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Tarptent Sublite Tent Review

Tarptent's newest, lightest solo tent is innovative and available in breathable Tyvek and traditional silnylon versions. At 18.5 ounces, the Tyvek Sublite is the lightest breathable fabric tent available.

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

It's evident that the Sublite is the product of a lot of tent designing experience, plus the willingness to try something new. I really like the Sublite's fast set up, side entry, ample headroom where it's needed, bathtub floor, ample space for one person plus gear, and good ventilation. The boxed foot end is a design element that increases interior room while reducing weight. It's good that the A-frame support utilizes trekking poles, but adjustable trekking poles are needed (most fixed length poles are not long enough). The side entry of the Tyvek version is not protected and does not have a mesh door, but the silnylon version has a mesh door and extendable rain flap. It may have a couple of shortcomings (depending on the user and conditions), but there is a lot to like about this very lightweight solo shelter.

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by Will Rietveld |

Description

Tarptent Sublite Tent Review - 1
The Tarptent Sublite one-person single wall tent is available in Tyvek (shown) and silnylon.

The Tarptent Sublite is a one person single wall tent that comes in two versions: Tyvek and silnylon. The design is basically the same, but the two tents differ in details and performance. The Sublite is the first use of Tyvek in a tent, which is a breathable nonwoven fabric. Technically, this is the world's lightest breathable fabric tent.

The Tyvek used in the Sublite is type 1443R "soft structure" Tyvek, which is soft, lightweight, highly water-resistant, very durable, breathable, and inexpensive. It is NOT the house-wrap type of Tyvek, rather it is the lighter, softer type used in Tyvek protective clothing. Tyvek is a "spunbonded olefin" and is not a true woven fabric. Fabric weight is 1.25 oz/yd2, which is about the same as silnylon at 1.3 oz/yd2.

Tarptent Sublite Tent Review - 2
Views of the Tyvek Sublite. The tent is supported by trekking poles (or optional sectional aluminum poles) in an A-frame configuration near the front of the tent, plus two sewn-in vertical carbon fiber struts at the rear. A zippered entry is located to the right of the trekking pole (top left). The end view (top right) shows its boxed foot end without any vent. The top view (bottom left) shows its proportions. And the head end (bottom right) has a closable vent at the bottom and high vent at the top.

Tarptent Sublite Tent Review - 3
Entry into the Tyvek Sublite is from the side; there is no mesh inner door or rain flap to keep rain from falling into the tent.

Tarptent Sublite Tent Review - 4
The Tyvek Sublite has a floating silnylon bathtub floor with a mesh panel on both sides for extra ventilation. There is a closable vent at the head end (left), but none at the rear end (right). The tent has plenty of room inside for one person plus gear.

Tarptent Sublite Tent Review - 5
The Sublite has a high vent at the head end to enhance ventilation. The photos show the vent on the outside (left) and inside (right). A panel of mesh on the inside excludes bugs.

The silnylon version of the Sublite is the same design and dimensions as the Tyvek version. However, since silnylon is not breathable, the silnylon version has a few extra features to enhance ventilation: a closable foot vent, a larger vent at the front, a zippered mesh door, and an extendable rain flap so the entry can be left open for better ventilation in rainy weather.

Tarptent Sublite Tent Review - 6
The Silnylon Sublite is the same tent design and dimensions as the Tyvek version, only it's made of silnylon and weighs 3 ounces more. The photo shows the tent set up with Tarptent's optional sectional aluminum poles. A zippered mesh door hangs partially open. It also has an extra guyline at the front.

Tarptent Sublite Tent Review - 7
Because silnylon is not breathable at all, the silnylon version has a few extra design elements to enhance ventilation. These are the addition of a mesh door (left, rolled up in the photo), and a large closable foot vent (right) which is not present on the Tyvek version.

Performance

The Sublite is quick and easy to set up, and requires two 53-inch (135 cm) trekking poles (or optional aluminum poles) to create its A-frame support and a taut pitch. Most hikers don't use 135 cm fixed length poles, so adjustable trekking poles are necessary for the Sublite. The trekking poles in the top photos are 51 inches, my longest fixed length poles, and they are not quite long enough, so I resorted to elevating them with rocks get the needed length. In doing so, I had to futz with the tent to get a decent pitch and it is not as taut as it should be. Setting up the Sublite with adjustable length trekking poles also requires a fair amount of fiddling to attach them. The fastest, easiest and best support system for the Sublite is Tarptent's optional aluminum poles (4.75 ounces, US$10). They attach quickly and provide a taut pitch with no fiddling with Velcro attachments.

