The Vault Regulars

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Scarp 2 First outing

We arrived on our friends farm in the Lakes around mid afternoon on Thursday and were greeted with quite a biting NWesterly wind.
The site was deserted except for one brave couple who were staying the night in their TN Quasar.
We were there to get to know the new Scarp 2 from Tarptent, to try out some new gear and to help out on the farm, separating sheep ready for tupping.

Please note! This is only the first time out and therefore it’s not a full review, i need to have used it quite a few times in all weathers to be able to write that, so more to follow.

The tent is amazingly quick to erect having only one pole, 6 pegs and with the inner attached. Even with a strong wind it takes only a minute or so to have a standing tent.
Another couple of minutes to make final adjustments to the corner poles and guys and its complete.
The Scarp 2 (that’s the one on the right.)
I decided that i would take the 4 season poles with me to check out the assembly. Here we found our 1st problem!
To assemble the poles you feed them both through a loop in the centre of the tent then pass the ends through a D ring which is located on the top of the 4 corner poles. 
Then you locate the poles into eyelets which are attached to the corner guy ropes, then fit the ribbon clips to the poles and tension the ribbons.
This is a bit of a fiddly job and took me about 4 minutes in total. The problem we had was the D rings, they had only been fitted on 3 of the corners, the 4th corner had a guy rope toggle clip fitted in error. Great. I am going to have to find out how to resolve this.
Guy tensioner fitted to a corner where  a “D” ring should be, 
and the velcro strip?

We found the excess ribbon to be a real nuisance as the wind picked up during the night. When it's windy the ribbon flaps against the taught tent and sounds like 10 sets of drums. Also the ribbon clips which locate onto the poles are not ideal and are quite difficult to undo when your hands are cold. This system will have to go. I will design something different myself that's easier to use and is silent.
The Pole clip and excess ribbon.
Also located on the 4 corners is a short strip of velcro. I don't know as yet what these strips are supposed to be used for.
If the 4 season poles are not used then a guying system needs to be found at both ends to maintain material tension. I have not done this yet as it was too cold to experiment.

Very quickly we found the next issue that had to be resolved. The zipper tabs are too small and impossible to grip with a gloved hand and are hard to locate at night.
This was resolved easily enough. I attached a loop of 1mm Dyneema reflective cord to all the tabs.
1mm Dyneema cord attached to the Inner zippers.
And to the outer zippers.
Having 2 doorways was certainly a big advantage and it allowed cooking in either porch dependent on wind direction.The porch area is quite narrow but adequate for our needs. ie cooking gear, shoes etc. Their is more than enough room to keep rucksacks inside the tent so it's not a problem.

When you get all your gear in the tent you realise just what a large space it is with generous head height. It's a very spacious 2 person tent and it kept occurring to me that something in between the Scarp1 and Scarp 2 would be the ideal for backpacking and weight saving for two.
It was great to have a lamp/torch clip in the centre of the roof. Although the lack of any decent storage pockets proved that i need to do something about it.
The pocket that is fitted wasn't used and is pointless apart from keeping some small change in.

After the first night, where the temperature had dropped down to minus 5 it was noticeable that condensation was covering the whole of the inner tent roof. This had occurred with the 2 roof vents and 2 end vents open and there had been a light breeze blowing. It didn't crystalise and it hadn't dripped onto the sleeping bags so that was good.
It was also noticeable that the bottom of the outer doors had ridden up the main pole. This had let quite a bit of wind blown snow inside the porch area. I shall have to look for a pegging point to stop this happening.
There is also a loop on either side of the main pole which can be used for additional guying if deemed necessary but no cord or pegs are supplied for this by the manufacturer.

During our 2nd night we had a blizzard with high winds and temperatures which fell to minus 7. The tent is very stable in these conditions and even though there is a lot of material, it didn't flap about due to the taught pitch.

When we came to packing the tent up it was quite damp especially with the condensation. It is an awkward tent to pack up with it having fixed poles and an attached inner. However if you get all the poles together first and then fold it extracting the air as you go. I was surprised that i got it into the bag quite easily, even if untidily.

I have detaching the inner from the outer to see if this would improve handling and packing, but it doesn’t. I don’t recommend doing it.
Re-attaching the inner is a fiddly job and one that i wouldn't want to do in the field especially if it was windy.
The clips used to attach the 2 together are the same clips as used on the pole ribbons. They are quite ridged and difficult to unlock and even harder when it's cold.

I emailed Tarptent regarding seam sealing and a i had a few other questions but they have not replied. I was hoping to attach the reply to this post.

In Summary, it's a smashing tent, a few initial problems to resolve annoyingly, but the use of the space envelope is 1st class and you get a good feel when your in it. It feels safe, solid and dependable.

