The tale of 2 Tarptents.

Tarptents

I have been an admirer of Henry Shires Tarptents for a while, in particular his recent additions to the Tarptent range, including the Tarptent Moment, and when one became available in in Denmark, I had no hesitation in buying it. However, as the Moment arrived I began to read a very long thread on BPL.com about the Tarptent Notch, a lot what I read about the Notch was appealing in particular its similarity to the Moment but without the need to carry extra poles, I was now torn between two options for summer in Lapland. So the obvious was to have both and test them in the demanding conditions that Denmark and Southern Sweden have to offer, each of which in no way will simulate conditions in Lapland. Thus this is a report of my comparisons of the two shelters.

 Firstly the technical stuff:

                    Weights

    Tarptent Moment         877 gms.    (with optional liner 1014gms)
        Stakes(pegs)         48 gms.
        Total               925 gms.

    Tarptent Notch          750 gms.
        Stakes(pegs)         66 gms.
        Total               816 gms.

    MLD DuoMid              526 gms.
        Stakes(pegs)        100 gms.
        BPL UK connector     46 gms.
        MLD SoloMid Inner   260 gms.
        Total               932 gms.

Notice how the weights for the DuoMid soon add up, as well note the extra pieces carried to achieve a bug free environment in the summer in the DuoMid. So form a simplicity point of view either the Notch or Moment appeared to be better than the DuoMid, and the Notch provides a saving of approximately 100 gms.

Weight is important but so is sleeping space and protection from the weather, looking at floor areas next;

                    Floor Areas 

Moment
    Sleeping                18 sq.ft.; 1.62 sqm.
    Vestibule               11 sq.ft.; 1.02 sqm.

Notch  
    Sleeping                15.2 sq.ft.; 1.412 sqm.
    Vestibule               12 sq. ft.; 1.12 sqm.

MLD DuoMid
    Sleeping(solomid inner) 17.5 sq.ft.; 1.63 sqm.
    Remaining floor space   27 sq.ft.; 2.5 sqm.  

Area wise the DuoMid has the largest footprint, however I do find that towards the sides the space is less useable, whereas the Notch and Moment have more useable floor space because of the struts at the end and the steeper sides. Therefore, living space is about useable space not just floor area. I normally use an Exped Syn 7UL which I have used as a base to measure the heights from the centre of the mattress to the centre of the roof of the shelter as well as at the ends of the mat, these are given in the diagrams below, along with the measurements for the floor length. tents mattress

                    Heights above sleeping Mat 

Moment
    Centre height                           84 cm.
    End height                              43 cm.

Notch  
    Centre height                           90 cm.
    End height                              38 cm.

MLD DuoMid
    Centre height(inside solo mid inner)    114 cm.
    End height                              20 cm.  
 
 

Henry lists the Notch as 3 to 4 season and the Moment as 3 season shelters respectively, I am not sure how he determines the rating apart from his extensive experience I assume.

My observations to date. I have used both shelters for 4 nights, though each in different conditions, however, with Niels using his Moment while I used the Notch on our last trip along the Hallandlseden it enabled me to compare the 2 shelters in the field.

Condensation: both shelters had condensation on two nights, however, the difference between the shelters was; in the moment the condensation is in the sleeping area, whereas the Notch the condensation was outside the inner netting at least limiting the likelihood of the user touching the damp sides.

Sleeping space: the netting inner in the Notch is smaller than the space in the Moment, thus there is less space to move around, the width of the notch inner fits the Exped 7 UL with a little space on the sides at the centre as well as some space at the ends.

P5022123

If you were confined to a shelter in bad weather then the Moment would have more internal space, however, the twin vestibule options of the Notch ensure that you can have a wet and dry area.

An inside view of the Moment.

P5022126

Looking through the end vent of the Notch

P5022140

Exped mattress and Aarn Featherlite Freedom in the vestibule of the Notch, and there is still another vestibule on the other side.

P5022125

Poles, if you use trekking poles then it would appear that the Notch weight wise is a better option, however, if you do not use poles then the Moment would possibly be a better option. On our last trip we had little chance to test the wind worthiness of either shelter, though the Moment is capable of withstanding strong winds, according to several users on BPL.com. Likewise it would appear that the notch with its low profile is wind worthy and with the addition of guy lines through the vents to the top of the poles I would suggest that the stability of the shelter in cross winds would be improved.