Tarptent Sublite Tent Review - 8
The Sublite requires adjustable trekking poles or optional aluminum poles for support. The tips are inserted in a sleeve at the top (left) and the handles in a pocket at the bottom (right). There are two Velcro loops on each side to secure them to the tent body.

For a solo shelter, the Sublite is very hospitable. The A-frame peak of the tent provides lots of headroom right where I need it when I sit up. There is plenty of room inside the tent for one person plus gear. Although there is no storage pocket inside, the mesh sides above the bathtub floor provide a handy ledge for stashing small items.

Tarptent Sublite Tent Review - 9
The lack of an entry vestibule means that wet gear (or a wet dog) would have to stay outside or stashed at the foot of the tent. The Silnylon Sublite (but not the Tyvek Sublite) has a partial solution in the form of a rain flap (left) that can be extended to cover the entry. For some reason, the vertical part of the rain flap is sewn to the inside of the tent, so the mesh door cannot be fully zipped when the rain flap is extended (right), leaving a 3-inch gap for bugs to enter.

An unexpected benefit of the Tyvek Sublite is its white color reflects heat and its breathable fabric allows more air exchange, so the tent is significantly cooler in hot weather compared to its silnylon equivalent.

The only porosity test data I could find on type 1443R Tyvek is a Gurley Hill Porosity rating of 69 seconds/100 cc. This is the time required for 100 cubic centimeters of air to pass through one square inch of material under a pressure of approximately 4.9 inches of water (Test Method: TAPPI T460/ASTM D726). DuPont claims that this Tyvek is vapor permeable and six times more breathable than microporous film membranes (monolithic polyurethane).

In use, the Tyvek Sublite does seem to breathe quite will. On warmer nights (above about 50 F) with the door zipped closed to exclude bugs I did not have any condensation at all. On several clear/calm/cool nights I did not have any film condensation on the inside walls, which is typical for silnylon tents, but the inside walls were damp to the touch. The dampness did not wet my clothing when I brushed against it. On two occasions following calm/clearing nights after an afternoon rain, the inside tent walls were covered with small water droplets which dripped to the floor, but it was a minor issue.

Tyvek is rated as "highly water-resistant" but is not claimed to be waterproof. I have personally used this type of Tyvek as a groundsheet for several years and have had no problems with water passing through it. During a high intensity thunderstorm, I saw water droplets forming on the inside walls of the canopy that dripped onto me and my gear. The problem was accentuated by "condensation splatter" caused by hail impacting the outside of the tent. Tarptent's statement that the Tyvek Sublite is "fine for all night moderate rains but not recommended for long-duration intense rainstorms" is accurate. Bottom line, the Tyvek Sublite performs very well in non-rainy weather, short duration showers, and gentle rains, but it is not the best place to be during a prolonged intense thunderstorm.

 

For a better viewing experience, please download the Flash Player. Video tour of the Tarptent Sublite Silnylon Tent. NOTE: The audio portion where Will states that the tent held up just fine is in error. The tent actually leaked quite a bit.

Because silnylon is non-breathable, the silnylon version of the Sublite has extra ventilation features, adding up to mesh vents on all four sides, a mesh door, and a high vent. I found the Silnylon Sublite to be very condensation resistant most of the time, especially when there was at least a light breeze. However, like most single wall tents, it will develop condensation on the inside walls on a clear/cool/calm night with a large temperature drop, and during an extended rainstorm.

Tarptent Sublite Tent Review - 10
Condensation on inside walls of the Silnylon Sublite after a rainy night.

Assessment

I tested both versions of the Sublite in an assortment of summer backpacking conditions and found it to be an excellent ultralight solo tent. At just over a pound including stakes, I definitely can't complain about the weight! However, I have two issues with the Sublite; the first is the height of its A-frame is too tall for most fixed length trekking poles. It requires 53-inch poles, and that means heavier adjustable length poles for most people. The tent pitches faster and better with Tarptent's optional aluminum poles. My second issue is the Tyvek Sublite has no vestibule over the entry, so rain will fall directly into the tent. The silnylon version has an extendable rain flap, but it makes entry/exit more cumbersome, and the mesh door does not zip up on one side so bugs can enter.

Overall, the things I really like about the Sublite's design are its light weight, easy setup, side entry, ample headroom where you need it, ample floor space, and good ventilation.

The Tyvek version is definitely unique. It breathes as well as any Epic fabric tent I have tested, and the weight and cost are a lot less. Tyvek is very strong, so I don't have any concerns about it not holding up over time. The shortcomings of the Tyvek version are 1) the entry does not have an inner mesh door (only one Tyvek door) so there are minimal views from the tent, and 2) intense rainfall will force water through the Tyvek. Thus, the Tyvek version is best suited for climates where prolonged intense rainfall is uncommon.

