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Cloudburst 2... pros and cons...
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Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Cloudburst 2... pros and cons... on 08/21/2007 11:39:10 MDT Print View

I thought about the SpinTwinn for shelter for two, but my wife is much more likely to go backpacking with me if she can sleep in a tent. Before I submit my order to Henry... does anyone want to tell me why I should or should not buy this tent?

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Cloudburst 2... pros and cons... on 08/21/2007 14:44:42 MDT Print View

I have an original Cloudburst, lke it a LOT and normally endorse Henry's products without question but have learned to ask ... In what kind of conditions would you be using it?

Also, if you normally use trekking poles, for $5 and 3oz more you could get a Rainshadow 2 ... positively spacious!

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Conditions... on 08/21/2007 15:56:25 MDT Print View

I don't use trekking poles, that's one thing I liked about the Cloudburst. (I could get other carbon fiber poles I guess).

A lot of the use will probably be in drier climates (here in Utah). Some desert use down south, the Wind Rivers, and in the Uintahs (it rains alot there). Obviously I "plan" on going everywhere - but those are the places I would be the most.

I need a shelter that is roomy enough and provides enough protection that my wife (who isn't obsessively hard-core like I am) will be comfortable. I checked the floor size against a tent I have right now and it seems comparable. If so, the Cloudburst should have plenty of room for 2 right? (If I'm bringing a buddy, I don't want to snuggle next to him).

Edited by splproductions on 08/21/2007 16:05:29 MDT.

Darrel Etter
(darrel) - F
cloudburst on 08/21/2007 18:56:05 MDT Print View

We have had the original cloudburst for a couple of years. It is the minimum shelter for my wife. I really like its length and roominess. We can put all our equipment (pack under our feet) and still have comfortable room. I'm 6'2" and its length is great - plenty of room for pillow (stuff sack) and stretching arms above the head without feet being exposed or touching. We've weathered some snow in it too (unplanned). It's single stake rear really makes setup easier in tight spots. It's easy enough to get a tight pitch that isn't too noisy in the wind.

The two things my wife complains about are 1) the mesh along the sides can allow dust to enter the tent. I don't see anyway of avoiding that with a tarptent-like tent, and it doesn't bother me, and 2) to sit up you must be at the very front of the tent and you have to do it pretty much one at a time. Oh, and 3) it's a little difficult to get in and out of because its the old version with three guylines in front. It only requires 4 stakes, which is nice, but I always use 6. My wife has more activities that she performs in the tent then I do, so I think the sitting-up issue is most important, and for that reason she might like the Double Rainbow more.

Darrel Etter
(darrel) - F
cloudburst on 08/21/2007 18:58:46 MDT Print View

Oh, and 4) with my big feet I sometimes kick dust in the tent as I get in or out. The Rainbow has doors on either side so I might be able to kick dust/dirt into only my side.

Mark Hurd
(markhurd) - M

Locale: South Texas
Cloudburst2 experience on 08/21/2007 20:42:10 MDT Print View

I originally bought a squall2, but my wife felt it seemed too small, I sent it back for a refund from Henry (no questions asked) and bought the Cloudburst2. Since it has two hoops the walls are held away from the middle pretty well and it feels like there is more room. You are less likely to bump the sides of the tent, too. It has storm flaps along the sides to roll down over the mesh in heavy weather. It sheds wind and rain like a champ with plenty of room. Very easy to pitch once you get the hang of running the poles through the narrow sleeves. And most importantly my wife likes it. One person at a time can sit up at the front and get dressed or whatever with no problem (I;m 5'10" and my wife is 5'6"), but you will probablly have to take turns. The Rainbow 2 person tent or the Rainshadow might have more room if you plan to spend a lot of time hanging out in the tent. We usually only sleep in ours. You can order one and check it out in the back yard and if you don't like it return it. You'll be out the shipping cost.


Edited by markhurd on 08/21/2007 20:43:38 MDT.

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Cloudburst 2... pros and cons... on 08/21/2007 20:56:23 MDT Print View

I had a Cloudburst 2 for a while and liked it, it set up fast, was pretty good in the wind. No real negatives, I just wanted a bigger tent, got a Rainshadow.

Henry absolutely makes it worthwhile.
If you're buying direct, you can also ask him to seam seal it, he does a great job, better than I could do for a few bucks.


Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Cloudburst 2 roominess? on 08/22/2007 07:42:38 MDT Print View

Some things to understand when reading TarpTent specs (I'm pretty sure I have this correct, you could confirm with a phone call or web contact):

  • The published widths are from one edge of the roof to the opposite edge. Actual floor dimensions are narrower.

  • The two floor area figures are 1) with the floor flat on the ground and 2) with the floor in bathtub mode. When comparing with a known tent be sure to use the area for the floor configuration you'll most likely want to use.

