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Tarptent Squall

in Shelters - Single Wall Tents

Average Rating
4.57 / 5 (14 reviews)

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Andrew Gottlieb
( android )
Tarptent Squall 2 on 08/03/2005 01:48:08 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

A wonderful little 2 man single wall tent that only costs $230. Goes up easily and quickly with only 4 stakes, has a ton of headroom for 2 people, works well with one or two hiking poles.

Pros: Lightweight, easy setup, good ventilation, small and light, has headroom for two (in the front),weighs only 28 ounces, has lots of mesh for ventilation, full bathtub floor. Works great with hiking poles (which allow a better setup than the $5 optional pole).

Cons: Haven't tried it in high winds or storms, but when guyed out on the sides, is very stable.

Has very small vestibule (actually a beak), which is not big enough for much more than shoes.

Tips on use: I cut a groundsheet out of kite tyvek, and left a flap in the front that goes under the beak. This allows you to set down shoes, and other gear without them getting dirty.

I recommend side guys, this expands the tent.

I added small zipper loops onto the front zippers to make them easier to find.

Get the model witht he sewn-in extended floor, it is well worth the extra $35.

Edited by android on 08/03/2005 01:48:41 MDT.

Robin McKay
( rlmckay - M )

Auckland NZ
Light. light. light on 08/06/2005 02:42:46 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I tramp in NZ - our gear has traditionally been TOUGH and built to last three generations!! I had a Macpac Nautilus 2 man double walled tent before moving to UL tramping 2 years ago. This tent weighed 2.5Kgs. After a lot of reseach I bought the Squall. and slashed over 1.70kgs off my back. The squall is not as robust, but I mainly tramp in summer and have a waterproof Macpac Adventure bag so having a tarp style is a good compromise. I am yet to test it in extreme winds, but have experienced torrential rain. No problems. I does condensate a bit - leaving the mesh front open if the bugs are not invading helps. My only hassle is the silnylon foor. You have to treat it with strips of silicone/white spirit mix to stop mats and bags slipping. Check their website for instructions.

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Phil Barton
( flyfast )

Great value. Excellent design. on 08/12/2005 16:37:27 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

On the journey to a lighter kit I've acquired the Squall. It is a very well designed and fabricated tarp shelter. It is very easy to pitch. I've only had modest exposure to precipitation but stayed dry. The Squall handles wind very well.

The silnylon fabric sags a bit after pitching. The guy lines need to be tightened up at bedtime.

The floor does require treatment for its slipperiness. The silnylon has been tough enough to use directly on the ground so far.

I caught mine during a sale while Henry Shires was transitioning to the new design. I spoke to Henry when ordering my TT. He was very helpful in the process.

Edited by flyfast on 08/12/2005 16:38:16 MDT.

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Daniel Schmidt
( dschmidt )
not very storm worthy on 08/20/2005 08:19:55 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I got pummeled in the lagunas on the pct in the squall in April. The wind ate it up and it offered no protection from freezing wind and blowing sleet. It was pitched correctly and very taught. Granted the winds were in excess of 50 mph. However, I carry a shelter so that when I REALLY need it, it works. This is NOT a three season shelter in my experience. Great for summer when you hardly need a shelter anyway. LOTS of condensation too and you cannot sit up in it. Have since switched to a BD firstlight and have never looked back.

Timothy Davis
( Davis2001r6 )

Not a 3 season shelter on 02/17/2006 12:07:36 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

Living in Arizona you would think the Tarptent would work great here.

Well not really, half the ground is rocky and the other half is sand. So getting a tight pitch can be a problem. Plus finding level ground isn't the easiest thing to find either. Add to that a huge footprint, of which only about 1/2 of which is usable. Then you need to point the tail/foot end in the direction of the wind. If you do that then you really needed that level spot or your going to be on a slope and sliding all over the place on the floor.

Also the mesh netting on the door could be a bit better. You can only sit up if sitting right at the door.