Perhaps one of the best aspects of the Notch is its two doors, both can be opened for views, for breezes, or alternatively one can be opened the other closed. I spent a very pleasant evening at Mästocka watching the sunset from inside the Notch.

Notch Sunset

However, while camped at Mästocka I also noted that the “floating floor” on the Notch may be be problematic on sloping ground where a lot of tension can be placed on the elastic connecting the inner to the outer, if the floor moves.

One more thing, the inner can be completely removed on the notch and thus the notch could be used with a bivy or not, thus lightening the load even further, (the weight of the outer only is 430 gms.) One of these two shelters will accompany me to Lapland this summer, I am still deciding on which one.

Addendum

Basti  raised some interesting questions about packability of the two shelters. So I have added this addendum, with a photograph comparing the two along with a Nalgene bottle. The packed lengths are given in the table below.

P6022390

Packed lengths

Moment
Length                          54 cm.
Diameter                        15 cm.

Notch
Length                          44 cm.
Diameter                        12 cm.

Both shelters have struts at each end which can be removed if preferred, though I find in both cases for ease of setup at the end of the day the struts are left in the shelter. In the case of the Notch it is these poles which determine the length of the packed tent, whereas in the case of the Moment it is the length of the hoop pole which determines the length of the packed tent, though this could be removed and carried separately reducing the size of the packed shelters to similar dimensions. Note that in the photo both sacks also contain the pegs for the shelter. I have stored both shelters attached to the outside, or stuffed down the inside, both options work well.

To respond to Basti’s other comment re snapped tent poles, in the field the moment hoop (Easton aluminum 7075-T9) could be taped together as an emergency repair (or you could carry a sleeve). The Notch can be erected with one trekking pole, there would be some flapping which could be reduced with the use of cord and maybe the good section of the trekking pole. Below tree line the Notch could easily be erected using a stick or supported by a tree.

This entry was posted in Duo Mid, Shelters, Tarptent Moment, Tarptent Notch. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to The tale of 2 Tarptents.

  1. Thanks for comparing these shelters. I am pondering the Notch. Looking forward to hearing what you choose to bring on your Lapland trip.on a sidenote, the link bpl.com in your intro, does not lead to Backpackinglight 🙂

  2. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks Odd, link now fixed. I am tempted to take the notch for its weight and twin vestibules, but the ease of putting up the moment is also tempting. Stay tuned.

  3. Very interesting post. I'll will follow up this subject. I've also considered ordering a Notch but I've decided to keep my DR. The weight between DR and Notch is "only" 400 grams, not much. But perhaps too much for a gram hunter. But I don't want to have lots of things that are rarely used. I recall you've already tried lots of tents and tarps from what I've seen on your photos from trips? 

  4. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks Jonas, yes I have had a few shelters, I suppose I have been looking for what works for me. I feel I have come to a conclusion that I prefer a "tent" to a tarp and prefer not to carry any excess gear, as soon as I put the Moment up it just felt right. The Notch appealed to me because it used 2 poles (1 pole shelters are not for me) and appears to be ideal for long trips where weight is important. The modularity of the Notch also appeals to me. The Rainbow and DR are great designs and very much remind me of my old favourite the Macpac Microlight, as all three have side entries something I am in favour as well.  Time will tell whether I reconsider my decision.

  5. Basti says:

    Great comparison. Just done a similar comparison on my quest for a bug proofed solo shelter. Most people just compare the weight of the tent fly. They completely forget about pegs, poles, and differences of the inner net.One thing you should probaply take into consideration, too, is how they can be stored in your backpack. How much space do they take up? Can they simply stuffed into the pack or do they have small, integrated poles that keep attached to the fly? Do you need to pay attention to tentpoles at all? And don't forget about the ease of repair if something went wrong. What if one of the tentpoles snaps? How likely is this? And would it be easy to repair or to replace it (e.g. with a stick)Just my 2 cents! ;-)Nontheless a great article with lots of inspiration!

  6. Mark Roberts says:

    Great comparison Roger. I've never seen a tarptent so whatever you bring to Lapland it'll be interesting to see and compare.

  7. Great comparison. Just done a similar comparison on my quest for a bug proofed solo shelter. Most people just compare the weight of the tent fly. They completely forget about pegs, poles, and differences of the inner net.One thing you should probaply take into consideration, too, is how the shelters can be stored in your backpack. How much space do they take up? Can they simply be stuffed into the pack or do they have small, integrated poles that keep attached to the fly? Do you need to pay attention to tentpoles at all when packing? And don't forget about the ease of repair if something went wrong. What if one of the tentpoles snaps? How likely is this? And would it be easy to repair or to replace it (e.g. with a stick)Just my 2 cents! ;-)Nontheless a great article with lots of inspiration!

