Gear spotlight: Tarptent Scarp 1

Posted 06/13 by Ruthie BenDor

Though I’ll be staying with friends and acquaintances a fair bit, there will be many nights this summer where home is a tent.

I went tent-shopping armed with a few special requirements:

1. Pitches fly-first. In wet weather, it’s a pain to pitch the inner tent first, because by the time you’ve thrown over the rainfly, the floor of the inner tent is all wet. I wanted a tent that goes up as one unit, keeping the inside dry in foul conditions.

2. Comfortable in hot and cold. I’ll be passing over mountains, through deserts, and across plains and farmland. Some nights will be sweltering; others, frigid. I need a tent that ventilates well in the heat, but can seal up tight to keep me warm on chilly nights.

3. Compact, not claustrophobic. Ideal would be a 1-person or 1.5 person tent, with room for me to sit up AND space to store my bike bags without spooning them all night.

3. Lightweight. It’s easy to find a two-person tent for around 5 pounds, but there aren’t a lot of sub-4 pound one-man tents.

4. Freestanding. Many lightweight tents require staking in order to pitch them, which will be a problem should I need to pitch the tent on asphalt or concrete. I wanted a tent that can be pitched freestanding, meaning that it doesn’t require staking in order to stand up.

5. Pitches easily & quickly. I ordered a tent that met all the other requirements, but was such a pain in the ass to erect the tents even under ideal, sunny-afternoon-in-my-backyard conditions that I knew I’d regret bringing it this summer.

After testing and returning a few other tents, I ordered the Tarptent Scarp 1, and I’ve been super-happy with it. It’s a four-season, double-wall tent that weighs 3.5 pounds, pitches fly-first and freestanding, ventilates well, and is exactly the right size for me and my stuff. I sealed all the seams (there’s a video, but it’s the most boring video ever made—it’s literally watching paint thinner dry) and—weird, I know—I can’t wait to test it out in the rain.

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Michelle Stern, Todd’s Mom, had double-knee replacement last week. Were you able to contact him and Jen before that? I got a bounced e-mail, so the e-adrs I sent you may not be correct. If no contact, let me know and I’ll chase it down.

I’ve been watching the weather in the Midwest and East. Looks like this summer may be another scorcher alternating w/the usual thunderstorm-pyrotechnics. I’d never make it schlumping around, let alone putting out serious physical effort. Good thing you like hot weather and acclimatize to it well! I hope you’re somewhere that has a spectacular 4th of July. My best ever was on a lake (for executives) in Indiana. Next best, small town in the middle of Iowa the summer I went going x-country w/the kids after Harris died. (Good homemade fudge and pies, too.)

By Linda on 2011 06 14

From the tweets I gather you got to test that tent in the rain real soon. Ruthie Splendor!

By Kat on 2011 06 15