Then just trying to get out of the tent in the middle if the night is a fun one as well, either do the low crawl under the beak or try to unclip the guy line.

Lots of tent flap in the wind too.

Now for the Pros:
Will protect in rain
If staked properly will hold up well in decent wind
Good customer service if something does go wrong, like a side guyout getting ripped off in wind.

Edited by Davis2001r6 on 02/17/2006 12:09:06 MST.

Henry Martinat
( hopefulhiker )

Squall 2, perfect for thru hike on 08/18/2006 15:04:37 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I thru hiked last year with the squall. It was light roomy and dependable. It was one of my favorite pieces of gear. One night I camped with a thousand bugs and was bug free. It withstood high winds as well as a 4 inch downpour. At first I was worried about the single wall keeping me dry. After just a little practice, the tent kept me bone dry, even in a downpour. I could cook or store gear under the beak vestibule. I really like this tent.

Lawton Grinter
( disco )

Rocky Mountains
Nice Lightweight 2 Person Shelter on 08/20/2006 18:38:30 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

The Squall 2.0 is a nice 2-person shelter for long or short hikes. Lightweight, and plenty of room for 2 people to sleep in, with your backpack and gear tucked away above, under and below you. The netting keeps the bugs out, the sewn in floor works well, and it sets up in two minutes with four stakes (or six for the side pullouts).

There can be condensation here and there, but it runs onto the mesh and never onto the floor. I have noticed that most of the condensation issues occur at the bottom of the tent where the footbox of my sleeping bag is located. With 2 trekking poles in front, it's easy to telescope them just an inch or so in the evening, or wet morning, to tighen up the sag a bit (no tent restaking required!).

This tent went 2500 miles on the CDT with P.O.D. and myself, and it's still rolling. It kept us dry and protected from bugs . . . and tarantulas in New Mexico! However, the main zipper broke on us with about 500 miles left in our hike. We sewed on some velcro for a quick fix. And we´ve been having a bit of trouble getting Tarptent to respond to our requests to have this zipper fixed (Update: (I opted to give Tarptent a telephone call and they responded to that quickly . . . so moral of the story is that you should call them as opposed to e-mailing them if you want faster custormer service).

Overall though, this is a good lightweight tent for a long or short hike.

Edited by disco on 09/08/2007 09:13:43 MDT.

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b d
( bdavis )

Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
Gossamer Gear/Henry Shires Squall Classic on 11/30/2006 12:06:25 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

We have the GosGear/HShires Squall Classic. This is my favorite tent for my partner and I. Which is a bone of contention because she prefers the Mountain Hardwear Tri-Lite 2. As a result ... I don't get to use the Squall Classic as much as I would like. :(

Here we are at Panther Meadows, Mt. Shasta:

Panther Meadows, Shasta with Squall Classic

This is the one pole in the center of the front model which can be seen at the GG site. (Henry Shires apparently redesigned the Classic and has a nicer entrance and sturdier front end with more head room in the newer Tarptent Squall.)

The weight is great at about 1.5 lbs. with the poles and UL stakes. I use the UL groundcloth from GG under it to protect the floor and reduce moisture and dirt.

The lines are set up in place on the tent when it is sold, so it is easy to set it up as soon as it arrives in the mail. They are also set up so that they can be adjusted for taughtness with no problem.

The vestibule is handy and works well IMO.

It is single wall, may have condensation, etc. It vents well, with mesh all around the floor and at the front and back as with the Squall 2. The floor keeps the water out, the mesh the mosquitos and such. If it is wet, cold or windy you can adjust the side stakes so that the tent body goes down to the ground level and eliminates the mesh side areas. Otherwise the mesh side areas work fine for me in warm and drier weather, giving lots of ventilation compared to what I thought it would be.

I don't have any trouble getting in and out around the front center pole.

Also, I have not had any problem with the fabric ... it has been strong enough to withstand use and hasn't ripped or otherwise been damaged.

