The Vault Regulars

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tarptent Moment. 1st trip.

Tarptent Moment pitched in Peebles, Scotland, UK.
The first outing for my new Tarptent Moment from Henry Shires in the USA, was a 3 nighter in the Scottish Borders.
The first night was a flat pitch on a camp site, second night was a wild high pitch in the hills and the 3rd night was wild low pitch at the side of a loch.

Pitching the moment is a pleasure. It’s one piece construction means that there is no faffing about clipping up the inner or throwing on the outer when it’s a poor weather day.
It’s just a matter of locating the single hoop pole, pegging out one end, walking to the other end, tensioning the tent and pegging out the 2nd peg.
If its raining hard, you can get inside at this time and leave final adjustments until the rain has eased. But saying that, the final adjustments come down to 4 pull cords to set the positions of the fixed end A poles.
All in all about a minute.

The tent is supplied with 2 x125mm pegs. In my opinion these are too short, i replaced them with the 200mm pegs i received with my Scarp 2 tent. 
With the ground in Scotland or anywhere else wild for that matter, being of unpredictable firmness,  i think the 200mm pegs cover all possibilities.

On the hoop pole sleeve there are also 2 extra guy rope loops but no rope or pegs are supplied for this. Again i have added 2 guy ropes and 2 extra 200mm pegs.

On the first night we had a light breeze and for an hour or more it rained fairly heavily during the night. No problems encountered with seam leakage. The tent has masses of ventilation, from the ends which both fully open to the complete surround of the bathtub groundsheet to the mesh side walls of the inner and the 2 vents on the top of the flysheet.
In the morning there was some condensation on the inner face of the fly as expected. I purchased the additional roof liner and it will be staying fixed as part of the tent. 

The 2nd night was a flat calm night and pitching the tent on some very uneven tussock grass i was glad i changed the peg length for longer ones.

 The skies were very clear and the temperatures dropped quite considerably from what we had walked in during the day.  I thought there might be a frost but the temperature held just above freezing.
My sleeping bag is rated at -3 ℃, but i was cold, not from the ground but from the air temperature. 
With having so much venting it’s difficult to get the temperature in the inner warmed up. I closed the end vents hoping this would help but i didn’t notice any change.
I ended up putting on my light down jacket and spare socks to get warm. This worked and i dropped off to sleep.
In the morning i noticed that the roof vents were closed. I had also noticed this the previous night but put it down to the heavy rain.  Obviously it’s not the rain or the wind that closed them. They just don’t stay open too well even with the inner clips joined as the instructions show.

Coming home i made my answer to this problem.

I made 2 x Z shaped supports which attach to the existing velcro on the flysheet and keep the vents in the open position. The ones shown here are slightly wider than the ones i ended up with. These are 25mm wide and i ended up with 12mm wide. Extra weight 3gr. 
They can be removed for packing up the tent and they also fit my Scarp 2.
Amendment added August 2011
Having made the first supports and proved that the design worked, i went and made a second pair.
The upright is 50mm long and 12 mm wide with a top and bottom attaching leg 20 mm long.
I used self adhesive velcro attached to the legs which holds it upright in the vent.
End of amendment.

There was plenty of condensation on the inside but again the additional roof had kept the dripping from getting on the down sleeping bag. 
There was also the odd condensation run off onto the mesh surrounding the groundsheet but it wasn’t detrimental.
The others had commented on it being a cold night too and there was plenty of condensation being wiped off the other tents. So i can’t say that the Moment is any worse for only having a single wall.

One thing that was noticeable on this rough ground was that the A frames at the ends of the tent wouldn’t stay wide, ie at there maximum width, and tensioning them to make the fly taught only made the situation worse. 
I am going to take with me 4 very light titanium stakes to see if this solves the issue next time. (or i might think up something completely different).

The 3rd night was a similar sort of night to the 2nd, although it didn’t get quite as cold. Probably because we were lower down, but the issues were basically the same.

The previous 2 nights i had also become frustrated with the inner mesh door opening.

