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Reader Reviews

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Tarptent Contrail

in Shelters - Single Wall Tents

Average Rating
4.63 / 5 (27 reviews)

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Bobby Pack
( Piddler )

West Virginia
Works for me on 03/02/2009 18:50:48 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

It’s a pound and a half of shelter design genius.

• It provides room for my 6’1” to sit up and move around, plenty of room for my 6’6” Bag
• The vestibule is big enough for bad weather cooking
• You don’t need to carry and seal yourself in a bivy to keep dry
• You don’t need to carry a ground sheet
• Full bug protection
• Handles medium wind, light snow and ice with 4 stakes and found rocks/sticks
• Lots of room to flop around without banging the walls, or front, or end
• Versatile ventilation, when the weather is nice you can have it very open or when the weather is bad you can peg it down. Last Saturday I had it pitched at the standard height and watched the freezing rain turn into snow and then the snow pile up past the mesh. I like being able to see out. I knocked the snow and ice off a couple of times and the Contrail kept me and my bag nice and dry.
• It weighs the same as advertised
• It is sold by a guy who genuinely wants you to have a good experience with his stuff

It works for me; it’s the best pound and a half in my bag

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Hoot Filsinger
( filsinger )

Pacific Northwest
All around winner in design. on 03/11/2009 23:48:02 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I used the Contrail in the Cascades and was impressed with the design and weight. The bug net paid for itself the first two nights. I stayed dry in light rain and moderate wind and had very little condensation inside the tent when I closed the front flaps.I seam sealed all the stitching and practiced setting up in the wind before the trip. I also use a tyvek footprint which adds about 4 ounces but I want to keep this tent for a long time. This tent fits my large body size with plenty of room. I did some sliding on bathtub floor and may spread seam sealer on the floor.My only negative is I wish there was more visibility while in the tent but this is a minor issue when one considers all the positive design features.

Ryan Whiteside
( rwhiteside )
Unsatisfactory on 07/09/2009 21:58:21 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

I just can't see how this tent would do good in windy weather, which is common in the high country. I just can't see how it would do good in rain. There is no actual seal between the floor and and the roof. It seems to pitch very poorly with my Leki Trekking poles. It would be fine in good weather, but otherwise I wouldn't trust it. Any suggestions on how to pitch this tent tighter would be appreciated.

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Geoff Butland
( notoldyet )
Light, Flexible, Easy to use on 07/29/2009 20:47:41 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I just completed a 90 mile trip on the Long Trail, with 6 of 8 nights spent in my Contrail. It was a fairly wet week, with heavy rain on several occasions. I only ran into a problem one night on a tent platform that just did not lend itself to pitching this tent correctly. Woke to the roof pooling water above my feet...easily solved by propping a Z rest under the roof. That's when I started noticing other Contrail users guying the rear center guyout "up and out" to add some height to the foot section. It certainly helps the tent shed water better during heavy rain, and reduces "sag" in the catenary overnight. I agree 100% with the "fiddle factor" comment....when the weather looked good I could pitch the tarp higher for best venting, but if it looked stormy I could hunker down with the tarp grazing the ground and keep every drop of water at bay. I was very impressed that for less than half the weight of my trusty old TNF Tadpole I had superior venting and more room for my gear under the beak. I came to prefer the Contrail to shelters for the bug protection. Well made, lightweight, and an ingenious design.

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Ryley Breiddal
( ryleyb - M )

Pacific Northwest
tarp plus on 01/20/2011 11:49:41 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

For a tarp with some bug netting, this thing has kicked ass for me for a lot of trail nights.

I've taken it on a lot of wild rides, on the PCT (100+ nights), West Coast Trail a couple times, and numerous other wet, windy Pacific Northwest trails. I think it's not perfect for all weathers and conditions, but it's a hell of a good compromise for the weight.

Lots of great reviews here cover everything I would say, I'll just reiterate that you have to understand how to pitch it in whatever conditions you encounter. The weight you are saving by choosing a tarp HAS to be made up by knowledge and skills (pitch, direction, height, and staking).

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john braun
( Hitman )

West Florida
Love the Contrail on 03/11/2011 22:54:05 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I've been on a few trip with my Contrail. Total, I've spent about 20 nights in it.

I've been in snow and rain.

The only problem I ever had was the last night I spent in it during a Summer AT trip when it poured down rain. I didn't have the front guyed out and the tent began leaking small drops. I went out in the rain to fix it, but the drops continued. It didn't flood the tent or anything, but I did get a little wet. This was likely my fault though because I didn't guy out the front. Also, it was raining REALLY bad.

Other than that, this has kept me dry through lots of other rain and one light snow.

Great tent. Love it.

James Cochran
( jacochran )
Great product on 06/05/2011 07:08:24 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Ordered the Contrail and front pole 4/4/11 and was pleasantly surprised to have it delivered on 4/21/11. Well constructed and easy to set up.

Edited by jacochran on 09/15/2011 17:39:57 MDT.

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