1/13/16

Tarptent Contrail Review and Modification

In 2014 I bought a Tarptent Contrail per the enthusiastic recommendation of another bicyclist.  For $200 and under 2lbs it seemed like the best value ultralight tent around.  It provides excellent bug protection, is plenty spacious for one, and is well ventilated.  The only problem is that it leaks.

After picking up the Contrail in Oregon, I road through Washington, Vancouver Island, ferried to Alaska, rode into the Yukon, BC, Montana, Wyoming, and back east.  I experienced some very wet days and nights and ferocious mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes were kept out, but several times I woke up with a pool of water at my feet.  Upon returning I emailed Tarptent and Henry Shires (proprietor) wrote back: "yes, the Contrail can have water problems if you don’t get the sides down. You accomplish that but [sic] a) lowering your front pole down to 110cm or lower—that drops the front corners—and b) by lowering the rear edges down the rear struts to whatever height you want.  Doing those things ensures that water can’t find the floor edge because the canopy edge and/or mesh low post will be lower than the floor edge"