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Old 02-23-06, 02:36 PM   #1
jaypee
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Tarptent!

I'm curious if anyone has any experience with the tarptent designed by Henry Shires? I made an impulse buy the other evening and ordered the kit. If all goes well, I plan on using this experience to aid in my creation of a Kifaru-inspired tipi specifically designed for bicycle touring.
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Old 02-23-06, 03:42 PM   #2
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jaypee:
I used a Tarptent Virga 2nd generation on the Divide Ride in 2003. I loved it. Low weight, quick to pitch and kept the weather and bugs out and provided good ventilation and views. The Virga has now been upgraded again for more headroom in the last year or so. Excellent design with great materials and execution in production. And the small cottage industry company is great to deal with. The owner usually replies to your e-mail directly or on the BPL forum.

A bike touring friend bought one at my recommendation and used it on his PCT hike from Mexico to Canada last year and then used it while bike touring home to LA from Canada at the end of the hike. He was very pleased with the tarptent and saw it as the tent of choice along the PCT.
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Old 02-23-06, 04:27 PM   #3
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I bought the tarptent squall but have only used it on one overnighter. I plan on using it this summer for my loaded tour along the northern tier and trans america routes.
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Old 02-23-06, 04:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctos
jaypee:
I used a Tarptent Virga 2nd generation on the Divide Ride in 2003. I loved it. Low weight, quick to pitch and kept the weather and bugs out and provided good ventilation and views. The Virga has now been upgraded again for more headroom in the last year or so. Excellent design with great materials and execution in production. And the small cottage industry company is great to deal with. The owner usually replies to your e-mail directly or on the BPL forum.

A bike touring friend bought one at my recommendation and used it on his PCT hike from Mexico to Canada last year and then used it while bike touring home to LA from Canada at the end of the hike. He was very pleased with the tarptent and saw it as the tent of choice along the PCT.
does your virga have a floor? silnylon seems to be too wimpy to last long as floor material.

how did it stand up to wind? thanks
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Old 02-23-06, 05:06 PM   #5
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Tarps are fine, but I didn't find it useful for biking. It sucks in camp grounds where the only camping spots often consists of mud holes. I was never able to get the bug fly on mine to work. Great for alpine areas where the bugs may not always be a big deal.

Years ago when I worked at a backpacking store I more or less came to the conclusion that a single wall A-frame tent was the most efficient, one just couldn't sell them. The tarp craze has been an effective way to back people into A-frames, and that is all to the good.

The design you bought seems pretty nice. Shires is pictured bedded down in a really nice meadow, apparently no chigers or ticks, or mud wallows. I found worse sleeping conditions more the norm in my bike tours.

He credits Stevesons of the famous nude catalogue, but not the Rayway folks who have done the most on this stuff as you probably know:

http://www.ray-way.com/tarp-nettent/index.shtml
http://www.ray-way.com/tarp-nettent/pitch/index.shtml
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Old 02-23-06, 05:11 PM   #6
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They are popular on the PCT because it isn't the north woods, and because Ray Jardine wrote the PCT guidebook, and has promoted them relentlessly. And of course they work.

Also while I use Jardine's ideas as a baseline for my touring, realistically the bike can carry an extra few ounces with ease compared to an alpine backpacker.
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Old 02-23-06, 08:15 PM   #7
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I have made and use the ray-way tarp and net tent for about three years with excellent results. I've pitched it everywhere from state parks to high school footbal fields, to desert. The net tent has a silnylon floor and is still in excellent condition with no holes. I sealed the seams with silicone sealant thinned slightly with mineral spirits and it has never leaked a drop. It's endured many downpours and some pretty good winds with no failures.
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