In its size and weight class, the closest comparison to the Sublite is the Gossamer Gear One. The One is made of spinnaker fabric, which is lighter, noisier, and more delicate. Both tents have a side entry, but the One has a large vestibule over the entry, which is a real plus, and still weighs an ounce less than the Tyvek Sublite. However, the One costs $100 more.

Specifications

  Manufacturer/ Year/ Model

Tarptent 2008 Tyvek Sublite and 2008 Silnylon Sublite (http://www.tarptent.com/)

  Style

One person single wall tent with floor and side entry. The Tyvek version is breathable fabric

  Fabrics

Tyvek version is type 1443R Tyvek (1.25 oz/yd2/ 42.4 g/m2) with a silnylon floor; silnylon version is 1.3 oz/yd2 (44 g/m2) silnylon canopy and floor

  Poles and Stakes

Two carbon fiber rear struts (sewn-in) plus two 53 in (135 cm) trekking poles or optional Easton aluminum poles, four 6 in (15 cm) Easton tubular stakes

  Floor Dimensions

86 in long x 26/42/24 in wide x 42 in high (218 x 66/107/61 x 107 cm)

  Packed Size

14 in x 4 in (36 x 10 cm)

  Total Weight

Tyvek Sublite 1 lb 3.4 oz (550 g); manufacturer specification 1 lb 2.5 oz (524 g); Silnylon Sublite 1 lb 6 oz (624 g), manufacturer specification 1 lb 5.5 oz (610 g) (includes tent, 4 stakes, 2 stuff sacks)

  Trail Weight

Tyvek Sublite 1 lb 2.9 oz (536 g), Silnylon Sublite 1 lb 5.5 oz (610 g) (includes tent and four stakes)

  Protected Area

Floor 20 ft2 (1.86 m2), no vestibule

  Protected Area/Trail Weight Ratio

17 ft2/lb for Tyvek Sublite; 14.9 ft2/lb for Silnylon Sublite

   MSRP

Tyvek version US$179, silnylon version US$199

  Options

Footprint US$35, 10.3 oz (292 g) with stuff sack; aluminum poles US$10 , 4.75 oz (135 g)

Citation

"Tarptent Sublite Tent Review," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/tarptent_sublite_review.html, 2009-01-06 00:05:00-07.

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Tarptent Sublite Tent Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Tarptent Sublite Tent Review on 01/06/2009 19:55:42 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Tarptent Sublite Tent Review

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Hybrid on 01/07/2009 08:36:27 MST Print View

Am I the only person who would like to see a hybrid version of this? I'd like to see the horizontal panels on top made from something impermeable (spinnaker, etc.), and the side panels out of tyvek. With a screen door, of course......

Edited by skinewmexico on 01/07/2009 10:37:37 MST.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Hybrid on 01/07/2009 08:56:36 MST Print View

Wow! This just never occurred as a possibility. Great idea!

Scott Smith
(mrmuddy) - MLife

Locale: No Cal
Tarptent Sublite Hybrid on 01/07/2009 09:19:18 MST Print View

Again, throw in a Vesitbule and I'll buy one .... yesterday !

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Tarptent Sublite Tent Review on 01/07/2009 09:38:12 MST Print View

Looks as if room could be improved at minimal weight by putting a short carbon fiber rod horizontally between the hiking pole tips. Perhaps that could change the geometry in a way that would allow Will's fixed-length poles. Useful idea? Creeping featurism?

Edited by blean on 01/07/2009 09:38:55 MST.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Tarptent Sublite Tent Mod on 01/07/2009 10:32:24 MST Print View

I received my modified silnylon SubLite back from Henry this morning. The change from a .75" apex attachment point to a 1.5" should make a major strength improvement when used in heavy snow or very, very high wind. I'd estimate that the weight difference is only 1 or, at the very most, 2 grams. It's my understanding that is to be the standard size for future production.

Love this TT.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Sublite on 01/07/2009 10:38:34 MST Print View

Creeping featurism. Great term.

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Re:Tarptent Sublite Tent Review on 01/07/2009 14:13:37 MST Print View

Wills review was very good but it did not mention what the Sublite is like in windy conditions.

As I am looking at the Sublite as a possible 4 season tent, I would like how it handles strong winds strong winds.