I don't think you'll have to spoon your buddy to fit two into the Cloudburst 2 but you won't have any extra room either. I was gonna get a Double Rainbow until I was warned that my tentmate for a two week trip didn't just toss and turn a lot, he did so "explosively" ... (grunt, levitate, roll in mid air, thud, wiggle, snore, ya gotta experience it to believe it). I was pleased to have the RainShadow.

Edited by jcolten on 08/22/2007 07:48:35 MDT.

Sharon Bingham
(lithandriel) - F - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Talk to Henry Shires on 08/22/2007 08:10:27 MDT Print View

I recently went through this same decision making precess (deciding btwn the Cloudburst 2 and the Rainshadow 2.

The best thing to do is to figure out what your needs are and call or email Henry to discuss them. That's what I did, and Henry knows his products well - their limitations in various weather situations, roominess, etc. He was dead on with my space needs: he said I needed the Rainshadow 2 but I WANTED the Cloudburst 2 (prolly for aesthetics, the the few saved oz), so I went with the Cloudburst, and sure enough, I really needed the Rainshadow. So I had to go and buy that one too in the end.

These are both great tents. Henry does a fantastic job.

A few things to consider:
- the Rainshadow 2 has a larger opening at the low end of the tent, which may help with increased airflow (I haven't had an opportunity to test this personally).
- the Rainshadow 2 seems to have a much more convenient door opening to get into and out of (as opposed to the Cloudburst , which has an awkward curve in the zipper path which always requires reduced speed and increased care around that portion of the zipper).
- the Rainshadow 2 will provide ample room for 2 people plus all their gear comfortably. By this I mean that there is separate floor space for it, in case your wife doesn't want to integrate her pack into her sleep system as insulation for her legs. Also, if her idea of "roughing it" isn't quite as "rough" as some, she will appreciate having access to her pack INSIDE the tent for easy access, and for keeping it clean and dry. The roominess also makes it much easier to inflate ground pads inside the tent if you're using that sort.
- the Rainshadow 2 also has increased head room. two people can sit up comfortably near the door, and I can sit up comfortably even a few feet back (I'm 5'4"). I can also easily access the low end of the tent on hands and knees without needing to duck my head.

I guess what it came down to for me was, the Cloudburst and the Rainshadow were so close in weight (I have to use the extra straight pole in the front, because I don't have trekking poles, so this adds a few oz to the weight), I had a hard time justifying NOT going with more space. I like to blame my significant other - backpacking is MY interest, but I like having him along and we have to make concessions with wieght to accommodate the things he doesn't appreciate about the activity, such as much heavier than usual ground pads, a heavier stove (Jetboil), having all gear in side the tent, etc - but the truth is, I secretly also appreciate the luxuries.

Guess the difference is, in our case, HE usually ends up absorbing the extra weight, so the decisions to go more lux then minimal aren't something that effect my own back. He doesn't seem to mind, and if it keeps him enjoying himself and keeps him coming with me, it's worth it.

Edited by lithandriel on 08/22/2007 08:14:24 MDT.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Cloudburst 2 vs. Rainshadow... on 08/22/2007 09:50:33 MDT Print View

Oh man - I'm glad there are people here who have used these tents. I ordered the Cloudburst 2 yesterday - they are about 4 weeks out on production time, so I'm sure I can change my mind to a Rainshadow if need be. And after reading some of these posts, I might just need to do that.

My wife uses an REI Ridgeline pack - and she won't be integrating that into her sleeping. She goes luxury with the REI Lite-Core (not so lite - 27oz). She does like to change into PJ's etc - (I just sleep in my clothes). It's much more of a "living space" for her, vs. a shelter for me. If I went with a guy, I'd have no problem making him pack his extra gear, but I try to pack her smaller, more dense heavy items on my back - so I do end up shouldering more weight than I would like.

Any more comments on this would be greatly appreciated! I have a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL3 right now(82oz w/ footprint, stakes, full tent, etc). This is what I am trying to replace - without sacrificing livability and comfort.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
About the groundsheet... on 08/22/2007 10:09:06 MDT Print View

Sharon... do you use the Tyvek ground sheet? I'm always iffy not to use a ground sheet when I spend a lot of money on a tent. People say just to find a clean area to pitch, but a lot of the places I make camp have no rolling meadows with soft green grasses. If I ditch the ground sheet, I'm at the same exact weight as the Cloudburst (using a groundsheet) if I switch to the Rainshadow.

Any thoughts??? Anyone???

Sharon Bingham
(lithandriel) - F - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Sewn in bathtub floor on 08/22/2007 10:48:55 MDT Print View

I have the version with a sewn in bathtub floor. I went with that because I'm used to more "traditional" tents (i.e. fully enclosed), and because, living in Maine, complete and reliable bug protection during certain times of the year is a MUST, not optional.

