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Help: Tarptent Rainshadow 2 or Golite Imogene 3
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Stomp Beat
(stompbeat) - M

Locale: New York
Help: Tarptent Rainshadow 2 or Golite Imogene 3 on 03/17/2014 20:58:31 MDT Print View

I just can't seem to decide between these two. This will be primarily for backpacking with my wife and daughter - 3 season - and possibly some woodsy festivals. How does Rainshadow do in terms of condensation? Is it a serious issue? Is Imogene 3 durable? Being pseudo-stand alone tent, Imogene might fair well when it's hard to stake all corners, guy-lines etc when it's not too windy.

What do you guys think? Any suggestions?

Edited by stompbeat on 03/17/2014 21:39:36 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Answers on 03/18/2014 00:38:03 MDT Print View

For info on these two tents call the manufacturers. I know Henry Shires at Tarptent will answer your questions as he has for me.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Help: Tarptent Rainshadow 2 or Golite Imogene 3 on 03/18/2014 02:34:18 MDT Print View

How does Rainshadow do in terms of condensation?

Satisfied Rainshadow 2 owner here (most of the use in the northern midwest).

All tents have condensation problems unless the humidity is low and the wind is blowing ... double walls merely separate you from it. You are located in the northeast, not the desert southwest, correct? Condensation ... it happens, especially with 3 vapor factories inside the shelter.

Being pseudo-stand alone tent, Imogene might fair well when it's hard to stake all corners, guy-lines etc when it's not too windy.

Ask yourself if you are willing to stay home when there's a chance of wind and you can't be certain of a site that will accept stakes. It's a YMMV thing but I've used a not staked "free standing" tent exactly once ... and it was not very windy ... never again. Securing a tent when it cannot be staked is inconvenient and extra work ... but worth it.

Edited by jcolten on 03/18/2014 02:36:57 MDT.

Ash Nat
(Maritan) - F
Don't forget the Cloudburst 3 on 03/18/2014 06:19:23 MDT Print View

This is another three person offering by TarpTent. That can be found under Products -> What's New.

Not trying to add to the confusion, but I preferred the CB3 to the RS2 on paper.

Edited by Maritan on 03/18/2014 06:20:33 MDT.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Don't forget the Cloudburst 3 on 03/18/2014 06:57:05 MDT Print View

but I preferred the CB3 to the RS2 on paper.

Paper ain't the real world but I agree that the CB3 looks Real Nice.

I have not seen a CB3 in the flesh but stock model CB3 is:
Price: similar to Imogene 3, pricier than RS2
floor space: similar to Imogene 3 and RS2
situp space: very much superior to both Imogene 3 and RS3
Weight: similar to Imogene 3, 6oz heavier than RS2

But based on experience with owning a CB2 I'd opt for the third pole (all that silnylon will sag when it gets cool and damp). The clip in liner will be attractive if separation from condensation is important to you but that does add almost 6oz + some cost and I have no experience with Henry's liners to know how well they work.

As Eric said, Henry will answer questions.

Stomp Beat
(stompbeat) - M

Locale: New York
Nice! on 03/18/2014 08:57:24 MDT Print View

Thank you guys.

Very constructive suggestions and I really appreciate it. I almost purchased Imogene but stopped short due to lack of fundS a little. I am glad I did. Reconsidering my decision. Rainshadow is very good but I must say I am impressed with specs of CB3. This design has features from solid hilleberg yet lighter. But price and extra weight is to be considered in comparison to rainshadow. I'll brood on this until the funds are ready.

Thanks for your insight.

John Martin
(snapyjohn) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
Rainshadow 2 on 03/18/2014 12:03:06 MDT Print View

I Purchased a rainshadow 2 for a Rainier hike last year. I like the design and it is well constructed. I ended up not getting to go to Rainier and instead ended up in Glacier. THe good about the tent is that their is room to spare. I had no problems with condensation. I did have issues finding a enough room to pitch this tent. In the same tent site we had a Copper Spur UL3 we only one option for pitching the Rainshadow 2 and it was sloped. That night we ended up on top of each other in this big tent. I also noticed that coming into the site you could see into the tent from the tail end of the tent. It is open on the end and the site was elevated the lack of privacy more pronounced. The good is the room and the weight the bad is the room it takes to pitch it may limit how and where it can be pitched. I have only seen the Imogene 3 at the Golite store it looks well made and should hold up fine.

Ash Nat
(Maritan) - F
Re: Re: Don't forget the Cloudburst 3 on 03/19/2014 10:38:06 MDT Print View

Paper ain't the real world but I agree that the CB3 looks Real Nice.

Absolutely correct. Which is why I mentioned that very clearly since I don't have experience with either tent.

For full disclosure - I bought the CB3 myself, but haven't had a chance to use it in the field yet.