Tony

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
extra pole on 01/07/2009 14:41:37 MST Print View

An examination of design and actual use reveals that an extra pole horizontally between the two support poles would be completely superflous. The tent pitches tight and the tyvek model, at least, experiences no sag or droop with damp cool air. There is ample room for a single ample sized adult hiker without slightest feeling of being cramped. There would be no experiential enhancement resulting from an extra pole. There is a bird's eye photo looking straight down on the tent showing the design outline in the review which might illustrate this.

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Strut for 2-person Tarptent Sublite on 01/07/2009 15:29:29 MST Print View

John,

I agree that the existing Sublite doesn't need a strut similar to the Rainbow to increase headroom. However, do you think a strut could be used to increase the Sublite to a 2-person shelter? I think so, and bet it would be well under 2 pounds.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
2 person Sublite on 01/07/2009 16:15:23 MST Print View

Casey,

There sure would room enough for that little darling on your shoulders but the peak design of the of the Sublite would require some major design alteration to accomodate two adults, in my opinion anyway.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Sublite for Two on 01/07/2009 16:19:05 MST Print View

Go with duel doors and a single interior center pole, design done. Peak height would likely need to be raised for additional width when sitting upright.

Edited by thomdarrah on 01/07/2009 16:31:30 MST.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Sublite on 01/07/2009 16:37:26 MST Print View

Every time people add dual doors and a vestibule to the Sublite, I get a picture in my mind of a............Double Rainbow.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Sublite on 01/07/2009 16:41:49 MST Print View

I would leave the TT lineup as is. I feel that the options desired by most are well covered by the shelters now offered.

Scott Smith
(mrmuddy) - MLife

Locale: No Cal
Sublite "Improvements" on 01/07/2009 17:43:20 MST Print View

Sure .. I'll take a Rainbow .... In Tyvek !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Tarptent Sublite Tent Review on 01/07/2009 19:02:39 MST Print View

Nicely balanced review, as usual, Will.

I was initially more attracted to the Tyvek version but this statement gives me pause:

>>During a high intensity thunderstorm, I saw water droplets forming on the inside walls of the canopy that dripped onto me and my gear. The problem was accentuated by "condensation splatter" caused by hail impacting the outside of the tent.

Based on your use, would you say that the silnylon version would be more appropriate for the kind of thunderstorms we get in the Colorado high country? Thanks.

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Tarptent Sublite Tyvek Water Resistance on 01/07/2009 19:09:25 MST Print View

I have used my Sublite Tyvek on one 2 day trip thus far and can report its wind worthiness is excellent. Haven't had it in rain yet but it seems to me that due to its horizontal orientation, the only panel that would leak when "wetted out" is the one spanning from the apex to the rear carbon fiber struts. The other panels are quite steep & it would seem that water would just wick down the sides & drip off the lower edges. Has anyone considered using something like Scotchguard just on the one horizontal panel? This would be an easier, less expensive variation of Joe's idea of "hybrid" panels & would presumably not alter the tent's breathability that much. Any thoughts or comments?

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
rain and hail on 01/07/2009 19:50:12 MST Print View

I would like to hear more from Will regarding water dripping through. As you might know, this is not consistent with my usage which includes both rain and hail. The last storm using the PROTOTYPE TySub was in November consisting of approximately 6 hours of moderately heavy rain. The tent walls not only did not drip but were dry to the touch during the rain and there was no condensation. Following this VERY FAVORABLE TEST RESULT I bought and paid for a production model of the tent. Apparently, from Will's experience and from reports from folks in the NW, certain conditions will not resist penetration of precipitation.

Edited by johnk on 01/07/2009 22:19:48 MST.

Scott Smith
(mrmuddy) - MLife

Locale: No Cal
Tyvek Rain worthiness on 01/07/2009 21:08:29 MST Print View

I'll echo John's experience..

I spent a full day in constant rain in my Sublit Tyvek .. with ZERO condensation issues..

Granted . it was August . in the Sierras .. at @ 9000 feet .. However, again ( sorry guys /... for my contsant whining on this subject ) the only thing I missed was a vestibule to store gear / cook my dinner in ..

Peter Surna
(PedroArvy) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne
Performance comparisons with the Contrail? on 01/07/2009 22:42:40 MST Print View

If you have adjustable trekking poles and get the sil nylon version, it seems this would turn the Sublite into a highly recommended shelter. Is that right?

Some performance comparisons with the Contrail would be good - which one of these shelters should a hiker buy?

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Sublite Responses on 01/08/2009 08:08:33 MST Print View

Hi all, my responses to Sublite questions:

Dondo: Regarding the Tyvek Sublite leaking in an intense thunderstorm, I submitted a video documenting that, but for some reason it did not get included in the published review. High impact rain/hail does seem to force water through the Tyvek, so it does leak under those conditions. The impact of large raindrops and hail splatters the condensation on the inside, and gear inside gets pretty damp. Note that this occurs only under high impact rain/hail and not necessarily in a gentle prolonged rain. Henry's statement regarding this is accurate.