So all in all it is a 5 for me, and makes me think of getting the Tarptent Rainshadow just to get the extra space for the additional 8 - 10 oz's or so -- because of the quality of the design, materials, and weight ... and maybe with the xtra space my partner will want to use a tarptent more often. (Update: just ordered the Rainshadow 2 since Henry put them on sale for the holidays I could not resist.)

Edited by bdavis on 12/18/2006 20:35:22 MST.

Doug Johnson
( djohnson - M )

Washington State
I love Tarptents on 11/30/2006 16:30:36 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I had an original floorless Tarptent, then a floored Squall 2, and more lately a Gossamer Gear/Tarptent Squall Classic. I loved them all and would rate each a 5.

The floorless tarptent
+amazing simplicity
+floors could be thrashed and thrown away at will
+super lightweight
+full bug and rain protection
-not as good with splashing rain

The Squall 2
+bathtub floor protects from splashing rain
+better headroom- 2 can sit up
+still lightweight- around 2 lbs.
+dual pole set-up is great in high winds
-doesn't shed rain and snow quite as well as the single pole model
-a bit heavier

Squall Classic
+just 1.5 pounds!
+bathtub floor is excellent
+Spinnaker doesn't stretch through the night
+single pole is very stable and easy to pitch
-less headroom than the Squall 2

As you can see, when comparing each of these, they have relative strengths and weaknesses. Overall, though all three offer different relative weaknesses, all three are brilliant designs. You get so much per ounce with a Tarptent!

george carr
( hammer-one )

Walking With The Son
Only single wall shelter I'll ever need. on 02/10/2007 08:42:29 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I purchased my Tarptent Squall in 2004 and now consider it my main shelter when I am carrying a tent. Henry Shires was a pleasure to deal with and very helpful. The squall has served me well from my backyard to Maine and back again. I find it to be plenty roomy as a solo shelter and enjoy the fast pitch. I splurged a few extra ounces for the bathtub floor and find it to be very durable and a good investment. I wish I had gone for the extra front overhang the optional beak affords for stormy weather cooking, but it's not necessary. All in all, a well made product at a very reasonable price.

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Michele Mason
( bianchilvr )
HS Tarptent Squall (2004) on 05/27/2007 08:04:47 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5


Tarptent Squall
Purchased: Fall 2004
Options purchased: bug screen, extended beak, sewn floor (non-bathtub)
Seam sealed by "yours truly" with Silnet in 2004; no re-sealing of any part has been required, and I've never had a seal leak
Single wall shelter weight: 28.3 oz (seam sealed, includes factory guylines, with purchased options extended beak and sewn-in floor)
Curved pole for tent foot: 3.1 oz (required for setup)
Straight pole for tent front: 1.9 oz (optional, I don't used mine, but replace it with a more versatile trekking pole)
Silnylon stake bag: 0.1 oz
Ti stakes that came with tent: 0.5 oz (came with 4, if I remember correctly; I replaced these with lighter ones that come in at 0.2 oz)
Stuff sack: mailed in one, I don't use it as it's too narrow for me to use on the trail


Gender: Female
My location: piedmont of NC
Hiking locale: SE Appalachian Mountains


My rating of a 5 is based on my feelings LATER with this shelter, rather than during the earlier trials and tribulations. If I'd rated this tent after my 3rd trip it would have received a big fat ZERO! However, after I learned to use the tent more effectively, I have changed my opinion 180 degrees.

Most of the issues I've experienced with this tent is not due to its construction but due to the downsides of silnylon.

I am a solo hiker. I believe this contributes to the fact that it takes me longer to catch on than it does others (or, maybe it's the fact that I'm a natural blonde, ha ha!)

The Squall is my first tent purchase, my first single-walled tent, AND my first experience with silnylon. As I'm analytical by nature (I'm an analytical chemist by trade and enjoy financial analysis as my indoor hobby), I research gear extensively prior to a purchase. This tent got raves by experienced hikers, but the key descriptor here is EXPERIENCED. I EXPERIENCED a significant learning curve with this tent.