It’s just completely wrong. 
The shape of the inner doorway is an Isosceles triangle. The base being longer than the 2 sides. 
The opening of the mesh doorway starts at the apex, falls vertical from this point and then goes to one lower corner. (As above photo.) The trouble is that it only utilises half of the maximum head height opening space.
When you have gear in the porch area or you are cooking/eating and sat facing the opening, half of the opening you want and need is covered by the mesh.
Unless you are left handed this is a real issue. It’s hard to reach into the porch and to move your body in and out of the doorway you need to be a bit of a contortionist.

The annoying thing is that cheaper similar shaped tents such as the Coleman Libra (below in green ) and the Jamet Granite  4000 (below in red.) have got it right.

I am going to find out if i can get the mesh door modified as i think it should be.

The size and shape of the bathtub groundsheet is excellent and i applied quite a bit of silicon to the surface to stop sliding around. This worked a treat.
I also purchased with the tent a groundsheet protector made from Tyvec. Having used it on one of the nights i can honestly say it will not be seeing daylight again. 
It’s noisy, not particularly lightweight and a bit of a disappointment all in all. 
Laura, who’s blog is here, was camping with the Hubba, that had a very nice groundsheet protector and i will be investigating these footprints to see if i can utilise one of them in the future.

The tent also has a separate crossing pole for use in snow or high wind situations. I took it on this trip but never used it.
All in the tent weights just under 1kilo with the extra’s and is an ideal one man tent even though it’s not perfect in my opinion. 
Hope this review helps. 


Anonymous said...

Excellent and very helpful review. I'm not keen on single skin tents as they are cold and draughty! The door configuration is less than ideal on the Scarp as well.

AlanR said...

Hi Robin,
I know exactly what you mean about single skin tents of this type.
They can be cold and draughty or the exact opposite depending.
The roof certainly helps but i would say that you lose about 3 degrees in an overnight situation between a double skin.
So i need to bear that in mind in future. Maybe a new bag in the offing.
Fortunately my solo days are not that many so the weight/space was my first concern and i am pleased in that respect. It’s a nice job except the inner door.

markswalkingblog said...

Hi Alan,good review and I like you little mods. I think I will stick with my Power Lizard - which weighs 1030g - but I have made some mods to that as well. Seems no-one has come up with the perfect backpacking tent yet, but they are getting closer and closer !

AlanR said...

Hi Mark,
I had a look at the PL when it first appeared on the scene. It looked a good tent. A little small for 2 backpackers but ideal for 1. And a good weight.
Maybe we should all get together and design one ourselves. Ha.

Mac E said...

Good review Alan, pros and cons covered honestly. You're right about the temp difference an inner skin makes. I've used my Phreeranger fly only but used a very light bivvy bag which reduced the draft issue. The trouble is that 2 skin tents are so light now that it's difficult to overlook the compromises inherent in a single skin unless as you say outright weight savng is the main criteria.

Regarding a groundsheet protector, I use silnylon not to protect the Phreeranger groundsheet but as a waterproof groundsheet as the origanal groundsheet leaks now. I haven't thus far had a problem. Silnylon is light and quite in use. Failing that I'd use an orange survival bag cut to size which is what I used to use in the old days.

AlanR said...

Hi Richard and thanks for your comments. It was a very close call which tent it eventually went for. There are so many good ones now. The price, space, weight, eventually swung it to the Moment and also the fact that this would not be my most used tent. That would be the Scarp 2.
I don't use a ground protector unless i think the ground needs it. This was only 1 night in 3 on the last trip. I may use a survival bag at the end of the day.
I've decided to buy a bag protector though. I was making one but i changed my mind.

Phreerunner said...

Very interesting, Alan. I'm not sure about some of the comments, though. My single skin tent seems as warm as our double skinned Nallo, and the single skin is much quieter, and not at all draughty (you have to be careful to ventilate it to avoid suffocation). The single skin has the big advantage of zero condensation, as well. My attempts to get TN to produce a modern version of the 25 year old design are continuing!
Keep up the good work!

AlanR said...

Hi Martin,
There was loads of condensation on the inner face of the Moment that i wiped off every morning. As did the others with 2 skins.
However i guarantee that the Moment is nowhere near as warm as the Odyssee and much more draughty. There is a gap at the bottom, all round of about 75mm and the inner is basically a bug net. (A tarp with a bug net).
You are lucky having the Goretex single skin tent hence the lack of condensation. I hope you achieve some success with TN but until it happens this one will have to do for now.
Thanks Martin.