Petras: I would give the silnylon Sublite a Recommended rating, not HR, because the rain flap as presently designed does not allow the zippered mesh door to completely close. Henry is working on a modification. The lack of a true entry vestibule is a drawback, but that becomes an individual decision based on individual needs. If an entry vestibule is an important factor, then I suggest getting the Contrail instead, and it readily sets up with fixed length trekking poles.

Best wishes, and happy new year!
Will

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Sublite Responses on 01/08/2009 09:06:48 MST Print View

Thanks for your response, Will. I think I'll stick with silnylon.

Tim Heckel
(ThinAir) - M

Locale: 6237' - Manitou Springs
Reverse Poles on 01/08/2009 12:23:19 MST Print View

I've had damaged pole grips from critters chewing on them at ground level.
I pitch my Contrail with the grips up, tips in the ground.
Can the poles be reversed in the SubLite?
Tim

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Reverse Poles on 01/08/2009 12:29:57 MST Print View

Tim... No they can't be reversed in the SubLite. The tips have to be used in the apex and the handles fit in the adjustable ground "pouch".

Zip Pulls on Sublite

Edited by Quoddy on 01/08/2009 12:34:12 MST.

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: Reverse Poles on 01/08/2009 12:36:43 MST Print View

Actually, trekking poles can be reversed. The Sublite Sil ships with grommets inside the ground level pole handle adapters (to support the optional replacement pole set). The first iteration of the Sublite (tyvek) didn't ship with those grommets but we added them if the Sublite was ordered with the optional pole set. The new production run will ship with grommets. The issue for both the Sublite and Sublite Sil is the apex where both models ship with a sleeve adapter that is designed to accept trekking pole tips or the end of the (thin) optional poles. However, that adapter clips to the apex and is completely detachable. One can easily make a new one that accepts trekking pole handles (or ask us to do it at purchase time).

-H

Edited by 07100 on 01/08/2009 12:37:49 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Reverse Poles on 01/08/2009 14:50:36 MST Print View

Good on you Henry! Continuous improvement.

Cheers

Charles Jennings
(vigilguy) - F - M

Locale: Northern Utah
Tarp, covering the door on 01/08/2009 21:57:35 MST Print View

I ordered and received the Tyvek version due to its lightweight and breathability. Here are my thoughts on a "porch". Why not take a lightweight tarp and set that up over the entrance? Wouldn't that work, using trekking poles to suspend the tarp, on the outer corners of the tarp?

Christopher Smith
(Schmitty) - F
tyvek vs. silnylon strength / durability ?? on 01/09/2009 10:05:33 MST Print View

What strength / durability differences between the tyvek and the silnylon? I am very interested in the sublite and trying to decide what would be my best choice. Most of my outings are four season in the Sierras. which of these two would be the most appropriate for my conditions and have the best durability and strength? Are either of these tents weather proof enough to use in most weather conditions with a down bag or would a bivy sack in conjunction with the tent be recommended for wet conditions?

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Sublite; silnylon vs tyvek on 01/09/2009 10:30:10 MST Print View

IMO if I was planning to use the Sublite as an all season, do everything, shelter I would go with the silnylon version. If the Sublite use was limited to three season trips only I would select the tyvek model.

Tom Bender
(shovelman) - F

Locale: Out East, sort of
Color on 01/09/2009 20:03:22 MST Print View

Is Tyvek only possible in white?

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: Color on 01/10/2009 10:53:50 MST Print View

Yes, from the manufacturer. Tyvek will take a dye so you can stain it if you wish.

-H

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Sublite on 01/10/2009 11:24:36 MST Print View

Make a pink sublite, LL Bean would be all over it.

Dave Heiss
(DaveHeiss) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Sublite Tyvek on 01/11/2009 22:11:04 MST Print View

Henry, if you're still looking for input on the Tyvek version, I would like to see the front window/vent be enlarged to match the size found in the Silnylon version. That way you can have views out the front (plus looking up)without adding a screen to the side entrance.

Tom Bender
(shovelman) - F

Locale: Out East, sort of
Side vent question on 01/16/2009 18:04:41 MST Print View

Are the side vents closable? A problem with a lot of tents is that they get fine sand blown in during the day in the desert.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Sublite Tyvek user comments on 01/19/2009 16:12:42 MST Print View

I hope folks are still looking at this thread. I received my Tyvek Sublite a few weeks ago and was able to test it's breatheability for the first time on the coast north of Bodega Bay. The weather was clear, cool, humid and mostly windless.

