Review: Tarptent Rainshadow 2
Despite what the name implies the Tarptent Rainshadow 2 ($289) is a single wall 3-person tent. At 78" wide it can fit three 25" wide sleeping pads. Not many people use 25" wide sleeping pads, but if you do then this can fit 3 of em! It is 84" long. That's 7 FEET long. So, all you tall people out there - this tent is a good option. The max interior height is 48" which is tall enough for all but the giants among us to sit up in. Even the short end isn't that short! Check out how much head room my daughter has in this thing.
These dimensions make for a tent with a whopping 42 square feet of floor space. How much does this palace weigh? Only 2.6 lbs. Incredible.
I purchased this tent a little over a year ago when I decided I wanted a tent Sarah and I could take on backpacking trips and spread out in, but also a tent that we could use with my daughter. So far we have used it at Linville Gorge, Mt. Rainier, Seven Lakes Basin and I used it on an overnight trip to Negwegon State Park with my daughter last year.
It has performed very well in rain. A small pool does collect on the top back of the tent, but Tarptent uses tried and true materials and there is no chance of leaks. A little push from inside and the pool slides down the side of the tent.
In nice weather with the beak open it provides good air flow to keep condensation at bay. Even with the beak shut condensation isn't too bad in it. Of course we're talking about a single wall tent, so there is always some. I always carry a multi-use microfiber towel and use that to wipe down the ceiling in the mornings.
My only complaint so far is that sometimes it is a bit too big. At a couple of campsites at Mt. Rainier last year the tent was almost too big when we were sharing the site with our friends. If you find you encounter very small or limited camp sites it may be an issue. You can see evidence of that in the photo below where our tent is only about a foot from the other tent.
Like many trekking pole supported shelters setting this one up has a very slight learning curve. Once you've done it a few times though it is a no brainer.
The rear of the tent is supported by 1 tent pole that is pushed through a sleeve like you'd find on any old tent. This pole is inserted into grommets which create the rear corners of the tent. Then 3 guy lines that come off the back awning are staked with 1 tent stake. This space is great for stashing some small things that you don't need access to from the front of the tent. Like Sarah's boots in this photo!
A note about the rear guy lines: If you loop the center guy line around the head of your stake once it makes for a much tighter pitch. I find the side ones are always nice and tight but the center one needs a loop around.
Next you move to the front of the tent and insert your trekking pole into a grommet underneath the beak and pull the front guy line out and stake it. You can also use 2 trekking poles in an A shape, but I find one verticle pole is adequate.
At this point the tent is standing on it's own. All that is left is to stake out the front corners.
If you'd like increased wind and rain protection on the sides of the tent there are 2 loops down near the mesh. You can loop some cord through them and stake them out. I've never had to use these.
The front beak on the tent does not come down to the ground. At first this was a bit worrisome. I think many people have been taught that when camping you need complete ground to ceiling rain protection. Most people do not need this. The beak provides the perfect amount of protection while maintaining openness to promote air flow.
For more airflow you can push the beak up along the guy line or completely roll the doors back and fasten them to the sides.
The Tarptent Rainshadow 2 is a palace of a tent for 2 people and works for 3 adults if you need it to. For the price and weight I think it is a great option for people wanting to lighten up their backpacks.