  8. nielsenbrown says:

    Just a mobile test

  9. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks Mark, maybe I will bring both and we can pitch them in the local park : )

  10. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks Basti for your insightful comments, I have added a detailed response as an addendum at the end of the post as I felt the answers to the questions you raised would be of interest to others. Whenever, I look at shelters I always think about the worst weather I have experienced above tree line and try to decide whether this shelter would work in those conditions, I think both of these shelters would.

  11. Anders says:

    What is your opinion on the liner for the TT Moment? Is it worth the added weight and reduced head height?

  12. nielsenbrown says:

    Hi Anders, that is a good question and the answer is it depends.The advantages of the liner are1. It will stop moisture from dripping of the roof (condensation or unsealed seam)2. It will allow you to brush the ceiling without getting damp in the mornings, something I often do.3. It may provide some insulation/warmth in the colder months.The disadvantages are1. Weight penalty about 100 gms.2. It is fiddly to install and thus once installed would probably be left there during a trip.3. Some loss of internal height, but I think it is minimal (I am 176 cm)So in my view there is no definitive answer, except that if I was going to spend a lot of time camping in conditions where condensation was likely, such as coastlines and lakes then yes I would probably use it. However, if I was expecting drier conditions then a hand cloth maybe a better option.I hope that helps, in some way at least.

  13. anne_pa_2000 says:

    That's an interesting comparison. I tend to buy the Notch for my thruhike attempt of the PCT, but you wrote it "will have its limitations on extended trips especially in severe weather" and that you would write about your experiences with the Notch later again. Well, can you recommend the Notch?

  14. nielsenbrown says:

    Hi Anne, having used it for 11 days in Lapland the simple answer is yes, in fact I have just received the part solid inner for it. What I was trying to indicate was the the first generation has in my view a couple of flaws, which I am led to believe will be rectified. Firstly, the clips at the bottom of the doors, can pop open when erecting the shelter or in strong winds, I believe that Henry is looking at installing slightly stronger clips. My Notch does not have the D clips attached on the outside of the shelter at the pole apexes, I feel that these are essential when you are camped in exposed environments with shifting winds. Obviously if the wind is coming from the side then the large panels will collapse a bit. Otherwise with its small footprint, lightweight and 2 doors it is an ideal backpacking shelter. Hope that helps.

  15. anne_pa_2000 says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience. It's a great help.

  16. Martin says:

    While walking the Corsica GR20 we had the Notch and Moment with us. Both tents are good shelters even in heavy wind and kept us dry at in rainy weather. Together with the Crossbow option the Moment does not need stakes, some heavy stone/rock is enough. Moment + Crossbow performed fantastic on rocky ground where stakes are useless. The Notch (partial solid) shows better protection from dust and I really like the two doors. Condensation was no big issue with both tents.I own the Notch and I would buy it again, my friend owns the moment and highly recommends this tent together with the Crossbow option. Your choice.

  17. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks Martin for stopping by, I agree both shelters are outstanding, I took the Notch on my recent trip and was very happy with the mesh inner though the partial solid inner would have been handy at times. The Moment, with the crossbow, would have been useful on one very windy night. As you said both great shelters.

  18. It's been a year since most of you have commented on this post, but as I read, I must make a comment.I have evolved into a fan of the products sold by Tarptent and Mountain Laurel Designs. With much thought, I purchased a Stratospire 1 and a MLD Cuban Tarp. I absolutely love both of these products. I chose the Stratospire 1 for it's really light weight and the dual vestibule/dual door design. There is plenty of space and flexibility in that for any of my overnight hikes. This past weekend, I started with an MLD Cuban Tarp and bug tent. It was a bit cold that first night, so I switched to the Stratospire1 tent to block more of the freezing temperature breeze. It was a good choice, and I was much more comfortable! Just like flying airplanes, I love this stuff!!

  19. Thanks Mark, for the comments. The Stratospire was not available when I purchased the Notch and certainly it is a tempting shelter. I agree that in cold conditions a solid (or partially solid inner) is great for reducing cross winds and was something I was in need of in Norway this last summer when using the Moment DW with mesh inner. You have also reminded me to update this posting with details on the Moment DW. Thanks for stopping by.

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