The tent set up very easily using my LuxuryLite Trail Sticks trekking poles. I used a short piece of spectra core line, and a found stick, to make a toggle to attach the tent to the hand loops on the poles. The ground was fairly flat and it was easy to get a nice taut pitch.

The tent is everything Henry advertised. I had packed for an overnight backpacking trip and the tent is roomy with plenty of room for me and all my gear. The only things left outside were my shoes and LuxuryLite pack frame.

I woke several times during the night and checked for condensation. There was never a hint of dampness and I look forward to more testing in more difficult conditions.

When I ordered the tent I also ordered the optional aluminum poles, to be used in lieu of trekking poles. When pitching the tent with the optional poles, if I moved the pole tips away from the tent to the maximum allowed by the tent configuration, I noticed that the optional poles deflected in a sag curve when I tried to get the same taut pitch I was able to achieve with the trekking poles. If the pole tips were moved inboard the curve disappeared but the pitch was "soft" and not taut. This loose pitch would be a problem in windy conditions. I fiddled with this for a while and found that the optional poles sagged less if I only used the (EDIT "lower") Velcro pole "clips". I need to play with this system to see if I can get it to work in a "looking good" pitch.

Having to get in and out of the tent several times during the night, I noted a modification that might be worth some thought. The silnylon tent floor, and the bug screen between the silnylon and the tent door, are both black. In the dark you can't tell the difference. Especially wearing heavy socks. Several times I stepped on the netting by mistake. This is liable to degrade the netting and allow infiltration of "creepy crawlies". I would suggest the netting along the bottom of the door be replaced, either with Tyvek or by extending the floor material out to the door zipper.

I would also like to see a few small tie-out loops be added to the inside of the tent to allow for hanging a flashlight and, in my particular case, a place to hang my glasses. In making Tyvek ground cloths for this tent, and my Evolution 2P, my experience with Tyvek and Tyvek Tape has shown me the ruggedness of this material. I will probably fit my Sublite with a few tie out loops

In the rear view photo, posted in Will's review above, there appears to be a tieout, on the edge of the tent body, mid way between the trekking pole and the foot of the tent. On the top view photo I think I can see the same tieout loop. This feature is missing from the production model tent and might be useful in windy conditions. I would also like to see an optional bug screen door, so you could have more ventilation for those no-available-shade-pitched-in-the-hot-sun afternoon naps. If it clouded up you could reach out and close the Tyvek door. Snug as a bug. I really like this tent.

Here are a few photos:
Tarptent Sublite door side
Tarptent Sublite door side view
Tarptent Sublite back side view
Tarptent Sublite back side view
Tarptent Sublite front view
Tarptent Sublite front view
Tarptent Sublite rear view
Tarptent Sublite rear view
Tarptent Sublite pole detail
Tarptent Sublite pole attachment detail (excuse blurry cell phone photo)

Edited by redleader on 01/19/2009 23:22:41 MST.

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Sublite Tyvek - Feb '09 update on 02/11/2009 11:53:37 MST Print View

All,

Just a quick note to say that the next version of the Sublite (Tyvek) will have a separate mesh door. The new production run will finish up in the next couple of weeks.

Henry

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Sublite Tyvek - Feb '09 update on 02/11/2009 12:47:47 MST Print View

Henry,
When might we place an order for the new Sublite version (with bug screen)?

John Carter
(jcarter1)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Sublite in heavy rain on 02/16/2009 21:16:06 MST Print View

I had a thought about the Sublite Tyvek in heavy rain. If one were to take a GG polycro ground cloth and duct tape it to the inside roof, directly over the sleeping bag area, would that adequately protect from drips? It would only be an emergency setup, but it might add that extra bit of confidence in the event of an unexpectedly strong storm. It would also give the polycro dual use as groundsheet/double wall inner. Any thoughts?

Edited by jcarter1 on 02/16/2009 21:18:16 MST.

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: Sublite in heavy rain on 02/23/2009 15:33:57 MST Print View

Sure, sounds feasible to me. A better way to attach would be to use the included glue to attach some velcro patches or hooks in strategic places. The ground cloth can then temporarily attached as/if necessary. Always happy to provide bits of scrap fabric, notions etc.

-H

John Carter
(jcarter1)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Sublite in heavy rain on 02/23/2009 17:25:14 MST Print View

Very cool, thanks for the response! I like the velcro/hook idea; that way the ground cloth could be kept up against the apex.

