2013 23:42:10 MDT Print View

Hi Jeff. I recently purchased an SS2 and have used it for 3 nights over 2 short trips. I looked at many tents, including all of the free standing ones you would find at REI. This tent is noticeably larger than the REI Quarter Dome, the Hubba Hubba, and especially larger than the Copper Spur 2. I didn't review the MLD offerings, but I'd be surprised to find another tent at this size for this weight regardless of price, though perhaps a cuben one would come in a little under this weight.

Having said that, the lower weight and bigger size do come at a cost. This is my first tent, and I've had some struggles pitching it. I most recently had a rough night last weekend in a brutal wind storm at Carrizo Plain National Monument. I ended up packing up my SS2 and jumping in my buddy's Hubba Hubba. I spoke with Henry of Tarptents this afternoon (can't say enough about the great support), and we reviewed some basics mistakes I made in terms of location (open spot on a ridge at +4,000 ft with loose soil), pitch (review the set up video on the Tarptent website, I find this one more logical than the one Franco posted on YouTube), and equipment (use a good set of trekking poles with at least 4 ft of height as opposed to the optional substitute pole set; carry extra pair of stakes to stake out the ridge line separately in bad weather).

Assuming I can successfully implement this new info (and I'm feeling good about it), this is a very spacious lightweight tent and I recommend it. Keep in mind you will need to seal the seems on the rainfly or ask them to do it for an additional fee. I didn't realize this was an option when I ordered so I'm sending it back to have it done. My apartment is tiny and I have no yard space to do it myself.

Good luck.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - F

Locale: Colorado
SS2 on 04/03/2013 00:12:22 MDT Print View

I've owned an SS2 since last summer, after an extensive search on 2+P shelters. It has gobs of space, partly because of the vertical walls, and partly because of the large vestibules. I'd suggest getting the mesh inner rather than the semi-solid version, as the former makes the feel larger and helps with cross-ventilation. The dual pole setup makes for terrific headroom throughout much of the inner, and getting in and out is much easier as a result.

I can't comment on condensation as I've only used it in the dry conditions of Colorado, very different than you describe you'll expect. Perhaps Dan Durston can comment about his experiences in PNW. What I will say is that opening the dual vestibule doors somewhat will give you the best chance of a cross-breeze, and I've yet to have any moisture enter the inner with the vestibule doors partially open.

Pitching does take a little getting used to, as the geometry is utterly different than any other tent I've owned. Do try both techniques shown in videos by Henry and Franco. Some days my brain gets one; other days I can only get a decent pitch with the other.

Wind resistance is one of the strengths of the SS2, and I must admit I was challenged
to figure out which way to pitch it facing into the wind. There's a thread where Franco answered my question. Do search for it as the information is useful.

The footprint of the SS2 is pretty big, so for all of the reasons above, site selection is going to be important. But once you have it down, I can't think of a 2+P shelter weighing in ~40oz with a mesh inner that gives anything close to the livability of the SS2. Be prepared to practice before you go on your first trip and you will be well rewarded.

Garth Collier
(garthc) - MLife

Locale: Singapore
Re: Re: Anyone have experience with the Stratospire 2? on 04/03/2013 04:45:44 MDT Print View

I purchased the Tarptent SS2 as a lightweight tent for camping with my son...I have had it out twice and it has performed well. I live in the tropics and plan to use the tent in various countries and environments. It endured a severe tropical storm and was very secure with only one small leak. Note the storm flattened another tent and we hardly felt the storm in the SS2. I love that you can open both sides and get a cross breeze whilst still being protected from insects. With a bit of paracord i was able to fashion an awning with the side doors partially zipped on each side. This setup maintained a cross breeze whilst keeping gentle rain out of the sleeping area...this is critical when its mid to high 80's at night and it is constant gentle rain ....Size is excellent...plenty of head and leg room and the vestibules allow storage out of the rain. I like the fact that you can tension the silnylon during rain/nighttime by simply raising the treking poles. It was simple and quick to put up and all panels tensioned out well. The only issue i had was the inner floor got a tension line diagonally across it when the tent was fully tensioned. I believe that i have resolved this by adding some additional length to the inner floor corner ties. BTW if you don't use trekking poles there are some good solid collapsible CF poles available from Ruta Locura. I bought a set for those times that I don't want to carry trekking poles. Lastly it does have a big footprint which may be an issue if you camp in areas with small sites.


Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Anyone have experience with the Stratospire 2? on 04/03/2013 13:52:34 MDT Print View

Hi Garth. Thanks for the tips on CF poles available from Ruta Locura. I've been looking for alternatives to replace the Tarptent easton poles.

