While there’s no shortage of ultralight tents designed for the backcountry, there are few others as creative as Tarptent. Created by an engineer with a love for the outdoors in 1999, the original Tarptent weighed only 18-ounces. It was a simple solution for an ultralight-but-durable tent for thru hiking that you could build yourself with the right materials, a free day and some DIY-talent. (The instructions are still on their website).
Now, they’ve got even lighter options. The brand is committed to producing everything possible here in the US, and they sew every one of their tents in their Nevada City, Nevada factory.
Fast-forward nearly 20 years, and they have almost every tent model you could ask for. Their lightest shelter is the Notch Li, a 1-person 2 trekking-pole supported tent that weighs only 19 ounces and is designed for those who the lightest shelter possible. It’s made from Dyneema, fully-taped and waterproof, and rated for 8,000+ hydrostatic head pressure. In one word: sturdy.
The trekking pole cuts down on weight and means there are no poles inside the tent with you, and it has Pitchloc foldable corners. Setup takes less than one minute. It is double-walled, dual entry and has two vestibules for cooking and stashing gear, while the interior is completely removable and can be set up independently if you wish. For a seriously light, portable tent, the Notch Li is a serious competitor with the best of ultralight tents.
A new offering for 2018 is the Bowfin 2, a 2-person tent that is extremely easy to set up and designed for withstanding all kinds of nasty weather. Setup takes a mere 2 minutes, and it’s made from 30D, silicone-coated fabric for strength and repelling water.
The long, narrow design of the Bowfin allows for more storage space and leg room, but also means it holds up to bad weather more easily. It’s freestanding, and with dual entrance, you can both get in and out without crawling over each other. Tarptent makes all their tents so that the interior never gets wet when you’re entering or exiting, no matter the weather outside.
We think everyone can appreciate Tarptent’s commitment to creating new tent designs that work. After a while it seems all tents are designed the same, but Tarptent’s look like they have some real thought put into them. Definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re looking for a tent made right at home in the USA.