However, this might also apply nicely in the southwest where you have to watch out for scorpions, snakes and spiders. For me, trying to make sure I had a good seal btwn the netting skirt and the ground and trying to find rocks or other things to weight the skirt down at the end of a long day of hiking just wasn't worth the effort of saving the weight.

The other thing to think about though, is whether or not your wife will feel like she's in a tent if she has no ground sheet (I'm assuming you mean NO ground sheet, i.e. nothing btwn the ground and, say, your ground pad). It's harder to keep things clean that way (on the other hand, keeping the tent floor clean is no longer an issue, and you could potentially pitch over rocks that would be too dangerous to a tent floor). I don't have any experience with sleeping directly on the ground, so someone else might be able to address that better than me, but I've always also worried about finding a DRY place to pitch. Again, depends where you'll mostly be using it - but most places I use/will use mine, rain is always a possibility, and I don't want to have to worry about sleeping on a wet ground. Call me lazy.

Short answer - if it's important, get your wife's opinion. She will likely have a strong one either way, and if the goal is to make her happy, so she comes out again, it's usually worth while to do what it takes ;-)

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
... on 08/22/2007 13:29:11 MDT Print View

I just talked with Henry. He pulled up the specs on my BigAgnes tent with me on the phone - and said that my current setup is right between the Coulburst and the Rainshadow (size wise). He did say the Cloudburst handles wind better than the Rainshadow - which makes me a little nervous about the Rainshadow. I think that's what I might end up changing my order to though.

C Reynolds
(oceanboy5) - F

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Rainshadow vs Cloudburst on 08/26/2007 16:17:06 MDT Print View

I recently -like, when it first came out- bought the Rainshadow 2, a slightly improved version, with a sewn-in bathtub floor. It is like an enlarged version of the Squall, so it does not have the domed room of the Cloudburst. I used the original version of the Cloudburst some before buying the Rainshadow 2. I also own a Tarptent Contrail with the sewn-in floor.
Most of the use of these tents were in Utah's Uinta Mountains, Montana's Bob Marshal Wilderness, and the Sierra Nevadas in NorCal, along with some time in New England, a little use in SE Idaho's Bennett Hills, and one trip to Capitol Reef. I DO carry a footprint (a tyvek piece like Henry now sells, although I bought it from a local construction contractor). I like the idea of saving my tent floor, and on one occasion ended up using the Tyvek as a tarp - since that time, I usually carry a 5x8 tarp to extend my tent beak, or to use for pack covering, packing up in the rain, etc.
I have never had an issue with wind in any of these tents. I understand the Cloudburst is made for 3+ seasons, while the Rainshadow is strictly 3 season... but I have slept fine in the Rainshadow and Contrail both during high winds and blowing rain, above timberline with no trees for protection. I prefer campsites near (but not exactly on) ridges, so that there is enough wind/breeze to keep bugs at bay while I am enjoying my camp. These locales do tend to get windy at night, and they get more severe at higher altitudes. But, as I said, all 3 of the Tarptents I have used stood up to the wind without a problem at all. I actually like the circulation in the Contrail and Rainshadow better, which is partially a factor of the wind being able to blow through the tent to some degree.
The Contrail is a 1-person, 1.5 lb, so I like it a lot when I am alone, which still has room for all my gear and myself. Of the other two, I prefer the Rainshadow 2, as it is the same basic design of the Contrail, with good circulation, and LOTS of space. It is just over 2.5 lbs, sleeps 3 okay, has plenty of room for 2 people, and is palacious for 1. On short hikes, I sometimes take it when I am alone, just for the space. I prefer the off-the-ground style of the Contrail and Rainshadow, for full visibility. I like feeling that I am part of the wilderness, and the open style of these tents retains that feeling, with the luxuries of bug-proofness and a floor (I used to, and occasionally still do, use a tarp/groundcloth setup). The Cloudburst is more enclosed, so if you like the feeling of a traditional camping tent, it is more like one. If you absolutely hate tarp camping, then you probably will like the Cloudburst much better. (Although I am sure there are a lot of opinions in this forum about just that subject....)
You might consider the Tarptent Double Rainbow. I have never slept in one, and I understand they are a bit heavier, but a friend has one and he and his partner like the large space, the unique design, and the fact that they can both sit up at the same time.
Please note... even with my strong opinions above... I consider myself to be a novice to the outdoors, as it has always found ways to teach me new things under the worst of conditions. I certainly know less about this stuff than a lot of others in this forum, so read all you can from as many different posters as you can!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
About the groundsheet on 08/26/2007 17:42:38 MDT Print View

A pretty good alternative to Tyvek, in my experience is Gossamer Gear's polycryo. A medium sheet(4' x either 8' or 9', can't remember off the top of my head) weighs under 2 oz and, with reasonable care should last for several trips. and it packs down to practically nothing. Also, you get 2 groundsheets to an order.