George L Privett
(gprivett)

Locale: Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Sublite under snow on 02/23/2009 23:35:45 MST Print View

The tent seems to handle "light" snow reasonably well. Check out these photos.

http://bushwalk-tasmania.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1484

George

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Sublite under snow on 02/23/2009 23:38:10 MST Print View

They were posted here on BPL some time ago...!

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Sublite under snow on 02/24/2009 07:28:11 MST Print View

Thanks George- I hadn't seen these!

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Re: Sublite under snow on 02/24/2009 08:08:46 MST Print View

Doug and others, too....

As I mentioned in my original thread, I sent the Sublite Sil back to Henry for inspection and repair. He determined at that time to change the connecting material from a 3/4" length to a 1 1/2" length. This will increase the strength of that point at least double what it was. In addition, all future Sublites were going to have that change made. I believe that the change will make the Sublite fully capable of handling a really significant snowload.

Link to original post/test:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=17449

Justin Marney
(gotascii) - M

Locale: Shenandoah
Sublite with bug screen on 02/24/2009 08:32:51 MST Print View

I second redleader's question: How soon can I put in an order for a tyvek sublite with a bug screen because that would be my version of the perfect shelter at the height of bug season.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Tarptent Sublite on 02/24/2009 09:22:15 MST Print View

Looks like they're on the web page now.

Justin Marney
(gotascii) - M

Locale: Shenandoah
Tarptent Sublite on 02/24/2009 12:04:51 MST Print View

And the order has been placed! Wicked. I'll post some photos as soon as its here.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Tarptent Sublite on 02/24/2009 19:20:21 MST Print View

Joe,

What's up? I looked on the website and just see the "old" version.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Tarptent Sublite on 02/24/2009 19:27:40 MST Print View

Denis, if you go to the order page it mentions the zippered mesh door.

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: Re: Tarptent Sublite on 02/24/2009 21:48:58 MST Print View

>What's up? I looked on the website and just see the "old" version.

No updated photos yet but we did update the specs--door adds just over an ounce. Same price (for now, anyway). The two changes from the prior version are the separate zippered mesh door and the larger apex clip to better spread the load in case of snow.

-H

Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Video Tour of the Tarptent Sublite on 03/26/2009 13:11:50 MDT Print View

This video was just added. Enjoy the tour!
Warmly,
Addie

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
video tour on 03/26/2009 14:53:17 MDT Print View

Addie, did you mean to post a link? Where would we find the video tour?

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: video tour on 03/26/2009 15:25:06 MDT Print View

James,
Click on the link to the Sublite Review and pan down.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Tarptent Sublite Tent Review on 04/01/2009 02:53:15 MDT Print View

Forgot about this thread.
I have the Sublite Tivek with mesh door. The door looks exactly like in the sil version.
I forgot to take any pics of the door itself but you can see the zip in this shot.
As mentioned in another thread it handles condensation very well, in fact as the Scarp fly was wet outside and under the top inside, the Sublite remained dry apart from a small area at the apex where it felt damp but not wet. It also protects very well from the hot sun giving (fully zipped up, both doors) the same temperature inside as in the shade outside at 39 c (102 f). It took a decent amount of rain over two days still remained dry inside. Having both the bottom vent and the Tyvek door open it feels pretty airy and not claustrophobic at all as I sort of expected.
Pretty easy to set up, not as fast as the Contrail (for me) but should be easier for most. And yes, I can see how the Sil version can be a 3.5 type shelter.
Franco
Sublite inside

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Tarptent Sublite Tent Review on 01/10/2010 21:20:58 MST Print View

To anyone who has experience with the SubLite, I have a question:

How does it work with baskets on the trekking poles? Do the baskets get in the way of the apex attachment? Do they need to be removed to "thread" the poles during set up?

Thanks!

-Mike

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Re: Tarptent Sublite Tent Review on 01/10/2010 22:42:22 MST Print View

IMHO it would probably require removal of the baskets. If the baskets were in place they might push into the Tyvek and possibly cause abrasion.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Tarptent Sublite Tent Review on 01/11/2010 02:48:17 MST Print View

From the Sublite page on the TT site :
Sublite pole baskets

From memory I had the snow baskets on my BD when I first tried that (wider than the one in this pic) , but cannot find pictures of it at the moment.

The fly is connected to the poles via hook and loop,you just need to insert the tips into the two apex "pockets"

Franco

Edited by Franco on 01/11/2010 02:56:50 MST.

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Tarptent Sublite Tent Review on 01/11/2010 11:54:31 MST Print View

Cool! Thanks.

