Thursday, 31 May 2012

The tale of 2 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 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:

    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 

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

    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 

    Centre height                           84 cm.
    End height                              43 cm.

    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.


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.


Looking through the end vent of the Notch


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


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 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.


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.


Packed lengths

    Length                          54 cm.
    Diameter                        15 cm.

    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.