Edited by Maritan on 03/19/2014 10:38:42 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Help: Tarptent Rainshadow 2 or Golite Imogene 3 on 03/19/2014 11:08:42 MDT Print View

I briefly had an Imogene 2, which was really a 1.5 person shelter. I would suspect the 3 person is really a 2 person.

But I absolutely hated it. The pole set up was very finicky, the fly was so slippery that it defied comparison to silnylon, the vestibule was small, it was difficult to get the fly perfectly centered over the ridgeline pole, and the pole clips that attach to the tent were most frustrating to use.

Some of the above would likely apply to the Imogene 3.

I haven't used the CB3, but being able to set up in the rain without getting the interior wet is definitely a boon.

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Imogene vs CB3 on 03/19/2014 11:46:45 MDT Print View

I had looked at the Imogene 3 last year when it came out and ultimately ended up with the TT CB3. It has been used on one week long, very warm trip last August. We had light rain and very heavy wind one night. I opted for using the third pole. I have not bought a liner (at that point it was not available), and don't think I'd bother. I was favorably impressed with the CB3 on all accounts. Good ventilation with both ends open during the heat. Held up well to the wind, pitched end-on with doors closed, and luckily the few branches that came down missed the tent. My sons were using our older BA Copper Spur UL3. I feel the CB3 has at least as much room and is certainly lighter. Way lighter than our Hilleberg Kaitum 3. It is nice that the CB3 goes up as one unit, though we have not been in the conditions yet to make this a factor. I think the only shelter out there which could tempt me out of the CB3 at this point would be the Z-packs Triplex. But thats a lot of $$$, and I continue to have a (perhaps irrational) distrust of CF's durability.

One thing I don't like about the Imogene, and similarly the BA Seedhouse we used to own, was the downward slope of the roof near the back of the tent. This makes it more comfortable to sleep with your head near the door. Having put a knee into my sleeping wife's head one night coming back from a potty break, I won't ever be buying a tent that forces us to sleep with our heads at the only door. She was suitably unimpressed with this feature... :(

Edited by BER on 03/19/2014 11:57:33 MDT.

Paul Andronico
(Jakesandwich) - MLife

Locale: S.F. Bay Area
What Dave U Said +1 on 03/19/2014 12:11:08 MDT Print View

I have an Imogene 3 and it works fine. But all of the annoyances stated above by Dave U are accurate in my experience. I typically use a solo shelter, and the Imogene 3 is fine when there are two of us. If I routinely used the Imogene, I would probably look to upgrade to something less finicky.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Nice! on 03/19/2014 12:36:24 MDT Print View

I am impressed with specs of CB3"

I have an original CB3, never used, that it doesn't look like I'll ever get a chance to use. This was from the original run of the shelter, I think some mods were made to later productions runs.

If you're interested, PM me and we can talk price.

robert van putten
(Bawana) - F

Locale: Planet Bob
Rainshadow on 03/19/2014 14:24:49 MDT Print View

I know nothing of the Golite tent but am a happy owner of the Rainshadow which I have come to love -

Starting in 2010 I went looking for ways to drop pack weight. The heaviest item I was carrying was a 6-1/2 pound Timberline tent, so I figured I'd start right there!

After some false starts I got lucky and found a used TarpTent Rainshadow II for sale here!

I was long familiar with using tarps for backpacking shelters, but I was admittedly somewhat skeptical about the practicality of this shelter at first because it seemed somewhat flimsy and I was worried about the dreaded "spray" that is said may penetrate such tents in hard rain.
Thus it was with some trepidation that I ponied up my 200 clams. After all, if a tent leaks when you need it most, what good is it?

I set it up in my front yard several times to learn about the tent and introduce my wife to it ( See honey? We’re going to be sleeping in that! ).
I believe this practice is essential with any new tent, and besides I wanted to seam seal it myself.

The very first time I ever set it up. Simple, but still learning how to get the floor tight.

first time

I was amazed at the light weight and space from the start. It has all the room two people and all their gear could ever want and then some.
It is listed as a three man tent and I feel that is an honest rating.
Only 43 ounces? This is less than half the weight of the tent I had been carrying, and it uses less stakes to boot!

This tent is very easy to set up. It uses a long multi-sectioned pole for the back arch, a trekking pole or two in front and just four stakes for the basic setup. It can be setup using one pole or two in the front. I have found that one pole is entirely sufficient and seems to leave more clear space to get in and out.
The front and back stakes are the critical. If these pull out, down comes the tent. The two other stakes are used to pull out the front corners. That’s it!
The tent does have two side tie–outs in the middle that are not ordinarily used. Get string, tie ‘em to these tie out points, and carry two extra stakes.