The snow baskets on my poles are very hard to remove, but it looks like it should work just fine. :)

-Mike

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Trekking pole baskets on 01/11/2010 18:43:28 MST Print View

Mike,

I have set my Sublite up with both GG Lightrek 4's & REI Peak UL's (Komperdell)with the baskets attached & have had no problems with them even in strong winds. The baskets do not touch the Tyvek.

kevperro .
(kevperro) - F

Locale: Washington State
Re: Tarp, covering the door on 12/03/2010 12:55:39 MST Print View

This was my thought too. If you want those features and expect to wander into continuous heavy rain just carry an extra small square tarp. Set it up in a flying triangle and enjoy a very large vestibule and extra rain protection over the lower body of the tent also.

An extra tarp adds a lot of versatility and if you have a long known relatively dry trip you just leave it at home. A silnylon 6'x6' tarp would probably work. That with guy lines and a few extra stakes is around 8-9oz. That still keeps your overall weight to around 28oz. which is excellent considering the versatility.

I think I just talked myself into it.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Tarptent Sublite Tent Review on 12/03/2010 12:58:30 MST Print View

Or buy a Moment for the same weight as a Sublite and small tarp.

kevperro .
(kevperro) - F

Locale: Washington State
Re: Tarptent Sublite Tent Review on 12/03/2010 13:05:19 MST Print View

Plenty of ways to skin a cat. I guess I fret over condensation more than I do rain. I've yet to have either actually cause me serious grief so I'm not sure why I worry about it.

kevperro .
(kevperro) - F

Locale: Washington State
Tarp-Tarp-Tent on 12/08/2010 17:41:08 MST Print View

Ok... I've moved on this idea. Henry sent me the Sublite in Tyvek pronto so I already have that and after getting some measurements and cutting a prototype tarp from plastic I ordered a custom 6'x6' square flat Cuben tarp from Joe at ZPacks. Weight on my Sublite with stuff-sack & tent pegs is 20.4 oz. I don't have the tarp yet but based upon Joe's weights for his larger tarps, it should be 3oz or less. Stakes and guy lines add another 2 oz at most. Total weight of the system should fall in the 25-26oz. range.

Total Cost... $179 for the Sublite & $95 for the 6x6 tarp from Joe which puts it in the range of most premium solo tents.

Benefits:

*Basically a hybrid double wall tent design that is really flexible due to the use of a simple flat tarp for optional outer.
*Should provide excellent rain protection with the extra tarp covering the body of the Tyvek tent. The mostly vertical portion is exposed by the head so water should sheet off easily and even if there is penetration it is at the head of the tent not on your down bag.
*Huge vestibule area with adjustable height for cooking in good or bad weather.
*Very breathable condensation resistant inner that is usable on it's own in good conditions. Leave the tarp behind if you have known good weather.
*Full-rain coverage for door.
*Neither material will stretch like silnylon.
*Quick easy pitch without the need for trees.
*Pitch in the rain without getting inside of tent wet.
*Tarp on it's own is an emergency shelter or can be used for other treks with different tents.

Edited by kevperro on 12/10/2010 12:27:35 MST.

kevperro .
(kevperro) - F

Locale: Washington State
Update on 01/10/2011 22:02:13 MST Print View

I'll update this as time goes on for the sake of others looking to purchase the tent.

I have the tent and at this point have only set it up for seam sealing. First impression is that the size is perfect. The area inside the tent is perfectly sized, not too large, not too small. The area at the foot is more than sufficient to keep my bag from brushing against a wall. The front is perfectly proportioned for easy sitting up and changing clothing without resorting to contortions. I'd say that dimensionally Henry nailed this one for solo use.

I played around with various ways to tighten the pitch thinking of possibly adding a tie-down on the sides but with experimentation came to the conclusion that Henry has already done a good job. There are two spots on the side that allow you to stake out the sides which may give a more taught pitch and I think that is more than sufficient for the design envelope of the product. I'm adding some glue to the main support... top and bottom because the entire tent is supported from this one location. Glue on both inside and outside seams in this area.

I'm replacing the Easton stakes with my own Titanium ones and/or MSR ground hogs. I'll carry some of each because in some locations the ground hogs are tough to beat.

I have yet to receive the tarp. Once I have that and we get some good weather I'll update with some photos and weights. Then once again I'll update this over the year as I use the system.

William Moon
(moon) - MLife

Locale: Central Utah
Re: Tarptent Sublite Tent Review on 02/23/2011 14:39:53 MST Print View

This will probably sound like a dumb question but where would be the best place to put a pack inside the Sublite to keep it dry without it touching the sides of the tent?

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Where to put your pack in Sublite on 02/23/2011 17:57:52 MST Print View

William,
I put my empty pack under my sleeping pad at about the level of my knees.