There is room for improvements and quality control is not perfect. Would i buy it again now. Absolutely, yes.
My first impressions and more tent photo’s can be found here.


Сергій Сосницький said...

Hello Alan,
Are you sure the additional poles need to be put through the D-rings at the corners? I thought they are just fastened with the Velcro ribbons. And the ribbons are put through the D-ring for fastening.
Re outer doors sliding along the main pole: there is a tensioner, was it tight?

AlanR said...

Hi Sergei.
To be honest, no i am not sure that the poles need to go through the D rings. I assumed that because they are stronger than the velcro that’s what they were there for. I tried the velcro strip but i didn’t think it was right.
The lack of official information doesn’t help. If anybody reading this has a definite answer i would be obliged to hear from them.
The outer tensioners were used but they may not have been tight enough. I need to check this again.

Anonymous said...

I put my crossing poles through the D rings. I don't think the velcro would be strong enough. I've used a separate length of cord to secure the poles. Picture and explanation: Sorry the picture isn't that clear. I've not used the poles out in the wild. I think they are only needed for winter.

I agree with the comments on the ribbons/clips for the crossing poles. They are not very ergonomic or neat. I'll be interested to see what you come up with.

A couple of large mesh pockets for the inner would be a real help. Overall it's a good tent but could do with a few tweaks.

AlanR said...

Hi Robin,
Thanks very much for that. I think the poles will be needed more on the S2 than the S1 due to the larger width of flysheet.
If you don't mind would you email me that photo so that i can zoom in to a small area.
Yes i am going to give the pole support some thought before i dive in.
Pockets made from mesh i have from some fly screening will be made and fitted asap.

AlanR said...

Hi All,
I have just unpacked the tent again to see if i could find out why the tent sides had ridden up the pole. One end of the cord in one of the two tensioners had come away so wasn’t tensioning it at all. Easy fixed.

Unknown said...

The Scarp 2 looks like a good two-person tent, but this is the second time recently that I've read about Tarptent's quality control issues. It makes me hesitant about ordering from them.

AlanR said...

Hi Mark,
The quality of the tent construction, ie materials, stitching, design is as good as you can get.I have no issues whatsoever with it.
There are things that could be better and things i don’t like that i am going to improve and of course fitting the wrong clip doesn’t help.
But being honest with you these things are minor irritants which can be easily resolved with a bit of thought.
If you are seriously considering the Scarp then i think you should go for it. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

markswalkingblog said...

Alan, a first class initial review, which was interesting and informative. I have considered the Scarp 2 in the past, but went with other options. Glad you will be able to make the mods to bring the tent up to how you want it. Look forward to your long term review.

Martin Rye said...

D ring should be there and Henry needs to check who is doing the making of his designs at the moment and check items before sending them. I would contact him about the missing D ring ASAP. Top bloke and I am sure he will sort it.

Unknown said...

I was looking at it a little earlier in the year, mainly so I can convince my wife to come with me sometimes. But I decided to get an inner tent for the DoMid at some point. It achieves the same thing, but with single-wall flexibility. If I was in the market for a tent though, I'd be seriously considering the Scarp2 - providing Henry sorts out his quality issues.

AlanR said...

Thanks for your comment. I am at this very moment making changes to the poles support ribbon and clip.
I have emailed previously with no response.
Your right though the D ring should be there, but i know how it happens when the odd clip gets tossed back into the wrong parts bin. But there's no excuse for whoever is checking the goods.

Mac E said...

Good initial look Alan, like I said to James at Backpacking Bongos, if the basic's are right it's worth correcting the minor things.

Unfortunate about the crossing pole D ring, these things can happen but what would concern me slightly is that it's the 2nd case we've seen recently where something has got past quality control.

With regard to contacting Tarptent sometimes it's worth re-sending, of 3 e-mails I sent only the 2nd was answered. I don't doubt that I'd have had an answer if Henry had actually read all 3, may be a spam filter issue or just an oversight. It could well be that increased popularity is causing resources to be spread to thinly.

AlanR said...

Mark R
You could have used the Scarp single walled.
But the Duomid is lighter so i understand.

AlanR said...

What i will do, i shall send a picture of the wrong clip and see what happens. I agree with you about the minor things.

James Boulter said...

Hi Alan - a good review of the first outing in the Scarp2. It is a bit disapointing to see that there are still quality control issues with Tarptent, Henry can be crap at answering emails as well! The flapping of the pole ties drove me mad one hight, I now tie them to the pole or knott them round themselves now. A faff but much quieter!

AlanR said...

Hi James.
Thanks for commenting. I have what is a simple solution to the flapping ties and i will post it tomorrow.
I sent Henry an email re the wrong fitting and other simple questions but no answer as yet.

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