If you get any kind of high winds hitting the side of the tent, you’ll probably wish you had used these side tie outs. Two stakes and string is about an extra ounce, and with this tent you can afford the weight!
I believe the use of these side tie outs will greatly reduce the chance of getting rain blown in the sides of the tent through the mesh, because you can pull the sides out so they overhang the side significantly, and in practice I always use them.

I also seam sealed the tent. This is essential with Tarp Tent products. To save cost they don’t do this at the factory, and I couldn’t be sure the previous owners had done a thorough job of it.
I don’t mind, it is a good way to familiarize yourself with the tent. Seam sealing is done with Silicone sealant thinned white gasoline, and simply painted on the seams. Don’t scrimp, do it right or you’ll get leaky seams!

Some folk recommend painting a few stripes of this sealant mix on the floor – snail tracks – to prevent sleeping pad migration on the silnylon floor. I didn’t and haven’t had any difficulties with nocturnal pad migration.

My wife and I always carry an eight inch one ounce aluminum snow stake for use as a potty trowel. Now it serves double duty as a magnum tent stake for use in loose soil.
In the photo below we camped in sandy soil at a lake shore. The extra-long and wide snow stake firmly anchored the front cord, and I used two of the ordinary stakes supplies with the tent to nail down the back cord.

preist lake

After several trips I stopped using a ground sheet with this tent. This saves an additional few ounces of weight but also saves setup and take down hassle. I am happy to report that the silnylon floor has held up perfectly well so far in various terrain. Tarp Tent says ground sheets are not usually needed and I believe them.

This is a big tent and at first I was worried about finding sufficient space to pitch it, but as I came to know it better such thoughts have faded away.
One time the only dry-ish flat spot I could find wasn’t quite big enough. No problem, I simply pitched the tent right up against a small fallen log, ran the back cord over the log and tied it off to the base of a small bush. Tying the front or back cords off to a bush is also a great way to solidly anchor them if the soil is loose and you don’t have a big snow stake handy.

west fork lake


Another time we had hiked long and hard one day, and found ourselves nowhere near an established camp site at the end of the day. We simply moved off the trail to an area under mature trees with no undergrowth and with our boots scuffed, kick and built up a flattish area just big enough for our two sleeping pads side by side and pitched the tent over that. The tent itself was not at all level, but the little dished out area in the center was good enough to sleep in. Thus, like a true tarp you need not find a level spot big enough for the whole thing, just big enough for your bodies to occupy.
The floor is connected to the canopy only by mesh, and you have plenty of leeway to play with.
You cannot hang the tent over obstacles and bushes as you can with a true tarp though.

In the photo you can see one corner of the tent is hanging up in the air a bit and the opposite corner is bunched on the ground because of the uneven site. So? Worked fine anyway.

salmo lop


This shelter is somewhere between a tarp and a regular tent when it comes to privacy. Ordinarily this is of no concern to us, but on a recent trip to the Grand Canyon we found ourselves at a crowded camp ground. No matter, just face the tent in a private direction.

grand canyon

This tent has one entrance, unlike some fancy tents with two doors. We don’t mind as there is more than enough clear space for two people to use the one door without having to climb over each other. Lots of elbow room.

grand canyon2

Last summer we spent two nights camped in an exposed location at 6,000 feet at fault lake Idaho, and one night a terrible storm blew in.
The performance of the tent in that nasty storm did a whole lot to boost our confidence in this tent. The high winds and rain hit the tent broadside, and the tent was pitched in an exposed spot on a ledge above the lake. This was the worst position this tent could have been set up in. We did ship a little water blown in the exposed side, but we and all our gear was bone dry. The silnylon floor with no ground cloth did not soak through, and the canopy did not mist in the heavy, wind driven, all night rain. This tent is serious shelter.

That morning I discovered the vestibule of the tent is plenty big enough to cook in, as I fed my wife and myself, then scurried out into the storm to feed the three other people we were with who were camped nearby. This is a big vestibule!

fault lake

- I also own the smaller version of this tent, the Squall 2, and use that as a roomy solo tent. I think the smaller version is even more weather worthy than the Rainshadow.

Anyway, as I wrote, I know nothing of the other tent you are considering, but maybe all this will help you decide if a Rainshadow 2 fits yer bill.

Edited by Bawana on 03/19/2014 14:30:42 MDT.

Nathan Avery
(nathanaver) - F
Imogene on 03/19/2014 15:44:14 MDT Print View

I own an Imogene UL3 and I'm really happy with it. I see it as similar to the BA Fly Creek 3 but it just seems a bit more sturdy. First off, it's really a 2 person tent. I would not want to have 3 adults in there but for 2 and our little dog its very comfortable. I think it would be fine for 2 adults and a small child. I have found the tent to be very easy to use and intuitive. It is very weatherproof, I've had it in torrential downpours and prolonged light rain and it has done very well in both cases with no leaking or splashing at the corners like the comparable TT sometimes do. Here is a picture of the tent after a night of rain and light snow. The ground is completely soaked but the inside of the tent is completely dry. Imogene 3  in rain
It also does well in high winds. I have never had any condensation issues, especially impressive considering that I live in the PNW and have camped in some very condensation prone conditions.