Mac E said...

@ Phreerunner, I suspect you're thinking of single skin tents like the Phoenix Phreerunner which use a breathable fabric (Gore-Tex) skin and have a sewn in solid fabric groundsheet rather than a single skin created by using only the flysheet of a 2 skin tent as I do with my Phreeranger fly (the wind gets in/heat gets out under the fly) or like the Moment which isn't breathable but has a sewn in groundsheet attached to the fly using mesh which again lets the wind in/heat out. I've measured the temp difference between inner and porch using an in/out max/min thermometer and the difference is 3-5 °c on the Phreeranger.

@ Alan, just looked at the Coleman Libra X1, it's quite a tent for the money when you consider that 2 -3 years ago people (including myself) were raving about the Argos Hike Lite 1, the weigh is about the same but the Coleman looks much more comfortable and roomy.

Of course everything else has moved on and there are a variety of solo tents at around 1kg, 2 years ago they were around 1.5kg

AlanR said...

Hi Richard,
I know what you mean about the Libra and the Granite. Straight away i thought i will get one of those and work on it to get the weight down and then it would be a good ‘un.

Phreerunner said...

Yes, Mac E, the tent is pictured in my thumbnail image. I continue to believe that the extra comfort I get from the old Goretex tent is well worth the extra kilo; there is Nowhere ( and the capital is important) that I get a better night's sleep than in that tent.

I'll keep working on TN, Alan, but it could be a long job. At least they were kind enough to refurbish the Phreerunner for me last year.

Alan Sloman said...

A Stephensons Warmlite 2C has an insulating trapped air layer to keep you warm. Its vents can be controlled for more warmth too. I would suggest it's massively more stable than any of the tents mentioned here and hugely more roomy!
And all for 1205 grams with monster pegs! If you reduced the pole pegs' size it would come in at 1170grams in its bag.

I look at all these new tents and they just don't come close!

Good to see an honest review Alan. Ta.

AlanR said...

Hi Al,
There’s nothing massively unstable about the Moment, in fact i think the opposite is the case and i doubt that Martin has massive stability issues with the Phreerunner too or he wouldn’t have stuck with it all this time.
I didn’t check out the Warmlite as i was led to believe it didn’t have a bug door when the main door is open. Not sure if this is true or not because i knew you had one for Scotland.
Having never seen a Warmlite i don’t have an opinion either way.

When you say it has an insulating trapped air layer, what does that entail exactly?

AlanR said...

Just had a look at the Warmlite website and the 2cr and these tents are not really comparable. At a minimum of $500 for the Warmlite against the Moment at $215 is not really apples for apples.
I would expect it to make my breakfast and then pack itself away for that money.
If the Warmlite wasn’t better than the Moment or any of the others mentioned then i would be bitterly disappointed with my purchase.

Stuart Dodson said...

SD says like Alan I made the vent stays for the Moment though I did make them 60mm long to suit my Moment.I think the vent openings may be different on each tent.

AlanR said...

Hi Stuart. Thanks for your comment. I am pleased you found the vent openers useful.
Look forward to your thoughts on the modified doorway and the liner.

Anonymous said...

Good write up.
I take it that you got the optional "clip in liner".
How effective would this be against the all powerful Scottish midge?

AlanR said...

The clip in liner is only for condensation issues really. It does nothing to combat the midge. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Tyvek makes a great footprint. To eliminate the rustling sound, run in through a cycle in the washing machine, then the dryer. Doesn'r affect the waterproofing, DOES make it look really wrinkled, but eliminates that crumpled newspaper sound. AND it's about as light a material as you'll find for a footprint.

AlanR said...

Thanks for that tip i will give it a go when i get back home from our current Lakes trip.

Anonymous said...

Can you give some info about the packed size of the tent? Thanks!

AlanR said...

Packed size is 500mm long x 150mm diameter. The diameter can be flattened out using a different bag and therefore can be stored flat in an outside mesh pocket on the rucksack.

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