Did you get the adjustable poles from Ruta Locura? Given the price point, I'm wondering if it makes more sense to go with the carbon ones from GossamerGear.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Anyone have experience with the Stratospire 2 on 04/03/2013 22:59:52 MDT Print View

From Garth :
The only issue i had was the inner floor got a tension line diagonally across it when the tent was fully tensioned.

I had one set up so I tried that.
By moving the non PitchLock corner slightly out of the correct position I get that too.
So it means that the corners are not square to each other .
Just fiddle a bit with those corners by changing the tension and moving the corner tie out one way or the other, no need to add or take away cordage.
Note the position of the tie-out in the PitchLock corners(yellow line) the other two corners should look the same.
TT SS2 set up
Keep in mind that the "floating" floor should not have too much tension , it is designed to "give" so that the slightly loose floor fabric will be harder to puncture .
The above applies to all models however on the DR you may get a straight line (pole to pole) depending on the pole tension. A diagonal line always means the shelter is not set up correctly. (not a big deal most of the time...)

BTW, the way I set it up does not work for Henry either but it works for me...

Edited by Franco on 04/03/2013 23:00:47 MDT.

Garth Collier
(garthc) - MLife

Locale: Singapore
Re: Re: Re: Re: Anyone have experience with the Stratospire 2? on 04/03/2013 23:53:53 MDT Print View

Hi Sean,

The poles ordered from Rota Locura where CF collapsible tent poles...the poles are a fixed length and from memory they went into 3 or 4 sections held together with shock cord. They are quite robust and they cover for situations when i don't have a need to take trekking poles.


Karen Kennedy
(karenk) - MLife

Locale: NE NSW - Australian subtropics
SS2 on 04/04/2013 01:33:58 MDT Print View

I have spent many nights (around 75) in my SS2 - pitching is straightforward once you get your head around the unique geometry. Ventilation is excellent, space amazing, sheltered entry, separate entry for both occupants. And room for two wide mats in a tent of this weight is to be commended. This is definitely my "go to" tent for two if not being a fanatic gram weenie.

Overall an excellent tent and a really impressive design. Well done Henry!

Foo Bar
(schassey) - F - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
The Perfect 2P tent? on 04/04/2013 17:16:54 MDT Print View

I just spent what was probably my 10th night or so in the SS2 last night, and every time I use it, I completely marvel at it. For me, it is the perfect tent. I love the space, both on the interior and in the vestibules, the weight is nice and light, it packs down to just about nothing.

I spent several years using the original REI Quaterdome2, and about 3 years ago decided to go for a new tent. I tried a Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 (waaay too tiny), and then a Double Rainbow, which I loved. When I first saw the SS2, I realized that the design trumped the DR in every way except for the size of the footprint- the SS2 is a good bit bigger. That said, I have yet to have any trouble finding a suitable campsite. I've had the SS2 since the fall, and my only 'issue' has been figuring out how best to pitch it on not quite even ground. In general I use the 'Henry' method, and find that on reasonably flat ground it's drum tight.

I've had it on several feet of snow in the Sierra, all over the Bay, and for the past 2 nights, up in the PNW. Last night was in the Columbia River gorge, and I had no problems with condensation whatsoever.

Honestly, every time I use it I marvel at what a genius Henry is- this really is the perfect 3.5 season 2P tent for me. The design has me contemplating selling my Contrail in favor of the Notch for my solo trips.

Benjamin Auer
SS 2 on 04/05/2013 13:02:02 MDT Print View

I have an stratospire 2 as well. I really like it. At first pitching it was a little confusing but once you get the hang of it, it is not bad. I am tall so I really like the headroom and the vertical space. The fact that top is the same width as the floor makes if feel really roomy and if pitched properly will handle weather quite well.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Anyone have experience with the Stratospire 2? on 04/05/2013 17:20:12 MDT Print View

I just got an SS2 after a tent swap with Franco. I think I won though as I just received a new SS2 (I think I need to thank Henry here) while he got the Propel after my son and I used it. (So this is how condensation works Raymond. Go ahead and breathe more on the frozen tent walls…) Don’t tell Franco that my son loves garlic. ;-)

I was planning on getting it out this weekend but it is snowing now and calling for mixed precip over the weekend. I have not had a chance to seal it yet so it looks like I have to wait. But I am encouraged by these posts. I can’t wait to get it out.

I shall try to contribute as soon as possible, but thanks from me too to those that shared.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Anyone have experience with the Stratospire 2? on 04/05/2013 18:15:49 MDT Print View

No experience with the Ss2 but have used the Ss1 for a year or so and got on well enough with it expect on rough ground.

Turns out I was pitching it wrong along, once I started pitching it like an A frame and then pegging out the pitch lok corners it was fine.