The only issue I have is that the clips that attach the fly can be a little finicky. Other than that I have no complaints. I do not feel that the poles are finicky in any way. I also do not feel that the roof sloping down is a problem. I'm 6'2" and I sleep with my feet towards the door. I will say that this is an ultralight backpacking tent, not a car camping tent, so its smaller on the inside and as such I probably would not want to hang out for a whole day in there. The vestibule is smaller than some tents, but we have found it adequate for 2 large backpacks. When the backpacks are there it can be a bit cramped getting in and out, but i think probably better than having a trekking pole(s) in the way. Also, someone mentioned that the fly isn't always exactly centered on the pole, this is true and might bother some people, but I haven't found it to make any real difference in performance and can be fixed easily if you really care. I will summarize the advantages of the TT vs. the Imogene below:

Advantages of Imogene:
1) Freestanding
2) More weatherproof than RS2 at corners
3) Resistant to condensation
4) Easier entry/exit than RS2?, but still not ideal
5) Seam sealed at factory
6) Can be setup without fly - nice for relaxing in the sun in buggy areas (see picture below)
7) More privacy than RS2

Advantages of TT RS2 or CB3
1) Lighter - Imogene is almost 4 lbs with footprint, so if you are carrying trekking poles anyway you save over 1 lb with the RS2
2) Larger and more headroom, larger vestibule
3) Easier to set up, especially in the rain
4) Actually in stock sometimes
5) RS2 is slightly cheaper

So I would just weigh the above. I don't think you can go wrong with either, there's just a different set of tradeoffs.

Imogene in sun

Edited by nathanaver on 03/19/2014 17:49:29 MDT.

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
Golite Imogene 3 on 03/19/2014 16:26:09 MDT Print View

Isn't there enough room inside the Imogene 3 for two people and two packs? I would keep my pack inside.

These are the measured weights that a reviewer on golite.com posted:

Rainfly 14.8 oz.
Poles 15 oz.
Nest 19 oz.
Stakes 4.3 oz.
Total with labels and nylon bag 55 oz.

So 48.8 ounces for rainfly, nest, and poles.

Nathan Avery
(nathanaver) - F
Weight on 03/19/2014 18:03:24 MDT Print View

Yeah, the packs will fit, its just that sometimes they are wet and/or dirty and I'm usually camping with my fiancee who doesn't tolerate such things in the tent.

I was including the 7 oz weight of the footprint because i haven't yet been bold enough to use the tent without it since the floor is only 20 denier. Adding in that weight brings the packed weight to 62 oz, so 20 oz more than the RS 2, although i guess you would probably want to put the RS 2 in a bag of some sort as well and some people are using groundsheets with it so that might make the difference around 13 oz or so if you did that.

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
Weights on 03/19/2014 18:45:01 MDT Print View

Well a "polycryo" or groundsheet of similar film would weigh around 3 oz.
A cuben fiber stuff sack would be around 1 ounce.
So that would be 4 ounces, not 13 additional ounces.

Obviously if you aren't going to be using trekking poles, the Imogene and Cloudburst have big weight advantages over the Rainshadow.

Edited by clear_blue_skies on 03/19/2014 18:55:23 MDT.

Nathan Avery
(nathanaver) - F
Weight on 03/19/2014 19:15:28 MDT Print View

Yeah, I know, I was trying to say 13 oz would be the difference between the Imogene 3 and RS2 if someone got a stuff sack and groundsheet for the RS2, but I guess with those lighter options for stuff sack and groundsheet the difference would be more like 16 oz.

Tim Klaus
(WWhermit) - F

Locale: So Cal
Re: Footprint for Imogene 3 on 03/19/2014 19:49:58 MDT Print View

I have an Imogene 3. I made a footprint out of 1mil sheeting, not Polycro, but mine still came in at under 5 ounces.

I also don't use the stuff sack, so there's a bit of weight savings there.

robert van putten
(Bawana) - F

Locale: Planet Bob
Weight on 03/20/2014 10:44:26 MDT Print View

Uh, the Rainshadow II comes with a stuff sack - Don't all tents?
Although the Tarp Tent silnylon sacks are notoriously tight! :)
I've considered making a new one but my wife has no trouble stuffing the Rainshadow so that's her job.

Mine weighs 43 ounces in the sack with two extra stakes ( six total ), a few feet of string added to the side tie outs, the back pole in a long, extra narrow nylon stuff sack we made to hold just the pole so it doesn't poke holes in the tent and with the tent seam sealed.

It's an astonishingly light and large tent.