I want to share my experience, review the tent, and give hints to others that my help them experience a shorter learning curve.

I first took the Squall on a short weekend jaunt to a local forest in early fall for an easy two-dayer to try it out. It was my first overnighter ever; this trip exhibited weather that was dry, low-elevation, and clear. The tent performed marvelously.

The next few trips I experienced at elevation included thunderstorms, extended rain that turned into snow, and below freezing temperatures that began as a windstorm with light rain and turned into a freak snowstorm. I failed, and failed, and failed, but luckily lived through each of these!

Yes, you will experience condensation in this tent under many circumstances. The worst is extended rain, as the condensation will build up on the inside and splash the occupant every time a drop of rain hits the shelter. Luckily these circumstances don't normally occur that often in the scheme of things; this type of weather will cut into sleep time, though. Later I began to carry a small piece of packtowel to wipe down the tent prior to my early morning "wiggly period". The shell of my each of my down sleeping bags is water resistant as well, so there is no fear of wetting out this most important warmth item.

This tent WILL collapse in only a very small amount of wet snow when set up normally. The snow tends to accumulate at the foot of the tent in from of the curved pole (which is in a sleeve) and pulls on the front guyline until it pops out of the ground (scary if you're sound asleep and didn't even know it was snowing and the sob falls in right on top of you). A hefty rock on top of the stake at the front guy helps. If caught in snow, you will not get a good night's sleep as you have to stay awake to smack the snow off the roof. Per my research, this is typical of a 3-season tent, and is why you spend the mega moolah for a 4-season one.

I have had tremendous difficulty getting over the breeziness in my tent. It's great on those muggy 75F nights, but it's almost unbearable when temperatures hover around 0F. Lowering the front pole and staking the sides of the tent directly to the ground helps cut wind with no modifications required. Alternatively, if you get cold during the night and refuse to exit your sleeping bag, you can stuff items in the mesh of the side of the tent into which the air is flowing. The down side is that you may experience condensation in the morning due to the more restricted air flow.

I experienced considerably rain splash into the sides and foot of the tent, even with the ample drip line. If it's raining this hard the only remedy is to lower the roofline of the tent, which may not eliminate the problem but will reduce if so you can get sleep.


The is considered a cottage industry. I have had to contact them only once. I needed to replace my curved pole as my original one got bent (though I'm unsure how, as I got it out for a trip and it was already bent from the previous one). The pole was promptly delivered. In addition, I emailed a request to get scrap silnylon to repair a hole I melted in the extended beak while cooking in the rain one winter. Ample scrap was mailed to me in the package with the replacement pole I purchased, for free. I repaired the hole per Henry Shires instructions by cutting a round piece of scrap and using ample Silnet as "glue". The repair has held for nearly 2 years and shows no sign of deteriorating.


All guy lines and seams have remained intact. The edges, where scissors cut the silnylon fabric, are beginning to fray a bit, but the stitching seems to stop the fraying from progressing.


This tent is quite roomy for one person, though to sit up you have to sit right at the doorway. It is tight for two. The extended beak doesn't provide any extra gear storage as coverage is insufficient.


Things I like about the tent:
Ample space for one
Light for a two person tent
Very durable
Different minor configurations for changing weather
Options available
Durable and easily repaired
Great customer service from Mr Shires

Things I don't like:
Large footprint
Tight for two people
Beak doesn't make a good gear vestibule
Silnylon has a learning curve

Edited by bianchilvr on 05/27/2007 08:07:06 MDT.

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David T
( DaveT )
. on 11/09/2007 17:22:50 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5


Edited by DaveT on 12/12/2010 19:29:30 MST.

Matthew Swierkowski
( Berserker )

Squall (Original) on 03/02/2010 10:49:08 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I have been using this tent off and on for a few years now, and it has served me well. I use it as a solo tent. I have the original version in sil-nylon (the pre-Squall II version). I use trekking poles, so I normally only carry the supplied rear pole. The tent body and rear pole weigh right at 33 oz (after supplemental silicone coating, which I’ll discuss later). All other items (ground sheet, stuff sack and stakes) can be figured separately. This tent needs to be seam sealed by the user (although I think Henry will do it for a nominal fee), and it’s not a big deal from what I remember. Just make sure to get silicone based seam sealer.

Being 6’-5” this tent is wonderfully spacious. It is very long, and a long sleeping bag will lie out inside of it without touching the door or bug netting at the end. And even if it does touch, it’s not a big deal because it is just the bug netting. With a sleeping bag laid out on one side, one can lay all their gear out on the other side.

Much is made of condensation in single wall shelters, and I think it is way overblown. I normally get condensation in this tent, but I also get it in any other tent I’ve used too. It’s just the nature of the Southeastern beast. If anything, I think the condensation in the Squall is usually less due to the very good ventilation. I typically only get a light film. I recommend carrying a light towel with any single wall shelter, and just making wiping it down in the morning part of the routine. It ain’t a big deal. And back on that ventilation thing, it works both ways…good in warm weather, bad in cold weather. What I mean is that the Squall is probably similar to sleeping under a tarp pitched off the ground, and in cold weather the drafts blow right through those vents. So it’s probably not the best winter shelter from a warmth standpoint.

Pitching the Squall in general is fairly easy, but it can be a little finicky. If not on a perfectly level spot it is sometimes a trial and error task to get the trekking pole for the front the right length. Usually a little while after pitching, and especially if it is raining the sil will start sagging. Re-tensioning the lines takes care of this. One other note about spots that aren’t level is it is recommended that the user paint silicone stripes onto the floor when sealing the tent, otherwise the user will end up in the lower end of the tent by morning when using it in the field. Sil-nylon is some slippery stuff!

In general, I think the sitting room is ok. For someone of my height it’s fairly minimal though. I have to sit right in front of the door under the peak to be able to sit up straight without hitting the ceiling. And again, that level spot thing comes into play here too. It can be tough to sit up comfortably in that small area if not on level ground. That also goes for entering and exiting the tent, which is somewhat challenging when not on level ground. Having the pole right in the middle of the doorway is a bit annoying too.

Probably my biggest complaint is not with the Squall itself, but the nature of sil-nylon. The misting issue has been debated ad nausea in the forums as to whether it exists or not, and I am a believer. I know for a fact I was misted on in what I like to call a “Noah’s ark biblical flood” type deluge I got caught in in Slickrock Creek Wilderness Area in NC (those of you that have been there know what I talking about…that place has it’s own weather). I know it was misting because I was actively wiping away the moisture and could see additional droplets coming through the fabric. At any rate, applying a diluted mixture of silicone sealant and mineral spirits (about 1:4 worked well for me) to the underside of the canopy took care of the problem while only adding about 1.5 oz of weight to the shelter.

It may sound like I have been more negative than positive here in my review, but you will notice I gave it a “5” rating. That’s because I haven’t found any other tent comparable to the Squall as far as weight, size and functionality. I really do love the Squall. It is a great shelter, and no shelter is perfect. I mean that’s what it is with shelters. I’ve yet to find that perfect one. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention the maker Henry Shires. His workmanship is very good, and his customer service is awesome.

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Ryley Breiddal
( ryleyb - M )

Pacific Northwest
Great tarp with bonuses! on 01/20/2011 11:45:43 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I don't have a lot to add to the exhaustive details given by previous reviewers. I have a Squall 2 from 2007.

I've had this tarp for a few years and it's my first choice for any two person trips. It took me many setups before I felt confident I understood how it works in different conditions (snow, sand, winds from different directions). Judging by some of the more negative reviews, I think some people get the idea that the word "tent" is the more important word in the name, but "tarp" is definitely the key. You have to pitch it right for the conditions, end of story.

I love the lightness, the great pitch it gives, and that it keeps the bugs out.

I don't like the headroom or condensation, but I chalk those up to tarp issues, not specifically to the Squall.

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